Thank you for praying for our car situation, and for the discouragement that it caused us! God has supplied a replacement vehicle for our family and ministry – and it’s already in use.
Lord willing, this coming week we will be departing on an extended road trip to attend a conference and visit friends, family, supporters and churches. Will we be near you? (see map below) If so, we’d love to meet up for coffee, lunch or dinner. If you are really crazy (like us), let’s flip some pancakes for breakfast or have a dessert with your Bible study group or a few friends from your church! Emailing us right away (or use the form on our “Keep in touch” page) will increase the likelihood that we can figure out a time that works!
A week ago, our family had the opportunity to serve for a long weekend at Glad Tidings Bible Camp. They are celebrating their 65th anniversary as a camp this year, and the theme for the summer is 65! Stories of God’s Awesome Deeds. We had a great time serving, and were reminded that time spent considering and remembering God’s Awesome Deeds is time well spent.
An update on the cars: We asked you to pray for us to trust God and act with wisdom. We decided to replace both our non-functional family/ministry vehicles with one that we hope will serve us for at least a few years, and are currently car shopping!
This weekend at camp reminded us to recognize God’s perfect timing in our current situation. Just before our Pathfinder’s transmission problems became serious, we had bought a second Prius. This means that we can still go anywhere we want as a family – we just need two drivers. And we have four drivers (with a fifth one in training – when did we get this old?), so having a second driver isn’t difficult!
We have found the two-driver scenario quite workable, and were even able to go out to Glad Tidings Bible camp to serve with the two Priuses (what’s the plural of Prius anyway?). Still, we’re car shopping so that further-away projects as a family are possible in one car, and because we often need to haul tools to a project. Pulling a loaded trailer is just a bit much for a Prius.
Thank you for your prayers and for taking the time to encourage us!
We’d love to hear some of God’s awesome deeds, small or big, from your life – please share!
Vehicles play a huge role in our ministry. In our first year of Projects 4 Missions we drove almost 40k miles. Even with the effects of Covid, we drive quite a lot. We recently evaluated our vehicle usage and decided to reduce costs and increase our flexibility in service by buying two new-to-us vehicles: an older Prius (40+ mpg makes a real difference), and used cargo trailer that will replace our portable work shed.
In the Prius we can pack a few kids and a few tools and quickly serve a nearby project. The trailer will allow us to run work parties of any size, and significantly reduce the labor necessary to prepare for work parties while also providing storage space for tools and supplies. We expect both of these to have a major impact on our ability to respond quickly.
However, these encouragements have been accompanied by two car “issues”, and we would like to ask for your prayers (and advice, should you choose to give it) in this respect.
First, it was our intention that the extra Prius would replace our family car (Nissan pathfinder) as the pathfinder does not match our usage and costs more to drive. The selling would replenish our savings account from purchasing the Prius and the cargo trailer. However, the Pathfinder recently developed transmission problems which should not be ignored. We ask for wisdom in choosing whether to sell it “as is” or to repair it before selling.
Second, we have a Suburban that is our primary ministry “hauling and projects” vehicle. It’s been sitting idle for the winter, waiting for a thaw to perform needed repairs. We started on these repairs last week and are experiencing some real frustrations (some are almost comical: fuel spraying out of electrical connectors, rebuilt parts arriving with the wrong pieces, and driving all over Omaha chasing a $3 o-ring). To simply get it back to running, we need to repair a fuel issue that causes the engine to stall. Beyond that, it needs suspension work and steering repairs. And with it’s age, there’s likely some rusted lines and other work that will show up in the process. We see this type of vehicle as essential to our ministry, and we need wisdom to decide whether to continue to invest in this particular Suburban or to sell it off. And if we do sell it, we need both wisdom on what to replace it with, and prayer for an amazing deal on a suitable replacement.
We know that God meets our needs and that we can trust Him in this. At the moment, we’re asking you to pray that we trust Him even more fully as we anticipate both His wisdom and His providence.
A little over three years ago, God led us to change course. We had been pursuing a goal of serving in missions by working toward a mechanical engineering degree to use in this service. After much prayer, we set aside the pursuit of the degree to jump into service with the skills we already have. God confirmed this decision in sending us to France on short notice, to help fellow servants in restoration of a building they had purchased for ministry.
This is how Projects 4 Missions began.
Our first project was working with the Van der Veer family doing renovation work on an old elementary school in southern France. This renovation project continues but is now being used to provide housing for others who also serve God in the same area, and when finished will be able to be used for housing as well as meetings and conference rooms. Working on the project was a blast for us, and we were genuinely encouraged by our host family, the Van der Veers and their heart to serve. We worshipped with a small English-speaking church in the area (called Simply Church) and loved the fellowship and opportunity to be part of their community.
The building we worked on, called Maison de la Plume, currently houses two families (a total of 15 people!) who serve God full time by reaching out to those in the area. God has used these two families as bright shining lights to many, and we are pleased to have had a small hand in serving their ministry.
Currently the Van der Veers and Simply Church are building a new church home for Simply Church to use on the Elementary school property! We wanted to highlight their ministry and share with you a few pictures and their current prayer requests.
The main prayer request from the Van der Veers is that God would send skilled workers to help with with ongoing renovation. They have been working on this project with their own funding and as much time as they can without going broke. Not only are they constructing a building for Simply Church, they are continuing to renovate indoors (currently plastering bedrooms), and outdoors (currently building a pool, installing solar panels, and landscaping the school yard).
Please pray with us that God would send workers and encouragement their way. We would love to be among those God sends to serve and encourage these faithful servants of His, and are praying that God will see fit for us to return and continue to serve in 2021. Even better – we would love to take a team of YOU along. Contact us if you’d be interested in joining!
Thank you for joining in the work of Projects 4 Missions, and in the ministry of these families in France through your prayers and donations.
Another way to help
There are four tools that the Van der Veers need to purchase to continue their work:
A hammer/drill ( €150 to €200)
A concrete vibrating tool (€250 to €300)
A heavy duty jackhammer (€100 to €150)
A laser (which is pricier)
We’d love your help in sending them funding for these tools. You can donate online here, and it goes directly to them (Choose missionaries, then “Van der Veer, Stefan & Rochelle”).
It feels a bit presumptious to even try to predict what this year will hold, to be honest. This year in particular it feels like we know so very little, but we do have a responsibility to not sit around awaiting an engraved invitation. God knows the good plans He has for each of us, and our job is to be in the process of learning and following in the areas where there is clarity.
What we are sharing with you is an active step of faith, laying our ideas and plans before God and asking Him to guide and bless. We trust Him to open or close doors in accordance with His knowledge, and timing. We would also appreciate your input, thoughts and advice!
We’ll intersperse these plans with a few pictures of special times over Christmas, just for fun.
The Spring: With fresh lockdowns and uncertainty circulating, it seems likely to us that we’ll spend most of the remaining winter and spring in the Omaha area. We have been working with engineers and the missionary in Kenya to develop a plan for the construction of Camp Nasaru, and will continue that. Additionally, we have a lineup of repairs and maintenance at our home, shop and cars, and expect to help out local missionaries and ministries wherever there is opportunity. We’ll keep you posted with local projects – we’d love to have you join us!
The Summer: We expect to spend a good chunk of the summer helping out with one or more Bible camps. You know how much we love camping ministry!
By late summer, we are hoping that sufficient vaccines will have been disbursed or perhaps the political and national sanity level may have stabilized sufficient to allow the resumption of normal travel. There are several interesting project possibilities. Because of our ability to work remotely, We believe that with a little creativity we might be able to include several projects into a single extended trip. . First, we are hoping that construction might be beginning on Camp Nasaru in Kenya. We would love to visit there, provide some training and and work alongside them on the camp construction. Second, Kenya is next door to Uganda which is where Chester’s sister and husband are serving on a site with farming & medical ministry, doing pastoral training. If we are “in the area”, we would like to visit and lend a hand. Third, two seperate bondservants of Christ in France are involved in building or renovation projects. Fourth, there are Christian camps in France and England which are working on buildings, repairs or renovations. We love clear, strong grace evangelism, encouragement to discipleship, and we love projects. So camps are a natural fit.
We don’t really know how these pieces might fit together, but believe that it’s right to move forward – that’s how great things get done.
In addition to these larger items there are several smaller projects we expect to be involved in: Grace Bible Church is building out a space for a church home, and we’d like to help wherever we can. We hope to attend the Grace Evangelical Society conference in Texas. We’d like to join in working with the Tecate Mexico missions trip. We hope to lend out a baby whisperer or two to friends in Virginia, and hope to do some more Pancakes 4 Missions events.
In all these things we are so grateful that God has always provided not only for our needs, but for each ministry project we’ve served in. Thank you for your partnership in this ministry, we feel blessed to be able to serve with you in this way! This year we would like to increase our monthly donations closer to our normal budget so that we can effectively plan and be responsive to missionaries’ needs. Would you pray about joining our team as a monthly donor? We would love to talk with you, share stories together of the great things God has done and answer any questions you might have.
It’s been a year to have priorities clarified through adversity, hasn’t it? We’re grateful for the year that God provided, and wanted to take a minute to thank you for being part of it.
Thank you for praying, giving and serving with us through the year! We are grateful that even though travel was restricted, we could be active in serving missionaries and ministries. We counted 27 ministries and families that either we served or distinctly served us this year! Many of you joined in the work with us, blessing missionaries and ministries (and us) with their work and fellowship. See the Projects 4 Missions annual report for additonal information on our year, financial numbers and both praises and prayer requests.
Thank you for praying with us as Chester and our friend Rich went to Kenya to meet the Kamau family, who are missionaries there and wanting to start a camp. They have safely returned, recovered back into the midwest USA timezone, and are currently working with the Kamaus and engineers in Kenya to plan the camp!
Thank you for your friendship through the year. If we have your physical mailing address, you should have gotten a Christmas card from us with a family Christmas letter. You can read that online too.
Next week, look for an email with some of our thoughts on the year to come, and guesses as to what God might have in store for us and Projects 4 Missions in 2021.
If you’d like to make a year-end gift, now is the time to do so, and here is the link.
Dear Friends, When I (Chester) was a tad bit younger I served in the US Navy. I visited many ports in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and loved most of it. The beauty of God’s creation is staggering and it truly stirs your heart to praise.
However, the most moving of times was those days returning from deployment, standing at parade rest along the ship rail and as the morning fog lifted you could just see the outlines of your own home shore. As you chugged into the harbor the fog would continue to lift and the details would become clearer. Finally, when the tugs have gone and the ship is docked, the Captain would give the call “Liberty Call, Liberty Call for all non-essential personnel. Welcome Home and God Bless America”. The moment you hold for a lifetime though is sharing the joy of families reunited with their beloved. Even writing this narrative stirs my emotions.
This last week we had the joy of welcoming Moriah back home from her service with Matt and Noelle Harris. We are very proud of Moriah for choosing to give of herself to serve during Noelle’s recovery from c-section. Matt and Noelle returned from serving in Uganda to have this latest addition (Charlotte), and connect with their supporters for a few months. Moriah helped them tend the kids and the housework as they scooted around Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska for the last weeks. I do not know if Moriah’s experience in returning home was like mine but what we want to say publicly is “Welcome home. Well done”. I want to engage your mind for just a moment and imagine a colossal homecoming that has been waiting for thousands of years. If you have been up on recent news in the world it may occur to you that perhaps that homecoming is closer now than ever. When Jesus returns there will be a performance review for believers, those who have received the free gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus. I get so excited about this return because God has said those whose performance excels will receive a hero’s welcome.A hero’s welcome, for me? Is it really possible? Absolutely yes. God wants you to succeed in your spiritual life and has made significant promises which you can trust. Because of this God wants you to add some things to your faith so that your faith will mature and be productive. Read more about this in 2 Peter 1:3-12 but I quote from the Berean Study Bible. “Therefore, brothers, strive to make your calling and election (commission) sure. For if you practice these things you will never stumble, and you will receive a lavish reception into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
I love it! A lavish reception. Yes, for those who have believed Jesus for everlasting life we can also believe Him to bring through life well. Do not be discouraged. Jude 1:24 says it so well. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
I pray for you, that one day you will have the joy of being welcomed to our forever home with a truly lavish reception and these words “Welcome home. Well done my good and faithful servant”.
Thanks for praying for Chester and Rich as they go to Kenya! We know that God answers prayer!
As Chester and Rich start to pack, and Susan and I (Amy) start to plan out how we’re going to survive without them, we have a couple of big prayer requests to share:
Chester and Rich must have negative covid tests before entering Kenya. Both will be tested in the next couple of days. Pray that they are negative, and that the results are readily accepted in Kenya with no troubles at the border.
Pray for all of us to keep our eyes on Christ – it’s easy to get caught up in all there is to get done, and all the possible perils. We need to be spiritually present, taking the time to spend time in prayer and in God’s word, and renewing our mind rather than giving in to worries.
Pray for all the little details to come together. We’re noticing spiritual warfare in a few ways – namely appliances and cars breaking (specifically at Rich and Susan’s). This seems normal for the days leading up to a time of being “deployed”, but please pray for our protection in these details too!
We’ll keep adding prayer requests – maybe as often as every day. Thank you for joining us in prayer!
This time of year often gets cluttered with piles of mailings from non-profits who would never write at another time of year. In recognition of “Giving Tuesday” we wanted to send you a note from a friend and ministry partner.
No doubt you already know and feel that this last year has had a few too many surprises and unexpected turns. We have been praying for you all in what we know has been some very trying times. We all need the encouragement of fellowship so let’s work to stay connected in whatever ways we can. Please feel free to call or email if you ever need someone to talk or pray with.
As we work on an end of year report for Projects 4 Missions we want to express to you how incredibly humbled we are to have you partner with us. Of the hundreds of ways you could spend or invest your money you have chosen to sacrificially give toward this ministry and God has blessed that work.
We are glad to share with you that our basic monthly costs, which consist of a small stipend to cover project consumables, tool repairs and administration, are now being covered by regular monthly giving. It may not seem like a big milestone but to us it is huge. We continue to work toward building our regular monthly support level (which is nearing 30%) but we are confident that as we continue to be faithful to serve where God guides that He will take care of those needs. We are very thankful for God’s provision through your partnership.
With all the craziness in the world it is important to recall the faithfulness and constancy of our God. From the infancy of this ministry when it was just us giving a helping hand to missionaries as best as we could, up to today, we have never lacked the essentials for what God wanted us to do. God’s faithfulness goes well beyond just having money for a project. We do not have the time or space here to recount even a portion of the ways God has taken care of us. However, I regularly reflect on things like: wheels not falling off trailers, many thousands of dollars worth of donated equipment, and specific answers to prayer. But there is so much more. All these speak highly of our God and we honor Him.
On this “Giving Tuesday” we would encourage you in this way: First, not all giving is money. When you are serious in prayer, or send a personal letter to a missionary or lend a hand to a project in person, you are giving a piece of yourself and investing in eternity. What and where can you give of yourself for God’s purposes?
Secondly, Give to God. He deserves respect, honor and a place of significance. Your mouth and life are the means to give something special and meaningful to God. Hebrews 13:15 says to offer up to God a sacrifice of praise. Colossians 4:2 encourages us to devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 reminds us to rejoice, to pray and to give thanks in all circumstances. Let’s do that!
Finally, Give on purpose to a greater purpose. Be faithful in supporting your Church. This is right and appropriate. Also consider supporting a missionary whose focus is sharing or teaching the gospel. If you do not already know such people then talk to us, we would love to introduce you to several people who are on the frontlines. Developing such a relationship via phone calls and visits will definitely push your faith into a more active place. (2 Cor 9:10-11)
Thank you again for your partnership in prayer, in relationship, in participation and financially. We are very thankful for you.
If you are not already receiving regular emails and other stuff from Projects 4 Missions we invite you to sign up here.
If God moves you to make a special year end gift or monthly donation toward this ministry, you can use this link here, or click the donate button below.
We’re two weeks away from Chester and Rich flying to Kenya to meet the Kamau family and get aquainted with their ministry – Hope Anew Kenya. Both Chester and Rich have now have the required immunizations, and we’re praising God that Rich’s passport arrived today, so now they also both have the necessary travel papers!
The schedule of their trip includes traveling out to tour the camp site (above), meeting local architects, engineers and builders, visiting building supply stores and touring other camps in the area. We’re excited about this opportunity and the way God has opened doors each step of the way so far.
Would you join us in praying for this trip? We hope to email out daily (or nearly daily) short prayer requests and praises starting a few days before the trip. If you’d like to receive these updates to pray for us, please sign up below to pray for us.