During our recent Caring Partners International medical mission trip we had an unexpected connection with one of our visitors. Donna Cox and Timothy graduated from the same rural high school. They had both been educated at Preble Shawnee where the largest social club was the Future Farmers of America followed by 4H. Rural values and rural focus were the norms. It was in that rural crucible that God prepared both of them to help address big city problems. Timothy now lives in the greater Quito, Ecuador metropolis where he helps prepare pastors and church leaders to serve in that significant city and beyond. Donna, a licensed professional counselor with a private counseling practice in Dayton, Ohio spends much of her time in adult entertainment clubs ministering to the entertainers who work there. Far away from 4H presentations at the Preble County fair and the farm smells of the Preble Counthy Pork Festival both Donna and Timothy find themselves drawn to different big cities.
As we ate lunch one day during the CPI trip Donna approached us with an idea. She said: “I have an odd request. Can we tour Quito’s red light district today?” The request was a bit odd. But we soon found out that in addition to her own ministry interest in such places, a Sister from the Comite del Pueblo church has a passion for the same kind of ministry!
It was a pure joy to hear Donna and her Ecuadorian counterpart discuss the particular kind of ministry passion that they share. What an encouragement for our Sister to meet someone involved in the very ministry that God had laid on her heart!
We have a quick question for you in light of the common churchcentric view of ministry that is so prevalent today. Where are you going? Where is your church going? Biblically we really are called to go to all people everywhere not simply to invite some into our churches. Are you going? Your witness is very important in the place you live, in the places you feel comfortable, in the uncomfortable places and even to the ends of the Earth! Where are you going? To whom are you going?
Our encouragement for you today is to follow the incarnational ministry pattern of Jesus. Don’t play it safe, He didn’t. He surrounded himself with some of the most religious people but he also intentionally called people to himself in whom no one would expect the Holy One of God to have interest. Even among His closest followers, His Disciples He welcomed people who were natural enemies, a tax collector and a zealot alike. One thing that every follower of Christ has in common is our Savior the one thing that all people everywhere have in common is a need for our Savior.
If you are a follower of Christ you are privileged to have a godly treasure inside you. You also have a responsibility to give that treasure of God’s grace to those around you who have not yet experienced the love of God as you have. So, no matter if you find yourself in the animal barns of the Preble county fairgrounds in Eaton, Ohio, the dressing room of an adult entertainment club or anywhere in between, go unto all the world and share the Good news of Jesus Christ our Savior with everyone you meet!
I woke up this morning feeling a little older. But that most likely was the way I slept, not due to age. I am a year older today, which means I have experienced the blessings of God for one more year. This year I have experienced so many blessings from God that they would be hard to count. Angelita and I have enjoyed the change of pace that we have found traveling our mission path. Over the last year we have noticed a positive change in our family life as we released the joy and stress of the pastorate and embraced the joy and stress of building a Living Link Network of financial and prayer partners. We have been blessed by the open doors and open pulpits to which we have been invited. We have been blessed by the sense of a mission that each member of our family have in common (the family dialect is no longer “Dad is a pastor” but “we are missionaries). It is a blessing to be completely reliant on God and His timing for our daily needs. As a father I am particularly blessed when I see the look on my kids faces when God in His perfect timing sends us money or food just when we need it. I am blessed more than I deserve and looking with expectation to see how God works this coming year.
One of the great things about building our Living Link network is that we get to see the Church at her best. We love to see what can happen when followers of Christ join together in order to fulfill the great commission! We want to thank all of you who have already joined us in our mission! Thank you for believing in us. We want to extend an invitation to all of you who want to make a significant difference this year. Your partnership is greatly needed at this time. Together we can help develop the Church of God in Ecuador. To join us please click here and our Living Link partnership page will open for you.
Today we are preparing our hearts to mourn with one who mourns. Later today we will offer our condolences and love to a good friend at the passing of her husband. Once again, in our humanity with tear stained eyes we look to heaven and wonder why there is so much suffering. Why must the rose have a thorn? Why must the rainbow be born out of the storm? Are there any answers? There are, but our tear stained eyes usually can’t see them in the midst of our pain. Perhaps the words below will help to apply the Christmas message to our suffering.
There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having been married to her husband for seven years until his death. She had lived as a widow since then for eighty-four years. She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment, she came up to them and began to give thanks to God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
~Doctor Luke, Luke 2:36-38
God invites those who are hurting into His family. Anna had only been married for seven years when the unthinkable happened, she lost her husband. In Anna’s time that meant she lost her income, her home and her protection. She was devastated. But God has a heart for the devastated. For eighty-four years Anna came under the protection of God as she worshiped him day and night in the temple.
Anna’s devastation drove her into a life of piety. Sometimes the beauty and the aroma of the rose leads us to a loving God, other times it is the prick of the thorn which drives us into the caring arms of our Savior.
Anna’s piety was rewarded with a glimpse of the redemption that God had promised the world. Her natural response to seeing Christ was to tell others of his life and mission.
My hope for you today is that you will find love and shelter in God’s family just like Anna did.
There is one question that we are often asked that is hard for us to answer. Wherever we go people ask “How is the fundraising going?” On one hand we have no idea, after all we have never tried to raise the kind of funds that are required to move our family and establish a ministry in a far off land. On the other hand we are given regular updates that include the percent of our budget that has been raised so far.
We are excited to announce that through our living link partnership network we have made 25% of our budget! The pie chart represents ¼ of our need met!
We are honored that so many people believe in us and the ministry we are called into. Let’s keep the momentum going. If you have not joined us yet now is the time. If you know others whose hearts align with ours the upcoming holidays provide the perfect opportunity to introduce them to us.
Together we can make a lasting mark!
To join us click here or call Debbie Taylor at (800) 848-2464 #2129. We look forward to partnering with you!
Over the last three weeks our mission path has taken us to some familiar places. We had a great time speaking at Newton Falls Church of God for three Sundays in a row. It felt like an extended homecoming. We want to thank Rev. Arnold Edmonson for giving us the opportunity to speak while he was away.
Our kids loved being at the Newton Falls church.
We also had a great time speaking at the North East Ohio Camp Meeting. A big thank you goes to the CWC for not only inviting us to speak but committing to support us! We are truly blessed to see God working through you!
Our family sharing about mission work.
One family in North East Ohio told us that since we will be working with the Children of Promise program they will be supporting us as if we were one of their children of promise. This Family is going to send in $25 per month to help fund our missionary effort! Now imagine, what if everyone reading this post did that? Can you imagine the difference you can make when you join in with brothers and sisters all over the world?
Would you consider joining this family? We need to partner with you! You can partner with us with any amount by following this link. Together we can make a difference!
One of the greatest pleasures of parenthood is to see your children launch. As time passes they launch in increasingly significant ways. A few years ago our eldest son Timothy was privileged to tag along with his dad on a teaching trip to Ecuador. This year he is going on his first work camp. This short term mission trip will be with his grandparents and members of the Breiel Boulevard Church of God at the Roma Lee Courvisier School run by Ken Byron and the Latin American Children’s Fund. (You can check it out here: http://latinamericanchildrensfund.org). We are very proud of Timothy as he goes off on his own mission path!
Part of our ministry focus in Ecuador will be expanding the Children of Promise sponsorship program. We will partner with Jon and Karen Lambert alongside of the Ecuadorian churches as we promote and develop this life changing program. If you are not familiar with Children of Promise, we invite you to see the videos below and hear the testimonies. Together we can make a difference one child at a time!