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.
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.
February is the start of the spring “mission conference season”. We have certainly started it off full speed, with several conferences back-to-back. A special blessing is the fact that almost all of our spring conferences are in or near our home area of coastal Virginia.
Maranatha Baptist in Yorktown, VA is an extremely missions-minded church. Missions Conference is obviously the highlight of their year, and we were greatly privileged to participate in it. We taught and presented our ministry, while also taking part in some fun activities, like the North vs. South penny offering and a very tasty BBQ cook-off. We were blown away by the generosity of this church and the kindness of Pastor Coffey, the staff, and friendly members there.
Another great conference began last Wednesday in Elizabeth City, NC, just over an hour south of our home base in Suffolk, VA. Pastor Pease and the people of Faith Baptist Church were so friendly and welcoming to us, we felt like we were part of the family there. Once again, we had the opportunity to testify of the Lord’s goodness in our lives, share our burden for Cambodia, preach, and teach some of the young people. Time out on visitation and wonderful fellowship with our kind hosts, fellow missionaries, and church members rounded out a full and exciting week. We are fired up to begin yet another local conference this Wednesday!
On our way back from Elizabeth City, we passed another milestone – our Altima now has over 200,000 miles on it! More than 30,000 of those have been since we began deputation 11 months ago, so we’re working it pretty hard. Please keep our vehicle in your prayers – we believe the Lord has His protective hand on it. Also, thanks to Maranatha Baptist Church we were able to make some much needed repairs, so it’s running like a champ. God is good, and serving Him is an honor. He has truly cared for all our needs, and we praise Him.