Rejoice, Pray and Give Thanks

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

Happy Autumn everyone! We are settled in here, back in southern California. We had a good trip from Montana to Seattle to Yorba Linda, but are glad to not have to drive for a while. Here is what has happened since our last update. We had the opportunity to meet Pastor Rob Douglass in Seattle in early September. We interviewed a pastor and former missionary to Belize for Missions Equip. It was a great experience and we learned a lot as a ministry on how our on-location video shoots will look in the future.

Recording an interview with Pastor Joel Meyer of Calvary Chapel Edmunds (WA).

We then drove down the west coast making a stop in Portland to see family and arrived in Orange County mid-September. We were praying about a place to stay and a job for Alishia before we arrived and the Lord answered our prayers perfectly. We were blessed to stay with friends until a place became available to us, and it checks all the boxes that we were looking for. Every time that we have returned to California the Lord has provided for us with housing and employment, it has built our faith and allowed us to focus more on our training and less on the cares of the world.

Alishia giving tours of the Missions Equip studio.

On September 18 we celebrated twenty-five years of ministry for Rob and Heidi Douglass as well as hosting an open house for the new Ends of the Earth office/Missions Equip studio. It was a night of worship as we thanked the Lord for all that we had seem Him do, over the last quarter century for those who have been here from the beginning and the last few years for us. Less than a year ago we would be looking at a racquetball court used for storage. Today it is a fully functioning office, recording studio and fellowship café, and it was done for less than a tenth of the expected budget. What a work of God this project has been!

The female interns are in a discipleship group with some ladies from the church.

We have also started our third year of training as interns at Saving Grace World Missions. We have cross cultural studies and specific outreach to the people groups we’re called to this year as well as the homiletics and church planting classes and book study groups we had last year. We’re also getting opportunities to lead midweek small groups for the church as well as three-to-four-person growth groups, which help us develop our discipleship skills. I’ll be sharing more about what we’re doing in the internship in the coming months.

Part of our small group enjoying a meal together.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. We love you and would love to connect with you if you’d like. Please reach out with any prayer requests or just to chat.

Prayer Requests:

  • For wisdom in the timing of our vision trip to Japan, and that the current Japanese regulations (they don’t currently require vaccinations) would remain in place.
  • For Alishia to have the Lord’s supernatural strength and energy as she balances work, the internship and a bible study that she teaches on Saturday morning.
  • For continued provision for the Root family.

Continued Equipping

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry


Ephesians 4:11-12a

Another amazing summer on the farm has come to an end. We had a great time with Daphne and were blessed to spend time with family. Alishia and I will be leaving for Montana next week. Here is a letter to let you know what we’re up to now.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to speak at a church in central Kansas. The pastor there, pastored our church when I was young, he even baptized me when I was nine years old. It was a huge blessing to be able to reconnect with him and his family as well as share with the church what we’ve learned about the purpose of the church. If you would like to watch the service you can do that at the following link: https://youtu.be/uqAAJk_Zmms

Pastor Tim Pearson and I in Manhattan, Kansas.

We will be in Montana for just four days before heading to Seattle on September 2. While in Seattle we will have the opportunity to meet up with Rob Douglass of Missions Equip and interview a couple of missionaries for that ministry. Rob will also be speaking at a couple of churches that weekend and we will help with support during those speaking engagements. After we finish up in Seattle, we will make our way back down to Orange County and begin serving at Missions Equip. We’ll be interviewing missionaries and pastors and creating content for the Mission Equip website, which will be a large database of missionary training and support resources. The exposure and access we will have to these missionaries and pastors will help put the finishing touches on our preparation for Japan. Just as Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-12, God has given us some to be pastors and teachers to equip us for the work of the ministry. We are thankful for all of the teachers that He has given to us, and we feel that the continued equipping will help us be more successful once we get to the field.

Speaking at the church in Kansas.

We still feel that Japan is the ultimate calling that God has for us and we are excited to move toward that again. Please be praying for our preparation in this time until we go. Please also pray for our financial provision as we transition to doing ministry full time. As we get closer to our departure for Japan, we are in need of monthly partners. Twenty dollars a month would be enough to help us reach our support needs, so please pray about partnering with us in the Gospel.

We would love to connect with you when we are in Montana or once we get back to California, please let us know if you’d like to get together when we’re in your area.

Alishia’s Irish Setter, Holly, who lives with my parents on the farm.

Reset

Just want to send out a letter to let you know that we made it to Nebraska. The journey from California to Montana to Nebraska was a long one, but we made it. We’re glad to be spending several weeks with Daphne on the farm and it feels good to get away for a bit and reflect on what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives.

Our car packed to the brim.

We enjoyed a wonderful week in Montana with our church family and friends. It started with a stop in Boise on the way up to Whitefish to visit some friends. Then we picked up Daphne in Lewiston, Idaho on Monday morning and made it just in time for bible study on Monday night in Whitefish. We were able to reconnect with friends on both Monday and Tuesday nights and I was honored to have the opportunity to share at our church on Wednesday. It was a blessing to see everyone again and spend time with family even if it was only for a little while. If we missed you this trip, we will be back in Montana in late August/early September and would love to see you then.

Tuesday night bible study in Whitefish.

While we were there, we were able to talk to our church leadership about an opportunity that God has opened up for us in California. I have been offered a role as studio producer at Missions Equip, the ministry that we have been volunteering at for the last several months. I would be in charge of capturing and directing the videos that we will be making as well as editing and voice over work on the post production end. In case I haven’t wrote about it before, the videos will be part of a missionary training and support resource website that will be available to missionaries worldwide from any church or sending agency. I will be sharing more about this in future updates. I’m very excited about this opportunity and ask that you would keep this in prayer as we follow what the Lord has for us. Please also consider partnering with us financially as we step into full time ministry and take this leap of faith.

We of course are still excited for Japan to open up so that we can take our vision tour. We still feel that Japan is the calling long term, but we are thankful for the opportunity to do ministry while we are being prepared for that season. Keep the timing of our trip and ultimate transition date in prayer as well.

Praise Report:

  • We made it safely to Nebraska.
  • We get to spend the summer with Daphne.
  • We have an amazing opportunity at Mission’s Equip in September.

Prayer Requests:

  • For Japan to open up to tourist travel so we can plan our vision trip.
  • For safety as we travel again at the end of summer.
  • For the Lord’s provision for our family.

Preflight

It’s been a busy spring here in Southern California. Here is a rundown of some of the things we’ve been up to since our last update.

The studio at Missions Equip is nearly complete and plans are being made for the start of video recording and website construction. It’s been such a blessing to be a part of this project and we can’t wait to see what the Lord does through this ministry.

Sharing our heart for Japan with our fellow interns

We are very thankful for our internship at Saving Grace World Missions. The ministry opportunities, the discipleship, the access to current missionaries, our fellow interns, the classes and training, and so much more have grown us and prepared us more than we ever expected when we first came down here. I truly believe that our time in this program will increase our chance of success and longevity on the mission field.

Praying for the Japanese in Gardena, CA

We attended a prayer walk in the Torrance/Gardena area of Los Angeles. These cities have the two largest Japanese American populations in the contiguous United States. We visited a few different locations and prayed for the churches ministering in that community, against the false worship that runs deep there, and for the population there, that they might be saved. Then Alishia and I led our own prayer walk there at the end of May with our fellow interns from SGWM. The first time we were blessed to pray with others who also have a heart for the Japanese and Japan, and the second time we were blessed that our friends that don’t feel called to Japan would come pray with us for these people.

Praying in front of a Buddhist Temple in Gardena

The Calvary Chapel Japan Conference was held online on April 30th  (May 1st there), so we were able to participate in that. There are some amazing workers serving in Japan and it was great to connect with them. The topic of the conference was The Intimate Relationship with Jesus in Family, Work and Church, and you can watch the sessions here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTSW3w5dLV7ALrJc8L6xY_Q

Alishia leading a group activity at a ladies’ event.

Here is an update on our summer plans. We will be travelling to Montana in early July, and will be in Whitefish July 5-July 11. Then we will head to Nebraska on the 11th and will be there until late August. We will then be back in Montana by the end of August. We would love to see you while we are there, so please reach out to us so we can make a plan to meet up.  

We are hoping to be full time ministry this fall as we ramp up before we head to Japan. Please pray about partnering with us on a monthly basis. You can set up a recurring giving plan with the link at the bottom of this email or at this weblink: https://www.egsnetwork.com/gift2/?giftid=3B3D6B2778D3489

Serving with the BBQ ministry at Calvary Chapel Saving Grace

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for Alishia’s grandmother, her health and living situation is not ideal. Pray for her mental and physical health and that she would be shown mercy by the employees at her housing facility.
  • Pray for Japan, that they would open the country to foreigners and that we would be able to take our vision tour this fall/winter.
  • We have an opportunity to speak at a church in Kansas in August. Pray for me as I prepare a message and that we would make many connections.
  • Pray for direction as we look to serve the Lord here until His timing for us to go to Japan.

An Exciting Opportunity

Hello everyone,

I have an exciting update to share with you all. I (Jeff) have been given an amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip to Africa in April. I’m going with a team from Ends of the Earth Ministries to Uganda and South Sudan. I can’t express how excited I am to be able to participate in this trip. The main purpose of this trip in April is to host three training seminars.

The seminars will be as follows:

1st) Faith Comes by Hearing Audio Bible listening groups and how to lead a Bible study with a proclaimer.

2nd) Biblical Trauma Counseling helping children and adults recover from the tragedies of war, poverty and witchcraft.

3rd) God Story / Oral Inductive Bible study.  In time this Bible study method will give birth to a Bible college that will properly disciple new believers and tribal leaders to fulfill the great commission amongst the unreached.

Each evening we will be interviewing and photographing a few new children so they can be added to the Promise Child program. These children are from the unreached tribe surrounding our medical clinic and have recently joined the children’s home led by Ends of the Earth missionaries.

Please be praying for the team as we travel and are on the ground in Africa. You can also partner with me financially by using the following link:

https://www.egsnetwork.com/gift2/?giftid=3B3D6B2778D3489

It’s been a busy month for us here in California. Alishia leads a bible study via Zoom on Saturday mornings. We’ve been able to help some people in the church this month with moving and tree removal. Alishia is in a book study of Hind’s Feet on High Places and I am doing morning devotions for the church Facebook page. We are preparing for Easter services, and Daphne will be visiting during her spring break next week, so we’re very excited for that.

We’ll be spending July and August in Nebraska and Lord willing will head to Japan for our vision trip once they open back up to tourists.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for Alishia as she stays in California while I’m in Africa.
  • Pray for the team as we minister in east Africa. For safety and health.
  • Pray for Japan, that it will open up and that we’ll be able to go.

Love Jeff and Alishia

All photos courtesy of Ends of the Earth Ministries.

Waiting, but Not Idle

A new year has begun, and we are excited for what the Lord has for us in 2021. Thank you for continuing with us on this journey. We are nearing the three-and-a-half-year mark since we first received our call to become missionaries, and honestly, we thought we’d be in Japan within the first year. How thankful we are that God did not allow us to rush headlong into work we were not prepared to do. We’re also thankful for the wise counsel from many of you to be patient and to not strive until God opened the door for us to go. We are still waiting for that door to be opened, but we are not idle. Here’s what we’ve been up to and what we’re planning to do while we wait.

The interns at Saving Grace World Missions.

The studio for Missions Equip is coming along nicely. The framing is done and drywall has been hung. A second floor was built at one end of the building so accommodate an office upstairs and a meeting area downstairs. Doors were installed to open onto an outdoor patio area as well. Alishia is helping with the painting, and once the hard projects are done, we’ll all get in there and do some finishing work.

My friend, Kylan, hosted a prayer walk in a Japanese community, in the Sawtelle neighborhood of west Los Angeles. It was a blessed time, and we plan to do more of them in the future in other Japanese communities in LA County. We were able to meet some amazing people, and we saw up close the spiritual need that exists there. We spent time praying in front of a Buddhist temple and specifically for the families that worship there. Please keep the Japanese in southern California in prayer, they’re resistant to the gospel.

Alishia serving at the church on Sundays.

On Thursday nights I attend an online Japanese class. Language learning will definitely be the greatest challenge we will face as we learn to minister in Japan. Please pray for us to learn quickly. We know that the Lord will give us all the tools we need to do His work.

Japanese class

Every month we have a missions fellowship and bible study on the first and third Sundays. In January, one of the Sundays was a Japanese theme. We had a meal of Japanese food, and we had the opportunity to share about Japan. The entire group prayed for us; we hope that you will do the same.

Praise Report:

  • The Lord has continued to provide for us above what we want or ask.
  • Alishia was having stomach pains, but the Lord has healed it and given her relief.
  • Ministry opportunities continue to present themselves at the church and among our friends and neighbors.

Prayer Requests:

  • Prayer for timing for our vision trip to Japan, and for Japan to open up from COVID restrictions.
  • Prayer for language learning here and also when we get to Japan.
  • Prayer for the studio build out at the Missions Equip offices.

Love Jeff and Alishia

Thankful for You

Alishia creating a floral arrangement as part of a message illustration.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We hope that wherever you are, you are able to gather, and that you have plenty to thank the Lord for this year. I’d like to start by saying how thankful we are for all of you. The support we have received this year has been so encouraging. We feel your prayers covering us often, and we love the kind words that you send our way regularly. Thank you for continuing to stay in our lives and read these updates. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for partnering with us in the gospel just like the Philippian church did with Paul.

Alishia and I at the Fall women’s event the church held.

November has always been my favorite month. Both Alishia’s and my birthday happen in this month. We can listen to Christmas music and the Scrooges and Grinches among us can’t really complain (they still try, maybe I just am better at ignoring them this time of year). The weather is really nice down here in November and Thanksgiving is here. This November has been really special though. Last year we were unable to celebrate Alishia’s birthday, but this year some of our friends from church threw here a party. We had pizza and hot chocolate and cake. We watched Home Alone and fellowshipped. It was an amazing night that truly ministered to Alishia. To have different people open their home, make a delicious cake, bring very thoughtful gifts, and take an evening to spend with us was great. Thank you to everyone that made it possible.   

Alishia’s Birthday Party!

Alishia had a very successful and humbling response to her Thanksgiving centerpiece fundraiser. She made 28 centerpieces, which was far more than we hoped or expected. It’s always a huge blessing for Alishia to be able to use her talents for God’s glory. She doesn’t always feel like her skill set lends itself to ministry in a natural way, but God continues to open doors for her to use it. Another way He did that was at a women’s event that the church held earlier at the end of October. During the message, there was an illustration about the different roles that all the women of the church fill within the body. The pastor’s wife, Debbie, asked Alishia to create a flower arrangement while she talked. The different elements used in the arrangement illustrated the different roles that the women had, and at the end the finished arrangement showed how beautifully all the parts come together in unison.

Alishia with the centerpieces she made.

Missions is that way too. Some of us are called to go and some to stay and some to support and some to pray. It’s takes all of us to reach the world, and we are so excited to be used in the same arrangement as you. We are excited to continue to move forward toward Japan, and are trusting that the Lord will use all of you to help get us there. The best way you can help us is by praying, here are some things you can be praying about for us.

Some of the church ladies that pour into the interns.

Praise Report:

  • We have jobs and a place to stay, which is a huge blessing and we’re thankful for the security that it provides.
  • Some of the ladies at the church threw Alishia a birthday party!!
  • Our internship is going well, and we are continuing to see growth and opportunities.

Prayer Requests

  • We are planning our vision trip to Japan. Please pray for the timing and itinerary for that trip.
  • Please pray for God’s continued provision for us.
  • Please pray for ministry opportunities among the Japanese population here in California.

Another Month, Another Whirlwind

We started September in Nebraska, spent the middle part of it in Montana, and finished it in California. Another month, another whirlwind of travel and opportunity. It was great to spend a few more weeks on the farm after returning from Mexico. We have been able to create a home base for ourselves there, and it’s a place we can return to any time we are in the States. We are thankful for the stability that it provides us, and look forward to many future furloughs there.

Our trip to Montana was the most blessed we’ve had so far. We were there long enough to reconnect with several friends and have face to face interactions with most of our supporters. The Lord strengthened our ties there and encouraged us greatly with their love and support. We were able to share at several bible studies as well as at our church (twice!).

Jeff sharing with our church in Montana.

Now we’re back in California, and excited to get to the work that the Lord has for us. We have started attending bi-weekly prayer meetings for a missionary support ministry, where we will be volunteering in the upcoming months. I am very excited for what God has planned to do in this ministry, and am very thankful that we have the opportunity to serve with the people there.

Our fellow interns at our Wednesday afternoon class.

I am also going to do more of the morning Facebook devotions for Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, so if you’re on Facebook be on the lookout for those. If you didn’t see the ones I did this month, I have included links below so you can check them out.

Number 1
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=302657504165408&id=191491494242294
Number 2
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=327365675131342&id=191491494242294
Number 3
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=744596856384323&id=191491494242294

Thank you to everyone who signed up recently for our newsletter or to support us. It means so much to us that you would invest in us by reading our emails, praying for us, and giving financially to our journey. So again, thank you so much.

Here is an update on Japan. In September, Japan elected a new Prime Minister. He has stated that he wants to open up travel between to US and Japan soon, especially business travel. However, in order to travel from the US to Japan you would have to be staying at least three months. Our next step is to take a vision trip to Japan, which would be about two weeks long, so we don’t qualify to travel right now. Hopefully, we will see things move forward in the next five weeks or so and after the US election we’ll have a better idea of our timeframe.

Praise Report:

  • Our time in Nebraska was invigorating and refreshing, and we were able set up a basecamp for ourselves there.
  • Our visit to Montana was fruitful and encouraging. We are excited to back among you soon.
  • We have arrived safely in California, and are excited for the ministry God has for us in this season.

Prayer Requests:

  • For God’s provision and direction for our family.
  • For Japan to open up to short term travel from the US soon.
  • For mercy in language learning as we start taking Japanese classes this fall.

Love you all, Jeff and Alishia

Bearing Witness

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”

John 15:26-27 NKJV

Let me start by once again thanking each of you for your prayers and support over the last six weeks in Mexico. We have made it back into the United States and are now in Nebraska for the next couple of weeks. In September, we are planning a two week visit to our church in Montana, and then will return to California for more training. If you’d like to see us before we leave Nebraska, or while we’re in Montana, please let us know and we will make it happen.

This is Francisco, one of the most faithful people I know. It was a real pleasure to serve with him.

I would also like to thank our Lord for the opportunity to go to Mexico, and the growth we saw during that time. Thank you to the missionaries that took time to travel down to the school and teach us for hours each day. Thank you to the school leadership for the time and sweat that was put in to make the whole thing run smoothly. And thank you to our fellow students for exemplifying how to serve with grace and passion. God has used you all in our lives in incalculable ways, and it was an honor to spend so much time with you.

The leaders and students of Calvary School of Missions 2020

We spent the last week of the school much like the first five weeks, with one change. While we were able to hear from missionaries who serve in Acapulco and Orange County, and to go out on a couple of outreaches partnering with local churches, we were also able to spend a few days in a debrief mode. It allowed us to process all that the Lord had done during the previous month and a half, and put together the pieces of what He’s shown us.

We were able to visit our friend Shelby on the way back to Nebraska!

The Lord has opened up opportunities for us to serve in several ways. The next three weeks I’ll be sharing a devo on the Calvary Chapel Saving Grace Facebook page, the dates of those are August 26, September 3, and September 10. The devos run at 9:00 am PDT Monday-Friday and I’ll include a link to the Facebook page hereà.  https://www.facebook.com/calvarychapelsg I will also be working with active missionaries in a support role. I’m really excited to be able to build relationships with these missionaries and come along side them in any way that they need. We have an amazing support system that the Lord has given us in you, and we want to pass that support on to others doing the work. Someday, we’ll be on the other side of the missionary/mission support relationship, but until then we want to be faithful to the place God has us.

Love you all,

Jeff and Alishia

Praise Report:

  • The school in Mexico was an amazing experience for us.
  • We have made it home safe and healthy.
  • The Lord continues to guide and lead us.

Prayer Requests:

  • Safety as we travel to Montana and California.
  • For the Lord to continue to provide for the needs of our family.
  • For Japan to open up to Americans soon.
Alishia and I cooking dinner during our last week in Mexico.

Stirring Up the People

He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.

Luke 23:5b

What more can I say about our time in Mexico that I haven’t written to you already? As our time down here is wrapping up, and I’m able to reflect on the last five weeks some things stick out as poignant. Other lessons learned are harder to recognize, but will no doubt resurface when needed. We are being prepared for ministry like an outfitter prepares for a backcountry trek. How can you know what you’ll need for a journey you haven’t taken before? The Lord knows, and has added supplies to our pack that we won’t be able to identify until we need them. While I can’t tell you about those things, because they are beyond me, I can tell you about some things that we will definitely use in the future.

We (Alishia and I, and the other students as well) have been instilled with hearts for planting churches and making disciples. I believe that God’s plan for fulfilling the Great Commission is through discipleship, and that a local church body is essential in that process. My vision is to start a bible training school to raise up nationals, but how can they go out and plant churches if the aren’t having church modelled for them each week. So, we will plant a church, and it will be very difficult, but it is what we’re called to by our Savior and so we do it with joy and excitement.

Playing water balloon volleyball with the kids.

We will adopt the culture of the people we’re serving. Ethnocentricity defeats the message of the gospel. God loves the people He’s sending us to, and they matter enough to Him that He wants us to go fight for their souls. If we are unwilling to become one of them, how can we possibly try to explain that Jesus became one of us. He is our example of what a missionary should be, fully foreign and yet He was fully integrated. We will take the time to learn the language and culture as quickly as possible, because we don’t want to have any hindrances to the gospel.

We will be passionate disciples of Jesus Christ. How can we make what we are not already ourselves? We must follow closer, abide more deeply, and obey more joyfully than we ever have before. We’re not missionaries or church planters, we are disciples first and foremost. We will be sacrificial, we will be relational, and we will be transformational! We will deny ourselves luxuries for sake of the gospel. We will create relationships with those around us that they might see the love of Christ through us. And we will assimilate to the culture around us that we might be able to preach the gospel in their context. We will be committed to prayer and meditating in God’s Word. We will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and we will love others because He first loved us.

At the church planting conference with Pastor Trent and Debbie Douglass.

 There are several other things I could share, and probably will in the future, but these are the ones that first came to my mind. We had the opportunity to attend the Calvary Chapel Church Planting Conference 2020 this week as well. Two days of keynote speakers, church planter testimonies, and specific topic workshops. It was fantastic, we were able to connect with pastors from several countries who share our hearts for planting churches. Some committed to pray for us as we head for Japan, it’s amazing the people that God has put us in contact with the last three years.

Calvary Chapel Church Planting Conference 2020

Thank you for your continued prayers as well. Alishia and I plan to start language classes this fall. Please pray for the right program to be made available to us and for provision financially to pay for them.

Praise Report:

  • The Lord continues to lead us one step at a time.
  • We have made connections with amazing missionaries and pastors.
  • We have been healthy and safe down here in Mexico.

Prayer Requests:

  • For Japan to open up soon so we can go on a vision trip.
  • For strength, energy, and health to finish strong here in Mexico.
  • For financial provision as we continue to follow the Lord’s leading.