The purpose of this monthly e-mail is to share updates on ministry, family, praise and prayer. And to share "frig art" with you once in awhile.
We visited one of our stronger supporting churches last month. It is a large and influential church, and for good reason--the leaders do the right things the right way. I could mention several characteristics, such as respect for each individual, excellence in programs, and warmth in relationships. What I want to talk about here is accountability and support.
After our family did a missions window in the two services, we had a lunch meeting with the missions committee. They wanted more details on the day-in, day-out routine of our life and ministry, asking pointed and interested questions. When they gave us a turn to pose a question or comment, I thanked them for their financial and prayer support, and for holding us accountable. In particular, I mentioned a detailed questionnaire they had sent us on the field.
It was made clear that that document would play a significant role in our future support relationship with that church. They wanted to know in practical terms how we-missionary & church-were impacting the world and fulfilling the Great Commission. I must admit that I filled in those responses with a bit of fear and trepidation. We received a letter on the field informing us of continued support. Now that we have met the committee members, it solidified our mutual commitment and support.
Later we heard from the Missions Pastor the offering amount-our largest single offering to date-plus they tripled the already generous monthly support.
I think there is a connection between support and accountability. Perhaps this model of written (actually digital is better!) communication holding the missionary accountable while on the field, followed up by face-to-face time during deputation could strengthen the relationship between church and missionary.
I've not mentioned the church by name, even though they gave me permission. Otherwise they'd be even more swamped by missionary calls and letters. Though to my missionary friends reading, I could make available the name and personal email for, say, a small 3-digit (00) transfer! ...just joking!
I don't know if I've waxed eloquent, but I have gone longer here than I had planned. I just want to reference District Council last month. I am so glad my parents took me to an Assembly of God church in fourth grade. I'm so grateful for Yvonne's long family heritage in the Assemblies--Her grandfather was Charles Butterfield, a founder and President of Northwest College. I'm so glad Southern California College accepted my church's Bible school credits, and me, to study. I appreciate our District officials and ministers. I'm happy to hear Mike DeVito tell the Youth Night crowd at Council that "this stuff works"-and he cites Yvonne as an example from his first youth group and now on the mission field.
All that to say I'm grateful to God that in His sovereignty we're able to be a small part of one of the greatest missions organizations in the world.
Through April we've held 97 services and had 51 appointments with pastors. Currently our monthly pledges are at $6582 of the $9937 needed. Cash budget is about $13,700 of the $47,842 needed.
Since we asked you to pray for Manuel Miranda in Panama and the children's day of fasting and prayer, I feel a duty to inform you, though I'm disappointed I don't have anything to report. It appears that Manuel has lost his email communication. If and when we do hear a report, we'll pass it on.
Our main prayer request right now is raising budget, and finishing our scheduling.
When I asked Chloe what she'd like me to include here about her, I reminded her that we've talked about basketball a lot already. (She still loves to play) So she told me to say this: "I'm saving up for a dog."
Anthony went with his 3rd-4th grade class on their Sacramento trip to study
California history. Before leaving it seemed the kids were more excited about
the pool at the hotel than anything else.
Celina has been waking up at night with bad dreams. We let her fall back asleep between us. Last week as I'm carrying her from our bed to hers, with her arms tightly around my neck and her eyes more than half-closed, she softly says, "hope I didn't keep you up." It makes those wee hour wake-ups more bearable.
I've attached her "Dad at Church" picture. The extra red scribbles are actually from Gracie.
Gracie is always asking, "where we go today?" She wants to go to a church & hotel, and is disappointed when we stay home. She gave Yvonne a great visual image of our closing verse with her "muscles." She points her elbow at you and says, "Feel my mussohs!" Luke 10:27 he said, "that you love the Lord your God with all your passion, and prayer, and muscle, and intelligence and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself." The Message, Eugene H. Peterson
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Kirk for all