Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tickets to Africa

First Published on March 9, 2017

The last you heard from us in the form of a newsletter, we were headed to Brazil on a survey trip. That was in the spring of 2015.  

You were praying with us about a possible return to southern Brazil, where we have lived and worked and hoped to return. We visited our friends and former mission team members, considering the job of overseeing a developing halfway house ministry. We took Jonah with us, and while it was a good trip for all three of us—and for the other two who got to spend some quality time with family in Colorado—it was clearly not something God was calling us to. We continue to pray for the success of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are currently involved in that particular ministry in Porto Alegre but are confirmed that we are not to be physically present in the work. 

Since that trip, we have been investing our energy and resources into The Gem, the non-profit recreation center we run on behalf of the community in Springtown, Texas. We've been working here for five years and have watched it develop into a vibrant community center, offering safe, family-friendly programming that brings people into community with one another and offers Bible studies to those interested in knowing and understanding God and His purpose for our lives more. We have taken this charge very seriously and have even moved into the facility to keep it open when it wasn’t producing enough revenue to pay the bills. 

Now we find ourselves struggling financially to keep this place up and running but see its potential being realized day by day. For instance, we appreciate the board of directors for their recent decision to step down in a gesture that would allow others with fresh vision and energy to assume the direction of The Gem. We’re asking God to raise up individuals to step into the necessary roles to make that happen, and we continually ask Him to make it clear to us what our particular jobs should be.

That being said, we recently received an invitation to participate in a mission to Africa. This happens to be the same opportunity that was presented to us a couple of years ago when we turned it down to pursue the halfway house ministry in Brazil. Another family who had been praying with us about both opportunities ended up moving to Malawi, Africa to work in a medical clinic. We felt that both invitations had been revoked and we were confirmed that we should simply stay put and work at The Gem.

The new invitation is coming from a family in Malawi who digs wells for villages that have no running water. They have been there for twelve years and are moving back to the States in June. We are intrigued at God’s timing to transfer The Gem into our charge at the same time we are being invited to assume the role of well-digging evangelist in Africa. We hope this means that God wants The Gem to partner with a foreign mission, because we are aware of the great need in the world and would like to think that what our community has created here could contribute.

We have taken the next logical step, and John bought tickets to go see the need and how our ministry here might help to fulfill it. We’ve never felt that God wanted The Gem to be just another church in this city, but we have asked for Him to make it more than just a recreation center. We ask you to join us in praying for the miracle it would take to cause these two ministries to work together, if that is indeed what should happen here. We are completely open to whatever God wills but know we cannot face this challenge alone. What can you do to help? Please pray for certain. Also, we just bought very expensive plane tickets to Africa and will need traveling cash on top of that. Any financial gift you would like to send to our non-profit organization at The Gem will be directed towards the trip.

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