Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Saying Good-bye In Deep River

July 19 was a very emotional Sunday for us as we held the closing service of the Deep River Free Methodist Church. Many tears were shed, but we also celebrated God’s goodness through the church's 30 years of ministry in Deep River. We remembered that what is done for God will last, and that there will be ongoing eternal fruitfulness because of the life and ministry of this church. We also said goodbye to friends who will be moving away, and had the privilege of sharing about our plans for ministry in Malawi with friends who have been so supportive of us over the past 11 years of our ministry in Deep River.

Maple Grove

When we moved to Canada 12 years ago, Maple Grove was our first home. We lived and worked there for two Summers before being called to pastor the Deep River Free Methodist Church. So, going back to Maple Grove always feels a little like going home, and it was great to connect with so many friends and family. (And great to sit at their campfires. Thanks! :-).
We were deeply touched by their support and generosity when we shared our plans. When we first started thinking about having to raise all our own support it seemed like a gigantic task, but with the help of all our generous supporters from various places we are starting to see God’s plan coming together. We still have a long way to go, but are so encouraged by a good beginning. Thank you for supporting us and answering God’s call to help the church in Malawi in that way.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ryde Centennial

Our very first speaking opportunity at a church (outside Deep River) was at Ryde Centennial at Hausey’s Rapids in the Muskoka area. Sterling and Cheryl Cooper welcomed us with open arms and our kids especially enjoyed all the fun they had prepared for them. They got to ring the church bells, sleep in a “cave,” went for pony rides, got a wagon ride, and of course there was the “super swing” with Tim!
Most importantly, we got to meet the wonderful people at Ryde Centennial, and shared a meal with them after the service. We added several people to our list of prayer partners and supporters. We are looking forward to seeing many of you again at Severn Bridge Camp.

Wesley Acres - What a wet week!

Thank you Wesley Acres and Team for giving us an opportunity to share what God has been doing in our lives. This was our very first time officially talking about our plans and many of you responded very encouragingly. We received many response cards. Several people gave very generous one time donations, and a few have committed to support us on a monthly basis. We are extremely grateful for your support. We also felt your love and encouragement in many other ways: meal tickets for our family when it was pouring rain (we were staying in a tent), another mom had fresh coffee for us in the morning and a delicious steak for lunch another day, and another friend let us use her hotel room and supper meal tickets since she had to leave earlier than planned. Steffi said that she doesn’t remember ever having to cook so little at a camp!
Thank you so much to all of you for the little and big ways in which you have shown your love for us!

Friday, July 3, 2009

How You Can Help Us Help Others

We will be going to Malawi with the Free Methodist Church, but in order to go we have to raise all our own support. We need both your prayer support, as well as financial support. If you would like to help us help the church in Africa you can partner with us in the following ways:

If you are interested in supporting us through prayer please make sure you send us an e-mail to: JesusLovesMalawi@gmail.com so you can receive our newsletter. If you would also like to minister with us in Malawi by financially supporting us, you can send your gifts to:
New Hope Free Methodist Church
c/o Jesus Loves Malawi Fund
17 Queen St.
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1H2

Memo on cheque: Jesus Loves Malawi Fund

Monthly automatic drafts are also available. For more information on this, please call:
(705) 645-4926


As we said, God has done amazing things... maybe we can share some more of those details another time. Suffice it to say for now that many things have happened so much quicker than we thought possible. Because of this we are already able to receive donations and openly talk about our plans. Our church has also given us permission to travel this Summer to speak at camps and churches. We are now able to spent a good part of July traveling to camps and gathering a team of supporters, something we didn’t think we would be doing till next year!
So, if you are going to Wesley Acres Family Camp 1 or 2, Maple Grove, or Severn Bridge make sure you stop by and say hi, we would love to chat with you!

How It Began

 The last two months have been a whirlwind of activity. It feels like our lives are changing faster than we can keep up, but we should start at the beginning, so here is a very short version:

For many years we have wondered if God would call us to missions someday. About three years ago we felt that God was saying it was time to seriously begin seeking His will in the matter. Even though we didn’t feel that our time pastoring in Deep River was over yet, we began feeling drawn to Malawi, Africa, and the ministry there. At that time, it also seemed that the doors to ministry in Malawi were not swinging wide open. So we just kept praying and learning more about missions and various countries.

At the beginning of 2009, through prayer, we began feeling that it was time for us to actively move in the direction of missions. So we approached Dan Sheffield, our Canadian Missions Director, to find out what opportunities he was aware of. We didn’t mention our specific interest in Malawi, but did indicate an interest in teaching Bible. In his reply to us he mentioned only one country: Malawi! What a confirmation!

About two months ago he put us in touch with the Africa Area Director, Mike Reynen, and since then everything has been going so much faster than we could have ever imagined! One of the first things we had to do was find a sending church, which would partner with us and receive and receipt the donations people sent to support us, since we have to raise our own support.

Ideally this sending church would already have some connection to Malawi. We were not, however, aware of any such church. Mid May we sent a prayer letter to many friends and fellow Free Methodists asking them to pray with us for a sending church. At the time our destination had not been confirmed, so we could not mention Malawi in the e-mail, just that we were going to the “mission field.” One of the replies we got was from a pastor’s wife who introduced us to Jeanne Tucker, who is the treasurer of the New Hope Free Methodist Church. Jeanne was very interested in helping us and having her church become our sending church, possibly jointly with another church. That was great news, but what really took our breath away was that she used to be a missionary in..... Malawi. Her church also sponsors a home for AIDS orphans there. New Hope Free Methodist Church most certainly has a link to Malawi! And God brought us together before either of us knew that we had a common Malawi connection. The board of New Hope Free Methodist Church is now very seriously considering becoming our sending church.

We have seen God’s hand in so many different ways recently and it has been exciting to see how He has been at work. Hopefully we can share some more soon.