Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are posting this information here so that those who might not have heard can be informed or join the team. We are in need of prayer warriors, food makers and people to join. This is the email we just sent out to the people who have expressed interest in the project.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for expressing an interest in being involved in the Glad Tidings Bible Camp kitchen/washroom upgrade project.

This project started with many conversations about staff training, efficiency, standardizing equipment, dealing with bugs and other things. One day I was trolling auctions and found some great deals on commercial kitchen equipment. God allowed me to pick up some new dishwasher trays, desert plates and some stainless steel kitchen counters exceptionally low cost with many things donated. This kicked off a campaign to perform a much needed updating to the kitchen at Glad Tidings Bible Camp. We worked with the camp director (Gil) and other professionals including the fire marshal and health inspector to come up with a small list of improvements which will really have a significant impact on the kitchen and washroom operation. We are confident these changes will have a positive effect on the camps ability to function with excellence and both the staff and the rental groups are going to appreciate a noticeable change.
With the approval of the Glad Tidings Camp executive board we have begun this project. A couple weeks ago our volunteer team dove right in by doing the clean out, moving a door, some cabinets and re-routing some plumbing.

On the weekend of October 25-27, we are going to host the first ever work party weekend retreat. We will dive into the work but combine this with worship and instruction from God’s word. Please prayerfully consider joining the team, we are going to have a great time together.

When: October 25, 26 and 27 (Friday – Sunday)
We’ll get set up Friday morning, and plan a Kick-off supper Friday, October 25th at 6:00pm, we will continuing major work through Saturday evening. On Sunday we’ll wrap up details and clean up. You are welcome to join for any portion as your schedule allows.

SIGN UP HERE to help us plan food and lodging:

Who: Everyone, regardless of age, experience or skill
We will train you if needed and place you where you can contribute positively toward the project goals. Even if you are not able to be present we can find a way for you to be involved through prayer and meals support. Kids under 12 should bring along their family or an adult.

The plan for work will involve a good amount of general maintenance such as drywall patching, deep cleaning, painting. For the weekend builder we have shelving to build and install. For light construction we have some plumbing adjustments and electrical. Lord willing we can work with the various crews to work on coating the floor. One awesome thing is that a local establishment donated a used $11k double oven/range but it is super greasy and needs a few people who will take charge of a serious deep cleaning.
The plan for schedule and programming is to have a time of worship and instruction around meal times and some campfires and fellowship in the evenings.

The Cost:
While there is obviously a cost to Glad Tidings Bible Camp to have people in for a weekend, this is a free-will offering working retreat. Please consider a contribution to cover the operational costs, and help make this project a reality.
Some non-monetary ways to contribute:

  • Bring a food for a meal, snacks or drinks
  • Provide childcare or activities for young kids while their parents work in other ways.
  • Lead a time of worship
  • Give a short lesson or devotional after a meal
  • PRAY
    We look forward to seeing you this weekend, and seeing God do some great things!

TWO ways you can be involved this fall!

This Fall, God has lined things up for us to be involved in helping Glad Tidings Bible Camp in some fun ways!

On September 14th, come and join us for the Glad Tidings 1st Annual Craft & Vendor Fair!  They’re planning on 20+ booths for vendors, quilters, wood-workers, crafters, and more. There will be a bake sale, concession stand, carnival booths, and free activities for the kids – fun for the whole family! Our family will be participating with two booths, including Eva’s scarves, Moriah’s hair accessories, and the boy’s woodworking.  We’ll also have a special Projects4Missions spot at the boys’ table where people can design and laser engrave custom Christmas ornaments.

Moriah shows off headbands and hair ties that she’s sewn for the craft fair

The boys have been having great fun in the shop making swords and other wood items to sell.

If you’re anywhere near Crofton, NE, come out, show your support for the camp (or visit for the first time), and enjoy the fun.  Visit our booths while you’re there!

We invite you to consider joining us on October 26-27 (and/or probably on September 28-29) for a working weekend camp. Contact us ASAP to help us firm up the details.  We’ll gather for chapel, worship, meals and lots of work as we tear out and upgrade the kitchen and dish room.  Chester has been attending auctions, and have almost all the necessary pieces for a really great upgrade – now we need lots of helping hands!  There’s a job for everyone – from bringing in food for the crew to eat (since the kitchen will most likely be out of commission during much of the camp), to sweeping out corners, leading chapel or worship, to installing equipment.  Bring the whole family, work together, and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your work make a difference quickly.

Moving some equipment from an auction.

Chester goes to pick up auction items for camp.

Fun at Glad Tidings Bible Camp

One of the ministries that we love is Glad Tidings Bible Camp.  You’ve seen updates from there over the summer if you follow us on social media.  God has blessed us with many opportunities to share the gospel.  It was very encouraging to see a few of Moriah’s campers respond in faith to Jesus offer of eternal life, and to share with several others that hearing and obeying Jesus’ teaching results in stability as you go through life (see Matthew 7:24).

Volunteering at Glad Tidings seems to frequently find Chester in the kitchen.  He was lead cook for one week, and lead maintenance man (with a side of cooking) for another.  In total, he made about 600 donuts for the campers and staff, as well as many yummy meals.  The campers were definitely well fed.

French bread for 85 campers and staff at Glad Tidings Bible Camp.

We’ve thought for years that it sure would be fun to upgrade the kitchen at Glad Tidings Bible Camp.  (Really – combining kitchens with building projects – what’s not to love?!)  This summer as we volunteered, we talked through ideas for re-arranging their dish washing room to improve traffic flow and dreamed of replacing some of the cupboards and counter-tops in their kitchen.

Last week, Chester found an auction for commercial kitchen equipment and bid on a number of items with Glad Tidings Bible Camp in mind.  He had been particularly praying to find dish carts and stainless steel counter-top for them.   As is often the case, God provided over and above what we asked.  This time it was two full trailer loads and two car loads, including seven dish carts and twenty-four linear feet of stainless steel counter-top and many other useful items – plates, chairs, serving line, griddles, and so much more.  At the end of the auction, the organization even donated dozens of items to the camp!

Now that our back yard and garage are full of commercial kitchen equipment bought for and donated to camp, we think that yes, a kitchen renovation is a good plan for this coming fall or winter.  We plan to invite several families and individuals to join us over a weekend at Glad Tidings Bible Camp for a working party retreat to help with the clean out and efforts of a kitchen and dish room refurbishment.

Such a retreat would include good work, teaching, worship and fun. If you are interested in joining on such a work party retreat, contact us (there’s contact info next to our snazzy new picture below, or you can reply to this email).  Please pray for this project and consider donating time, materials, or funds toward this cause. (You can donate using the link at the top, which now includes better instructions too).

Answers to Specific Prayers

Our first few trips of the summer have left us encouraged and grateful!  You heard about our whirlwind month of trips to Colorado, Texas and a bit about Wyoming in the last update.  This time we want to share a little more about the project at Haven on the Rock in Wyoming, some special praises, and what’s coming up.

Local crew installing trusses at Haven on the Rock.  The siding is painted to look rustic western.

Last fall we left Haven on the Rock after their camping season, and we were discouraged.  The work on the bath house had been fraught with burnout and many other challenges.  This year is starting on an encouraging note – before we even arrived in the spring, work crews had come to help.  Over the few weeks of work before starting their summer camp programs, walls were erected, sheathed and sided, a top plate put on the walls and roof rafters lifted into place, fastened and sheathed.  There’s still lots of work to do, but we’re very thankful to see God’s provision through local work crews and churches stepping up their involvement.   Work there is currently on hold for safety during their camping season, but they have a standing structure that is partially sided. (An additional praise was that the internet service was better than usual!)

God sent encouragement in many forms: local help with the work on the bath house, gifts to cover the expenses of ministry, and even the desert blooming!

Thank you for your gifts!  Through your special gifts these past few months, we made two trips to Haven on the Rock this spring.  Your gifts primarily provide our travel expenses, which allows us to serve this project at Haven on the Rock, and through this work, further their ministry.  

Additionally, we’re grateful for the several regular supporters of our ministry.  Through your regular monthly gifts, we can maintain tools and replace the small consumables used on projects.  As you saw last time, we replaced the trailer that broke on our last trip with one that we expect to serve us very well.  We’re currently replacing headlights on our vehicle after a fender-bender on this trip, as well as a handful of smaller tools that break under this sort of use.  Your gifts allow us not only to travel to serve, but also to keep the tools necessary to serve well.  Thank you!

Micah and Moriah have spent an effective few weeks serving with Glad Tidings Bible Camp.  Three little girls in Moriah’s cabin accepted Jesus’ gift of Eternal Life a few weeks ago!  This week, we’re looking forward to our whole family serving together at Glad Tidings Bible Camp.  (Chester is cooking for the Middle School camp, Micah, Eva will be on staff, the other kids campers or “helpers”, and Amy will be working from a town nearby with an internet connection).  

Ongoing work at the building in France we visited and helped with early in 2018.

We are now beginning to consider this coming fall.  Would you pray with us for God to direct our steps?  If God chooses to provide for it, we’d like to return to France to help more with the Van der Veers renovation project (the same building we worked on last time)  as well as help another missionary family as they work to make their newly-purchased house safe and serviceable.

We also hope to continue to be involved with the bath house project at Haven on the Rock as God provides for those trips.

Showers of Blessing

It’s summertime! And for us, that seems to mean “time to go everywhere!”  Here’s a few pictures from our most recent adventures – each one was full of blessings in its own way.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we attended and witnessed the wedding of Nathan and Jennifer Davis.  What a blessing to celebrate with couples who whole-heartedly follow God!  

Even Chester’s Dad was able to make the trip to Colorado Springs to celebrate.

We were refreshed and encouraged by the Grace Evangelical Society in Plano, TX.  At the conference, we discussed the book of Ephesians, verse by verse.
(You can see us in the lower left corner of the picture)

All five kids spent a week up at Glad Tidings Bible Camp – four as staff, and one as a camper.   I’m not sure there’s any greater joy than seeing one’s kids serve God.

In our last update, we showed our broken trailer.  We’re thanking God for providing a great deal on a replacement that was just what Chester wanted: dual axles, tilt and a 5,000 lb. capacity.  We pray this serves us well for a long time.

Right now, we’re at Haven on the Rock, continuing to build the bath house (minus Micah and Moriah who are still serving at Glad Tidings Bible Camp).  The walls are now up, and we have a crew planning to come out to roof on Thursday.  We are praising God for this progress!

God is at Work

Our first trip to the bath house project in Wyoming has begun!

As you may recall, we are involved in helping facilitate the building of a large bath house at Haven on the Rock camp. As the building season ended last year we wrapped up pouring stub walls on the foundation in the snow. At the time we were pretty discouraged due to the work not going well and a decline in community support for the project. Both of these have been getting extra efforts in prayer. 

We are very pleased to report how God is at work. We are seeing God’s provision in some local people stepping up to serve on the project. It looks like we have an electrician and a plumber who are willing to act as local point men and possibly supervise volunteer work teams. We would really like to see some additional roles volunteering as well.  Lord willing we have at least two larger groups coming out for about a week each. All the specifics are still getting worked out so keep them in prayer. 

The goal of this trip is to assess the current state of the project, materials and grounds and prepare the next steps for construction.  A group is planning to come out to help on Saturday and we are praying that with a large enough group we could frame the remaining exterior walls and prepare for assembly. 

Camp director with a car-trailer to the rescue!

As so often happens when one steps out to serve God, we’ve encountered a bit of

At Home: Amy and one particular child spent part of a day in urgent care for the tip of an earbud lodged in an ear canal. We are thankful that we were able to get in quickly and it worked out alright. Pray that she and the kids stay sane homeschooling, working, and fending off a mild fever that seems to be making the rounds.

On the road: Chester made it out to Scottsbluff (1.5 hrs from camp) and during a quick break discovered a blown bearing on the trailer. We are incredibly thankful for God’s protection –  it could have gone very badly. Zach, the director at Haven on the Rock, drove out with a car trailer to pick up Chester’s trailer, and late that night they made it back to his house.  This morning, Chester continued (without the trailer) out to camp. He is hoping to inspect the damage on the trailer on Friday but initially it appears that the axle is beyond repair. We expect replacement to be at least $2K so are asking for God’s wisdom and provision. Pray that if it’s not reasonably repairable, that God would provide a replacement at the right time and price. 

At the Camp: Another little bit of opposition is Wyoming weather. Rain for the past several days have left the camp road almost impassable. Their type of soil makes a super slick, almost slimy mucky mud. It is about 10 miles of low maintenance country road to the camp and 2 miles from the road to the buildings. It took Chester more than an hour to drive it this morning.  Mudding is fun, but less so when you do not have cell phone access and it is miles to the next neighbor.   We are thankful he made it onsite.  We’re praying that it clears up and dries out enough for the work party planned for Saturday.

Thank you for joining us on this adventure.  We love seeing God provide and work through your prayers.  Thank you for praying for us and supporting us.  It makes a difference!

Catching up

Our apologies for the silence the past few weeks!   We’re still here and want to take a bit to catch you up on the happenings of the past several weeks.

In the Past Month

The kids went to Mexico, and returned.  They forgot to take cameras, and somehow no pictures got posted to Facebook either, so we have no photos to share with you.  But we do thank you for praying!  They had no major sicknesses on the team, enjoyed the time, and constructed two houses and replaced an additional two roofs. 

The ladies of our Bible Study group spent a Saturday morning reading updates from, praying for, and writing cards to missionaries.
We were invited to join a luncheon of the Asian Christian Leaders Network in Omaha.  It was a fabulous time, (with home-made Nepalese food), hearing how God has been growing churches with international congregations in our area.  We came away quite encouraged.

On Easter, we had the privilege of serving at the Arabic speaking church in Lincoln Nebraska.  It was a special time of celebrating our risen Lord!
Right NowThe Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course that we’ve been taking the past three months is nearing completion!  As I write, we have three assignments and one lecture remaining.   We are so grateful for the opportunity to take the course – it’s been a lot of work, and has also triggered a lot of thinking and discussion between us.  We are more than ever inspired to serve missionaries – either from here or from wherever God sends us.  

A few actions that this course has inspired from us:We have begun to de-clutter our house with the goal of being able to provide temporary housing to missionaries.We have been invited to be more involved with the Arabic church in Lincoln, and are considering it.We would like to start an email or text group of people interested in serving missionaries or international communities in our area with us.  Please let us know if you’d like to know about such opportunities.
Coming up soonAfter completing the Perspectives course, Chester plans to make a trip out to Haven on the Rock camp in Wyoming, taking up tools and planning out the next phase of construction on their bath house.  

He’ll return just in time for us to attend the Grace Evangelical Society Conference in Plano Texas from May 20-23.  We’re looking forward to this time away (no kids!), and hoping to connect with like-minded believers while there.  Special thanks to those who donated a stay in a hotel while we’re there!

We plan to return a day early from the conference, just in time to drive with the kids to Colorado Springs for Chester’s brother’s wedding, then come back from the wedding just in time for the kids to start staff training at Glad Tidings Bible Camp.

If you think that sounds busy….. so do we!  Please pray that God would direct our paths, that we would stay healthy for and through all this running around, and that we’d be an encouragement to those we encounter.

Thank you for praying for us, for giving toward our ministry, and for encouraging us as we seek to learn and serve.

Snapshots of recent life

We have started the missions class that God provided for through you all!  It’s a fifteen week course, and we are nearly 1/4 of the way through. We’ve wanted to take the class for years, but were daunted by the prospect of having to do homework (with a textbook of about 800 pages, it promised lots of reading) in addition to keeping on top of normal life in our household.  And we were right – it’s a lot of homework.  So far, God has graciously given us pockets of time, and we have not yet fallen behind.  We are grateful that they offer the book in an electronic edition.  It’s particularly helpful to Chester to have his Kindle read the book to him at lightning speed while he runs the kids to and from various activities.

Chester inspects a cabin for evidence of mold at Glad Tidings Bible Camp.

We’ve made two trips up to Glad Tidings Bible camp recently.  The first was a week was a few days of vehicle repair to a Durango who had the brakes go out and rammed in to a cabin (eventually, there will probably be a project to repair the cabin…), and the second was a quick day trip for a camp board meeting with a side of cabin inspection (above), and getting various vehicles stuck and un-stuck in the mud (not pictured).  We’re grateful for the mission of this camp, and for the opportunity to serve with them.

Micah, Eva and Moriah say ‘MOOOOCHAS GRACIAS’ to God (and you) as they watch Him provide for their missions trip to Mexico in March.

God has begun to provide for the trip that Micah, Eva and Moriah would like to take to Tecate, Mexico with Sabre missions to build houses (more info here).  One generous donor has offered to match donations up to $500 for this trip.  If you’d like your donation to be doubled, make a check out to Sabre missions, and either get it to us (we’ll send in a pile all at once) or send it to them with a note (not a memo on the check!) that it’s for the Davis kids’ matching fund.  We are excited about this generous offer, and always love watching God provide for His work!  Thank you for being used by God!

A visualization of our family’s ministry activity in 2018.

Several hours in the past month were spent writing an annual report to our mission of how things are going for us as new missionaries.  In order to be transparent with you, our support network, we have posted the report here.  Please enjoy this detailed look into our thoughts about our activities of the past year.

Introducing “Barnabus”

We have, for a while now, been looking for ways to serve missionaries during these next few months that we plan to be in Nebraska, and for however long God keeps us here at home.  We have a few ideas, that as we pray about you’ll probably hear more of.   But this note is about one idea in particular: A few weeks ago, Chester mentioned that he liked the idea of keeping a fleet of cars to lend out to missionaries.  They’d have to be in good working condition (not like some vehicles we’ve lent out before….), but we could do the maintenance and repairs and such, and just have them available. ( If such a thing were to happen, he was saying, he’d like a garage in which to work on them…)

About that time, we found out that some family friends were selling their Suburban.  We passed their name on to another family, whom we knew were looking to replace their broken-down van.  When they decided to purchase something larger (a 15 passenger), we thought we may as well consider it ourselves – with this idea of a missionary fleet in mind.  The selling family responded to our inquiry by offering to give it to us (the price had been very reasonable before).  It seems that God has confirmed this direction!  (We nick-named the suburban “Barnabus”, because of this great encouragement).

In reality, it’s something we’ve already been informally doing.  For the past few months, Chester and I have had one car.  To be sure, we own more – but one is on loan to Chester’s sister’s family, and two others were on loan to a missionary family.  Another one is dead, in our back yard (it would have been taken to the junk yard by now if we hadn’t misplaced the title).  The one drivable car we have is a seven passenger Nissan Pathfinder, so it really hasn’t been an inconvenience – we all fit in it.  And when we’ve needed a second set of wheels, we’ve been able to borrow Micah’s Subaru Outback (purchased from the same family that was selling the Suburban).  At the beginning of December, the missionary family mentioned that they were no longer using either of the vehicles they had from us, and that since they’re preparing to return to the mission field, soon would be a good time for us to come get them.   (They were no longer driving them because both need work – some of it serious – and they have two other vehicles to use).

So two weeks ago, we set out to visit the missionaries in their Nebraska home about an hour and a half away.  And by the end of the day, we had gone from the ability to transport seven people to the ability to transport thirty-six people:  Seven in the original Davis Pathfinder, fifteen in “Jonah” – an old 1992 Dodge van that needs a good deal of work, but did manage to hobble home, five in “Kermit” – a Mitsubishi Mirage, and nine in  “Barnabus”!

We are happily driving “Kermit” all over the place again.  “Jonah” needs some work before it can be trusted.   “Barnabus” is already in service, lent to a family for a few weeks, and the other day towed a giant military vehicle that had broken down nearby.  Our insurance isn’t crazy about this idea of intending to keep loaner vehicles, so they notified us that after 22 years with them, our policy will be cancelled next March.  So we’d love it if you pray that we find an insurance company that’s a great fit for our family (and fleet), and that God would continue to direct us in  serving missionaries and ministries.

We are grateful for these opportunities to serve, and grateful to you for holding us up in prayer!

Reflections on Habakkuk (pt 2)

I’m continuing to mull over Habakkuk.

Habakkuk 1:5 says:
Look among the nations and watch – 
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe though it were told you.

All of my life (I think – maybe just all of my adult life), I’ve avoided keeping up with the news.  It’s sensational, it’s skewed, it’s depressing.  I’d rather not know.   This verse convicted me of preferring to keep my head buried in the sand rather than opening my eyes to see what God is doing and be astounded.  Interestingly, Habakkuk complains in the first section about what he sees, and God continues with that theme – telling Habakkuk to look and see even more.  

God’s not pretending that what will astound Habakkuk is pleasant or beautiful.  He’s not glossing over the evilness of the Chaldean nation.  But He’s showing that He’s in control, and using even evil nations for His purposes. 

In my conviction to be willing to look and see what God is doing, I installed the BBC world news app on my phone.  I haven’t read it much yet – two or three times.  But I do look at the “breaking news” flashes they send.  I like the idea of being astounded by what God is doing, but not of seeing that types of things that Habakkuk got to see.  The nations today are just as evil as they were back then (nothing new under the sun).  But God is also just as good, and just as in control.  And I can be astounded both at his using evil nations as pawns and at His masterful plan.  I can allow myself to be burdened, then be astounded, and instead of wallowing in dismay at what I see, I can turn and look to God, like Habakkuk does.