How Long Has It Been?


I confess it has been a long time since my last update. Please forgive me for not writing sooner.

God has been doing so much and the enemy is not happy.

We were able to find a house in Verdi Nevada, about 20 miles from the church office. We are renting a little house right across the street from the Truckee river. We actually can’t afford to live in Truckee. Since the COVID pandemic, many people from San Francisco, knowing they can now work from home, are escaping the big city and buying up all the properties in Truckee. The house costs have skyrocketed. A 1000 sq ft A-frame fixer upper with no garage will run for $550,000.

The Truckee river next to our house.

I have to confess, this is the first time I have ever taken over a church during a world wide pandemic. I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought when we got up here to Truckee we would have some time to get the lay of the land, to wade in the water a little, to get the feel of things before we were thrown into the thick of it. That actually wasn’t the case. I feel like I asked my dad if I could go swimming and he has thrown me into the deep end. 

Because of the virus we had no place to meet, I wasn’t able to meet any of the people in the church for many months, so we just found a location and began to stream our studies.

Preaching from Donner Lake

We have had the privilege of meeting outside in one of the parks in town for the past month and a half, and it has been glorious. You can watch the teachings online if you like. Just go to YouTube and search for our channel, Calvary Chapel Truckee. Our Sunday morning teachings are there as well as our Thursday mid-week.

When we got here, the first thing I started was what we called an “Underground Prayer Meeting.” I called it that for two reasons. One because California said we couldn’t meet with more than 10 people at a time. It was intended to be a playful reminder that we take our marching orders from the Lord not the governor of California. We have tried to take every precaution we could and not expose anyone needlessly to a potential risk. We asked people who felt sick to stay home. For anyone who felt well, showed no signs of symptoms, and were comfortable meeting and praying together, they were invited. The second reason I called it “Underground Prayer” was to be a gentle reminder of our brothers and sisters around the world who are meeting in secret for fear of their governments.

Calvary Chapel Truckee at the Rock

When the COVID virus hit, before we took over the church officially, the interim pastor scrambled to find a place where we could eventually meet. He found a 2500 sq ft space for us at a complex called “The Rock.” The space gives us room for a sanctuary with about 8o seats in it and a small space for children’s ministry. The interim pastor also bought several small, 17.5 inch wide, chairs. During one of the meetings I had with the leadership, I mentioned the change in the weather that was coming that would force us out of the park. I mentioned my concern about the small space and the small chairs. Someone mentioned that the interim pastor said, “When the new pastor comes, there will be a natural downsizing of the church and it will be plenty large enough then.” I am very happy to report that God has been blessing and we have not decreased in size as a church, but we have been growing.

We have been praying and seeking the Lord about starting a Food Pantry. Surprisingly enough, there are many people living in this area of affluence who are in great need. God opened a door for us to partner with a church in Reno and coming this month, we hope to be supplying food to people and families in need. It’s very exciting to be able to engage in a work like this. It has been something that has been on my heart for the last few years.

June 22-July 1 2020, we are partnering with Calvary Chapel Saving Grace and taking our youth on a “Youth Apologetic Tour of Israel.” The basic vision is, we send our kids to school and they learn history. We send our kids to Sunday School and they learn Bible stories, as if they were not history. We are going to take our youth to Israel and immerse them in the facts, the truth and the historicity of the Bible. The target age group is 16-25, however kids younger than 16 can go with a parent. As of the date of this update, we have 15 kids and parents going on the trip.

Due to COVID, we have had to change what we are doing in South Asia. We have been unable to have classes the way we have had in the past. One of our colleges has been able to continue to meet, because they have just a handful of students. Our other colleges are recording teachings in the local languages and the students are able to listen to them during the day. We are all praying for the day when we can get back to raising up young men and women who are committed to taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people who have never heard of the truth of God’s love. To people who, since the beginning of time, have been in bondage to false gods. Please continue to pray.

Finally, Tina and I are happy to report that the Lord has opened a door for us to buy a house. We have never owned a house before. The Lord has never allowed it, we assumed it was because we were always on the move. But it looks like the Lord is going to have us stick around for now and construction is going to be finished next April. It is also in Verdi, Nevada, just a stones throw from where we are living now. I can’t tell you how happy Tina is. Thank you, Lord.

Prayer requests.

  • Please pray for Calvary Chapel Truckee. For continued growth, that we would be a light to the community, that the Lord would show us how to reach out to the community, for all the ministries (Women’s ministry, Men’s ministry, Young adults ministry, Youth ministry, Food pantry and the Underground Prayer.)
  • Pray the Lord would bless the teaching of His word on Sunday’s and Thursday. That He would continue to draw people deeper into His word and in their walks with Him.
  • Please pray for the work in South Asia, that God would continue to use us mightily. Please pray that I will be able to return soon to connect with the students. Pray that the Lord would keep those on the ground safe from anti-Christian groups seeking to persecute our workers. Pray that we would be able to resume our face to face classes and resume our internet teachings soon.

Please, please pray about visiting us. We’re so excited to show you what God is doing here in Truckee.

God bless you,

Gary and Tina

Surprises, Blessings, Bible teaching and Prayer

There has been so much that has happened since my last update.

As you may have known, Ashley and Elijah, our daughter and son-in-law, have been expecting their first child. While talking with my sister, Sharalynn, Tina mentioned that Ashley was a little disappointed that she was not going to be able to have a baby shower. They do not live close to any family or any of their close friends. So, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that she would miss out on that happy event in a new mother’s life when preparing for a new addition to their family.

Well, my sister had the idea of organizing a traveling caravan baby shower. Tina and my sister began planning and contacted friends and family. March 8th, Tina’s mom and sister, from Ohio, family and friends from California, Oregon and Washington drove to Washington. We all met at Elijah’s work on March 10th and transformed a teaching center into “Baby Shower Central.” Ashley was blown away. She had no idea. I think it took her about 10 to 15 minutes to realize what was going on.

The love poured out on her by the 12 women who attended, bringing gifts and the Lord’s blessings, along with many others who sent gifts, since they were unable to attend, was amazing. Thank you one and all.

The day after the baby shower, I got to celebrate my birthday with Ashley and Elijah, Tina, her mom and sister, along with my mom and sister. It too was a blessing. The weather in Seattle was amazing, close to 70 degrees and clear blue skies.

Ashley was due to deliver March 19. On or about March 12th, during a routine doctor’s visit, it was discovered that Ashley’s blood pressure was a little high. They decided that the right course of action was to have her return every two days so they could monitor it. When she returned her blood pressure as still a little high. They were concerned but thought to just continue to monitor her. When Ashley and Tina returned to the doctor’s office on March 19, her blood pressure was still a little too high, so they decided to keep her at the hospital. Long story short, Ashley’s water broke at 3 AM on the 20th. They were very concerned for her and the baby since her blood pressure was up and down between 160 to high 170’s over high 90’s. At 704 PM Ashley delivered Noah Khatter Knepper, 7 lbs 4 oz, 20.5 inches.

I got to tell you, he’s probably the cutest baby ever, (says poppa G). What a blessing!

Tina stayed in Washington to help Ashley and Elijah adjust. To show them “tricks of the trade” as it were. I will fly up there the last week of April, spend time with Noah and bring Tina home the first week of May. I can’t wait to see that little guy and get my wife back. We miss her so much.

Meanwhile, back home, I continue to teach the Bible, via Skype, Tuesday nights with the Pastor’s College in South Asia. We finished the Gospel of John and started the Book of Daniel. This group of guys are so hungry for the word, they’re just drinking in every study. The class has decreased in numbers recently due to a constant, overwhelming pressure from their families for them to leave their small villages and to move to a bigger city, get a job driving a taxi and then send money home to support the family. Please pray for the guys who remain.

I wanted to make a correction too. In my last update, I stated that as a western missionary I could never actually go to this area of the world.” Well, I mis-spoke. We have two Pastor’s Colleges and one Bible College that has been established there. We are able to go visit each of them, but in one area, I would not be allowed to teach. That would cause problems. But we can visit and be an encouragement.

And that brings me to the next bit of news. Pastor Trent, of Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, has asked me to accompany him and a team going to South Asia to visit the schools. It would also help me in getting familiar with the country. So, in faith, I have applied for a visa to travel to South Asia. The trip is planned for early to mid June and will cost about $3000. It’s money we don’t have, but we’re trusting the Lord to provide it.

One last thing, if you’re in the Orange County/Southern California area on May 5th, I’d like to invite you to the Saving Grace World Missions, 2018 Annual Missions Banquet. I was able to attend one of the past banquets when we still lived in Europe, and it was amazing. There will be good food and great speakers. There will also be a raffle for a Apple MacBook Air, along with a few other things raffled off and a few prizes. All of this is to raise funds for missions and to connect with people who are missions minded and would like to get involved in the Great Commission. If you’re interested you can get further information and register at http://sgwm.com/blog/news/sgwm-2018-missions-banquet/. I hope to see you there.

So in closing, please pray for us.

  1. Pray for Ashley, Elijah and Noah. Pray that God would gift them with knowledge, skills and abilities to raise Noah up in the Lord. Pray that God would use that little life, and like his namesake, stand strong for the Lord even while others are going about their business as if God doesn’t exists.
  2. Pray for Tina’s time in Washington with Ashley, Elijah and Noah. Pray that it would be sweet and a blessing for them all.
  3. Pray for traveling mercies when I go to Washington and for when Tina and I return back home.
  4. Continue to pray for the Pastor Colleges and for the students. Pray that God would continue to reveal His heart to us in equipping these men for the work of the ministry among unreached people groups.
  5. Pray that God would supply the $3000 for my trip. Pray that we would have the Lord’s heart for the region and the people. Pray for vision, anointing and wisdom for us as we go to South Asia. And please pray for Divine appointments and God’s favor. If you would like to donate to this trip you can click here to “Become A Financial Partner.” If you’re reading this on FaceBook, you can go to our website www.sgwm.com/barrow and find and click the button there.

As always, we are so thankful for your prayers and support in the ministry. If there is anything we can be praying for you for, please let me know.

God bless,

Gary and Tina

PS…Please share, repost, forward, like, or maybe even send this update to a friend. The more people we can get praying for us and the ministry the Lord has given us, the better. Thank you.

New Vision, Same Calling

I wanted to let you know what the Lord has been doing and the doors that He is opening. Like Paul said, “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries 1 Cor 16:9

It’s been just over a year since the Lord has brought us back to the states. This last year our family has been going through a time of breaking, of really pressing in and seeking the Lord for His heart, and a time of drawing close to Him like never before. It has intensified somewhat in the last three to five months. As you know, when the Lord takes you through these times with Him, it can be overwhelming. There’s been a lot of tears, a lot of tears, but also times of rejoicing and praise, with much needed comfort mixed in. 

The Lord has answered our prayers to be part of a living, healthy, loving church. We have been driving the hour drive, one way, every week to attend Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, our sending church. After 15 years on the mission field, the fellowship and teaching is so needed to refresh our hearts and souls. 

Pastor Trent, who pastors Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, has asked us to take a bigger role in Saving Grace World MIssions. He has asked us to take part in a two fold ministry, and we’re really excited about it. 

1) Saving Grace World Missions wants us to focus on and start Pastors Colleges that will train and raise up pastors in areas that would be normally closed to western missionaries.

You may already know, I have been teaching, via Skype, through the Book of John at a Saving Grace World Missions Pastor’s College in south Asia. I could never actually go to this area of the world, but through contacts on the ground and current technologies, I and five other pastors are discipling a group of guys. We are raising them up and in a short time sending them out to start churches to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to an unreached people group. Through this ministry, 20 churches have already been planted. After sending these guys out we continue to have contact with them to help them through the ins and outs of ministry. In other words, we continue in life long discipleship and partnership in the work of the ministry. 

The Lord is opening doors for us to also start a Pastor’s College in the Middle East. This would require me to travel there for months at a time to get it established and to teach there. It is also a potentially dangerous area and things have to be done discreetly, but the result of this work will also be discipling and raising up pastors who will take the message of the cross to a people who have never heard of the love, forgiveness of sins and eternal life offered by our Savior. We could never go to these people and share that message with them, so we’ll raise up those who can.

We also have requests by people in other areas of the the 10/40 widow to came and start Pastor’s Colleges there too.

Pastor Trent has asked us to come alongside Pastor Mike, the SGWM director, and help him with discipling a new generation of missionaries here in the states and send them out. He wants Tina and I to be part of pouring into and discipling these young men and women who have a heart to serve God on foreign mission fields and pass on to them what we have learned in 15 years of living abroad as missionaries.

He has also asked us to help with providing missionary care for approximately 65 missionaries and missionary families that are with SGWM. So many missionaries today feel forgotten. We know first hand the struggle missionaries go through and hope to comfort and strengthen missionaries in the field. It’s a much needed work.
 
2) Pastor Trent has also asked me to begin networking with other churches to help them develop a missions mindset. To come alongside those pastors who have thought they were too small of a church to take part in foreign missions and show them how they can do it. I will also be taking pastors on vision tours to the areas we can travel to and get them engaged in discipling and raising up national pastors who will take the Gospel to areas we can’t. 
 
This is really exciting. The idea of helping other churches fulfill the great commission, introducing other pastors to the guys on the front lines, connecting them with young pastors they can disciple and see bear fruit for the Kingdom in areas we could never go. It’s amazingly cool
 
You might have noticed repeated words and phrases like unreached people and places we could never go. And that’s because that is what it is all about, getting the Gospel of Jesus Christ out to those who have never heard it. It may seem like it is too big of a work, but we serve a big God and His heart is for everyone everywhere to hear about His Son, to hear about the work of the cross and the free gift or eternal life.

Like many churches today, Calvary Chapel Saving Grace and Saving Grace World Missions can not afford to give us a salary, we have to raise support. It seems like we are at a critical time. I would like to be completely transparent with you. There are job opportunities for us that will provide for our needs financially, but effectively close the doors on this ministry opportunity, and maybe ministry in general.

I’m sharing this with you, to ask you to prayerfully consider joining us in the ministry through your prayers and financial support. 

Like the prophet Isiah recorded in Is 6:8, “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then said I, “Here am I, send me.” That’s my heart, I want to go! Lord send me! I want to see God raise up men and women to take the Gospel places we could never go. It’s something we can do together to fulfill the Great Commission.

Through out the Bible there are stories of those who go to the front lines and fight and those who are behind them in support, Exodus 17:8-13, for example. We see Joshua fighting while Moses, Aaron and Hur are praying and supporting in the rear.

Also Romans 10:13-15, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How shall the call on Him whom they have not believed? And how shall the believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel, who bring glad tidings of good things!”

The Bible paints the picture of those who go and those who serve as senders, and they both share in the fruit. 1 Samuel 30:24, “…But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.”

If the Lord leads you and puts it on your heart to team up with us in raising up pastors who will go places and share the love of Christ with people who are unreached, literally unreached, you can go to our web page, www.sgwm.com/barrow and click the button that says “Become a Financial Partner.” 

We understand that you may not be in a position to contribute to the ministry financially at this time, but would you stand with us and commit to praying and asking the Lord to lead, guide and provide? That He would make a way for us. He is the Way Maker!

If you have any questions about what our plans are, feel free to drop us a note.

As always, we are so thankful for you, for your friendship, prayers, love. We pray God blesses you and meets you in a special way, and that He would reveal the depth of His love for you.

Thanks again for standing with us.

God bless,

Gary and Tina

“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” Mat 9:37-38

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS, Below are a few pictures of one of the Pastor’s Colleges that is being established in south Asia and some of the new construction that is under way. This is a restricted area, completely off limits for any of us to travel to, and yet God’d word is not chained by restrictions of evil men. Praise the LORD!

Moved In & Almost Settled

Thank you all for your prayers. God has blessed us with a really nice house. It was very difficult to find a house to rent when we got here and the options were very limited, yet The Lord blessed us with a home that is over and above what we could have wished for. We live on the out skirts of Victorville in a quiet neighborhood. Since we live in the desert, there is no grass to mow. That’s a blessing in and of itself in my eyes.

 

 

 

We took procession of the keys February 1st. We bought some air mattresses, some paper plates and plastic utensils, a cooler and a couple of pans and waited for our things to arrive from Germany.

After a month in a hotel and three weeks in our new house, all of our things arrived at our door step. The movers quickly unloaded, and our larger pieces of furniture were set them in place. Then we were left to the unpacking.

God has been so good to us. We left empty and returned full. When we left the states and moved to Hungary, we sold almost everything we owned and left with almost nothing because the Bible College supplied a fully furnished apartment for us. 15 years later God has blessed us with so much. As we have been unpacking we have been reminded by each item how God has blessed us, how He faithfully met our needs, and just gave us little things because it blessed Him to bless us.

It goes to show that we will never give up anything to serve The Lord that He won’t give back even more. I’m not talking about material things necessarily either. Our time in Europe, our experiences, the ministries the Lord has allowed us to be part of, the places He allowed us to go and share His love, has been more valuable to us than material things. The changes we witnessed in lives He touched, you couldn’t put a price on that. He has made us so very rich.

Driving Home The Other Day

As I was driving home the other day The Lord reminded me how often I have said I have felt “so overwhelmed” since I have been back. It’s a feeling that I haven’t been able to describe.

As I was thinking about this I realized the core of that feeling of being overwhelmed is because I feel like I am out of the fight. We are currently living in “The Land of Plenty.” We are renting a nice house, I have an descent job and we’re living fairly comfortable. Nothing extravagant by any means, but comfortable. All the while people all over the world are dying without ever hearing about Jesus. It eats at me.

I know The Lord has moved us back to the states for His purposes. I know that there is something here He wants to do in our lives. I know, just as one of our supporters and prayer partners reminded me, how we need a sabbatical, a time of rest, to recharge before getting back into the fight. I also know that California, and Victorville in particular, are huge missions fields; people here need Jesus.

Well, as I was driving and thinking about this, The Lord reminded me of what He said Acts 1:8 and comforted my heart. Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”

The Lord reminded me that Victorville was our new home, our Jerusalem if you will. There are people here He wants to reach, and as we are faithful to reach out to them in His name, He will broaden our spheres of influence again and allow us to be part of what He is doing in ever widening circles. He reminded me that was exactly what He did for us when we moved from California to Corvallis Oregon. How Corvallis became our Jerusalem, and as we served Him He took us to the ends of the earth.

How that word lifted a weight off my heart. How it encouraged me to know that He still desires to use us. We’re not out of the fight, we’re just in a different fight.

How sweet it is to know and understand, we serve a loving God who knows our heart, hears our prayers and desires to comfort His children and to use them for His glory.

Prayer Requests

Please pray with me:

  • That The Lord will open doors for us to reach out to our neighbors in His name. Maybe even start a Bible study in our neighborhood.
  • That Jesus would be seen in us and that He would express His life through ours, seen by the people I work with, people we meet in grocery stores and on the streets during our days.
  • That The Lord would plant us and establish us in a new church and open doors for us to serve, to be a blessing to the body.
  • It’s in my heart to connect with a School of Ministry or Bible College in our area, or the Southern California area, and have a chance to share and teach what we have learned in 20 years of ministry and 15 years on the mission field. To have an opportunity pour into, to stir and disciple, to be an encouragement to a group of young believers eager to see Christ glorified in thier lives and in this world.
  • I’d like to see The Lord open doors for me to go to Nepal, India or Jerusalem this year and connect with the Bible Colleges there and be an encouragement to the missionaries there.

These are things that are on my heart. I know they may just be my desires, but I believe The Lord has placed them there. Pray with me please, that The Lord would give me a fresh vision and direction for the way He would have us go. We desire to see Him exalted and glorified in the lives of people who are currently living in darkness.

Thanks for all your prayers, friendship, love and support. If you ever happen to be in the Victorville area, please let us know. We’d love to have you over for a visit.

God Bless,

Gary and Tina

 

P.S. Tina is currently in Washington visiting Ashley and Elijah for Ashley’s birthday. It seems like yesterday that Ashley was born. It’s just another reminder of how great our God is. She is a beautiful woman, full of grace and love. God has gifted her with tremendous abilities and a great husband. I’m so happy that Tina was able to be with her for her birthday. Happy Birthday Ashley! Thank you Lord for her.

Bittersweet

The Barrow's 2002That was us 14 years ago, shortly after we arrived in Hungary. Looking back we can clearly see God’s faithfulness to our family as well as His hand on the ministry He has entrusted to us.

God allowed us to pour into the life of many of the Bible college students while we were serving at Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe. We’re still in contact with many of them.

When God moved us to Estergom, He opened up amazing doors to teach the Bible in churches, Bible studies and on outreaches in Hungary, Slovakia, England, Wales and Scotland. It was amazing what God did.

Then about 2004 the Lord began to move on our hearts that Rothenburg ob der Tauberour time in Hungary was coming to an end. Through a set of miraculous events, The Lord opened a door for us to move to Germany. He relocated us in Middle Franconia, which is in western Bavaria. He gave us a vision of reaching out to young soldiers, Germans and other nationals in the area.

The Lord had us start a small Bible study which grew into a small fellowship. We introduced many people to solid verse by verse Bible study and a God who was deeply in love with them.

We did a 5 year study focusing on Jesus’ Life and Ministry in Chronological Order. That study took us through each Gospel. After that we continued on through the Book of Acts and then into Romans.

During this time we also taught a mid week study through the 5 Books of Moses (we only got through 4 of them though.) The Lord took us deep in His word and united our hearts together in sweet fellowship.

From L to R, Mat (an adopted family member), Austin, Bryan, Tina and Gary

Now after 10 years in Germany, 14 years in Europe, The Lord is moving us again. He has called us back to the states. For us it is bitter sweet. Europe is our home. The kids basically grew up here in Europe. Austin hardly even remembers living in the states. But we know that God’s past faithfulness…demands our present trust.

The Lord put it on Tina and my hearts that we would eventually return to the states so the boys could attend college and we were to help get them take the next steps in their lives.

We always knew that the time would be right when God provided a way back that didn’t cost us any money, since we didn’t have any. Well, the Army has decided to move us to California, to work at Fort Irwin. They are paying for the move. And it is happening fast. praise4We will be back in the states for Christmas and I will be starting a new job December 27.

I have wanted to share this news earlier, but we found ourselves just trying to hang on, things have been moving so fast. Our household goods will be packed up next week and sent. We are waiting for the final amendments to our orders and we’ll be off very soon.

I trust that the Lord isn’t done with us yet and that there will more opportunities to continue to serve Him future. It will just be in the states instead of here in Europe. We will be exchanging one dark continent for another.

I hope that you will continue to pray for us and stand with us in sharing the love of Christ with a dark and dying world. It is our hope that The Lord will take us ever deeper in a love relationship with Him and that He will use us to point others to Him.

Thank you for your prayers. If you have any questions, please email us and we’d be happy to respond quickly.

For those of our friends in Europe, we’ll miss you greatly. For our friends in the states, we’re looking forward to seeing you.

God bless,

Gary and Tina

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Since The Last Time

I just wanted to write a brief update to bring you up to speed with what has God is Goodbeen going on here. It has been 5 months since my last update. The good news is that God is still good. He is still at work in our lives and the lives of those He has given us to serve. He continues to supply for our needs, pour out His mercy and grace upon us and He continues to bless.

As you may know, there was a bomb that was exploded by a Syrian refugee in Ansbach on July 24. It was during a music festival, and praise God, no one was killed, except the bomber. There were 15 people who were injured and four of them were injured fairly seriously. I am suprised how fast life has returned to normal. It has almost been forgotten.

Just days ago a six year old boy drowned in a lake near our house. He was out with his grandfather and wandered away. They looked for him frantically and found his body the next day.

These events stir us to tell people that there is a good and loving God who is willing to extend forgiveness and grace through faith in Jesus Christ to anyone who wants it. Pray that God opens doors for us to share his love with more and more people.

VeniceTina and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary on September 1st. We took a few days off work and drove down to spend a couple of days in Italy. The boys have never been to Venice so we found a cheap hotel in Vicenza and then spent a day in Venice.

We have been working on gaining Italian citizenship. Tina’s father was Italian, and her grandparents came to America in the 30’s. We thought it might be a good thing for Tina and the kids to have EU citizenship in case God wants to utilize it in the future. It would allow us to stay in the EU, if I were ever to separate from working for the Army, which is what allows us to currently stay in Europe without a visa. It’s a long slow process, but it seems like we’re close.

We also took another day off work and drove Austrian castlein to Austria to explore a castle. We had such a good time there. Next to that castle is the longest suspension walking bridge in the world, It is 500 feet above the valley floor. Afterwards we had a picnic near a river where we waded in the water and skipped stones. It was a great day! God really blessed us that day with simple little pleasures and family time together.

 

The Book of RomansCalvary Chapel Ansbach continues to study through the word. We recently finished the Book of Acts and Sunday, September 25th will be our first study in the Book of Romans. I’m really excited to get into the book with our fellowship.

Our fellowship has been decreasing in size over the past 12 months so we dropped our mid week study. The reason for the decreasing numbers is the United States Army has been rearranging their assets in Europe to better meet future threats. It has resulted in a temporary downsizing of forces in our area. Therefore, soldiers and Department of Defense civilians have been moving from the area.

That being said, there is a plan to increase the size of the US Army in this area again in 2017. It’s just a another part of the cycle of ups and downs when you minister to soldiers and expats that are always on the move.

God seems to be opening a new door of ministry for us. I was recently asked to share the teaching, through the Gospel of John, in another village about 45 minutes away from us. I was asked to share the teaching because the leader doesn’t feel he has the time to continue as frequently as he would like to. The study is small group, primarily Germans, and will have to be translated. So, praise the Lord for another chance to share His word with hungry believers!

Finally, we need your prayers. We are facing a very challenging time. Prayer requestIt is probably the greatest test of our faith we have ever faced in the last 38 years of Christian life. We just don’t know what to do or what’s going to happen. We are trusting the Lord to do whatever He thinks is best for us, but were on our knees pressing in in prayer none the less. Now isn’t the right time to share the details, I’ll let you know the details soon, but until then, would you please be praying for us? Pray for strength, for wisdom and patience to wait upon the Lord. Thank you.

Well, that’s about it, at least that’s the nutshell version. If you have any questions or prayers we can lift up on your behalf, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be blessed to stand with you in prayer.

God bless,

Gary and Tina

It’s April Already!

time-flysThe picture to the left says “TIME FLYS.” What can I say? It’s true, but it’s not an excuse. I’m just bad at writing updates, staying up on them and making sure they get out in a timely manner. It seems like a never ending battle with the calendar. Lord help me!

I think part of the problem is that our lives as missionaries are not really much different than your life. We wake, we spend time with the Lord in our devotions. Afterwards I go to work, talk with people, try to let my light shine, look for opportunities to share Jesus. After a day working for the Army, I go home, spend time with the family and relax. Before I turn in, I try to spend some more time with the Lord, read my Bible, thank the Lord for His faithfulness, for carrying us through another day, and I ask Him for His grace and goodness for tomorrow. I’m certain that’s about the same as your daily routine. It’s just the life of a Christian.

But God is moving, God is working! At times He moves slowly, imperceivable, almost unnoticed. Then there are other times He moves so fast it’s all you can do to just hold on.

So here’s whats going on. Here’s what the Lord has been doing with us.

FAMILY

Ashley and Elijah have moved back to the states.11430267_10153470876916189_2743427446029810793_n It’s a little hard for us knowing they are not just hours away by plane, not just a few hundred dollars away if we want to see them. Now they are now an ocean and a continent away.

They are visiting this month with Elijah’s folks and next month they are flying to California to interview with a church for a youth pastor position. I can’t think of a couple that is better suited to disciple middle school or high school aged kids in the ways of the Lord than them. I know I don’t tell them enough, but Tina and I are so proud of them. We’re excited to see what the Lord has for them.

1452439_10151682160395810_1732744731_nBryan and Austin continue to seek the Lord for His heart for them. It’s come to the point that they are just wondering what the Lord has for them, what direction they are to take for their lives, and when He’s going to open a door for them. As I have reported before, their heart is to return to the states and start college. Many people have offered to help them out with a place to stay, but so far, the Lord hasn’t seemed to give us a peace in our hearts or a go ahead for what we are supposed to do.

IMG_8994Those of you that know and have IMG_0862come to love Gunter, you’ll be sad to hear that he is going through his own personal struggle. He recently went to “The bad place” and was neutered. Now he struggles with a cone that catches on everything and is constantly impeding his progress. He went from the photo on the left, happy, alert and playful, to the photo on the right, sore, a little humiliated and a little less in the area of his manhood.

MINISTRY

This last Sunday we watched a Bible study taught by Jon Courson on Isaiah 6. It seemed to confirm much of what the Lord had spoken to my heart.

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His rob filled the temple.” Is 6:1

When Uzziah died, things in the nation seemed to be out of control, but God was on the throne; and It wasn’t until Uzziah died that Isaiah was able to see God upon the throne, high and lifted up.

The Lord has spoken to my heart and has showed me that there are areas of ministry that are not pleasing to Him. Whether little or much, there are areas that I have allowed the flesh to creep into. Areas that I have served Him in the power of my own strength, not relying on His Spirit. He has led us to take a step back from what we have been doing and seek Him for a course correction. In doing so, we are asking Him to let the things die that aren’t of Him, so that we can see Him clearly upon the throne. We are asking Him to show us the way He would have us go forward.

It is our heart to serve the Lord in the power of His Spirit. We don’t desire to do anything, go anyplace, be anywhere, apart from Him. Because of this, we have placed everything on the table. We are asking the Lord to show us what needs to die and what needs to be renewed. Whether it to let go of our Wednesday night study or our Sunday morning study? Whether we are to seek to go deeper into a refugee ministry and make that our main focus or to let that go? Whether I am to continue to work for the Army or seek something else? Whether we are even to stay here in Germany or return to the states? It’s all on the table, and whatever He shows us, we are committed to being obedient to it.

I know we are to lift it all up to the Lord, while holding on to the ministry we have with a loose grip, and let Him show us what brings glory to His name, and to abandon everything else.

PRAYER REQUESTS

Will you please be praying for us? This is a difficult time for us. It’s hard to hear that there are things in your ministry that aren’t Prayer-Warriors-Neededpleasing to the Lord. It’s discouraging to know that I have allowed the flesh to creep into things where it has no business being, but I want to hear it. It’s good to hear it! I want to surrender and see the Lord bring correction. That way He can reign in our lives and ministry. I want to let die what needs to die so we can see Him seated upon the throne of our lives, our family and our ministry.

So, please pray for understanding, for an ability to hear Him, for an open heart to receive from Him and that God would open our eyes to see what He would have us see.

Pray for strength to wait on the Lord, not to get out ahead of Him, and to respond properly to whatever He reveals to us.

Pray that God would refresh us and show us His heart.

Pray for us as a family, for clear direction and open doors.

The things I am asking you to pray about aren’t quick fixes. They are things that the Lord will do in His timing. I don’t expect an answer tomorrow. Yet I trust He will answer, I trust He will continue to work, and those answers and that work in us will be wonderful, marvelous and worthy of praise.

I just wanted to let you know where the Lord has us and what He has spoken to us. Thank you for your prayers. We appreciate you standing with us, covering us in prayer because of your love for our Lord and for us.

God bless,

Gary and Tina