Mike & I had no idea that we would have to report for The Ranch. Our Team Leaders were not there due to their son getting married, so when we arrived our Area Leader told us we would report on Friday for The Ranch! Good thing I had my computer with pictures on it so we could at least report on what we knew was going on. Since we are not yet on the field, we weren't sure what we could do. But God was gracious (as always) and I remembered that the Training Center was new and we could tell about it and show them pictures from our visit. Mike shared how we were called to the field and our journey to finding just where God would have us and where we left our hearts last October. And I shared all about The Ranch, how we operate, the new Training Center and what our job duties will be while we are there. Even unpracticed and unrehearsed we did just fine! That was God taking Mike out of his comfort zone :-) I really didn't think that we would bring much to the table being the new kids on the block and all, but we kept hearing how we were such an inspiration to them and seeing our passion and love as we talked about The Ranch and the work there. That morning before we spoke, God told me to end the presentation with a challenge to them. He wanted me to remind them not to forsake their first love, and on the hard days to remember when they first started their passion and love for the ministry. So I did. There was a specific message for the church in Ephesus in Rev. 2:1-7 and it is still relevant today. After the Lord Jesus commended them for their good deeds, hard work, perseverance, treatment of the wicked men, discernment in spotting false apostles and for not growing weary in hardships for His name, He then said:
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
We had worship time together each morning and our speakers took us through the book of Ephesians and shared so many truths of God fullness through His word that we hid in our hearts. It was a great time of sharing, praying, discussing and diving deeper into God's word together. It was refreshing and encouraging for us to meet others that are serving on the field and ask them questions and hear their struggles, their provisions and their hearts. They have some amazing stories that brought tears to my eyes and caused the hair on my arms to stand up!!! We serve such a mighty God and I think that we forget that too easily here in the Western World where we are way to SELF sufficient!!!
Ashtyn had a great time with all the TCK's (Third Culture Kids), she was able to see some of her friends she made while we were in Mexico on our vision trips and make new ones that are serving in Mexico as well on different teams. She loved their leaders Billy & Erica (so did we) and they also serve in Mexico. It was nice to meet new people that we can go and visit and help out from time to time. And we will be excited to visit each of them. They got to have cool bible studies, dress up, play games and all sleep in another dorm away from the adults. So needless to say they all had a great time!! We are so thankful for an organization that puts so much importance on our children and recognizes the difficulties they have on the field and go out of their way to minister to them and help them adjust and be heard!!! That means the world as a parent to know that someone else cares about your kids like you do and wants to make sure they are being taken care of and helped too.
I can honestly say that I have never been taught in church the importance of praying for missionaries!! It is not something that is at the forefront of our teaching and training and it certainly should be. I seriously had no idea how difficult their lives are and how the enemy hates the fact that they are serving and their spiritual warfare is beyond anything I have ever known. Even more important is too be praying specifically for them and against the strongholds they come against everyday. Praying Lord, help the missionaries all over the world is good - don't get me wrong, but they need specific prayers and they need them often. I think that churches should have specific names, areas and the battles they face and have them available for people to take different ones and pray for them by name, by area, for specific people they are working with and praying against the enemy in Jesus name for their battles!! I promise you that missionaries will be more than happy to share specific needs and would greatly appreciate and covet prayers for their specific needs.
We have heard throughout every training, conference and from every missionary that the people you think will support you and pray for you don't and the ones that you think never would do. Honestly I have been saying, "that won't apply to us, I don't think that will be our case at all" - guess what they were RIGHT!!!! So trust me, when they are telling us to prepare for spiritual warfare like never before, you better believe I am listening this time and preparing. This is about to be my life and I want to be prepared and I want to know that we have people praying for us daily. I can assure you that we will only be as successful on the field as our prayer warriors prayers are.
We only have 33 prayer partners right now and we need at least 167 more!!! Would you consider being a prayer partner with us and intercede on our behalf. We would be grateful! We are at 28% of our 90% needed funds. We would love to be at 100% when we leave for the field so we won't have continued partnership development hanging over our heads while we are on the field trying to study and serve. Here are some examples of what we need to get us to the field-
1st scenario: 4 businesses or churches giving $520 a month, along with 32 families, Sunday school classes, small groups or bible studies giving $52 a month and we are fully funded and on the field!!
2nd scenario: 2 business or churches giving $1040 a month, along with 22 families, Sunday school classes, small groups or bible studies giving $52 a month, along with another 20 families giving $26 a month has us fully funded and on the field!
3rd scenario: 52 families or groups giving $52 a month along with 40 families or groups giving $26 a month and we are fully funded and on the field!
Remember every bit that is given monthly combined with what others are giving helps us get there. There is no amount to small or to large. It takes many giving so that we can go, and we are so appreciative of each of you that are already praying, giving and encouraging us on this long journey. God promises to provide and we are seeing His provisions more and more each day and we praise Him for working in the hearts of His people to be part of His ministry in Mexico.
We would love any opportunity to speak with you face to face or come to your church, small group or Sunday school class and share. Even if you know of people who are supportive of mission work and you want to host a dessert dinner in your home and invite them to come and hear what God is doing in our life, we will bring everything if you will just open up your home and allow us to share. Any contact that you might have we will check out. We so appreciate any ideas or leads that give us an opportunity to share.
Thank you again for keeping up with us and sharing this journey with us! We are blessed to have each of you a long side us. Please know that we pray for you often with thanksgiving in our hearts for your support.
I want to leave you with a song that we sang at our meeting last week that spoke volumes to my heart and I will be listening to it often to remind myself that we are NEVER alone!
P.S. Please excuse any mess ups and mistakes, I am still on strong medicines for my 2 torn hamstrings!