First, we apologize for the long delay in blogging. We know that we had a goal of once-a-month entries but that has not happened. A part of us feels like with all the social media contacts, the recent visit from FXCC, the video-chatting, and all the rest that we have been apart of, the blog can be kind of redundant. However, we know this is not the case and that many more wish to get caught up on everything. Here’s an attempt at that! :)
Recently, there has been a lot of recollection about how we are “finding our way” here. This is still being done. After looking through some notes I had, Daisha and I were blessed to be reminded how we learned from Dr. Stan Granberg (lifelong missionary in Africa and current Executive Director of Kairos Church Planting in Portland, Oregon). He taught us a few things while at grad school, including how it was shown that in such a work as this (though nothing is “fixed”), it can take up to 2 (two!) years (years!) to be enculturated enough re: language/socialization, social rhythms, message formulation, and on-the-ground ministry experience to actually get to any form of being “settled”. We’ve been here a total of 5-6 months now so we are well into our first year; and in this it becoming more and more true for us. So in this first year we know that we are to be concerned mostly with family issues, mission issues, and target-people issues. This is a huge step in “finding our way” in year one. Then after the first two years, it is usually not until years 3-7 that systematic evangelism is fully established, church-growth and planting is seen, some kind of stabilization occurs in life and ministry, and the fruits of maturity are recognized. Then there are the issues built in underneath each of those items: Leadership, communication, teaching, fellowship, planning, vision casting, relationships, counseling, family dynamics, education, structural and ministry diversification, base building, etc. Again, no times are fixed, but what is clear is that this is a long-term work.
Patience, Sheets. Patience.
This kind of knowledge of a Holy Spirit-led strategy is helpful as a reminder to us and to all involved in this work.
So for now here are what you can be involved with in praying for God’s Kingdom here in this place:
An increased desire and heart for vision and mission within us and the congregation. Many servants of Peterhead have gone before us and are active today. We are blessed mightily to be a part of something like this at this time in history. But where do we go from here? An engaged and intentional look at what God’s work in this world is (through His Word); how we have seen God move and work most recently; and a recognition of the post-Christian realities around us; all melded together – shaken and stirred – and out comes a purpose, a direction, a vision, and working partners. Pray that the Holy Spirit will be our guide and that when He moves, we will move; even if it is risky, new, intense, or all the above. Pray for wisdom and discernment and a Spirit of unity, peace, love, desire, and commitment.
Pray that the fire that God is burning in the hearts of the young here who are craving the Word more and more will flame up all the more! To see the desire is so uplifting! To know the labor put in to these youth by Billy Strachan is humbling and encouraging as well. There is planting. There is watering. There is growth. We will fit in wherever on the line God so determines!
Thus, my days are loaded with teaching and discipleship time (preparation and/or engagement). There have been nights lasting until 2-3am in committed study or counsel. So pray for my mental health and stamina. I love (LOVE) doing this work, but at the same time our family must be of first importance in ministry. So pray also that we don’t neglect each other; and that our home will continue to be a home of laughter, togetherness, and love.
Pray for the non-believers who have continued to come in to the on-going work with Billy; and the new ones who I have had the wonderful opportunity to help guide already. God is moving in the hearts of unbelievers here. And this is a huge reason for us being here anyway (of course!). So pray that God moves to change hearts of stone into hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36).
Pray for the young families we are continuing to befriend; couples as well as single mothers. Brothers and sisters, there is so much darkness in the stories of many. Oh that they come to know the light of Christ and the fresh air of peace found in the gospel! Pray we are bold in our friendships, relationships, and witness.
Pray for our children. Oh how precious Gideon and Naomi are to the Lord. We know it. We see it. But they have already met resistance for being who they are; as Gideon especially is bold in his language about why we are here. This doesn’t fit in an ever-increasing God-ignoring culture. We love them so much. Pray for their strength and that God will keep them in His mighty arms as they interact with their friends.
Pray for the disciple-making. This work is built in-to all the other works, but it is a work that is not just about disciple-making, but in training new and old disciples to then become disciple-makers! In our day there is no more room or time for pew sitters. God wants disciples! “Follow me…” He said.
Pray for the other leaders here and their works. Those like the aforementioned Billy Strachan, and of course Michael Gaunt. Pray for their families, as the ministry has, can, and will take a toll on any man. Pray for their families – the spiritual health, mental health, and physical health. Pray for continued strength and the on going seeing of fruit from their decades of work here as faithful ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.
Pray for those here who are suffering physically. There are many who are struggling with various ailments.
Thank God for the FXCC campaign, and for leaders like Phil McKinney, Sammie Young, Andy Morris, the Millers, and many more. The teens at FXCC are something unique and special; and the fruit of their labor here is springing up. In many ways we are trying to keep up and decipher what exactly is happening! :)
Thank you, dear reader, for your support. Whether you support us in prayer or in prayer and finances, we thank you. We love you. We NEED YOU.
As I said a couple weeks ago, we must be a people of powerful intentional prayer. This world is at war; and we cannot treat prayer like it is some domestic intercom. We must treat prayer for what it is: Firepower from above. Alone we are hopeless and without strength. With God’s power nothing can stop us; any of us! So please pray specifically, and with intentionality, and with desire, and with forcefulness, and with love at the core. Be bold in your prayers!
Love you all –