Happy New Year friends!! We hope your year is off to a great start. We are probably on a plane somewhere between here and New Guinea as you read this. We fly out early on the 1st. We can hardly believe it is true. We thought we would post a quick update here so you can read through it. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, as this will be our email while in NG.
As many of you know, the last couple months of our lives have been filled with wedding planning, New Guinea trip preparation, support raising and work.Our wedding was amazing. Thank you to all who could come and be part of it. You were a real blessing to us. The reception in Michigan was also great. We got to visit with a lot of family and friends and enjoy the foot of new snow on the ground!
Amy has continued to work part-time in the ER at Parkland and Ryan has worked with Free City International. It kept us fairly busy to say the least. Last month Amy took care of one of the original Northway members in the ER who came in with a hemorrhagic stroke. Praise the Lord she is back home now after surgery and many days in the ICU.
The Free City Soccer league really took off in the refugee community. Through Free City's Soccer League Ryan got to got to know over 46 refugees from 11 countries: Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Congo, Bhutan, Burma, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya and Rawanda. It was good soccer and good fellowship. Ryan really enjoyed getting to know some of these guys. They have incredible stories and we have posted some of them on the blog. You can check it out at FCFL.us.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: "a time to weep, and a time to laugh;a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose;a time to keep, a time to love, and a time to hate"; What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
In October, we were in front of the Dallas campus of The Village Church being confirmed into ministry by the pastors and elders there! Pastor Steve and Pastor Brandon prayed over us and asked the body to pray and be a part of sending us to New Guinea. Many of you made your way down front to pray over us. For Ryan this was somewhat of a culmination of a long journey to be released to go to New Guinea. For us, it is more of a beginning as we start to walk this road together. We were truly overwhelmed by your presence and your prayers. And for that, we say "thank you!"
Acts 6:6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
Acts13:2-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
1 Timothy 1:6&7 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
We've been sharing at home groups, Bible studies and Sunday school classes the last couple months. Every time it is a reminder of where the Lord has brought each of us individually and now where he has brought us together. It has been refreshing to meet with many of you. We really love how God has brought us to the same conclusion of what he wants from our lives. We are from such different backgrounds and yet through parents who loved the Lord and the individual experiences in our lives, we have been taught the truth of God's calling for us.
Ephesians 1:15-19 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.
A couple weeks ago, we shared at Amy's grandparent's Sunday school class. Someone asked how we were paid. When I told him we received no salary from anyone, he could hardly believe it. Then he asked how did we live. We told him it was through people like him, who believe God is leading them to partner with us. As the Lord leads and as we make our needs known, people will pray regularly and/or give on a monthly basis. That is what makes it a reality. He then commented that it was amazing to him that someone could have the faith to move to the other side of the world trusting in people's giving to keep them there and provide for them there.
Matthew 7:7-11 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
This is probably the 500th time we have heard this from someone in the past year. We return to the same questions each time. Do we really have the faith? What is that faith really in? It isn’t in people's giving nature, or in the economy, or in our own abilities. Our faith is really in our belief that God will not ask us to do anything that he won’t provide for. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills right? Everything in this world is His right? So it is and He has the power to do anything. What do we do with that? We believe and move forward. If He finds joy in giving us good gifts and He also provides for the sparrow and He will not lead where He will not provide then…. What do we have to fear? The same is true for you who give.
Luke 12:6-7 "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
God is showing himself to be our provider even in the midst of the wrestle. He is still the same God who brought down manna from heaven for the Israelites in the desert, who provided a substitute ram as Abraham's sacrifice, who guided the Israelites by day and by night, who fed 5000 men from 12 loaves and 5 fish, and who provided a way for us to spend eternity with Him. In the last couple weeks, the remaining money for our trip has come in. Thank you to all of you who made this possible. It is so encouraging to see and we thank the Lord for you and pray for you.
Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
All the money that we needed for this trip has come in, just over $13000, it is so amazing to see how God provides. He has done so through many of you and we are very grateful. Amy and I have taken this as a real confirmation of our direction and His purpose in that. The next step for us will be to raise the monthly support needed. Right now we have $1,165 a month promised in monthly support, with $980 of that actually coming in. New Tribes recommends that we have $4,187/month before we begin full time with them in August. This is really our biggest need at this time. We will be living off of this support throughout training as that is full time and there is not time to work. Please pray that God would lay this on people's hearts and move them to give. None of this is possible without people like you joining us in this endeavor, we need partners to do all of this. Please prayerfully consider this as well.
Malachi 3:10 "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
He isn’t going to ask some of you to give to our ministry without providing for you as well. God loves to give us good things like a father to his children. Even in knowing this I struggle with having this faith. I really do, right now I am struggling with it as our finances are not what they need to be and I am asking Amy to join me in this effort. It was a lot easier when it was jut me. Now I have to trust God to not only provide for my needs but for those of my wife as well. When days are tough and I want to take control of it all I have to look to God and say it is yours. I am yours. She is yours please take care of us.
Psalms 37:4, 25 "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart...I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
A little more about our trip! We will be at the Interface Training Center for a program called Interface for the first 4 weeks. We will spend time learning (reviewing for Ryan) Pidgin English, learning about cross-cultural church planting in a tribal context, and ministering to the local tribe. We will then head to NTM's headquarters where Amy will work for a week in the clinic there with Dr. Bud. Meanwhile, Ryan will assist with the current construction and maintenance projects. The final 2 weeks, we'll travel to the missions center in the islands region of NG. There is a supply depot, a clinic, a guest house and a boarding school for missionary kids. We're visiting because we could move there after completing training.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Pray that we would gain much wisdom and insight from the missionaries that are currently serving in New Guinea. Pray for divine appointments. Pray that we would go as learners and that we'd be able to bless and encourage the workers there. We are hoping to find out what our next step will be. Ryan feels ready to go now as an associate but I am not as ready for this. We both know that if we are not at the same place in this then we need to wait and are praying that God would bring unity in it. We have looked into doing the training New Tribes provides stateside before we go full time but would like to see how we fit with those working in New Guinea, in the Islands Region. Pray God would settle in our hearts what the next step is, and make it clear if we are ready to head there now to if we need to take more time to prepare.
Acts 20:24 But I do not count my life as any value, if only I may finish the my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus to testify to the good news of Gods grace.
The next time you hear from us we will be in New Guinea! Here's our schedule:
January 1: Flight leaves Dallas
January 3: InterfaceFebruary 28: Back in Dallas
February 1: Amy work in clinic/Ryan work on current construction projects at headquarters
February 1: Amy work in clinic/Ryan work on current construction projects at headquarters
August 14 Leave for full time training with NTM, or continue on to New Guinea