Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Virginia in January

We began presenting our field in churches in Ohio and Virginia during the month of January. We immediately recognized the difference in the weather but found it funny to hear people in Virginia express to us how cold they felt with the temperature in the 30's. It was a blessing to be at Faith Baptist Church in Fredericksburg for their Missions Conference with Dr. James Ray as the main speaker. Jon had the opportunity to share our field to the Adults on Wednesday, Preschool children on Thursday, 7-12th graders in the school on Friday, 1st-6th graders during the evening service on Friday, and preaching in the Hispanic Service on Sunday. It was a fun filled conference with God overwhelming us with blessings from His people. If you are ever looking for a family friendly church in that area, it can be found at Faith Baptist. We stepped out by "Faith" on this trip that God would provide lodging for our family and fill in the missing opportunities for meetings. It has been exciting to see God not only answer our prayers but exceed our expectations. As Paul states in Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." God is revealing a time of fullness and allowing us to abound at this time in which we give thanks but Paul also was able to give thanks during the times of hunger and suffering.
God directed us to be with a host family during the conference who provided us with such understanding, compassion, and love that revealed their passion for God. Our children enjoyed the story of the three bears told by our host family (Ken & Clara Van Epps). We have heard of three churches who have taken us on for support in the last two weeks which puts us that much closer to our goal of 50% by the end of January. A week of housing in Florida was given to us which will allow Nisha and our children to have a place for lodging while Jon attends a conference in California.
While waiting for our next meeting here in Virginia it has begun to snow and will accumulate up to three and half inches which threatens all things to be shut down. We continue to do homeschooling with the children and work on our schedule for more meetings. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Praying in the New Year

We made it back to Ypsilanti, Michigan after driving through a snow storm in Wisconsin and dodging huge pot holes in Illinois and being stuck in traffic in Indiana who were fixing their pot holes on the highway. Our home church had a New Year's Eve service and a focus on Prayer for the New Year. We enjoyed the fellowship of our home church and participating in the many games and activities at the church. We had much to be thankful to God for this last year which makes it even easier to trust God for the new year.

A Wisconsin Winter

Our family had the opportunity to spend Christmas in Wisconsin. It was as you would expect it to be with snow and cold conditions but isn't that what winter is all about? I have been asked about Peru weather conditions many of times while on deputation. Peru has three different geographical areas in which each produce unique qualities. The desert Pacific coast on sea level is continually dry and hot, the Andes Mountains has many different elevations with heights reaching over 22,000 feet with snow peaks, and the Amazon Rainforest has rainy and dry seasons. As a family we like to play a game called "which region in Peru would you most likely find__?" (animals, houses, jobs, hobbies, people, etc.). While playing the game I mentioned where would Christmas most likely be celebrated? One of my children said in the Andes Mountains because it is the only region which has snow. Growing up in Michigan one would associate Christmas with the snow. The sad fact is that many in Peru don’t celebrate Christmas simply because they have never heard of the birth of the Son of God. Even sadder are those who have heard and don’t worship Christ as the Son of God.
It is encouraging to gather with believing family members to celebrate Christmas for its true reason. Jon’s oldest brother lives in Northern Wisconsin where some of the family decided to meet for Christmas. Twenty two people stayed in one house for a week, playing table games, recalling memories, and enjoying the many activities that the farm provides. Our children had the opportunity to milk dairy goats and than taste the difference between goat’s milk and cow’s milk. They enjoyed time with the cows, cats, dogs, and even hearing the chickens in the mornings. Our daughter Becca had a shocking experience when she fell into the electric fence while playing with the dogs.
As the anticipation of Christmas morning approached the fourteen children looked forward to all that would come, even as Christians anticipate the return of Christ Jesus. The eight adults reminisced in the joy that Christmas brings and related to the Joy of sharing the Good News with others. As the gifts were opened, we were reminded of God’s gift of sending His Son Jesus that whosoever would believe that He is the Son of God would be given life as He was able to conquer death and be raised from the dead on the third day.
Our family was encouraged by your prayers, encouraging cards, and love gifts this Christmas. It is a blessing to a Missionary to be reminded that they are never alone in ministry but that they have their God with them and other believers in prayer for them.