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.
Thank you so much, dear friends, for praying. Isn’t it great to serve a God who hears and answers our prayers! We wanted to take a few minutes to share with you a few specific answers to your prayers that we’ve seen in the past two weeks.
Stove #3 is still working. Special thanks to our friends who gave us their old stove in our time of need!
Chester had been looking for the perfect trailer to use for hauling ministry tools for a few months. A bit over a week ago (the day we emailed asking for prayer for encouragement!) he found the right one, and in God’s perfect timing, a friend was going to Minnesota and would be driving right by the seller of the trailer. He agreed to pick it up for us, and Thursday evening we had a new trailer for ministry use!
We asked you to pray for our Suburban to run. Chester got it running, and we left in it on Friday afternoon to drive down to Texas. Less than three miles into the journey, it broke down again. We were grateful for being so close to home. After hobbling it home, we unpacked the suburban, packed it in to the trailer that God had provided just the day before, and set off again in our smaller Pathfinder. God’s timing was perfect, and the Pathfinder ran reliably for the entire trip, even though it was less roomy than the Suburban.
We asked you to pray for Rich the architect to get the time off work approved so that he and Chester could go to Kenya to meet the Kamau family and the site of the future camp and begin design work. We received word on Wednesday that Rich’s request for the time off was granted. So we are ready to purchase tickets for this trip! God has already provided the cost of the airline tickets. If you would like to contribute to other costs of the trip, donate here, or see our list of other ways to help here.
We asked you to pray for our spiritual encouragement and refreshment. The conference we attended was very much just that – a terrific time of being spiritually fed and refreshed. We renewed friendships, added new friendships, learned a ton and gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of scripture. What a terrific time! Even the kids very much enjoyed it and stayed engaged through the conference, that is fantastic at a conference on systematic theology oriented toward seminary graduates and those already in ministry.
Chester is leaving the family behind on a missions trip in early December. Going with him is Rich, who is also leaving a family behind. The families here would love some extra help in their absense! Here’s some ideas (add your own in the comments!):
Provide meals for the families at home
Help drive kids to/from school and events
Provide babysitting for Mom to have an evening off
Pick up groceries for the family when you buy your own
As the trip approaches, we’ll add to this list, and create a sign-up of ways to help out.
Friends – Would you mind praying for us today and this week? For the past few weeks now, we’ve felt spiritually attacked. It’s been comical (two broken stoves within a week), a bit painful (a broken tooth) and annoying (computers that don’t work right). It’s also been distracting (a project was delayed while we tried to fix stoves), and is starting to hinder our work (we tried to haul a load, and discovered that our trailer has two flat tires and of course, only one spare tire). Our patience is being tried(we’ve been trying to wait patiently for Rich’s boss to approve time off so that he and Chester can go to Kenya, but the approval keeps being delayed). And it’s starting to discourage us (after Chester spent an entire day working on the Suburban, it started backfiring).
This week, we are planning to leave for a week of visiting family and friends and getting some spiritual refreshment at the Grace Evangelical Society conference. It’s our version of a family vacation. The conference is an eleven-hour drive for us, and we want our vehicle to be in great shape to do it. Today, Chester plans to spend a portion of the day, in the freezing rain, troubleshooting and fixing whatever is causing the Suburban to backfire.
Would you please join us in praying:
For us to not be discouraged in our circumstances
For the Suburban to start working properly with very little additional time invested
For our health to stay good (we seem to be in a covid hotspot right now)
All the details of our upcoming trip to work out
Rich’s boss to allow his time off, and soon, so that we can purchase tickets for Chester and Rich to go to Kenya in six weeks.
And an additional prayer request: Our friends, the Shires, who serve in Southern France are in the process of buying a home. They have asked us to consider coming to help renovate so that they have sleeping quarters for all eight children as well as an office space to use for their work. Please pray for God to provide for them and to work out for us to help them if He would like us to.
We are glad for the opportunity to introduce you to some other missionaries with our agency (GlobalGrace Fellowship). Francis and Kim Kamau are missionaries in Nairobi, Kenya, serving impoverished children through Bible clubs and after-school activities. Their ministry, called Hope Anew, shares the hope that comes through God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Kamaus have a dream of extending their ministry to a camp outside Nairobi for kids to get out of the slum, see the beauty of God’s creation, and be introduced to Jesus and discipled in a focused environment. Nine acres of undeveloped land have been donated to this project, and God has provided a 1200 ft. well and pump on the land. This campground has been named Nasaru – a place of refuge.
Francis (everyone calls him “Kamau”) and Kim have asked us to prayerfully consider joining the ministry of the camp by developing a masterplan. Working with other industry professionals and the Kamaus we hope to develop clear plans for infrastructure such as electrical, water and waste systems, camp layout, building design, agricultural and animal management, security details, and whatever other things needed to help realize their vision without making costly mistakes in building location, inadequate structures or utilities.
Clearly this is a project bigger than just our family but God had already laid it on the heart of an architect to help and we have been talking with other professionals as well. We are moving ahead taking each step as God provides.
Based on God’s provision and initial leading, we are tentatively developing plans to send Chester and Rich Burton (the architect) for a survey trip in early December. This survey trip will allow us to meet the Kamaus in person, visit the campground, and visit possible sources for materials and construction equipment. A good survey starts with understanding the goals of the projects, the materials and methods which are commonly available and even the unexpected weather conditions which need to be taken into consideration. The survey data guides initial brainstorming but becomes essential reference material for the masterplan in determining which solutions fit best for the costs, the manpower, and the materials available.
Would you prayerfully consider partnering in this endeavor?
Here’s a few ideas of ways to get involved:
join the research team to help find solutions or resources
join our prayer team (we’ll send out a daily prayer requests near and during the trip)
help support the families staying home (provide a meal or a babysitter, or drive kids to school). We very much believe that the whole family is part of the team so we want to make sure that they are supported as well.