May 2018

Dear loved one,

God has truly blessed my family in our transition across the world. We are extremely grateful for each of you and for all of your prayers. Adjusting to our new family member, our new jobs, our new friends and our new life while Noelle is recovering from surgery would have been so hard had it not have been for all of your dedicated prayers. We know that God heard you. Thank you.

Many of your prayers for this transition and for Noelle’s recovery were answered in the form of the long visit of my mother. Initially my mom was going to come in order to assist with Noah’s birth (since she is a doula), but God had other things in mind and had Noah come two and a half weeks early. So instead she was able to use her other awesome skills as homemaker and massage therapist to help my wife. It was really great to have family out here, and all in all my mom was a tremendous blessing!

My mom, Tammy Harris, holding my friends adopted son Jora.

Well, it took two years but we have finally started the work that God laid on our hearts in the Spring of 2016. It is so exciting to be involved in things that we really believe in. Jeremiah 23:21-22 says “I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.” This verse has really been on my heart as I have been helping write the curriculum for our new class of 33 pastors who will be starting out in Genesis one month from now. The current class of pastors is still a year from graduation, and yet they have truly come a long way. It is amazing how far someone can grow in their relationship with God and their witness as they immerse themselves in the Word of God. And it is amazing how things as simple as introducing the concept of poetry can bring illumination and understanding of Scripture.

These are my neighbors who helped me paint and who I will be discipling.

These are my neighbors who helped me paint and who I will be discipling.

As part of the process of settling in here, we have painted our house, or rather, have had our house painted. When I was first painting outside a few of my neighbors started helping me and soon thereafter they took over for me and received a job out of it. God used that to help us really develop good friendships with a few of the young men of our community! When they finished the paint job we took them out to an Ethiopian food place and then got a picture with them at a photo booth. The exciting thing is that they are coming to my house tomorrow for the first of our semi-regular neighborhood worship nights! On top of that, I and a few of the young men are going to start meeting every Tuesday night for discipleship! In no way will these gatherings replace our roles with Terebinth Ministries, but it is just one way God is answering our prayers for our community and our home life. Praise God for His orchestration of these things.

This is just a picture I took of the Nile.

God Bless you
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline and Noah