It’s been a minute since we posted online! Security issues, technical issues, and inexcusable excuses have kept us at bay from sharing publicly. We’ve made our way around the US giving personal updates, but we know there are many of you who were still left in the dark. We apologize for the long absence. We look forward to reconnecting and updating you all on a more regular basis. Here is the latest on our happenings this past year!
2022… Have you ever thought you were standing on solid ground, only to have the carpet pulled out from under you? That’s how we felt in February when we returned home. We came to the US and made huge headway regarding using the property for our ministry. Meetings were had, relationships solidified, and communication and understanding pushed us forward. We felt like we had reached the top of a mountain after a long uphill battle. We returned home ready and excited to move forward until that “mountain” crumbled, and we were left farther back than where we started.
The past five months have been a slow process of communicating, waiting, moving lives and living accommodations, more waiting, more communicating, and finally/occasionally taking small steps forward. The Lord is really stretching us and increasing our faith in this season. We are willing and available for whatever the Lord desires of us. If we are to leave that campus, We Trust Him. If we are to stay, We Trust Him. Both options are difficult, but the Lord never called us to “easy.” We have been on the rented property for 5 years since this July. It has been harder than we ever imagined since the first day we arrived. Rarely has it gotten easier, but we have grown a lot in endurance and faith. The Lord has been faithful and has done mighty and powerful things through the lives of students who have passed through. Churches have been (and continue to be) planted by many of those men; Pastors have been equipped, and brothers have been raised up and called to ministry. Even some women have been equipped and started bible studies in their villages. We believe that the Lord has greater work still to be done. We want to be part of it. So we trust in His time and wait for doors to be opened that no man can shut!
The waiting process has not made us idle but rather has opened doors to new opportunities that have been longed for and needed.As building plans and welcoming students were put back on hold, I had the opportunity to visit some of our fellow workers.There is so much I could write, but to be brief and highlight: I met with staff and interns in our southern region to encourage and exhort them; met students; shared the Word in the Sunday service; visited families of our staff. We live in a very relational culture, so meeting families, being available, and doing life with one another are extremely important. One example is visiting the sick mother of one of our staff. He has been through deep waters caring for his sick mother and continuing in the ministry. It was a blessing to come alongside him and pray over him in this trial. Another highlight was visiting an old student who hadn’t completed his course. He returned to his church halfway through and has faithfully led his congregation in the absence of his father (the previous pastor), who passed away while he was a student. Seeing this very young man lead so faithfully in such simple village conditions was pride for us. My wife felt like a mother to him (his mother passed many years ago) during his school days, and she was so blessed to meet his wife and see him again.
One story to paint the picture of this little church:
We were only there for a night, but he arranged a worship service for me to share the Word late in the evening. The church is in a very remote area, and there is a possibility of persecution, especially at the sight of foreigners. We took his local car so as not to draw attention to our out-of-state plates. We also showed up after the service started late in the night. My wife sat down on the floor in the back with the other woman while I was introduced to teaching. It was a very simple church with brick walls, a tin roof, no a/c, no chairs, and no frills. The believers were simple and earnest, eager to hear the Word of God in simplicity and wholeness. Our old student was taught the Calvary Chapel style of teaching (chapter by chapter, verse by verse) and was reminded again as I taught. I was able to exhort and counsel him in teaching his congregation the whole counsel of God’s Word. Many came to us to be prayed over, and this young man and his wife were so encouraged by our visit and the willingness to do life with them, even if just for a night.
We came home for a month and had a lot to pray over concerning the direction of our ministry. Do we move the Bible school to a new location? When do we open the school?Should we put the school on hold and focus on visiting our other schools and workers across the country?
As time continues on, some of this has been answered for us- seasons take their course. Plans continue to change, and so far, there has been no finality in our direction. We just remain faithful and available and take opportunities as they come.
In May, I traveled again to visit our only school that was currently running. I came alongside our leader there as he took the students for outreach. It was a wonderful time being with the students, seeing them use their gifts, and putting into practice what they had learned that semester.
In July, my wife and I traveled stateside for important events and necessary work. It was a brief trip as we left the kids back home with my parents. We praise God they did well while we were away!
We had an opportunity to be in Mexico to pour into students who feel the same call to GO. It was a wonderful time to be with like-minded believers and encourage them to follow in His faithfulness.
In September, I will be traveling to visit our fellow workers in the North. I have longed to visit him for many years and am so thankful to have the opportunity finally! In October, I will be traveling to another country in South Asia for a leadership conference. Please be praying for these upcoming travels. Pray for safety over the journey, fruitful time during my visits, and safety over my wife and children as they stay back and continue in their daily schedules.
Our Sojourn continues!
*Please pray as the Lord leads you concerning the land for our bible training center. Pray over the location, the timing for opening, the relationship with the owners of our current campus, our staff on the campus, and keeping it maintained until we know what to do with it.
*The greatest need for our family right now is financing. We need to raise an additional $800 a month to cover our family’s cost of living and be able to minister to those the Lord has called us to.
We have depleted both our personal savings and ministry savings this past year with our travels. In just 5 months since returning from the US, we’ve traveled across the state more times than we’ve kept count; we’ve traveled around the southern part of the country twice; we’ve left the country twice. We are thankful for the ministry the Lord has called us to in these travels, and we are trusting He will continue to provide for the opportunities He sets before us. When we were stateside last year, some asked if we needed financial support, but we turned them to others more in need as we were financially stable. Little did we know all the Lord had in store when we returned! On top of additional travel, there has been a sizable increase in daily living costs. Here are some of the things we’ve had to increase in our budget since the start of this year: grocery and household needs, electricity, insurance, gas/transportation, maintenance (household and car), and school fees for three kids.
We know the rest of the world is facing the same struggles, especially in the West, as prices have skyrocketed! We know Jesus is coming soon. Until He comes, we press on and into the One who has called us. Not alone but with a team of laborers from different walks of life who partake in various ways of this calling. We know He will provide more laborers to come alongside in what He has called us to, where He has called us. Are you one of them?
*Please intercede on behalf of our workers across the country. Many are facing persecution within their families and villages. So many are facing health issues and physical trials. A few have had relatives, more specifically mothers, who have been sick, one even passing away suddenly without warning. Parents on the field figure out their children’s education and pressure them to succeed in school.
Pray for the Pastors of churches who deal with so much sin and apathy within their congregations. Pray for them to be bold in their preaching, gentle as doves, approachable but immovable when truth must be contended for.
Pray for many of our young pastors who need wives and for the Lord’s hand in working out those arrangements. Pray for the wives of Pastors and Leaders to be helpmates, women of righteousness, and covered in spiritual armor to protect against incessant attacks of the enemy both on body and mind as well as spirit.
Lastly, pray for unity among us all and encouragement in the face of great loneliness. One of the greatest spiritual tactics of the enemy in these parts is to make us feel alone, unheard (or misunderstood), and uncared for. We know these are great lies, but they come in stealth form.
Many blessings to you and love from our family,