New Hope

The recent election points out the tendency we have to look to men for our hope. Without doubt, we live in a world grasping for hope anywhere. New Hope Baptist Church is the name of the church that I interned at in Cambodia, and is also the name of the wonderful church in Salisbury, North Carolina that we spent this past Sunday with. That name highlights the wonderful hope we have in Christ, and the folks at New Hope are excited about getting that message out! We were so encouraged by the zeal of Pastor Worley and the many friendly people we met. They helped us along our way, and we are pleased to partner with them.

We had another special treat this Wednesday – the rare opportunity to worship at our home church. Having such a faithful and loving church family behind us encourages us greatly. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing our pastor preach again and fellowshipping with our Christian brothers and sisters.

Please be in prayer for Nikki as she is still dealing with some of the morning sickness aspect of pregnancy. The next few weeks will be very busy, and we look forward to what the Lord has in store for us!

October

It has been several weeks since we put out an update – here is a quick rundown of our October.

We have had several wonderful single day meetings with Grace Baptist Church in Greenville, PA; Birdford Baptist Church in Glennville, GA; and Hope Baptist Church in Winder, GA. At the last meeting we had the special pleasure of seeing a young lady surrender her life to missionary service. It is wonderful to see God at work!

A couple of missions conferences were also on our itinerary.  In Williamstown, New Jersey we were a part of the first mission conference held by Open Bible Baptist Church in over 40 years.  This church has a vision to support missionaries in every country of the world, and we certainly hope and pray they can reach this goal. Trinity Baptist Church of Centerville, GA also allowed us to be a part of their annual conference. We were glad for the chance to present our work just down the road from Nikki’s family home in Central Georgia.

Now that we are in Georgia, we have had the opportunity to meet our new nieces! Ella and Alley were born just a few weeks ago and we have really enjoyed getting acquainted with them. Although they were born a month and half early, we thank the Lord that they are healthy and at home.

A Praise: Several new churches have voted to partner with us and take us on for support – we are well on our way to our goal of 50% by the end of the year!

Pumpkins, Preaching, and Progress

It is always exciting for us to see the different and creative methods that local churches are using to reach their communities. Some of the greatest conferences we have been in have combined the emphasis on world evangelism with a strong emphasis on local and personal evangelism. Our latest conference, in Beallsville (pronounced “Bellsville”), Ohio, certainly characterized that.

After several nights of rousing preaching and singing at their mission conference, we joined with the people of East Sunsbury Baptist Church for the annual Pumpkin Festival Parade in a nearby town. The church had decorated a float, and we were able to march through the town handing out tracts along the three-mile route. For such a rural area, the turnout for the parade was incredible, and by God’s grace we were able to distribute about 7,000 tracts! Pray that fruit will come out of this time of sowing. We also really appreciated staying with Pastor Jeff Cox and his wonderful family.

We have officially now hit the 6-month mark in our deputation. God has provided bountifully for us, and every need has been supplied. Currently, we have almost 40% of our support pledged from various churches and individuals. We praise God for helping us to get to this point. We are praying earnestly that in the next year, the Lord will allow us to reach 100% of our support. Please labor with us in your prayers for the Cambodian people and for the work God has called us to.

Pennsylvania Praises

Another week – another conference. September has been such a busy month, but we have been blessed abundantly. Our last meeting was in Downingtown, PA with Faith Community Baptist Church. There was a wonderful spirit all week long, and we thoroughly enjoyed the services. We had the chance to get well acquainted with Pastor and Mrs. Venable, as well as many of the church members, as we preached and ministered in music.  Since Downingtown is located in Eastern Pennsylvania, between Lancaster and Philadelphia, we also got to see some of the special sights of the area. A special highlight was visiting Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, as we remember the freedoms our nation stands for.

Our friends Tim and Stephanie Germano help with the youth and music ministry, so we enjoyed the time to catch up with them and see how God is blessing their ministry there. They are preparing to go as missionaries to the Dominican Republic and will be starting deputation next year. It was exciting to share with them the blessings and special experiences we have seen since we began deputation 6 months ago.

We have a big praise: this past week, we heard back from three churches, all pledging to take us on for support! God is proving Himself so faithful and continues to guide us on our way to Cambodia.

Acme

acme – the top or higher point; peak; zenith.

Acme, PA is literally on top of the mountain, and the church we were privileged to be with this weekend is the highest spot in Acme. Our sojourn here has been a high spot for us as well. Tired from some very busy weeks and much travelling, a couple days in this peaceful setting has helped our bodies to build back up to 100%. Sunday services with Pastor Haasz and the good people of Mt Zion were a great blessing. God showed Himself powerful, and God’s people showed themselves generous, missions-minded, and very friendly.

By the way – our car is driving much better now with a new clutch. Thanks for all the prayers that went up for us during that adventure. Please continue to pray for our health, safety and strength as we still have two more mission conferences this month!

Story of Our Lives…

We often tell people that there is never a dull moment during deputation. This past week was definitely no exception!

Chapter 1

Nikki and I spent a wonderful few days with Bethel Baptist Church of Hampton, VA for their missions conference. What a great spirit there was at this meeting! The church was friendly and excited for missions. We spent time explaining our mission to the students in the Christian school from K4 all the way up to the high school. In the church, we were able to minister through preaching and song. God used the amazing generosity of this group of people to provide for many of our needs, including a projector that we can use to show our ministry video in churches without an audio-visual system. Many wonderful friendships were formed with the pastoral staff, our gracious hosts, and the faithful church members. By the end of the conference, all of us were excited for missions for the glory of God!

Chapter 2

Next stop was beautiful Huntingdon, PA, in the mountains of rural Central Pennsylvania. Calvary Independent Baptist Church hosted us for their annual missions conference. We once again had the opportunity to speak with the young people in their academy, as well as spend a few minutes with the kindergarten class. Our mission to Cambodia was well received by both young and old. We enjoyed the beautiful area, cooler weather, and the remarkable hospitality of this warm-hearted church. Several church families hosted us for meals, and as always we cherish the opportunity to form relationships with fellow Christians.

Chapter 3

Driving over the hills of Pennsylvania proved to be a different matter than just admiring them. Our 13-year old clutch simply couldn’t handle it, and burned out entirely on us. By God’s grace, we broke down close to the small town of Ebensburg, PA rather than by the side of the road somewhere in the woods. We were able to get towed to a local garage and obtain a rental car without too much difficulty. God’s hand was certainly evident in all – the amount we needed for a new clutch, rental car, as well as gas for the rental was provided almost exactly to the dollar by the generous love offering we received from Calvary in Huntingdon. It is wonderful to remember that He knows what is in store and provides before we even know we have a need!


Chapter 4 

Unexpectedly, our journey this week took a detour to Ohio as we learned that our ministry partners’ baby was coming! While broken down in Ebensburg, we learned that Diana had gone into labor, and we arrived in Youngstown just in time to greet Allatha into the world. We have enjoyed a season of fellowship with the Stivers during this special time, as we prepare to head back to Pennsylvania for another meeting this weekend. September so far has been a busy, yet exciting and joyful month!

Memories…

Pastor Brooks Grimes was my pastor when I was 7-8 years old, and it has been a blessing to see him and the people of Northview Baptist Church a couple of times this year. This Sunday, we were able to present our ministry and preach to the church. Typically, we show our ministry video, explain a little bit more about our ministry plans, and bring the Bible message the Lord has laid on my heart. This Sunday, however, Pastor Grimes had a special surprise. The first video shown was not our ministry video, but an old VHS recording of the “Patch the Pirate club” singing when I was a 7-year old member. Despite their intimate knowledge of my background, the church gave us a warm and friendly welcome. We can think of no place we would rather spend our Labor Day weekend than among the kind and generous people of God.

Sunday Afternoons

Sunday afternoon for many is a time for a cherished tradition: the Sunday afternoon nap. At Central Baptist Church in Axton, VA, they’ve found another use for that time slot – have the evening service! We spent Sunday School, morning, and afternoon services with Pastor Haak and the fine folks at Central this weekend. We preached, sang, and enjoyed some good fellowship with this small country church with a big heart for missions. They greatly encouraged us along our way, and we hope we were able to do the same.

A special thanks to those who have been praying that God would supply us meetings. Our fall schedule is rapidly filling, and we thank God for opening doors for us. Check out our calendar to see if we’re available to be with you sometime soon!

South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Since leaving Maine, we have logged almost 3,000 miles! En route to Kentucky, we spent a couple days enjoying the hospitality of a church in SE Pennsylvania, as well as some time with friends in Knoxville, TN. Our weekend at Maranatha Baptist Church in Oak Grove, KY, was very enjoyable. My former youth director from 10 years ago, Dale Saunders, is now the assistant pastor there, and it was a great joy to fellowship once again with him and his family. After a great day of services at Maranatha, we headed back to Knoxville in time to see my family as they dropped off my brother and sister at Crown College.

This past weekend found us at Rivermont Baptist Church in Front Royal, VA for their annual mission conference. We knew Pastor Alcorn and his wife Julie from Crown and were excited to see how God has blessed their ministry there. It was a great conference, and we enjoyed working with the Senior Saints and the children as well as presenting our ministry to the entire church.

After two months of constant traveling, we finally have a few days to spend at home! It’s certainly a blessing, as we have much to catch up on as we recharge for the next trek. Thanks to all of you who prayed as we spent so much time on the road. The Lord watched over us and helped the car to perform great. Keep praying as we gear up for a very full month in September!

Maine Days

Maine is a beautiful place in the summer, and we fully enjoyed God’s creation during our time there. We spent a couple days in Bangor, visiting my grandparents, whom I had not seen in several years. That was very refreshing, as was a stop by the coast. We were also blessed to find a wonderful Bible-believing church to worship at in Bangor. The weekend found us in southern Maine, with our good friends Jimmy and Angela Noreau. The Noreaus assist with the youth and outreach at Westbrook Baptist Church, just outside of Portland. We presented our ministry both at Westbrook and at New Heights Baptist Church, in Bridgton. It is so encouraging to see these churches, both fairly recent church plants, striving to make an impact in their communities for the Lord.

Overall, our summer in New England was very busy but extremely encouraging and enjoyable. We praise God for the opportunities He gave us and for the wonderful people and churches we met.