240 Years and Going Strong!

Don’t ask how I did it, but somehow I scheduled us to be in Texas a week and a half after we were in Pennsylvania (It was not originally supposed to go that way). But it’s actually worked out very well for us inasmuch as one of the churches we were in yesterday has already voted to take us on, and the pastor in the other one told me he’d been praying for a missionary to South America!

“I prayed and prayed, and nobody called. I had about given up and on a Friday, I told the Lord, ‘If you want one, you’ll have to bring them to us.’ And the very next day, you called me.” This story reveals to me that God answers prayer even when we don’t see the answer forthcoming, and He does have our support out there as long as we are faithful to pursue it.

Before we came to Texas, we managed to stop into our home in Georgia and present the ministry to a sweet church in South Carolina. The pastor there has undergone some serious health problems because of a fall at work, but it was an encouragement to see his still trusting God through it all.

Yesterday in Texas, we were invited to eat at the pastor’s house for lunch. When we pulled up, lo and behold, there were goats in his backyard! Those of you who saw our April video know that I really like goats because, for whatever reason, they crack me up.

It’s the little things in life.

Finally, I’m so excited to say that our home church, Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church, celebrated its 240th birthday yesterday. What a blessing to see what God has done down through the years in the church in which I grew up! The work that men and women in the 1700’s were faithful to begin is still going strong today.

Perhaps the man who started the church never could have imagined that it would have a far-reaching impact throughout the world, but every missionary sent out of Buffalo Ridge somehow connects back to him and that original congregation. Someday, Lord willing, many Chileans will hear the gospel because this man was faithful to fulfill the call of God on his life 240 years ago.

Stay faithful to God, my brothers and sisters. We never know who will still be reaping the rewards centuries from now.

Eternal Dreams

I would have sent this update earlier but we were in the car most of the day heading home to Georgia from Colonial Heights, Virginia. We just finished a wonderful week in Pennsylvania and Virginia in three churches, all of which we thoroughly enjoyed. We always have such a good time and certainly hope to return to all of these churches at some point in the future.

On the way to church Sunday morning, we passed through Washington, D.C., and saw the Capitol building. This was a very neat experience because I’d only seen it once before and Leslie had never seen it.

But it reminded me of something. It reminded me of the dreams I used to have for myself, dreams of entering the political world and one day becoming the President of the United States. I’m so thankful God changed those dreams to put something much more eternal in my heart.

Perhaps God is working in your heart about the things of eternity, and I urge you to let Him use your life in whatever way He sees fit. It may be to be a sender here in the States, or it may be to be a missionary overseas. Either way, the life He has set forward for us is much more fulfilling and rewarding than the life we could ever design for ourselves.

And we certainly love the life He’s given us. Thank you all for your support and kindness to us as we’ve visited your church. We can’t express the love God has given us for our Christian brothers and sisters that we have met. One thing that thrills our heart when a church partners with us for support is knowing that we will get to see those brothers and sisters there again in the future, if the Lord allows.

To me, that beats working on Capitol Hill any day.

To the North (Again!)

“I have to teach about Isobel Kuhn, whoever that is.” Leslie looked at me for at least some kind of hint.

I had read Kuhn’s book By Searching a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. “She was this missionary somewhere,” I said, not really remembering exactly where. “You should read her book; it’s great.”

Thus began Leslie’s first experience teaching the young ladies at the Our Generation Training Center. As it turns out, she did do her research on Isobel Kuhn and worked hard putting together a good lesson. I can’t wait to hear her do it someday in Spanish!

This past Wednesday, we presented the ministry to Chile in Easley, South Carolina (We’ve been to that area several times lately and are becoming Pickens/Easley/Six Mile regulars). Then, on Friday morning, we embarked on the journey from Georgia to Maryland at 6 AM and made it just in time to share dinner with a pastor and his family (whom we grew to love) that evening. We have thoroughly enjoyed the couple of times we’ve been up North. God has been blessing our travels and giving us safety on the road. We will be in Pennsylvania for another week and we are excited to see which of our brothers and sisters in Christ God will allow us to meet next.

However, while we love what we get to do, our ultimate goal is to see Chile and the world reached with the gospel. Would you consider partnering with us so that we can get to the field quickly?

Pictured below: God allows us to see the most beautiful things as we travel around America presenting the ministry to Chile.

Thank you to all who have been so kind to us. We’ve loved those we’ve met and can’t wait to meet those we haven’t. Until next time!

Our First Marriage Retreat

This month we attended the first of what we hope will be many marriage retreats over the course of our lifetime. In years gone by, I’ve watched everybody else go to these, and it was nice to finally be able to participate in one of them together. We learned so many invaluable things that we are sure will help our marriage going forward.

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The retreat ended on Saturday and we somehow found ourselves in Pennsylvania the next day for a couple of meetings (It was quite a drive to get there, but we made it!). I’ve only been to Pennsylvania one other time that I remember, when I was a young boy, so it was neat to go back as an adult and to be so close to the memorials of our nation’s founding. It was especially great, however, to meet our brothers and sisters in Christ who are serving Him several hours away, and who treated us with such great kindness.

From Alabama, to Georgia, to North Carolina, to South Carolina, to Pennsylvania, to Tennessee, to Virginia-this month has been packed. We’re getting into a season of our lives right now where we’re not able to come home as often, but we’re excited about that because it means we’re out making our way closer and closer to Chile! God has been so good to keep our cars running and providing everything we need. Please continue to pray that we will be a witness everywhere we go and that God will use us on deputation to bring glory to His name.

 

In Which We Go to Texas

“What are you doing to grow right now?” This question was asked to all of us at the Vision Baptist Missions Orientation, which was held at the Wild’s Christian Camp midway through the month. Orientation is a special time to come apart and be with all of our other missionary friends at Vision, and it was truly a refreshing and encouraging time for the two of us midway through the month of May. This question really hit home because it’s so easy to get caught up in getting to Chile that it’s easy to overlook how we could be growing and being used of God even now, on deputation. He has us right where He wants us, and we are truly loving it.

Orientation was barely over before we found ourselves in our little Honda Accord headed to Texas.

What an exciting trip that was! I whooped in excitement as we crossed the Texas line. For those who have never been to Texas, let me just say: You can actually feel the freedom when you cross the state line. I just love it. It was great to spend a week there with a supporting church, as well as to present the ministry to Chile in another church.

On top of gaining several new supporters, we also received various blessings from individuals who wanted to give in many different ways. Any time we seem unsure how God’s going to handle a need that arises, He always comes through on our behalf. One thing we are learning through the process of deputation is that God will truly take care of His children. It may not be how we envisioned (Actually, it rarely is), but we can truly say, as did the psalmist, that the Lord is our shepherd, and we shall not want.

Please pray that God will continue to use us on deputation to bring glory to Him and to see souls saved even as we travel. Pray that He will provide our needed support to leave for Chile as soon as possible.

God bless each and every one of you!

From Goats to Printing Presses to…

“And how can a person be saved?” I asked.

“By baptism?”

It was a Tuesday night, and I was having a Bible study with a group of men in the local jail. Every first and fourth Tuesday night of the month, a group of us go there and minister to the men and women behind bars (This is assuming we’re in town and not traveling somewhere!). Over time, I’ve gotten to make some friends with the men in the pod I’m in. Laurino is one of those men.

“No,” I explained, and began to show him Bible verses about salvation. It was an exciting thing as he began to underline those verses, following along with me, wanting to know the truth. I pray one day he comes to know the Savior. And I can’t wait to get to show people in Chile these same truths!

God is truly blessing our travels and we are having a wonderful time. This month, we were able to return to our home church, Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church, for a couple of days of their missions conference. We’re on the road all the time, so it was nice to have one last opportunity to be there for a while. We also visited several new churches and even saw a Bible printing ministry in one of them!

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This coming month, we’re taking our biggest trip yet as we head to Texas! We can’t wait to be there and fellowship with God’s people. The Lord is showing Himself strong on our behalf, providing support and filling our calendar with meetings. It’s amazing to watch Him work.

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It was pretty hilarious to see a herd of escaped goats at one church. They were so excited!

Please continue to pray for us, that we may reach the needed support to get to the field. We hope to leave at some point next year. Please also pray for Laurino and the others in jail, that they may come to know our Savior.

That would be incredible.

What a Month!

We serve such a good God, and it was revealed to us in multiple ways this month on deputation. He blessed tremendously and showed His power to us more than we ever thought possible. Whenever a financial need arose, He was already meeting it beforehand through His willing servants. Though we traveled into the thousands of miles, He protected us all the way. Truly we can say that our God shall supply all our need and is so kind to us.

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God is blessing with new support!
March started off with a bang, as the first Sunday night the church we were in voted to take us on in the service!

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We also went to our first missions conference together (followed by two more back-to-back), and we absolutely loved it. We’ve already received word from one of those conferences that they voted to partner with us in the ministry. While at our first conference, we received a phone call from a church I was in last year that they wanted to be involved in our ministry financially as well. Then, the month ended as well as it began, with another church voting during the service to begin supporting us!

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Please continue to pray…
1. For safety as we travel
2. For God to provide the support we need to reach Chile as soon as possible
3. That we may be a witness to all around us as we go, and that God will divinely place us where He wants us at just the right time

 

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We met a man from Chile who came to America at a young age. I was able to speak a little bit of Chilean Spanish with him!

 

Now the Table Can Match the Couple

If you’ve been keeping up with us for any length of time, you know that we got married a little over two months ago. What you may not know is that we’ve struggled to get our pictures done together so that we could have our prayer cards printed and our tabletop display designed.

First, before the wedding, the person who was going to do our photos had a major issue come up at his house that prevented his being able to get together with us. Then, we planned another day, only to be rained out (torrentially, I might add). But, finally, a couple of weeks ago, we were able to all get together and get them done.

So they came in the mail this past week! Now, when we go to churches, our display table presents both of us.

And we’re so excited that the table now matches the couple.

We Absolutely Love What We Get To Do

It’s somewhat hard to describe deputation to somebody who’s never done it, but I think I finally figured out what it’s most like. It’s like having thousands of brothers and sisters out there somewhere that you’ve never met. And every week, you go meet several new ones. You never know what they’re going to be like, but you know one thing: You have the same Savior, Jesus Christ, and because of that you’re going to love each other.

That’s deputation. It’s going every single week and getting the thrill of meeting hundreds and thousands of new brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s walking into a church not knowing anybody and leaving feeling like you’ve known these people all your life. It’s making friends that will certainly be a part of your life for years to come.

It’s being a blessing and being blessed.

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Pastor and Mrs. Harvey from Christian Baptist Church. They were such a blessing!

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What a fun time we had with our friends at Lawsonville Road Baptist Church for their Missions Month!

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This was waiting for us in our hotel room this past Sunday. It’s incredible that our brothers and sisters give of their time and money to be a blessing to us!

After her first day of deputation, Leslie said, “I love this. This is awesome!” And it really is.

The members of New Life Independent Baptist Church praying for a tent revival they’re going to have.

Sometimes God gives us beautiful sunsets.

Other times we end up at a church out in a country area, bringing us both back to our roots before heading back to the city.

And then occasionally we end up speaking Spanish, which is always fun!

We can honestly say we love what we get to do, and we never knew how much fun it would be. God is so good to allow us to enjoy the journey so much. I pray we enjoy it every step of the way.

Accepted as a Missionary to Chile

“You’re not coming back to Chile, are you?” Lori Holt asked sometime last December or so, disappointment and even sadness in her voice. I don’t know why she said this. Possibly because I was very noncommittal and I’d talked to Jason as if I were going elsewhere. Whatever her reasons, she apparently thought I wasn’t.

“I don’t know,” I said, kind of laughing. And that was the truth. I had no idea.

Early on, I really wasn’t sure. I was trying to follow the Lord’s leading and see where He wanted me to go. But somewhere around December and January, something changed. I don’t know if that was the point that my family in Chile became real to me and I felt as if I were one of them, or what it was. But I just knew. I knew there was no way I wasn’t coming back to Chile full-time.

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In seeking the Lord’s guidance, I had it narrowed down to Bolivia, Paraguay, and Chile. I eventually got it down to Paraguay and Chile, but by the time I went to Paraguay, even though I went through the motions and learned much about the country, I already knew. Deep down, I just knew.

It’s kind of a crazy thing. I surrendered to preach the gospel and knew God wanted me in full-time missions in 2011, but I went all this time without really knowing where I would end up, only knowing that it would be to a Spanish-speaking nation.

I was always curious how I was supposed to pick a country. How was I supposed to know?

Would I see some video of a country that would really touch my heart?

Would I go somewhere and come away with a burden for it?

I was never sure. But now, I know. I finally know that Chile is going to be home for me. And it was nothing mystic or haphazard. It was just the gradual leading of the Lord in my life to this point until I just knew and had His peace in my heart about it.

The Holts, the Sparks, the other missionaries, Mauricio and Lorena, John and Cote, Pancho and Connie, Jorge and Cristina, Mirko and Gisella, Yajairo and Pancha, and on and on and on-These are the people I want to grow old with, to work with until we die or the Lord moves us elsewhere. This is my new family, and I can’t believe God is letting me go through life with such incredible people.

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I can’t wait to get back.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go now to do some things to try return to Chile.

Or, as I can now call it…

Home.