Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Greetings

Have a great Christmas season - laugh a lot!!!

Follow the links for a personal greeting to you.

This holiday greeting is from Dennis, Jody and the Girls: http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1294795800

This holiday greeting is from the boys: http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1295022485

Thursday, November 15, 2007

October's and November's Events

October came in a hurry and left just as fast. We have been busy with school, athletics, church and Missions Events.

I went a Missions Celebration in Hot Springs, Arkansas, by myself because Jody was unable to go with me. We had originally planned at attend together with the girls, but because of Jody's father's cancer treatments, they were unable to keep the boys as planned.

I had a good time in Hot Springs - the church was wonderful and the people I stayed with were great hosts. A friend from Botswana was there also - Paul Cline. We had a good time together as we had not seen each other in the last 16 or so months. Paul and Sally retired from Botswana after 28 years on the field, but now they are doing some consulting work with the IMB and the True Love Waits sexual abstinence program as it relates to Southern Africa. The HIV/Aids infection rate in South Africa stands at 25% and Botswana is at 40%.

We left for Muskogee, Oklahoma, after school on Thursday, October 25th. We wanted to spend a long weekend with Jody's grandma. We also had an opportunity to talk to the WMU at a Friday luncheon and then we were able to share in Sunday School and in the morning service. It was nice to be a grandma's for the first time in 4 years. I think that everytime that I have visited grandma's house, there was something different about her house - either on the inside or outside - so you can imagine all the changes that have taken place over the last 4 years. Everything looked nice. That Saturday evening was the family "Fall-Fest" (halloween) Party. Grandma went as a church mouse with Groucho glasses, nose, and moustache.

The first Sunday in November, I spoke in the morning service at FBC, Ore City. They are a small church about 25 minutes from Longview. We are scheduled to go back on the first Sunday night in December for their evening service. We'll show our pictures, share, and answer questions. For a church that run 45 in Sunday School, they exceeded the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal of $5000. That is fantastic for a church that size.

This last weekend, Nov 8-12, we drove to Chicago for a On-Mission Celebration. We left at 2:00 am Thursday morning where we spent the afternoon and night in Marion, Illinois -with my brother (AutoTuner1) He has a son that is 3 days older than Caleb named Jacob. The cousins had a good time playing together. It was good to spend some time with my brother and his wife. We hadn't seen them since we watched a Mudbug's hockey game in Bossier City in 2004.

While in Chicago, Jody and I had the privelage to speak in 4 different churches; Saturday night, Sunday morning and night. Jody's sister lives in Rockford and we stayed with them. It was a full house with her 6 and our 4 - Andy didn't make the trip - chosing to stay in school - he didn't want to miss a party they were having!! We left Monday evening at 7:00 pm and drove straight through, arriving home and 11:00 am Tuesday morning. It was a long drive!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

What happened in September.

It is hard to believe that September is gone and here we are in October, already. We are half way through out STAS - Stateside Assignment. We are planning to return to South Africa in the first week of January. Let's start with the first of September and tell you what we have done.


We had a fantastic time as we returned to Stonewall for the first time as a family. The boys and I went to Stonewall three days after we were back in the States to take Andy to Falls Creek and enjoy a Shrimp Boil at the Newports. It was over the Labor Day weekend so we enjoyed a very long weekend. We spent late Saturday morning and early afternoon at Billy and Laura Steele's. They have a swimming pool and 4-wheelers and a golf cart. The boys had a blast swimming and riding the 4w'ers and g-cart. When we lived in Stonewall, Jody babysat Addy, Laura's 10-week old baby during school hours. She called Andy, Josiah, and Caleb her "bubba's"

I had the privilege to preach the morning service at First Baptist - Stonewall. They built a new sanctuary after we left and it was just beautiful. Jody and I were able share during the evening service of our work in South Africa. It was a wonderful time to see everyone and everyone seemed to be equally excited to see us - well, most people?!?!

We stayed with Lee and Shirla Sweat - and they treated us like royalty. Before we left for South Africa, while we were there, and now getting ready for school, they supplied the boys with shoes. What a blessing! (Those are Nike's that wouldn't come from my wallet!)

The boys are actively involved with their school activities. Andy is playing on the school soccer team at Longview Christian School. He scored his first goal last Thursday. Jody and I missed it while we were at a Mission's Conference. Josiah is playing soccer on a city-league team. They are are Screamin' Eagles. They are undefeated. His coach really likes that he picked up this temporary player. In the league, they can be on the same team for 2 years or 4 'seasons'. We tried to get Caleb on a team, but they were all full. He came home from school with a Karate flyer. He said that he wanted to do Karate - so we signed him up. He should be a green belt after this first semester. Bethany couldn't be left out, so she is doing gymnastics. She looks so cute in her pink leotard. Melody is involved with crawling and climbing - she's getting quite the little personality.

Unfortunately I will not be able to get up to the Northwest to see my mom and brother and his wife. I tried to 'piggy-back' some speaking opportunities in conjunction to getting up in that area, but nothing worked out. God worked some things out that enabled her and her husband to come down and see us. Also, my brother from Florida came up to her and I got to see him and his wife and my niece, Christina. It had been 8 years since I had seen my mom and probably that with my brother and his wife and more for Christina.

Bethany had a birthday this month and she turned 3 years old - already. She had a full day. She opened her presents in the morning before the boys went to school. Then she wanted to go to lunch at McAlister's Deli with her Nannie and Papa. After going to one of Andy's soccer game's we all went out eat at McDonald's. She has been asking to go there every time we see one since we arrived in the US. You know we see one on every corner. Jody said she didn't want to eat at McD's or KFC because we can eat their in South Africa. We had to have some cake, so we went to a BR31 (Baskin-Robbins) and ate an Oreo Ice Cream cake.

The last weekend of the September, we were at First Baptist Church, Fairfield, Texas, at a Global Impact Celebration. What an incredible time it was for us to share our stories and for them to love on us. The showered us with incredible hospitality and wonderful gifts of love. We stayed at the Wilson house - a family with 6 boys. We felt right at home. Two of the boys were already out of the house. They had a ping pong table, pool table, XBox, and a Gamecube. We didn't need to worry about the boys and their boredom level. Shelly loved having 2 baby girls in her house and she spoiled them royally. They loved on her like they knew her for years. We had a great time!

n Jody's dad is dealing with cancer again - multiple myloma - God healed him 4 years ago of this same uncurable cancer.
n Dennis' naturalization and passport situation. We need it by Dec 15th or sooner.
n Travel grace and mercy. We are doing a lot of traveling in October and November.
n The boys - their schooling and walk with Christ. We explained a little bit about the permanency of Hell just tonight at Whataburger. Andy was asking some questions and making some comments and that's what got us talking. Hell is not a normal dinner conversation item.
n The girls - whatever and 3-year old and almost 1-year old needs.
n Our work in Mmabatho and love for the Tswana People.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunny Southern California

Well, I was in Southern California over the weekend of August 18th. I arrived on the 17th and left on the 21st. I was a guest of Immanuel Baptist Church in Ridgecrest, CA. The church and the people were just wonderful - it was just not how I pictured southern California. When I was younger, we traveled several summers down to Orange County, CA., to visit cousins and family. That was my impression of where I thought I was going. I knew things would be different, when after driving 3 hours from the LAX, we passed the Ridgecrest city sign - it read "Welcome to Ridgecrest - the gateway to Death Valley!" I thought there would not be a breeze of salt water in the air tonight!!!

However, the environment did not determine the happiness of the visit. I had a great time, met a lot of wonderful people and preached and shared at a great church reaching out to its community. They definitely filled my schedule starting Saturday at noon.

We met at the Harris' house for lunch and I shared with a small group there about our work in South Africa. Later that evening, IBC has a Saturday night contemporary service, in which I shared and preached. We then went out to eat at the Texas Steak House. It was an early Sunday morning at 8:00 am that I preached again. I was chauffeured to their educational building for the Sunday school hour where I shared again about what God is doing in our work. I was then taken back to the Sanctuary and preached again. We went for lunch at a Mexican food restaurant. Later that evening was the a mission Safari where I talked, shared, and showed 'slides' about our time in S. Africa. Just before that, I talked to some children for about 15 minutes. I allowed them to ask question - boy did I get some doosies!!! So, in about 24 hours time, I preached, shared, talked 6 times in 5 different locations. I was great!!

The next day, Rich and Kay Fowler, took me into LA and dropped me off at some of Jody's cousins house. They are LA Angels fans and they took me to the Angel-Yankees game. Before we went to the game, Jessica and Jenna took me to downtown Disney. We walked around and was able to go into the ESPN-Zone. They have restaurant, studio, and shop there. I got Bethany and Melody a shirt that says - "You can't spell princess without ESPN" on the front. It was good to see them and to be able to go to the game. They do not like the Yankees at all. I told them that I had Alex Rodriguez on my fantasy Baseball league - Julie did not like that at all. I didn't have the courage to tell them that I also had Cano and Matsui also - so I was silently cheering as they played. (they went 5 for 14, 3 runs, 5 hits and 1 HR) I also have Vlad Guerrero, who went 1 for 5 and 1 RBI. We were also spotted on the JumboTron TV at Angel Stadium. The Angels won the game in 10 innings with walk-off hit to center field.

The only disappointment was that I was the only one that was able to go. Everyone else stayed in Longview. It would have been a great experience for everyone to be able to go.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Wonderful Time at Onion Creek

We were back preaching at Onion Creek Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. I preached there almost 4 years ago when we were appointed as career missionaries. When we started getting the news out that we were coming back this year, Onion Creek's request was one of the first - I guess they enjoyed Jody and the boys so much.

They gave us a two nights stay at a very nice hotel just down the street from the church. We had a game night/social night for us on Saturday night. I was good just to relax and enjoys some fun with the church. I learned how to play 42 - a domino game. We had a great time there and their hospitality was fantastic.
They provided drinks and snacks in our hotel room and took care of us in every way.

I was good to be back and share with the people the things God did while many of these people were faithful to pray for us. It is really a humbling experience to meet so many people praying for us each day.

A LIttle Vacation Time

The weekend of August 12 we left a couple of days early and spent some time with Jody's parents in Ft. Worth. We were going to a Wild West Show in the Ft. Worth Stockyards, but calling on the way, we found out that there was no show. We had to change our plans. We found a Star Wars exhibit and went through it. The boys loved it.

After the exhibit, we drove to Hillsboro, TX, and spent the night on our way to Austin and Schlitterbahn. We checked into the hotel and went swimming. The boys thought it was the greatest - they love to swim. We got up early Friday morning to leave for Schlitterbahn. The boys had a blast at the park. Jody and I quickly learned that this was a place for a 9-month old and a almost 3-year old. Bethany did ok, but she needed constant supervision, as did Melody. Andy and Josiah were able to do some things by themselves. After the water park, we drove to our hotel in Austin where we would spend the next two night, just down the streeet from Onion Creek Baptist Church - where I would preach Sunday morning.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Prayer urged for 21 Christian workers held hostage

WASHINGTON (BP)--With two South Korean men having been executed, 21 young Koreans remained hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan at the two-week point Aug. 2 following the Christian aid workers' kidnapping July 19.

Two women hostages are critically ill and most of the others are sick, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Aug. 3, but it did not provide details.

In Washington, an official with the Institute on Religion and Democracy sounded a call Aug. 3 for the media and for Christians to speak up for the Korean captives.

"Why is it that the media finds the brief incarceration of Paris Hilton worthy of 'round-the-clock vigils but spares little ink and little air time to tell the world more about these two men who gave their lives while serving the people of Afghanistan?" Faith McDonnell, IRD director of religious liberty programs, asked.

"Even more disturbing than lack of media coverage, though, is the tepid response of the churches to the plight of their brothers and sisters from South Korea," McDonnell continued in the statement.

"No matter what issues currently occupy Christians in the U.S., they should shift their focus to Afghanistan right now and join the churches in South Korea in vigilant prayer for the remaining hostages." McDonnell said the crisis is a chance "to witness to the world that the body of Christ is one worldwide body."

"Christians in the West should always be praying for their persecuted brothers and sisters -- but particularly in this time of crisis, they should look beyond their own interests and pray for the hostages. I challenge Christians to pray daily for the South Koreans, and to include them as a prayer item on church Web sites, e-mail conferences and the blog sites of individuals."

The two men who have been killed by the Taliban thus far are:

-- Bae Hyung Kyu, 42, a minister with the Sammul Presbyterian Church near Seoul who was slain by 10 AK-47 shots July 25, his birthday. Bae worked with unmarried university graduates, helping prepare them for volunteer trips for aid work in developing countries, according to Compass, a persecution watchdog organization based in Santa Ana, Calif. Bae leaves behind a wife and 9-year-old daughter, Compass reported. (Some news reports have spelled the name of the church "Saemmul.")

-- Shim Sung Min, 29, who had left a job in information technology to seek a graduate degree in agriculture out of a concern for poor Korean farmers impacted by globalization, a church member told Compass. Shim had been teaching Sunday School classes for the handicapped, the church member also said.

While the South Korean volunteer team, 16 of whom are women, have been criticized in some quarters for venturing into Afghanistan's volatility, an Afghan convert to Christianity told Compass he admires the commitment they evidenced and hopes that a Christian presence can continue in the country.

"During the Taliban regime, the main expatriate group in Afghanistan was Christians," the Afghan told Compass. "They were here to help Afghanistan. … No one else had the guts to come and help this war-torn country."

The convert said Christians are called to serve -– and sometimes at a very high cost.

"Thank you for coming to Afghanistan to serve my people," Compass quoted the Afghan as saying to the hostages and other Korean Christians who had served in Afghanistan. "Thank you for letting the world know, 'Don't forget Afghanistan.' Your Afghan brothers in faith are praying for you daily."

The corpses of Bae and Shim have been returned to South Korea, Compass reported.

Taliban spokesmen threatened more executions by midnight Aug. 2 if the Afghan government continued to refuse demands to Taliban prisoners, Compass reported, noting that Taliban leaders later stated that no one had been hurt.

A purported Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, told the Yonhap News Agency July 31, "If the negotiations do not go well, [the militants] will kill the male hostages, and then it will be the female hostages' turn."

Yonhap, in an Aug. 3 report, cited informed sources in reporting that South Korean officials are negotiating with the Taliban "for the venue for face-to-face talks" on the fate of 21 surviving hostages, "amid conflicting reports on imminent military operations to rescue the hostages."

South Korean officials would not officially confirm efforts to establish direct talks with the kidnappers, Yonhap reported, but said they are trying to maintain "direct or indirect contact" with the captors.

Negotiations for medical treatment for the sick hostages at a Kabul hospital also have not yet been successful, Yonhap reported.

"The hospital proposed to the Taliban specific conditions for the treatment of the Korean patients, but the militants refused them," a reporter with the Afghan Islamic Press told Yonhap on condition of anonymity.

Cheon Ho-seon, a spokesman for South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, said a medical team from the South Korean military contingent stationed in Afghanistan is on standby near the southern Afghan province of Ghazni, where the Koreans were taken hostage. "The team has been on standby since the kidnapping took place," he said.

The 23-member Korean aid team was traveling on a charter bus from Kandahar to the capital, Kabul, when armed men stopped them July 19 in the Ghazni province's Qarabagh district. The volunteers had arrived in Afghanistan on July 13 and were scheduled to return home July 23.

Compass, in a July 30 news report, recounted that the team had spent three days assisting three Korean women who were engaged in long-term aid work in northern Afghanistan. The volunteers were traveling back to Kabul but went on to Kandahar by bus when no flights were available. The group had planned to spend several days volunteering at a hospital and kindergarten in Kandahar where a husband-and-wife doctor team and a single Korean woman teacher are working. The two doctors treat up to 150 patients a day, Compass quoted a member of the Korean church as saying.

An analyst for the Washington-based International Christian Concern persecution watchdog likened the incident to the 2001 kidnapping of American missionaries Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry, who were held by the Taliban for three months. "It was in the very same area of Afghanistan that these two kidnappings happened," Jeremy Sewell said in a July 20 news release. "While Mercer and Curry's story ended happily, it was only because anti-Taliban forces attacked the prison.

"Under the Taliban, it is absolutely illegal to preach Christianity. This courageous South Korean missions team is going to experience the ultimate test of their faith."
Compiled by Art Toalston. (from Baptist Press)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Here's the Latest!

Well, it has been a quick 3 weeks, already.

The Sunday afternoon after we arrived, the boys and I drove to Stonewall, OK, to take Andy to go Falls Creek. It just so happened to be the evening of the Shrimp Boil at the church where I
pastored. Needless to say, I caught up on the shrimp that I haven't eaten in the previous 3 1/2 years. After dropping Andy off Monday morning, we drove back to Longview.

The next morning my brother-in-law, Jeff, and I drove to Houston to pick up the van we will be driving for the next 6 months. It is a 1991 blue Custom Chevy Van. It's really nice with only 140,000 miles on it. I don't think it will be too friendly on gas, but I am very thankful for the Lord's provision. I guess if He provides the van He can also provide the gas at $2.90 a gallon. What a wake up call that is - when we left I was choking at $1.35 a gallon - oh, for the good ol' days!!!! And to top it off, I have to pump my own gas!!!! In South Africa, they pump it and check all the fluids. Oh well, at least there is Wal-Mart here.

The following days were preparation for Tommy's wedding, Jody's youngest brother. He had 12 nieces and nephews in the wedding - basically they just paraded up and down the aisle in matching attire. Andy, however, was an usher and Josiah was the ring bearer. They both did a great job. Andy made it back to Longview after Jody's other brother, Matt and his family, drove down from Marlow, Oklahoma.

Jody's sister, Niki, and her six children and Jeff have remained here in Longview. It is quite the ordeal for all of us, them, and parents to go out to eat. There have also been other cousins and aunts and grandma's that have been here also. So it has been fun and tiring to be all together.

Andy is getting ready to go back to Falls Creek with both of Jody's brother, Matt and Tommy who are youth minister in Marshall, Texas, and Marlow, Oklahoma. At the end of next week, Josiah will be going to his camp.

My camera broke right after we got here so my pictures are borrowed and hope that I can copies of what others have taken.

We are headed out to Richmond, Va, for the last week of July.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

We made it!!!

Finally!!! We got here safe and sound with an unexpected layover in DC. I had a little bit of immigration problem and we missed our connecting flight. We finally flew out 4:45 pm and got into Dallas at 7:10 pm. We got to Longview at 11:15 - I went to Wal-Mart at 1:30 am in the morning to get some necessities since I left my 'ditty' bag in J-burg. All our luggage arrived and children arrived safe and sound - well, Bethany jumped off a chair, lost her balance and 'rug-burned' her nose - again!

Thanks for all your prayers - we definitely felt them!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

We are on our way!!

We leave today, Thursday, 21 June - please be in prayer as we travel from here to there. Here is our schedule. This is in CST.

Leave: 21 June - Johannesburg - 11:00 am
Arrive: 22 June - Wash, DC - 6:00 am (EST)
Leave 22 June - Wash, DC - 8:30 am
Arrive 22 June - DFW - 10:50 am

Eat at On the Border, hopefully, by noon!!!!!!

Thanks for your remembrance!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

An Incredible Thank You to Southern Baptists!

Southern Baptists give $150.1 million, shatter Lottie Moon giving record

By Shawn Hendricks

RICHMOND, VA (BP)--Southern Baptists topped the 2006 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal, delivering the largest gift in the offering’s 118-year history.

After the books closed May 31, the final tally hit $150,178,098.06, an 8.9 percent increase over last year’s $137.9 million. Southern Baptists last exceeded their goal three years ago by giving more than $136.2 million to the 2003 offering after missionary appointments lagged (this was why we were delayed) because of insufficient funds.

The offering supports the work of more than 5,100 missionaries across the globe. This year’s gift is expected to have a notable impact on the number of personnel being sent to the field. Board leaders anticipate sending 200 extra missionaries over the next two years, in addition to the normal appointment numbers.

“Because we are a missionary-sending organization, the number of missionaries we are able to send is directly related to the gifts we receive from Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering,” said Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board.

“Not only will this unprecedented amount enable us to send more missionaries, it demonstrates the heart of Southern Baptists for missions and the high priority they give to reaching a lost world.

“More unreached people groups will have access to the Gospel, more people will be won and baptized, more churches planted and leaders discipled and trained around the world because of such a generous level of giving.”

Rankin credited Woman’s Missionary Union’s support and loyal friendship with contributing to the offering’s success.

“We are grateful for the partnership with WMU and their conscientious efforts in sponsoring and promoting the offering, as well as the personal sacrifice that gifts to the LMCO reflect in individuals throughout the convention.”

Wanda Lee, executive director/treasurer of national WMU, added her appreciation to faithful support of Southern Baptists.

“Support for international missionaries is critical, and we are so grateful to the men and women, boys and girls, who are a part of what God is doing around the world by supporting international missionaries through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering,” Lee said.

“When WMU sets the [Lottie Moon Christmas Offering] goal each year, we recognize that it can only be attained when believers prayerfully consider the need and give sacrificially so that others may hear the name of Jesus.”

Since the offering began in 1888, the total amount received through 2006 has exceeded $2.8 billion.


David Steverson, IMB treasurer and vice president for finance, announced at a May trustee meeting that if early projections held up, the board would be able to send an extra 200 missionaries to the field. Now, the question is whether enough Southern Baptists will step forward to accept God’s call to missions, he said.

“We are grateful to the Lord for the tremendous blessing of this record offering given through Southern Baptists,” Steverson said.

“Pray to the Lord of the harvest to call out those who will go and proclaim His message throughout the world.”

Last year, the board reported that 104 new people groups were engaged with the Gospel, 23,486 churches were started and 475,072 people were baptized.

“Thank you, Southern Baptists, for stepping up to the challenge of global evangelization and funding the highest Lottie Moon offering in missions history,” said Gordon Fort, vice president for overseas operations.

“As a result we will be taking new initiatives to engage unreached people groups and will have the financial resources to increase our capacity to send more missionaries to the front lines.”

To learn more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, visit imb.org/main/give or call (800) 999-3113.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bethany's Ready to Pack

This morning Bethany told her mother that she had packed her clothes and was ready to go to Nanny's house - that is Jody's mom. We went into her room and found her clothes on her bed!!

Sixteen more days!!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

T Minus 21 Days

Well, we are 21 days from boarding 'the big airplane' - as Bethany now says 50 times a day - to head back to the States. Everyone is pretty excited. We have about 12 suitcases packed already. Although they are not up to the 50 lb limit - they are getting full. I think we are bringing back about '2 weeks' worth of clothes for everyone - looking to hit all the sales in the next 6 months. I am not sure how many bags we'll be able to bring back. The Board allowed an extra piece for everyone and one for the family - so we came over with 16 bags. I don't know if they will make the same allowance - if not we won't have as many.

Josiah and Caleb have 2 weeks of school left. They get out for a long weekend the weekend that we leave here. We are going to leave and spend a couple of days in Johannesburg before we leave. I will finish with Andy tomorrow - he has a cumulative History test and just a regular math test.

One of the saddest parts about leaving is saying good-bye to Dale and Ann Beighle. They live just 3 doors down from us and have been like grand parents. They have been on the field for the last 32 years and they are going on home to Kentucky in August. It's not going to be pleasant to return here and not have them here. However, there is another couple with another organization that should take their place and they have some children the same age as ours. So it is not all bad. We also have some other people that will be coming in January and June of next year - so that will be good also.

I am excited about returning to South Africa because I see all the possibilities. When we came here, there was so much uncertainty about everything. But now I see, just a glimpse of what can happen.

Here is our speaking schedule thus far.

July 23-30: Richmond,VA
August 1: OHBC - FLC - Longview, TX
August 12: Onion Creek Baptist Church - Austin, TX (AM)
August 12: FBC, Sequin, TX (PM)
August 17-21: Immanuel BC, Ridgecrest, CA
September 1-3: FBC, Stonewall, OK
September 26-29: Missions Conference, FBC, Fairfield,TX
October 13-18: Missions Celebration, FBC, Hot Springs, AR
November 8-11: Missions Conference, North Central BaptistAssociation, Loves Park, Illinois
December 3: Oakland Heights Baptist Church, Longview, TX

I am in contact with several churches in Oklahoma finalizing other speaking engagements.

We sent out some prayer requests a couple of weeks ago asking prayer for someone to stay in our house. Within 3 days, the Lord answered our prayer and we found someone to stay in the house while we are gone. We are so thankful for what the Lord continues to do. It was important in our morning family devotions to allow the boys to see this answer to prayer.

I will share later our travel itinerary when we come home.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mega April Update

Well, it seems like a long time since we have given our last update. We have put on the kilometers in the last couple of weeks in a trip to Jo-burg, Kenya, and our AMTM meeting in Rustenburg. Jody and Melody are to leave next Tuesday to go to a CESA region women’s meeting. Can you imagine the talking (noise)?!?!?! Anyway, we’ll start where we left off and fill you in on the things that have happened.

Extension 39 - We have had a good couple of weeks visiting in the area. We showed the JESUS film the last week in March. There were probably about 150 – 200 that walked to, stood around, watched and then left. It looked like 100 stayed for the challenge and 35-40 prayed a prayer of repentance. It is hard to say how many were sincere, but it is not my job to judge that. We also have seen about 7 come to Christ during our impromptu services during our visitation time. Those that we visited came out, we sang, Moruti (pastor) Ezekiel gave a challenging devotion and some prayed a sinners prayer. We are working on follow-up and I am praying that we have some kind of regular group meeting before we leave.

First Termer’s Retreat – The first week in April we spent a week in Nairobi, Kenya, at a retreat for those missionaries that are in their first term of service with the IMB. We arrived on Monday and left of Friday. Many families arrived early or stayed after the retreat to do some sightseeing and safari-ing on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I really wanted to do the same, but with 2 little girls, we didn’t think we would have enjoyed our time. The retreat itself was just about meeting the other missionaries and each telling their stories of service in their first term. There were some high highs and some low lows. Please understand that we are people too and we have our spiritual highs and lows. Missionaries are not in special class of Christianity. Unfortunately, the only part of Kenya that I saw was what was experienced on the bus to and from the airport – believe me, that was an experience. You think it's bad driving where you live!

AMTM – stands for Annual Missionary Training Meeting. This year we only met 2 hours away. This is in contrast to the previous 3 times that we were 9 hours away. Our training this year was called T4T – meaning Training for Trainers. The basis of the training is 2 Timothy 2.2. “And the things that you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” It is not just blind witnessing and teaching, but everything has the direction not just to reach people, but to teach them to reach others. In this verse, there are 5 generations – Barnabas, Paul, Timothy, faithful men, and others. I wish we would have gotten this model a year ago – I am excited about this concept and process and look forward to teaching it when we return next year. I may try to get in a couple of lessons with a couple of people that I know.

Dennis – I have had the opportunity to preach in many different churches in the last several weeks. I have also been teaching about 30 teachers and leaders the last Tuesday of the month about leading a dynamic small group. I will spend the next several weeks while I am in the various church saying ‘Good-bye.’ It is our intention to return, but God may reveal some different plans to us while we are in the States. I am not looking for any and I not asking for any – I am just planning to return.

The Boys- Josiah and Caleb are out the entire month of April and the first 7 days of May for there term break. What a break. They will only attend about 5 ½ weeks of the second term before we leave.

This year Josiah played cricket, swimming, and is in the process of learning to play Chess. He swam in one swimming meet – mentioned earlier in another blog entry. He also played on the Cricket team for his age group. He is quite the little athlete and wants to play everything,

Caleb played mini-cricket and swimming. These are just introductory in nature. He learned the basics in hitting, bowling (pitching) and fielding. They didn’t play any games as this was for many of them their first time to play cricket. He also was involved in swimming – basically it was swimming lessons – the first couple days were shaky, but by the end of the term he was almost swimming. He continues to amaze us at his drawings. He saw the Disney cartoon, Robin Hood, and immediately after watching it drew a picture of Robin Hood with detail in his costume and the trees.

Andy is trying to finish 6th grade before we leave. School is a challenge for him and for us as we try to teach him so that he will be ready for his friends in Longview in the 7th grade. His favorite part of school is his 10 o’clock break and being done. He continues to take lessons and play tennis. We got him an MP3 player for Christmas and likes to listen to music that I don’t necessarily care for. He was riding with me on an errand and he asked me how old I was when I started to date. Boy, I wasn’t ready for that one – I have so much experience to draw from!!?!?!?

The GirlsBethany is growing taller, and is as tall as some four year olds! She continues to increase her vocabulary, and has figured out how to get her brothers in trouble! Her favorite song is “Dem Bones”, which is on a DVD her aunt sent her. She’s looking forward to going to Nannie’s “to buy shoes.” (She’s definitely her mother’s daughter!)

Melody is six months old! She has four teeth, and is working on two more. She has started scooting around and can pretty much get herself moving. I think she will be mobile before too much longer. She’s a wonderful, precious gift from God, and we all love her lots!

JodyHello everyone! I just wanted to tell you what has happened since we came back from our annual training meeting. Part of our training included telling “our stories” of what Jesus has done in our own lives. It’s basically telling your testimony, but there is some follow-up that goes along with it as well. Anyway, I decided to tell my story out in the village I’ve been working in. I did that on Friday, as well as my friend who goes with me. I then asked if anyone had a story with Jesus who would like to share, and two women came in front of the group, and told about accepting Christ! I was very excited to hear these testimonies!

Please pray for these women, and for the rest who were too afraid or nervous to share with the group. One of the ladies who told her story has been forced by her husband to join his church which is not a Christian church. She was very bold, however, in saying that she realized she needed to share the Gospel wherever she went, including this church. Well, I hope all of you are well. We will be back in the USA soon! We are all very excited about this. Please also pray that we will finish out our first term well, and be able to see fruit when we return.

Prayer Requests

-- The work in the village of Moshawane where Jody goes

--The work in Extension 39

-- Saying good “Good-byes’ to the churches

-- Someone to stay in our house for 6 months when we are stateside

-- Finishing well!!

We got some hail and it was still hot so it made everything start to steam. We got a good quarter of an inch - it covered the grass just briefly - almost a white Christmas in April!!