Sunday, September 26, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – the giver of all good gifts. I thought that three months was enough time between updates – it’s been a whirl wind. So, here we go.
For the last 5 years, South Africa has been preparing for the Soccer World Cup. Millions of dollars was invested in infrastructure and stadiums throughout the country. The people were incredibly excited about hosting this month long soccer tournament. We were able to capitalize on the event by co-hosting a volunteer team from the States. During the day we held soccer clinics. The balls that we used were called Evangi-balls which had red, yellow, green, black, and of course, white. Each day the plan of salvation was given from the balls. At the end of the week, the balls were given away as prizes. On various nights we either showed a World Cup game or the JESUS film. Several people prayed to receive Christ. Josiah and I were able to attend a World Cup game in Rustenburg. We saw Slovenia and New Zealand play to a 1-1 tie. It was very cold. Here some links to other pubished articles - here, here, here, here,
During the World Cup time, however, our attention was drawn back to the States as Jody’s dad was continuing to fight an infection. This interfered with his ability to get back on his chemo schedule. He would get better and then regress. Several times with looked at airline tickets to return home, but it did not seem anything was imminent. The situation changed drastically when in the early morning he fell on his way to the bathroom. Again the doctors were positive and there would not be any lasting damage from the fall. But as the days of June came to a close, we felt, along with Oakland Heights Baptist Church that it was time for Jody to return to the States. She arrived on July 1st, and was able to have one last conversation with her dad that day. OHBC provided the opportunity for me and the kids to return to the States. Many of you followed our saga through my Facebook status. We were able to find some tickets leaving on the following Tuesday and arrive on Wednesday afternoon. Long story short, we were unable to make that flight. Dad died early Wednesday morning, and we left Johannesburg that evening not arriving in Longview until 2:30 am, Friday morning. His service was 12 hours later, Friday afternoon, at 3:00 pm and burial was Saturday in Muskogee. It was a couple of days that I care not to live through again. However, I do have to say that I felt God’s grace like never before. In the 66 hours of travel with the kids, I didn’t have one complaint against them – not one single problem or incident. They were fantastic and I have nothing but highest praise for them – definitely and only the grace of God.
We returned to Mmabatho on August 6th just kind of shell-shocked. The month of July flew by with so many activities of trying to help Jody’s mom with life in general. We had a huge garage sale and were able to sell both of their vehicles – another touch of God’s grace. Having only been back from our Stateside for about three months, coming back again to Mmabatho was like starting over. I was encouraged, however, as I returned to my Bible studies to find my people still willing and wanting to attend. Before the World Cup started, I told them that we wouldn’t meet for a couple of weeks, as I was busy with the volunteer team. I gave them a notebook and a pen and asked them to start copying the Gospel of Mark. They did it, but did not understand that I wanted them to continue, even though they finished chapter 1. The first time we met again in August, I asked them to share what God had taught them individually. They shared for about 35 minutes. At the close, I told them that they don’t need me anymore –they have God’s Word and it is enough. God wants to speak to them individually and they don’t need a teacher! They got it – they understood.
Jody’s ministry partner, Lorato, is getting married. That is good news for her – being a widow for the last 11 years. Her burden of caring for herself and children will be lightened immensely. The bad news is that she will be moving away and so leaves Jody without a ministry partner until God makes a move. Since our return in March, God has been telling Jody to “Be still and know that I am God.” So, until God makes a move and let’s her know what to do, she is just gonna rest in the comfort of The Word.
We have started the new school year with Andy being a sophomore, Josiah beginning 7th grade, Caleb doing 4th grade work, and Bethany starting 1st grade in January 2011 at ISSA. We received our crate on the Wednesday after returning home. So, it was like Christmas in August as we enjoyed all the stuff that we crammed into a 147 sq. ft. crate. The girls got their swing set/playground – I couldn’t set it up fast enough. A special thanks to First Bossier for providing that for the girls – they love it!!!
A special thanks to all of you for remembering to pray for us. God is so good – even through difficult circumstances – when nothing makes sense and 2+2 doesn’t equal 4 anymore. God grace has sustained us and He has blessed so much. Your prayers have enabled us to return when deep down it was not our desire. You strengthened us when we didn’t have the strength to carry on. Oakland Heights Baptist Church did nothing but act like Jesus!!!! (make sure you understand that last statement) They were Jesus in the flesh – they were His hands and His feet. They loved on us and continue to take care of us!
Throughout this update, you see what you can pray about – as God leads, you pray and we will be thankful. Be Blessed.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Happy New Year! I thought it was about time to post to the blog. When I started this blog, I never intended to go so long without a post. However, there is no New Year’s resolution to make more entries to the blog.
We were able to fly home to Texas the week before Thanksgiving. That was nice. I was able to catch 2 Cowboy’s victories in 5 days! One of the downers of this Stateside happening has been the ongoing cancer treatment saga with Jody’s dad. Between the treatment for multiple-myeloma and colo-rectal cancer, our schedule has been turned upside down. The good part is that there is treatment and it is ongoing. We have made several trips back and forth to Little Rock. We’ve put over 3000 miles on our vehicle since 21 December.
We have had the opportunity to share about the Lord’s workings in South Africa in many churches. Our first opportunity was at FBC-Tecumseh. It was good to reconnect with the many people who pray for us. They are one of the churches that we had contact with before we went to the field. We stayed in their newly remodeled mission house – what a blessing that was. We then traveled to FBC-Stonewall for their evening service. Though nothing “official” was planned, I was able to share for about 15 minutes in their evening service. It is always good to go back to Stonewall. I was also able to share at a church in Kilgore, TX. Of course, we had the morning service at Oakland Heights Baptist Church on Lottie Moon Sunday. The love we feel there is over whelming. Being able to stay in their mission house is an incredible blessing. We also had a wonderful opportunity to go to a Global Impact Conference at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Ft. Worth. What a wonderful weekend to share our story with so many listening and interesting people. An honoring engagement we had was speaking at the Diamond Set meeting at First Bossier. Many of these people were involved in my life while I was in the Youth Group at First Bossier. A reoccurring comment that I received was “Wow, you did grow up!” I really have no idea what they could be talking about?!?!?!
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering Each year, the International Mission Board encourages people to contribute to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering which supports Southern Baptist missionaries around the world. For us, the Lottie Moon funds provide our salary, health insurance, a place to live, a vehicle and petrol and many and various ministries. If it were not for the Lottie Moon offering, we would be responsible for personally raising thousands of dollars each year to be able to serve overseas.
Last year, the IMB set a goal to raise $171 million dollars to support more than 5,600 personnel serving internationally. Last year giving fell short by more than $30 million dollars and was $9 million less than the previous year. The shortfall in giving prompted IMB leadership to make some difficult cuts in budgets across the board including:
*Long term apprentice personnel – 300
*Journeymen – 100
*2+2 personnel – approximately 50; sent in partnership with SBC seminaries
*New partially self-funded Masters – 30
* suspending appointment of more than 200 new missionaries
* reducing the number of new positions worldwide from more than 1,200 jobs to 300
* budget cuts of up to 60% for strategy leaders on the field
* medical care no longer being covered 100 percent
* canceling of stateside debriefing conferences and also some regional meetings and prayer retreats on the field which are so meaningful for our missionaries.
* indefinite suspension of some critical short term missionary programs.
Despite not reaching the 2009 goal, the IMB still received the third largest Lottie Moon Offering in history. This year, the IMB has set a goal of $175 million in hopes to return to a stronger budget and ability to send more missionaries into the world. We humbly ask each of you to prayerfully consider giving sacrificially to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year.
Right now the plan is for us to remain in the States until mid-March. I am looking forward to returning to South Africa and getting back to work. Thanks for your prayer - they are so meaningful to us.