Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jewells at the Gem

Much of what we did in Florida centered around the YMCA. We made friends, exercised and played there. Three of the people we baptized were folks we met there. So when we moved to Texas one of the first things we did was seek out the local branch. The closest one is pretty far from our house, but someone told us about this place.
We stopped by for a tour and, as we heard the history of The Gem, felt God may have wanted us there for more than just exercise. The Gem opened its doors a year ago when a church in Fort Worth lost their parking lot to development. They sold the building and moved out here to the country where they found a big recreational center for sale. Instead of moving right in as another church, they first asked the chamber of commerce what the community needed. They wanted a rec center to replace the one that had closed. So the church bought some exercise equipment and renovated the building. Then they got a logo and opened their doors as The Gem. 

The church family that used to meet in Fort Worth now meets in the auditorium of The Gem on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Many of them have left because they either don't want to make the drive or they simply don't share the same vision of the pioneering elders--a vision that recognizes this city as a mission field. One of the most involved families has told us they prayed for other like-minded Christians and they believe God brought us here to partner with them in some way. We believe it too.

After some discussion, we found out they've been planning to launch an after school program but haven't had the manpower. We weren't particularly eager to sign up because we came here expecting to start a homeschool PE program like the one John worked with in Florida. In fact, we were busy preparing for the big homeschool conference where we would advertise the program and register families for the fall semester, when John received a phone call saying the conference had been cancelled. One of The Gem founders happened to be sitting in our living room when we got the news. It was the first time in seventeen years that the conference wouldn't run and we took that as a sign to open our eyes to what God might be trying to show us. Prayer and discussion on the subject have generated a sort of hybrid idea between the after school care The Gem had in mind and the homeschool athletics program we had in mind. You can read about it on the web site by clicking the logo:
It's a non-profit organization, and we plan to begin sessions in January. As I said in my last post we are still missionaries and our ulimate goal is to introduce people to Jesus. We also hope to be a resource for parents struggling to raise children in these tough times and we need your donations to keep the costs low. We don't want to exclude low-income families. They already can't afford extracurricular sports and activities. We have a 501c3 and all monetary gifts are tax deductible. Thanks to those of you who already support our ministry. If anyone else wishes to make a one-time donation or a monthly pledge, simply let us know. Our family, the community, and the Kingdom would greatly appreciate it.


  1. Let me know what I can do to help. You did not tell folks where to send money. They would do that even if they may not want to call. If you have a PayPal account, that makes it handy too to put on plastic.

  2. Thanks, Mike. We do have a personal Paypal account but should probably create an account for the nonprofit organization too.

  3. I love the idea of JAWS! You guys are very creative. Thanks for your servant spirit.

  4. Sounds great! Praying for JAWS!