Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Prayer Letter

We reflect back over these past couple of months and have much to be thankful for in the Lord. Since we last wrote, we have completed our trip out west presenting in churches in TN, TX, NV, CA, British Columbia-Canada, and MT. We rejoice in the safety God has given to us while traveling in the van over 10,000 miles. We’ve heard from three churches who have taken us on for support and others considering. We are at 89% of our updated support level, having met the minimum support requirement to leave. We are confident that God will provide our every need.

We have purchased our departure tickets and will be leaving for Peru from Detroit Metro Airport on January 6, 2011. We have a renewed zeal for we see a specific answer to our prayer of serving God in Peru. We thank those who have been praying for us and have sent financial support for our transition. We have seen God provide funding for our tickets, luggage, passports, apartment to be built in Peru, and a new computer. Once we arrive in Peru, we will need funding to furnish our apartment with beds/mattresses, table/chairs, stove, refrigerator, etc... We are limited to only two bags per person to take with us on the plane and have opted to not ship a container due to the expenses and timing.

We rejoice in finally getting our children’s birth certificates sealed by the Peruvian Embassy in order to process our visa paperwork in Peru. After a failed attempt at the San Francisco consulate, where our van got towed and ticketed, we were able to complete the process at the Chicago consulate. We look back at these times and see God working to teach us and to build our faith.

As mentioned in our last letter, we will not be going to Costa Rica for language training but will be spending our first year in Lima, Peru to process our paperwork and receive language training at EFATA Baptist Ministry from a private tutor. EFATA has already begun building us an apartment on their compound where we will be able to stay during our time with them.

Our children have experienced many adventures while on deputation and have witnessed God working in churches, in answered prayers, and in their own hearts. They have seen much of God’s creation while traveling. We’ve been able to celebrate the 12th birthday of our son Matthew on October 5th and the 9th birthday of our twins Becca and Katie on November 26th. Thank you to those who sent birthday cards and encouragement to them.

We were able to spend Thanksgiving in Michigan with our sending church, Jon’s family, and Nisha’s step-dad who came to visit. We thank all those who have been praying for Nisha’s family concerning the unexpected death of her mother who is now in Glory with her Savior.

Looking ahead at these days before departure, we will be presenting in churches in West Virginia and Ohio in December and will be in TN to have our exiting meeting with our mission board. Jon’s family has arranged for Christmas to be celebrated with all of his siblings in Wisconsin. Our home church will be having a sending off service on Sunday, January 2nd. As our computer ticker counts down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds to departure, we are sensing the urgency of finalizing our packing and storage, along with saying our farewells to family and friends. These days ahead will be filled with emotions and transitions but with assurance that God never changes and will be with us all the way.

For God’s Glory,
The Harris Family
Jon, Nisha, Matthew, Nathan, Becca, and Katie
Your Missionaries to Peru

Monday, October 25, 2010

Deputation into new areas

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On October 18th we embarked into areas that we have never been before: Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia/Canada. We left California and had opportunity to find lodging at Harvest Baptist in Medford, Oregon. They were such a blessing to us. We were able to get our van checked and updated with an oil change and tire rotation. We than traveled as far as Seattle, Washington where we stayed in a hotel two blocks from the space needle. We took the time the next morning to go up to the viewing floor in the space needle despite the fear of our oldest son who is afraid of heights. Our next missions conference started at Grace Baptist in Surrey, British Columbia, which meant that we would have to cross the Canadian border. To our surprise, and with the help of some friends near the border, we made it through without any delays.

The conference was a blessing! Jon preached, we showed our DVD, Nisha taught the childrens' class, our children sang special music, we enjoyed fellowship with the church and missionaries, and got in some sightseeing at Stanley Park in Vancouver. Dr. Storz was the main speaker on Sunday to wrap up the meetings. It was such a blessing to be hosted by Mrs. Dorothy Newcombe who also hosted another missionary during the conference going to the deaf of Peru, Miss Jamie Rowe.

We will look to visit other area pastors and churches until our next meeting on November 7th at New Testament Baptist.

Monday, October 11, 2010

California Meetings in 2010

We arrived in California to give updates to some of our supporting churches as well as present in new churches for possible support. We faced some unexpected delays with Jon cutting his head on a dinosaur statue at a rest stop and the van breaking down after presenting our calling at a church. We are currently presenting and giving updates in churches in Northern California.
It was exciting to reserve our airline tickets to depart from Detroit Metro at 6:00a.m. on January 6th, 2011 and arrive in Lima, Peru at 10:10p.m. that same day. Less than three months from fulfilling God's calling on our life of being missionaries in Peru.
Thank you all for you prayers and support.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

GPS leads to Destruction

Travelling through the rest of Texas and into New Mexico was a thirteen hour trip in the van where we arrived at Jon's uncle's house for lodging. My wife was less than enthusiastic when the GPS led us at night into an Indian Reservation away from all civilization. We went from a divided paved road, to a single paved road, to a dirt road, to sand paths in the field where we were beginning to lose phone signal. My wife and children had to ask me if I really knew where we were at. After going a couple of miles out in the field, thinking that it was just a short cut to a main road, we heard the GPS tell us that we had arrived but there were no signs of civilization. My wife was waiting for a witch doctor to jump out and the girls began to pray out of fear setting in. Nathan was imagining what an adventure it would be to have a dirt bike on the trails. Jon was entertaining the idea of shutting off the lights and scaring everyone even more until the thought of his wife's response made him think twice. I was able to turn the van around without getting stuck in the sand and found my way back out safely.
Once out of the field, my wife double checked the address to my uncle's new house, and discovered that Jon put the wrong address in the GPS. I'm sure God allowed this adventure for a reason. It will be one of those stories that is funny once the initial scare has wore off.
The next morning we got the GPS and an atlas to show Jon's uncle where we ended up driving to. He told us how lucky we were that we didn't get our van stuck and how many dead bodies have been discovered out in those fields. That just made the story that much better, to realize that God protected us.

Traveling West on Deputation

After completing the moving sale, starting homeschooling, renting a full size van from MO, and packing, we hit the road once again for another two month trip. On September 18th, we left Michigan for churches out west to present our ministry. We appreciated being able to stop in Memphis, TN to visit Jon's sister on the way to TX. She just had her fourth child, Amelia Jean, in which our children got to take to the Memphis Zoo. Their pastor was a missionary to Peru and gave some helpful advice.

Our first missions conference was held at Temple Baptist Church in Flower Mound, TX. We had opportunity to participate in the conference by teaching in the children's program in the morning service, Awana, Youth Group, men and ladies fellowships, show our DVD, and share our calling at our table display. Time spent with the other missionaries and Dr. Don Sisk was an extra blessing. The church took the missionary men to Dallas Cowboy stadium while the ladies went shopping. Matthew and Nathan were excited to play football down on the field. The conference ended on Sunday night with the joyous news that the church would be supporting us.

We found lodging at a missions trailer in Dallas for a couple of days before traveling out to NV for more meetings. It was good to spend time with the Brough family and catch up on what God has been doing in their lives. They have been our friends since our college days when we all counselled together at Camp CoBeAc in Michigan.

September Prayer Letter


Dear Faithful Prayer Warriors and Co-Laborers,

What a whirlwind these last two months have been for us! There have been many life altering changes for our family, besides the fact that we are leaving for the field in January, and God has been gracious and kind in all matters.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 115:16

The morning of August 5th we received a phone call from Nisha’s step-father that her mother, Denise Taylor, had passed away in her sleep and woke up in the arm’s of her Savior. She was 55 years old. The unexpected death has been difficult for the family because she was not ill and had no known ailments. There is still no “resolution” as to the cause of death other than natural causes, but the family accepts the fact that God decided it was time for her to go Home. We rejoice in her testimony, which was clearly evident at her workplace, as we heard story after story of her mother’s faithful witness to her co-workers. Although we miss her, we are confident in God’s timing and purpose. Please pray for Nisha’s step-father as he adjusts to life with out his beloved wife, and for Nisha and her siblings as they adjust to life without their mother.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” I Timothy 6:6-7
We had begun the process of packing up our home in Michigan when we received the call of Nisha’s mother. We returned three weeks later, to complete the process, only this time, we were adjusting our packing around the meetings we had scheduled in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Finally, we have completed the moving sale and are finishing getting the house ready to turn back over to the church. It was difficult to see most of our earthly possessions being sold, but know that it is a step closer to Peru. Please pray as we still have our vehicle and a couple of other items to sell to complete this process of moving.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

It was our intention to begin language training in January in Costa Rica. However, in the last month, another option has been made available to us through a ministry directly in Lima, Peru. They have a Spanish language professor on staff willing to teach us for a year. This would give us an opportunity to learn the Peruvian Spanish dialect from a Baptist ministry, build ministry relationships, help us begin the process of acquiring our ministry visas, as well as getting used to some Peruvian culture before heading to the mountains and jungle.
We are heading west for our fall meetings. A new addition to our ministry has become a full size van to complete our deputation. Our current car was in need of repair and we didn’t feel it would last through all the travelling we are doing this fall. Baptist Missionary Transportation Ministry, BMTM, came through for us with a seven passenger van and we are in awe of all the room it has! After spending the last three and a half years in a Taurus station wagon, you can imagine how we feel traveling with this! This will give us enough room to do school while we travel and eliminate the need for a car top carrier. We are blessed to have this van to complete our deputation ministry. Please pray as we present our ministry to churches in Texas, Nevada, California, and Vancouver, BC this fall and for continued safety as we travel.

Here are some remaining things you can keep in mind as you pray for us:
1. Completion of our deputation ministry.
2. Paperwork for visas: We need to certify the kids’ birth certificates this fall at a Peruvian embassy in the states. Please pray that we will be able to find one as we travel this fall and there would be no complications in the visa process.
3. We will be purchasing our airline tickets for Peru this month.

Thank you all who faithfully pray and support our ministry. We know many of you pray daily for us and we want you to know that they are felt and appreciated!

For His Glory,

Jon, Nisha, and the kids

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Moving Update

The moving sale has come finally as our children have been announcing it for months it seems. They helped put a lemonade stand together and painted it. They enjoyed being a part of the sale by demonstrating many of the toys for customers. They also felt like salesmen with blunt statements as when dad quoted a price to a customer for an item that one of our children announced mom priced cheaper earlier. The children want to find out how much we make each day financially and what their cut will be for letting go of many of their toys.
Each day shows more signs of our departure day quickly approaching. The children were delighted to see their passports come in the mail. The dreaded day of Hep A shots came for all the children, who have been praying for the courage to not be overcome with fear. It didn't help to have all four in the same room together to see each other get the shot but they all did very good. God answered their prayers.
Jon is flying out to Baptist Missionary Transportation to rent a full size van for our trip out west these next two months. We don't believe that our car would make the long trip. This will allow us to put our car up for sale earlier. We will be traveling as a family from Michigan to Tennessee and than on to Texas. We will presenting in churches throughout California and British Columbia the next couple of months as well.
We thank all those who pray for us.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Loss of a Loved One

Sandra Denise Taylor, Nisha's mother, went home to be with the Lord on August 5th, 2010.

Nisha and I were in Michigan taking a few weeks to pack up our belongings and move out of the mission home in preparation for departure this winter. We were woken by a phone call at 6:50a.m. on Thursday with the news that her mother passed away during the night. This came as shock to the family for she was only 55 years old and had no known ailments. We found ourselves adjusting our priorities and schedules in order to be with family during this difficult time. We rejoice in the testimony of her mother's faith in the Lord Jesus saving her from her sins and the hope that it brings to those who have the same faith.
Psalms 116:15 says "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."

Sympathy is expressed to her husband, John Taylor; children, Nisha (Jon) Harris, Jason (Erin) Adams, and Heather (Bryan) Neal; six grandchildren; and her mother, Margie Smith.

Denise Taylor was a faithful servant of Christ who expressed her love to her Saviour, family, friends, and co-workers. It's never easy to lose a loved one who was so close and dear to you. Our family has count it a privilege to have known her as mother, mother in law, and grandmother. She will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Home again Home again jiggity jig

After some vacation time with Jon's family in Florida and taking a couple of days as a family to visit some parks while traveling back to Michigan, we arrived home with some big tasks ahead of us. Knowing our departure in January is during the winter season in Michigan, we have the task of moving out of the church mission house by selling off all the items that we are not taking with us to Peru during the summer. We are praying for wisdom during this time of transition and strength to let go of items that we cannot keep.

Lord provides even Lodging

We look back on our trip these past two months and once again see how the Lord provided us with safety in traveling over 4,000 miles and lodging in some wonderful mission houses. One family even heard of our need and provided lodging at a hotel when we drove thru their area. God showered us with blessings by providing not only a place to stay but places where we could be refreshed and relax as a family. We thank all those who allowed themselves to be used by God to meet our needs. We are grateful for your kindness.

Mission Conference in Currytown, NC

What a blessing to have a part in the mission conference at Currytown Baptist Church where we were able to sing music, share our calling, go soul-winning, and enjoy the preaching from Don Sisk. Friendships were made and the fellowship opportunities were a delight. There were fourteen missionary families at the conference and the most MK's (missionary kids) we have seen in one conference. The church picnic at the park provided a blessing for extra fellowship with the church and the missionaries where a small bird was rescued by MK's from a drain. The town is known for their ceramic pig displays throughout the area. Over 100 ceramic pigs but we only took enough time to see 30 of them.
It was a blessing to see the Holy Spirit work in hearts during the conference and see many decisions made at the altar before the Lord. It was a joy to hear of them take us on for support.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sligo Baptist Church in Maryland

Sligo Baptist Church in Maryland has recently been added to our list of churches co-laboring with us. We enjoyed the opportunity to present our testimony, calling, and field. We also had the privilege of preaching, fellowshipping, and building friendships during our time in Maryland. Pastor Corrigan, a BIMI church planting missionary, was very kind to us in allowing our family to stay at his house. Our children enjoyed playing with his children in the tree fort in the back yard and the boys remember playing basketball as well. Katie, who almost fell from the tree, will remember when Quinn rescued her from the broken tree limb. Nisha and I will remember the outing into Baltimore where we ate dinner at a Brazilian Steakhouse (Fogo de chau).

Upon the news of Jon's brother, who hit a deer recently with their van while traveling at dawn, it reminded us once again to be thankful for the many traveling mercies that God has given us, including the trip to Maryland.

Two Bikes for One Soul

Deputation has us traveling and away from our mission house back in Michigan. It has been a blessing to have a place we can call home. Upon returning from a recent trip, my boys noticed that their bikes were missing from the garage. As I approached the garage entrance, I noticed a muddy footprint where someone had kicked in the door. The two boys bmx bikes were stolen.
Our boys first response was "Who could do such a thing?" along with disappointment of not being able to ride them. I had my suspicions of who done it and began following up on the clues left behind. I approached the young teenagers and their parents about the possibility of getting the bikes returned but was made aware of them being passed on to someone else already. One parent reprimanding her son and requiring reconciliation to take place and another parent admittance of losing control of her son and seeking to have son sent to jail for even other crimes, I began to pray to the Lord as to how to handle the matter of the stolen bikes.
It seemed as if God was allowing this incident to happen for a reason. This gave me a chance to share with our children that all the material possessions obtained in life belong to God. We have been given things for a purpose. As the boys began to reflect on the many blessings of God, they began to play with other toys rather than get bitter at the ones missing.
Later that week during our family time we were talking about God's forgiveness offered to us for our sins debt in which the boys replied that they wanted to forgive those who stole their bikes from them. I took our oldest son to see each of the boys. As I talked to the parents and explained God's Forgiveness toward us and how we would not be pressing charges but willing to forgive them, I noticed my son talking to the boys individually as well. My heart softened even more when I looked across the room to see my son walking through a tract with the boy and seeing them pray together to God. My son praying to forgive as God has forgiven him, and the boy, who earlier stole his bike, was asking God to forgive him for his sins and to save him by putting his faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for him. As the boy and my son concluded their prayer, I notice them give each other a hug and fist bumped to their friendship.
We never fully understand what God is doing when we are wronged but may we never lose faith in knowing that He is in control and knows what is best. At the end of it all, we look back and thank God for the stolen bikes which led to a soul being saved.

Birthday's in June

There are many birthdays in the Harris Family in the month of June. June 1st is Jon's Dad; June 2nd is Jon's brother Rory; June 3rd is Nisha's; June 12th is Jon's nephew Sean; June 14th is Jon's mom; June 22nd is Jon's birthday; June 27th is Jon's nephew CJ. We received word that Jon's sister, Renee, delivered on June 5th her fourth child named Amelia Jeanne. We find ourselves celebrating multiple birthdays together on one designated day. Jon was sure to find a babysitter for our children to be able to take Nisha out on a special date to make her feel special for her birthday. We thank all of those who sent cards and wishes to her. We cherish the times we can spend together.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Church Meetings and Family Time in May

We have found ourselves spending a couple of weeks in meetings close enough to be able to stay at our home. This allowed us to spend some time with family members who are realizing our departure time is drawing closer. Nisha and girls where able to go to Chicago with Aunt Heather and spend some fun time at the American girls store and Navy Pier; while Jon and the boys spent time with Jon's brother and his mother at the Toledo Zoo. Many fun moments took place at each which will be remembered and cherished.

As a family, we've been able to present in Indiana, Illinois, and will be finishing this month in Maryland. Jon appreciated the opportunity to set up a table display and attend the Pastor's conference in Rockford, Illinois.

We are at 95% of our support and must meet the criteria of the full 100% and have passage fund secured before approval of purchasing tickets and setting specific target date. If criteria is met by June than we can further pursue August departure but if not met by June than it will be a January departure. Please pray with us that God will allow us to depart in August.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Indiana Meetings on Mothers Day!

We had the joy of returning to two areas that we had previously lived in at the beginning of us serving in full time ministry. The first church was Calvary Baptist in Lapaz, IN which is pastored by Ryan Wardlow, who was a teenager when Jon was the youth pastor in Plymouth. It was a blessing to see him in full time ministry today. Our children will remember the church as the one with eight little bunny rabbits found in the grass at the church. What excitment that brought.

The second church was Dyer Baptist Church in Dyer, IN where we attended as members back in 2000. Pastor Atkinson has been a tremendous example of a compassionate Christian. What a delight to be able to present our calling of church planting in Peru with these two churches. Once again, God provided safety in traveling, food, and lodging for our family during this trip to Indiana.

May 2010 Prayer Letter

Dear Fellow Laborers of the Gospel, May 2010

We returned back to our sending church for their mission conference and had opportunity to give an update and preach. We have just completed a busy spring schedule filled with good mission conferences. Over two months of meetings and only seeing our support increase by one percent left us reluctant to report our percentage in our prayer letter. However, within three days of writing this letter, God has saw fit to allow us to hear from a group of churches who voted to support us which has increased our support level to 95% and has rejuvenated us to consider packing up for a sooner departure. Praise the Lord!
We had an opportunity to sit down with our Pastor to express our desire and urgency for departing in August. This would allow us to attend the fall semester of language school in Costa Rica. He was thinking that it would be in January of 2011, but with God providing the surge of support and showing the possibility of it happening in August, he was thrilled to entertain the idea. We are scheduled to meet with our deacons on May 25th for final approval from our church and June 28th for the exiting meeting with our mission board before we purchase our tickets. So much to do before August! It seems as if someone has given us a huge push down a steep snow hill on a sled. We have responded with tears of joy and are overwhelmed with the excitement. May God be praised for all He has done!
We will be purchasing Rubbermaid containers to begin packing items to take with us. We are watching prices for tickets and are considering taking extra baggage with us on the plane so that we would have it available to us in Costa Rica and in Peru while avoiding shipping a container altogether if possible.
Please pray for us to raise the remaining support needed, see God provide the funds for exiting, homeschooling to be completed, passports for children, packing, meetings, traveling, and all the other details that we must meet to have a smooth transition.
We rejoice in the Lord for providing each of us with good health these last two months and safety in our travels. We have been encouraged to see our children’s desire to share the Gospel. Our son Matthew was able to lead a neighbor to Christ and Katie is praying to lead one to Christ on her own. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf. We pray that fruit will abound to your account as we faithfully serve together for the sake of our Savior’s name.

Jon and Nisha Harris

Friday, April 30, 2010

No place like home, Michigan!

We put over 3,000 miles on the car in the last two weeks getting to our meetings. What a blessing to be able to attend, update, and preach back in our own church for their mission conference, which is looking to be our last with them before our departure. We have been earnestly praying to depart in August of 2010 for language school and have seen God reveal more to us of that possibility this week.
What a blessing it has been to see God working in and through our children. They have been in some good mission conferences this Spring which has burdened them to lead Souls to Christ. Katie has been praying for the opportunity to see God allow her to be used to lead a Soul to Christ. Upon arriving back at home, Matthew, led a neighbor to the Lord who came over to play some basketball. Jon was able to do some follow-up. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Serving God in Pensacola, FL

We made it to Pensacola, Florida to attend the mission conference at Smyrna Baptist. There was no time to do home-schooling this week because of the overwhelming blessings bestowed upon us as a family. We had home cooked meals prepared for us at the church; which beats fast food on the road any day. There were church activities during the day to provide fellowship with the missionaries and the church members. I had the priviledge of taking my oldest son, Matthew, golfing for the first time; Shopping was provided for the ladies; Skeet shooting provided for the men; and a roasted pig for the banquet (not guinee pig like in Peru). Jon was able to present our calling and share his testimony in the church. Our DVD was able to be viewed after much deliberation to get their projector to work. Jon was able to preach in Sunday School and Junior church on Sunday. What a blessing to see the Holy Spirit working in hearts as decisions were made throughout the conference.

New York, New York

We were able to have lodging at Hudson View Baptist in Yonkers, NY. Our time there provided us opportunity to get home-schooling accomplished, preach in their school, preach in the church, and visit New York City. We were delighted to be able to visit the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and Time Square while in the area. It is a blessing to reveal to our children the many blessings God gives while serving Him.
Our second meeting took place at Wilton Baptist Church in Wilton, NY. What a fellowship and joy to meet those at the church in which gave us such encouragment. Their hospitality toward us was appreciated. We were thrilled to see what God was doing in the church.
We departed from Wilton, NY on Monday morning toward Pensacola, FL to attend our next missions conference.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Honking your car horn!

We have just spent a little over a week near New York City where we heard many horns honking for many different reasons. My son Matthew who sits in the rear facing seat in the back of our station-wagon, asked why so many had to honk their horns in the city. After explaining the many reasons ranging from people in a hurry, awareness, and rudeness, he asked if people would stop honking unless for a worthwhile reason. We have even seen those who hold up sign saying Honk if you love Jesus or some other cause. After completion of presentations in churches in the New York area, we made our way to a Florida Missions Conference. On the way, I found myself in a position in which I needed to use my horn to alert a lady, driving a big SUV, who came into our lane on the highway in order to pass a semi truck. I had to go into the shoulder off the road in order to avoid an accident. God once again provided safety and I was able to explain to my son the proper use of the horn on the car.

We use the horn on the car just like many people use their voices to bring awareness of something to others. How are you using your voice? Are we being heard using our speech to bring awareness to a lost and dying world about a Saviour? Spread the Word; Jesus Saves!

Honk if your have to but let it be heard.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Faith Independent Baptist Church Mission Conference

After our Easter week in Michigan, we made our way to Maryland where we participated in the mission conference at Faith Independent Baptist Church, Glenn Dale. Once again, we were the ones blessed by the friendliness of Pastor Creed and the church. We witnessed believers serving God through meal preparations, decorating, cleaning, giving, worshipping, and fellowshipping together. We are grateful for their kindness toward us during the week. What a priviledge to have lodging at Bethany's house for the week and to make another friend. It doesn't take long to notice the heart of the church is missions. We not only had the opportunity to serve by presenting our testimony and field but also to preach to the teens and witness five Baptisms on Sunday.