Saturday, October 27, 2007

NEW stuff

Please check out a new feature on the right column of my blog - our presentation schedule (for the Richards and I). Hopefully it will help as you pray for us as we travel to know where we are going. Also, if we haven't been to your church or your state yet, it gives an idea of where we plan to be in the future, Lord-willing, so you can let us know to schedule a time with you. Finally, it helps show that we haven't been just twiddling our thumbs the last few months! :)

Under the schedule section is a pie chart showing where my current financial support level is. I'll try to update it every month when I get my financial statement from BMW. I'm not really sure how to measure prayer support or encouragement support... :) God has been faithful to give great prayer warriors along the way.

I added a map and counter at the bottom too. Up until now, unless you've left a comment or otherwise contacted me, I didn't know who was reading this blog. If I get my act together in the next few months, I'll start not only e-mailing you newsletter updates, but also links to check updates on the blog. So much data entry and so little time... :)

Minnesota in the Fall

Northern Minnesota was indeed a lovely place to visit in the fall! We shared in Karlstad, MN at David and Jen's church. Jen is the daughter of Houghton's high school pastor, Paul. Paul has 2 daughters we've visited now whose husbands are pastors. David and Jen have 4 very sweet kids: Caleb, Zach (who showed us all his breakdancing moves), Abby, and Grace. Jesiah and Gwen always love it when we can stay somewhere with kids they can play with.

After our presentation in Karlstad, we drove to Deer River and met up with Paul and Carol. Paul, who used to pastor in Fallon, MT, now pastors at Marcell Community Church in a rural retirement community in northern Minnesota. We ate supper with them and were introduced to our host couple - Betty and Harley.

Betty and Harley let us stay in their gorgeous lakefront house and we got to play a bit on Saturday. They had 2 four-wheelers so we all piled on them and checked out the forest trails Harley had leveled out in the 13 acres of forest behind his and others' homes. Gweny missed out on the fun during her nap, but Jesiah loved riding with Houghton and Gretchen. Sunday we presented at the Marcell church and enjoyed a potluck with them, getting to meet mostly retirees who visit on the weekends, but a few families as well. They had a missions emphasis Sunday so it was fun to hear about missionaries they support as a church body and what God is doing in them around the world.

Sunday night we left and stayed with Rick and Jamie, who are planning to go to candidate orientation this January with Biblical Ministries Worldwide, the organization I am affiliated with. They have 6 adopted children so Gweny and Jesiah could "let it all hang out" at their house and it was fun to see all the dynamics. They do a really cool singing and prayer time every night before the kids go to bed so they allowed us to participate. Here is the group singing "Countdown." Jesiah is the one in the Spiderman pajamas jamming out on the left "helping" Rick hold the song words. :)

song time
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We really had neat new relationships started on this trip and are so thankful to our 3 wonderful families who let us crash at their homes and fed us wonderful meals!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Officially Commissioned

Grace Bible Church of Miles City, Montana, our sending church, officially commissioned us as their first homegrown missionaries on Sunday, October 7. The board of elders prayed over us and Jerry Coon, our pastor, gave us a biblical charge from Joshua 1 to be strong and courageous, as well as to the church body to "hold the ropes" for us and send us out in a manner worthy of the Lord (3 John). GBC has been a huge blessing to us in backing us not only financially, but also prayerfully and through encouragement, as well as in many practical ways. We are thankful to you, our Grace Bible family, a you send us out to Vanuatu!

Following the commissioning service, we held a dessert presentation for those interested in learning more about Vanuatu and our ministry. Quite a few people returned for that and expressed interest in teaming up with us to reach Ni-Vanuatu for Christ!
This week we also had the privilege of participating in a friend, April's wedding. Houghton did the ceremony and Gretchen was the maid of honor. April attended high school with Gretchen so has been a long-term friend and it was fun to see her match up with a Christian guy, Caleb. My mom and I got to put out all the tasty little chocolate mini-cakes for the reception so it was hard not to sample them in advance. We did restrain ourselves for your sake though, April. :)

This weekend we present at a small country church nearby in Ismay, MT in the morning and head back to the little Coalwood church in the evening. Next week Tuesday, Lord-willing, we take off for Minnesota again. There are several churches there we will be presenting at within a week's time. When we return, we'll drive back to western Montana. I get to see my alma mater Bible school, Montana Wilderness School of the Bible. We are speaking to students there and also visiting Pastor Joe's church in Fort Benton. Joe and his wife Bev were among the staff families at Wilderness when I attended from 97-98. I'm excited to catch up with all of them again.

While we are in Montana we are definitely redeeming the time! I'm working on my next newsletter to hopefully send out the end of this month. I'm also working on my presentation to the girls at Frontier when we return for the missions conference in November. We finally got out all our August/September newsletters to our home church here and caught up on some relationships here as well as on correspondence. I am attempting to work on setting up a schedule for our time in Boise in January, Lord-willing. We celebrated my parents' 32nd wedding anniversary the 11th! Finally, I've spent days researching how to keep up my counseling license and certification current (with continuing education requirements) while in a 3rd-world country. That's one of those things that seems impossible to make a good decision about in advance, but I'm trying to be faithful to have some ideas in place at least. It's been nice to be back again for a bit before we hit the road again!

As I wrap up, I'll share a verse that impacted me this morning: "Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day." Psalm 25:4-5