Faith Baptist Church of Jefferson City, TN was our last scheduled deputation stop. We were so encouraged by the extremely friendly and kind people of the church. So many promised their prayers, and we are so grateful. Having the chance to share our ministry and preach is always a blessing, and so was fellowshipping with Pastor Cross and his wife. On our way to Tennessee, we were reminded of God’s care for us. A car in front of us ran off the the road and crashed into a tree. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Many times we take our safety for granted, but we are so thankful that God has kept us from danger over the many thousands of miles we have travelled on deputation.
Our thoughts and efforts now turn to our upcoming move. Please continue to pray that we will have the wisdom and strength we need to prepare as we need to.
Had a wonderful day yesterday at Fellowship Baptist Church in Emlenton, PA. I had the opportunity to teach in Sunday School and to preach in the evening service, and we were excited to find out that several members are preparing to go to Cambodia next month for a mission trip.
The Lord gave me a comforting reminder as I listened to the preaching of Pastor Langdon in the morning service. As he spoke out of John 17 about Christ’s prayer for His disciples, I was reminded of our greatest prayer partner. One of our main goals in deputation is to raise prayer support. We ask people everywhere to remember us in prayer, because we realize how vital that element is in the Lord’s ministry. We are so thankful for the many we have met who have prayed and continue to pray for us, but I am most thankful for the prayers of Jesus Christ. He is the most faithful, most powerful prayer warrior we could ever have on our side, and this is what He said while on earth – “Neither pray I for these alone (the disciples) but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” John 17:20. That is us! What an encouragement to know that Christ, who will never leave or forsake us, “ever liveth to make intercession” for us.
On a related side note, Pastor Langdon also made this statement – “We know prayer must work, because Jesus did it.” And praise the Lord, He continues to pray!
We are so thankful to share some big praises! First of all, thanks to those who prayed for NIkki’s dad. His surgery went smoothly, and he got a cancer-free report. He is recovering well and already back at work.
Also, we had a great conference last week, and also had a couple more churches take us on for support. Cambodia is looking closer and closer. We were able to have a talk with Bro. Ruppel, the missionary we will be working with at first over there, and really get some good planning advice.
We have spent the last few days with our ministry partners, the Stivers family, enjoying some fellowship and working on preparation. Last night, we took a big step and bought our plane tickets! By God’s grace, and thanks to the generosity of churches across the nation, we will be leaving for Cambodia on January 7, 2014. The countdown is beginning, and you will notice the tally on the sidebar. Please continue praying as we enter the home stretch of deputation!
Well, much has happened since our last post. We thank God for the safe arrival of Joshua Matthew at 3:49 PM on June 7. He weighed 7 pounds 11.5 ounces and was 22 inches long. Mother and baby are well, and we are enjoying so much getting to know this little blessing from the Lord.
Last week, Joshua took his first road trip as we traveled to Memorial Baptist Church in Ocala, FL for our mission agency’s annual Family Fellowship Week. Just the fact that we were able to go was a huge answer to prayer. Nikki’s blood pressure had been high, but by God’s grace it came down enough for us to travel. We enjoyed fantastic preaching and especially fellowship time with many of our dearest friends. A number of fellow Crown College alumni, now on deputation to various parts of the world, were there, and we are so thankful for the time spent with them.
We are now in Macon, GA, where Joshua is enjoying some time with Mamaw and Papaw before we get back into the traveling routine in earnest again. Please continue to pray for Joshua’s healthy development, and for Nikki’s recovery and the continued stabilization of her blood pressure.
We had a wonderful time at the annual mission conference of Grace Baptist Temple in Blackstone, VA. Many different aspects combined to make this a special and memorable time. Pastor Rhew, his family, and the kind church members made us feel so welcome and we appreciated the time we were able to spend with them. Additionally, we heard some good and challenging preaching. Every missionary family that participated in the conference was one that we have been in a conference previously, and we really enjoyed renewing our fellowship with the Galis, Rhoades, and Gates families. During the week, we had the opportunity to help out with the church’s visitation outreach and also get involved with their Scripture assembly ministry. All in all, it was a full and blessed week. We are now back in Chesapeake, where we plan to remain until the baby arrives. Please continue to pray for Nikki and the baby as the due date approaches very soon.
We had a blessed time this past weekend at Cross and Crown Baptist Church in Clarksville, TN. Pastor Caldwell and his family planted this church just 10 years ago, and they are now thriving in their own building. Due to their proximity to Fort Campbell, a major Army installation, there was a high percentage of military members in the church, making me feel right at home! Because of this, both the Sunday School time and morning service were live-streamed to Afghanistan via Skype by folks who have family members deployed over there. It’s amazing what is possible with technology, and we are looking forward to using the same methods to stay connected when we go over. Everyone was so friendly, and we spent much time answering questions about the work in Cambodia, including the entire evening service.
We are thankful now to be back at home base in Virginia. No more long trips are planned until after the baby’s arrival. Prayers are definitely appreciated for the health of Nikki and the baby.
The past few weeks have been filled up with some great church meetings and special times with friends and family. We kicked off with a week of revival at our home church, spent a weekend in Northern Virginia in a couple of churches, enjoyed a mission conference in South Carolina, and caught the last few days of the Independent Baptist Friends meeting at our alma mater. We have been in Georgia now for a couple of weeks and have been able to preach and share our work in churches throughout the state. We are now just a little over a month away from the baby’s due date, and have one last leg of our journey before we return to Virginia and prepare for his arrival. Please pray for God’s hand on us over this next week as we continue our travels. Also, please praise the Lord for several new supporting churches over the past few weeks – we have now hit the 75% mark! Below are a few pictures from our latest adventures.
Monday marked one year of full-time deputation for our family. It seems incredible that it has been that long in one sense, but in another it seems like so much time has elapsed since we left our secular jobs and started off on the road. It is interesting that the Bible rarely speaks to us about how to use our years, but often exhorts us regarding how we spend our days. “So teach us to number our days…” Psalm 90:12. This year of deputation has been made up of many days, many experiences, many challenges, and above all many proofs of God’s mercy and grace.
An example of one who used their days well for the Lord was our dear friend, Pastor Jeff Cox. Nikki has known the Cox family since college, and we spent a couple wonderful weeks with them last September around and during their mission conference. After an very unexpected and brief battle with cancer, this choice servant of the Lord went to be with his Lord on the 17th of this month. God graciously allowed us to be at the funeral to honor his memory and see the family. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15. Though it was a time of mourning and grief, it was amazing to consider how many lives this man had touched through his whole-hearted love and service to God. I personally was encouraged to greater dedication by Pastor Cox’s testimony. Thanks to all of you who have been praying and who will continue to pray for the Cox family as they face the challenges ahead.
Our favorite days so often are those we spend in conferences and special meetings with churches. Recently we spent a day with the fine folks of Emmaus Road Baptist Church, right here in Chesapeake. Last week we were up with Gateway Baptist Church in Rising Sun, MD for their mission conference. Pastor David Landers was one of the men who sat on the council that interviewed us for the mission agency and ordination. Once again, he and his wonderful wife were a huge encouragement to us. Another special treat was seeing one of Nikki’s college roommates, now on her way back to her home country of Burma to help with Bible translation there. So often we arrive at a church as strangers and leave feeling like family, and this was no exception. Praise God for days spent with Christian brothers and sisters!
We had another church take us on this week, bringing us almost to the 70% mark on our support! Let’s continue in prayer for the Lord’s work and seek to use each and every day for His glory.
Our mission conference last week at Wayside Baptist Church in Chesapeake was characterized by great fervor, in preaching and in prayer. Every conference is an encouragement to us, but the wonderful spirit at Wayside really gave us a spiritual boost. The people and pastor were very generous and kind to us as well. While there we also got to fellowship with our friends and fellow WWNTBM missionaries the Rhoades family. They are beginning deputation to the field of Guyana, and we thoroughly enjoyed spending some time with them. You can check them out online here.
This weekend found us making the trek to Savannah, GA for the Bible Baptist Church mission conference. This is Nikki’s sister and brother-in-laws home church, so not only did we enjoy the Southern hospitality of this church, but also got to babysit our twin nieces for a day! Besides the time with family, we were greatly blessed to meet many church members, present our ministry, and teach the young adult Sunday School class. Finally getting some warm weather was a nice plus, as well. We’ll be heading back up to Virginia for this upcoming weekend and are very excited about our next few meetings. Please pray that the Lord will raise up many more supporting churches between now and our baby’s due date in June. Also, please pray that God will open doors for us in a few more churches in the next few months, as we still have a some open dates.
Community Baptist Church is a fairly young church. Pastor Gary Ross was sent out by a local church to plant this work in the rural town of Surry, VA, just 9 years ago. Last week, we got to meet this wonderful group of believers at their annual missions conference. It is remarkable to see how God has blessed this church, and how they are now working to further the Gospel themselves. Outstanding preaching, sweet fellowship, and an amazing faith promise made this a week to remember! God has called us to be church-planters, and so seeing this young church thriving and serving the Lord was a huge encouragement to us.