Prayer Requests

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.

The first of the broken stoves….

Cruising on into Fall

The past two weeks

Thanks for praying for the Glad Tidings Bible Camp craft fair two weeks ago.  We (especially the kids) had spent time preparing crafts to sell, and were a little disappointed by sluggish sales, but we still had a really fun weekend!

Last weekend, we were glad to be able to help a long time friend and missions co-worker in the Omaha area by stripping and preparing her house for painting. We are very thankful that God provided perfect weather over two days and just the right amount of people and material at exactly the right times. It was awesome to spray the last square foot just as we ran out of paint. We’re especially thankful for several people who stopped by to help scrape and prime.

A seven-year-old helper asked her “Why do you want your house spotted?”
Even little ones got in on the fun of scraping and priming
Isaiah took the trophy for “largest paint peel”
The leftover paint from last time her house was painted ended up to be exactly enough to put a base coat of paint over the primer.

Looking ahead

Several weeks ago, our mission (GlobalGrace Fellowship) introduced us to another missionary family. Francis Kamau (he goes by ‘Kamau’) grew up in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya, became a Christian as a teenager, served as a missionary to Zambia, then returned as a missionary to the very place he grew up in. He and his wife Kim have been serving kids in this slum for several years now, and have a dream of starting a camp that will get kids away from the destitution and filth and into the beauty of God’s creation, and at the same time teaching them about Jesus.  Nine acres to build the camp was donated last year, and they have asked us to help design the camp before they start construction.

We’re excited about this project and God is blessing our involvement with it.  Right now, we’re preparing for Chester to visit Kamau and the camp grounds in November.  He will be accompanied by Rich Burton, and architect who has offered to take off work to join on this survey trip.  We hope to develop a camp design, and if God would allow it, we’d also like to return as a family to also help with the construction of the camp sometime in the future (possibly in 2021).

For now, please pray with us for the details of the November trip. There remain many details to work out, but of particular concern are renewal of passports in time, getting time off work for Rich, and potential travel restrictions. We anticipate the survey trip cost to be around $3000. In the next few weeks, we’ll tell you more and introduce you to the Kamau’s ministry “Hope Anew”.

Summer is for Ministry

This summer – well, this whole year – isn’t very much like we imagined, but that doesn’t mean there’s no opportunities to serve.  Here’s a few of the things that have kept us busy the past few months.
 

  • We hosted a few work parties to finish up the Glad Tidings Bible Camp kitchen renovation, including the installation of new double doors!  We were very encouraged to have several families and individuals join us, and are pleased that the new kitchen and dishroom are very functional.
  • Later on, Chester served two weeks at Glad Tidings Bible Camp, cooking, handling maintenance emergencies and discipling staff during their limited camping season.
  • Micah also served six weeks at Glad Tidings Bible Camp, doing maintenance and groundskeeping.  He and another staff member listened to “Kingdom Man” by Tony Evans during the time, and found it really beneficial to their spiritual growth.
  • Eva, Moriah and Isaiah detasseled corn for about a month.  Isaiah broke his thumb toward the end of the season, but is mostly through the healing process.
  • Seven Wednesdays were spent with Chester and the kids hanging ceiling fans for a family from church.
  • Chester and the kids also did a couple of small landscaping projects for people who serve God here in Omaha.
  • We removed carpet from a local house so that the owner (a widow reaching out to an unreached people group in Omaha) could get new flooring.
  • We hosted “Gramma Camp” at our house – four days of up to 18 local cousins for a camp.  It was a blast (and now we’re tired).
  • Chester helped three people in ministry find suitable cars during the summer.  In one case several of you partnered with us to make the car a gift.  

The biggest highlights of the summer for us were the opportunities for local people (you) to join in the projects.  A really special thank you to those who joined in serving!

As we look to the fall, we’ll have more opportunities and “work parties” for you to join with us. Thanks for serving with us and praying for us!

Chester fixing a van door
Isaiah and Josiah cleaning up after carpet removal.
“Gramma Camp” fun with homemade boats.
The last day of detasseling for 2020!

June at Home

We spent most of June at home in Ashland.  It’s no surprise, really, even though things are opening up around here, that travel is still quite minimal.  But that doesn’t mean that we’re doing nothing.  On the contrary, we’ve continued to serve at our church, host friends and family in our home, and have even done a few small local projects.  Below is a few pictures of our from-home ministry in the past few weeks. 

Wiring for and hanging ceiling fans for a family at church.
We had several “art parties”, painting and coloring art for Vital Signs Ministries to distribute in nursing homes.
Isaiah fixes a kids “jeep” for a family from church.
We may have some unconventional methods of bush removal….
Fresh landscaping for friends in ministry (note the absence of a bush…)
Isaiah running the video camera for the church service.
Hosting friends and family gathered at our home for sweet fellowship
Teaching the Battle of Jericho in Sunday School.
We are thankful for our nation, which despite it’s problems, is still a great place to live and serve God. (photo credit: Dan Gerber)

Here in July, Chester and Micah are currently serving at Glad Tidings Bible Camp for their shortened camping season.  Chester is cooking and discipling staff, while Micah is counseling campers and helping with maintenance.  Amy, Eva, Moriah and Isaiah are at home, working and preparing for the detasseling season which will start any day. Thank you for keeping all of us in your prayers!

Projects at Home

A few years ago, our pellet-fed smoker on the back deck malfunctioned. During the malfunction, the wind took off with some hot pellets, and blew them out of the smoker on to our porch. There a small fire started. Some neighbors (we never found out exactly who) were playing at the playground near our house and saw the fire. They called the fire department, then walked over to our yard, and used our hose to put the fire out before the fire department arrived. By the time we got home, the only remaining evidence of the fire was the burn hole in the deck.

The burn hole in the deck.

We covered the hole with a piece of plywood, and went on with life.

The past weekend, Chester tackled the project of removing the burnt boards and replacing them.

Several supporting boards also had to be replaced.
Replacing the supporting boards required removing a large portion of the surface deck boards.
The faithful helpers, removing charred supports.
The hero of the day is almost finished with the new deck floor section.
All put back together!

And the deck is almost as good as new! The only tiny remaining evidence of the fire (and our neighbors kindness) is that some boards are obviously new, and there’s still some melted/charred scars on the rail.

This may be my favorite thing about social isolation – so many at-home projects getting done!

Recent ministry fun

We’re staying close to home, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not busy. Church, prayer meetings, Bible studies, home school co-op classes and socialization have all adapted to online formats. Chester is making great progress on projects both related to ministry and on our home, and we’re all driving each other just a little bit crazy. So when some nearby friends called asking if we would help with a little work on their farm, we jumped at the chance.

We had a great time knocking down a building!
We took down a mostly dead blue spruce tree.
Riding the four-wheeler afterwards was a real treat!

This time at home has proven a unique time for ministry.   We’ve been praying that God would provide opportunities to share His goodness, and have been blessed with opportunities to share about Jesus’ offer of eternal life, to be a friend, and to pray with and for people.  

Please continue to pray that we would be faithful to act on the opportunities God gives us – whether or not they include riding a four-wheeler!