|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”.
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.
For the past few weeks, we’ve been at home. Yet even when we are home, we keep busy with plenty of smaller projects for and with local ministries. One of our more time-consuming projects as we approach the end of the year is evaluating and summarizing the past year’s ministry. We view this process as very important in sharing what God has done, in accountability, and also in shaping the upcoming year.
Most of you probably got physical mail from us this past week. If you didn’t, then we either don’t have your address, or don’t have your permission to mail you. Correct that by emailing us now! (Our physical mailings are often different than these emails, and less frequent.)
This year, we found it helpful to make an info-graphic of our 2019 activity, and in the process of making it, were wowed again at some of the things God has done.
In the winter-spring, we took a course called “Perspectives on the World Christian movement”. This was something we had been wanting to do for years, and was also required by our mission organization (GlabalGrace Fellowship). God provided both the funding and the large block of time needed for study and reflection. God used the course to help clarify our vision and goals in ministry. Thank you God!
In the summer, we spent a lot of family time volunteering with Glad Tidings Bible Camp (in Northeast Nebraska), and working at the bath house at Haven on the Rock (in Wyoming). This resulted in a lot of driving – almost 40,000 miles in one year. God kept us safe on the road with only one fender bender and only a few minor breakdowns. Thank you God!
One area that we are seeing God’s hand is in finding equipment and materials for different ministries. In the fall, God provided materials for the bath house project, and for a new kitchen upgrade project at Glad Tidings Bible Camp at huge discounts through auctions and providential donations. Again, Thank you God!. It’s so fun to see God’s hand involved in these projects!
In the physical letter we just sent out, we mention that our ministry vehicle needs to be replaced. Today we received notice that six individuals had sent special financial gifts in the past month for our ministry – without even knowing about our need. God started sending money to meet this need before we even asked for it! Again, Thank you God, and thank you friends, for your generosity!
If you’d like to join with God in providing for this need, just click the button below to donate.
As we come into the Christmas season let us not lose sight of the greatest gift. We are thankful to God for His provision of a redeemer. We are thankful for Jesus, the life giving messiah. We are thankful for the free gift of Eternal Life received simply through faith in Jesus the Christ. And we are thankful for God’s generous hand in helping believers walk in newness of life.
May God bless your Christmas season with many reminders of His love for you.