Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Our Last American Christmas (for a couple years)

This Christmas is hopefully our last Christmas in the States for a couple years and because of this we have found it difficult to avoid having too high expectations. We want everything to be just right and we want to make many wonderful memories that we can recall when we're celebrating Christmas in Mexico. Amidst these great desires to make lasting memories and to spend quality time with family is a deep desire to focus on what Christmas is truly about. We have found in our experience that everything we surround Christmas with can be very distracting. We can easily make gift giving, being with family, going to parties, and holiday traditions the center of our celebrations, but being in the unique position of leaving the country and Christmas as we have known it we are reexamining what Christmas is and will be for us.
Just like you, we don't want to make presents the focus of Christmas, and we won't be able to be with family, go to our friends parties (although we will have new friends... hopefully :) ), or maintain some of our traditions. So Christmas will undoubtedly be different. What we have come to realize this year more than ever is that Christmas goes on without these treasured things because Christmas is only about Christ and nothing more. We will dearly miss our loved ones, but Christmas is not about being with others; it's about God being with us (Emmanuel). So as we face changing cultures and the changing of Christmas, God has used this time to help us refocus on Him and what it means to truly celebrate the birth of His Son. May God richly bless you this Christmas and may Christ enter our hearts anew as we celebrate the things he has done, is doing, and the good things yet to come.

(picture from Leon in 2006)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Life in Wilmore Continues

We had a big week this week because we received quite a few new ongoing support pledges. Thank you! You should be getting a Christmas letter soon with more information and updates. If you don't receive one, but would like to please let us know.
Currently, we are in Wilmore for the next few weeks visiting with contacts in the area and celebrating Christmas with our families. We'll be in Michigan for a few days with the Seitz clan at the end of the month. We are also preparing to go to Colorado in the middle of January for our missionary training courses which will last 5 weeks. This past Sunday we attended Jennifer's parents' church and were able to spend some time with her parents, brother, and maternal grandparents. Even though they live in Wilmore we don't get to see them much as we've been in and out of town and very busy.

For those of you pray for us regularly...Here are some current requests:

-Jennifer's grandfather (Seitz) who is in the hospital, and the family as they have some difficult decisions to make.

-Wisdom in making our travel plans to and from Colorado in January and February.

- Our health

-Discernment for planning our schedule in the Spring

-More church and individual contacts.

Thanks for your prayers. Feel free to place a comment on this post if you have prayer requests or shoot us an e-mail. We are praying for you!

We will continue to keep you updated over the next few weeks.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Lovin' the Locals

A whirlwind of a week came to an end today, and as we reflected over the past few months we talked with one another once again about how this time of fundraising has been a tremendous learning and growing experience. One particular thing that stands out is what we've gained from visiting a different church almost every Sunday. Hearing a variety of sermons and worshipping with other congregations is a great experience. Today we attended Highbridge Union Church where our family friend, and college professor is the pastor. In the evening service we sensed the Holy Spirit as the congregation prayed for us and talked with us. We are thankful for the willingness of churches and pastors to give up their service time and allow us to share our story. Thanks!

(Pictured with one of our new found friends, Rene Frick.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We are Thankful!

What a crazy Thanksgiving! We were looking forward to our last Thanksgiving in the States, for a while anyway, and the plan was to spend time with the Reynolds and the Seitz families over the course of the break. Little did we know that we were in for an unwelcome surprise when Jennifer had to go to the Emergency Room on Thursday and her grandfather did too. Everyone is okay and neither were serious. We have a lot to be grateful for this year! This Thanksgiving season we are thankful for all of you, and the part you have in our ministry. We are also thankful for God's grace which has carried us over the past few weeks and continues to sustain us! We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

An unlikely connection

Today we spoke at Bad Axe Free Methodist Church, a church attended by some members of Jennifer's extended family. We were warmly welcomed by all at the church and enjoyed our visit and the opportunity to share, once again, our story and God's calling on our lives. After the services we met many amazing people, but two of our new friends touched us in special ways. Our first new friend, Genny, completely surprised us with a connection she has to Josh's family. It turns out that she attended Asbury College when Josh's grandpa was teaching there, and he would often take her along with her singing group up to his hometown of Buckhorn to perform. We were not expecting to meet anyone who knew our family, let alone someone who had such a special connection. We were blessed by Genny and the opportunity to reminisce about Grandpa Custer. Our other new friend is Janae. After we spoke in the morning service, she introduced herself to us beside our display and explained how we impacted her understanding of missions. She, like many other Christians, is trying to comprehend how missions fits into her life and what role she should have. She is still unsure of her future in missions, but she wants to be active in the present by supporting us. We are blessed by the conversations and relationships we are building with people like Janae who are not pleased to sit idly on the sidelines, but are eager to become an active player in transforming communities, countries, and our world through the grace of Jesus. We are not able to to accomplish the task God has given us by ourselves, but with people like Janae behind us we will be able to do great things.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Our latest news

Greetings Friends! This Sunday we celebrated Veterans Day in Maysville, Kentucky at Seddon UMC. Our friend Charlie Shoemaker has been the pastor there for a year. We enjoyed meeting the people at Seddon UMC and spending some time with Charlie.
As we attend various churches we are constantly reminded of the diversity that exists within the body of Christ. Even though each church we attend is different, we still feel a sense of belonging wherever we go because we have something greater in common. In the same way, we deeply desire others to feel a sense of belonging in our ministry. We want each one of you to understand that you are making a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. All of us share a heart for missions and together we will impact Mexico.
We are very close to 50% of our monthly support need. We need about 100 people at $25 a month to be at 100%. Thanks for praying and for participating in getting us to 100%.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wilmore Free Methodist Missions Conference

This weekend we had the priviledge of being a part of our home church's annual missions conference. We participated in several different ways throughout the weekend. Saturday the church threw us a missions shower to give us some things we need before we leave and on the field. The people in our church were extremely generous, and the gifts will be put to good use.
We were involved in several ways on Sunday and one of the highlights for us was in the evening when we spoke to the middle school youth group around a campfire. We enjoyed hearing their enthusiasm and learning that some of them are considering missions in their future.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Reynolds' Update

Most of you reading this have received our latest newsletter. (If you haven't, but are on our list, or would like to be, please shoot us an e-mail.)
We wanted to give you another quick update and some very specific ways you can pray for us. We have received many phone calls and cards. Many thanks to all of you who have been lifting us up in prayer faithfully! We have felt God's presence!
As you know we have been on a roller coaster ride this fall. Since we are busy trying to juggle a work schedule and fundraising, we don't have much time to ponder what has taken place over the past few weeks. In a way that is a good thing. We still need lots of prayer.
As you pray would you pray for:

1) Continued peace and healing after Jennifer's miscarriage and discernment for the future

2) More church and individual appointments
We have quite a few gaps in our schedule and we NEED to fill them

3) Our funding. Please pray that our ongoing support would be raised by the Spring

4) For World Gospel Mission and its staff. They are having major technical difficulties that are affecting us all.

5) For our health and spiritual growth
Jennifer has been having back problems

We want to lift you up in prayer too. Please feel free to send us your prayer requests!

As always we have a lot to be thankful for:

1) Good friends who call, send cards, and make us feel loved!

2) Wonderful churches and supporters who are behind us every step of the way and who continually encourage us

3) More time together as a couple as we travel and enjoy evenings and weekends together

4) God's strength and endurace

5) Meeting new people and seeing new places

Several people have asked us. "Can we do anything to help?" There are many ways you can help besides financial support.
One major need we have is more appointments. If you don't live in Kentucky that is fine. You could give us a list of people who might be interested in hearing our story. Or you could host a "fiesta" for us where we can share our story. Maybe you have a small group or Sunday school class that would be interested in hearing what we will be doing in Mexico. We also would love to speak at your church. It doesn't matter if the time period is for 5 minutes or 45 minutes. Get creative and let us know your ideas. =)
As the time approaches for us to leave we will have all sorts of little ways people can volunteer to help us out. If you are interested in buying something that would help us in Mexico we can provide a list of ideas via e-mail.

Once again, thanks for all you do!
J and J

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Southern Hospitality

Boy did we experience Southern hospitality this week! We spoke at Fort Valley UMC in Georgia on Sunday morning. A friend from college is the youth pastor there, and we enjoyed staying with him and his wife. In addition to the warm response we got from the church and the mission's committee, we were blessed by several people who had us over for meals or took us out for lunch. We had a great time getting to know people in Fort Valley ans spending time with friends. People were very generous to us and even dropped off groceries at our friends house for us. Wow! This week of encouragement was just the week we needed after last week. In addition to the kind people from the church, we met a Mexican couple who we enjoyed eating with on two occasions. They were kind enough to have us over for a traditional Mexican meal before we left. Our time in Fort Valley was a sweet one and we are enjoying Atlanta currently. Thanks for your prayers!
Josh and Jennifer

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Life isn't fair

Life isn't fair. That was my dad's favorite thing to say to me and my brother growing up. "Life isn't fair." How true that statement is. I don't think everything can be explained and I know God doesn't will pain and suffering. I know I didn't have this miscarriage because God wanted me to. Still, God is the healer and comforter. He is the only one who can help me deal with the pain I feel deep down inside. Yesterday, the healing process began and I'm thankful for it! Today it dawned on me what I can learn from this difficult situation. Before I found out I was pregnant I was not ready to assume the responsibility of motherhood. I was just too plain selfish. We had planned on starting our family in a year, but the thought of it scared me. I didn't want a little baby to come and wreck what I had going on. Josh and I have a good thing going. Why change it? But after the surprise of the little one that I thought would be born in April, the world seemed right. I am now prepared to be a selfless mother and love a little child more than I ever thought I could. If anything, I can take that away from this hard time. Praise God!
Jennifer Rebecca

Friday, October 12, 2007


Now we know what it is to grieve, to really grieve! This week we found out that our little baby is no longer developing. Yes, Jennifer miscarried. We are feeling heartbreak and the complete let down after having a joyful 3 months. Words cannot express what we are going through, but God is good and has blessed us with many friends who have helped us this week. Thanks for covering us in prayer! After a minor surgery this morning, Jennifer is recovering and health wise feeling okay. Tomorow we will still be going to Georgia and we will be there for the week. If you think of us please pray for peace, for healing, and someday that God will give us a healthy baby. Also, pray for safe travels and that our support level would continue to grow!
Walking by faith,
Josh and Jennifer

Tonight we attend Bluegrass Youth Ballet's Dia de los Muertos /Day of the Dead ballet. The evening was a good time for us to grieve as the ballet is about death.
Here are some words to song from the ballet. They are appropriate!

Dios Nunca Muere/ God Never Dies
Traditional Mexican Folk Song

The sun dies on the mountains
With the light that agonizes
Because life in a hurry
Brings us to die

But it is not important to know
That I will have the same
ending/ Because I have the relief/
That God never dies

I will leave the country I loved
the land that saw me born
But I know that later I will enjoy/
The joy and peace that in God I will find

I know that life begins
Where it thinks
That reality ends
And that God never dies
And that it moves me
If you look for His blessedness

I know there is a new light
That it will reach
Our loneliness
And all of those who die
Will start to live
In eternity

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Wesley Chapel UMC, World Missions Sunday

Today we gave the mission's moment at Wesley Chapel in Jessamine County, KY. One of our good friends is the pastor there. The congregation was warm and friendly and they took up a nice love offering for us. Ben preached on being the body of Christ. We are all a part of the body of Christ and we each have different gifts. Ben reminded us that we are connected with the whole body of Christ all over the world. Wherever we go we have family because the body of Christ is there. As we ponder leaving everything we've ever known and taking our brand new baby to Mexico, the message was a helpful reminder that we will still be part of the wonderful body of Christ. We each have a role to fill in being part of the body of Christ and doing world evangelism. What part will you play?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lexington Emmaus Gathering

The Lexington Emmaus Community has been a part of Jennifer's life since she was little as her parents have been very involved in the Community. In high school Jennifer attended a Chyrsalis weekend, and while Josh and Jennifer were dating Josh went on an Emmaus Walk. Those weekends made a big impact on our lives. We are thankful for the way God used those weekends to help grow us into the people he wants us to be. Tonight we shared about how those weekends prepared us for missions and our future plans in Mexico. This community has meant a lot to us over the years. We are thankful for the chance to share our calling with them!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Falls Creek, Pennsylvania

From Michigan we headed for the small town of Falls Creek Pennsylvania. There we took part in Smithtown Community Church's annual mission's conference. We had many adventures while there. We stayed with a wonderful couple who owned their own animal hospital. The first night we even got to witness a surgery on a dog who had been hit by a car. Our random adventures included waking up early to go see an elk herd, being on television, and going to see the famous ground hog, Punxatawny Phil. One of the biggest highlights for us was being at the conference with one of our good friends, and fellow missionaries, Zach Motts. Being able to spend time with him was a major blessing. Smithtown Community Church was a fun place to be, and once again everyone was welcoming. We truly felt at home with the people from the church. Of the many great moments we had there over the several days we spent with them, one of our favorites is when one of the children in the church handed us a small bag of pennies his great grandma had given him. After thinking about what to do with these special pennies he decided he would give them to us, the missionaries. Wow! His pennies are one of the most special support gifts we have received. He truly gave from his heart! Thanks Evan for putting a big smile on our face and reminding us to give sacrificially.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Davisburg UMC

Today we had the opportunity to give the message at Davisburg United Methodist Church in Michigan. We felt priveledged to be able to share at a church that is supporting us financially, and at a church that is special to us because Jennifer's Uncle is the pastor. Once again, everyone was very welcoming to us. As we travel around to various churches we are continually amazed at the warmth and hospitality of the people we meet. After the service a woman told us that we helped break down her "misconceptions" about Mexico and Mexicans. Time and time again we challenge others to think about the misconceptions they have and how they might affect how they interact with others or even keep them from ministry. We have had to overcome our own misconceptions about Mexico and Missions in order to follow God into our calling. It is our pleasure to share what we have learned with others and challenge them to re-think their misconceptions. We were thankful this kind woman approached us and thanked us for challenging her. =)
Following the service the church and Jennifer's family helped throw a "Fiesta" for everyone. The party was complete with all kinds of Mexican food from enchiladas to authentic tacos. Thanks Davisburg UMC for your enthusiam and support of our ministry, and thanks Uncle Bill for all your help! Gracias por todo!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oh Canada!

For a few days this week we ventured to London, Ontario in Canada to visit some friends/supportors. One day we made a trip to Niagara Falls. We had never been before and we had a great time taking in the sights. One of the highlights was riding the Maid of the Mist boat that goes really close to the Falls. Our trip was the perfect getaway and refresher. Paul and Suzanne are such wonderful friends! Suzanne and Jennifer have been friends since they were sophomores in high school. Now they are excited to be pregnant together. You read it correctly. Jennifer is expecting and due in early April. We look forward to taking our brand new baby to Mexico shortly after it is born. =) We appreciate your prayers during this exciting time in our lives.
We will spend the rest of this week in Michigan and head to Jennifer's Uncle's church in Davisburg on Saturday to speak on Sunday.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Reese UMC

We arrived in Michigan late Friday night and had the priveledge of speaking at Reese United Methodist Church Saturday and Sunday. Reese UMC is the church where Jennifer's grandparents have attended for many years. We had a wonderful time giving the message for the services. Everyone made us feel welcomed! We appreciated the opportunity to share at this church which we had visited before. This week we are able to spend quite a bit of time with family that we usually only get to see once a year. We love being on the Seitz farm here in Michigan. Monday we leave for Ontario to visit friends.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Birthday and Fiesta!

This weekend we took a break from our busy schedule to celebrate Jennifer's 24th birthday. Her birthday is officially September 15th, but we celebrated a day early by dining at Metropol and eating some homemade Nutella gelato that Josh made in Jennifer's honor.

Saturday we joined some friends for a fiesta in order to share with them our passion and calling to Mexico. We had a great time seeing some old friends and making new ones, and after we were able to watch UK beat Louisville!! Many thanks to Hannah for setting up the get-together and for opening up her house to us. We are thrilled to have supporters who are willing to support us not only with their gifts but also with their time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day

Labor day weekend we went to Virginia to visit some of our best friends and greatest supporters, Christian and Amanda Ensign. It may very well be the last time we get to see them before Christian is deployed to Iraq to serve as a 2nd Lieutenant in the USMC. We had a great weekend with them at Virgina Beach camping, playing at the beach, and jet skiing. The rest and fellowship were much needed break from our busy schedule, and it was so nice to be with old friends.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cornerstone Community Church

We definitely grasped the meaning of the word community at this small church in Stow, Ohio. Back in April we met the pastor of the church and immediately felt welcome any time at the church. Today we had the opportunity to share with this congregation our call to Mexico and our plans there. This church overwhelmed us with their kind words and made us feel at home with them. We truly appreciate all of those who joined our prayer team today! Our ministry relies on the support of people like you!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

An outpouring...

of love. We arrived late last night in Brooklyn, Ohio to stay with our dear friends, Matt and Katherine Elsesser. We have had such a great time being with them. Katherine and Jennifer have been friends since Jennifer was in third grade, and we have not been able to be together in over four years. We are so thankful to have friends like the Elsessers. Tonight they organized a wonderful get-together of their friends from church and we were able to share about our calling to Mexico and need for support. We enjoyed the fellowship and the opportunity to make new friends. Thanks, Matt and Katherine, for showing us Christ's love and generosity. We love you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Heart for Dance

Lexington Christian Fellowship is also special to us because they asked Jennifer to choreograph some dances for them to perform in their church. Jennifer has been working with six girls from the church over the past nine months and it has been a joy to work with them and see them grow. We truly appreciate the generosity of this church and their interest in our ministry and in us as a couple. It is wonderful to see churches that have a heart for dance! Psalm 149:3

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lexington Christian Fellowship

The first time we visited Lexington Christian Fellowship we were impressed by the strong sense of community we discerned in this church. The members of LCF are not merely like a family to eachother, they are family. What a blessing it was to meet with them again and to be treated as family. We want to thank them for letting us share our story and passion with them and for their outpouring of generosity. We are truly blessed to be involved at least in a small way with this congregation. They are a source of encouragement to us.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Family of WGM

We have had such an enjoyable week here at headquarters. Our regional directors are quality men and women and getting to spend the week with them has been a pleasure, not to mention the friendships we've developed with our fellow new missionaries. Yesterday was a tiresome day because it was our work day of OC. In the 90 degree heat we spent the morning and afternoon ripping up shrubs and trees, shoveling gravel, and grading dirt. We were sweaty, stinky, and tired at the end of the day, but it sure was nice to be active. Today we returned to our normal class sessions and covered the topics of finances and the core values of WGM. We have learned so much about WGM past and present and how critical they will be to our future ministry in Mexico. We are glad to be serving alongside these wonderful people.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In the OC (Orientation Camp that is)...

We've been at Orientation Camp (OC) for new missionaries at WGM Headquarters for three days now. We've had a blast so far meeting fellow new missionaries and the regional directors, and learning new things about WGM, ministry, and ourselves. Monday we took the DiSC personality profile and discovered more about our personalities, and today we took the CARE test to learn how we function in team situations. Josh spoke in the WGM Headquarters chapel today on Hebrews 3. Tomorrow Jennifer will particpate in chapel with her group.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Missionary Day

Today was missionary day at Hollow Rock, and we had a fun-filled, busy time. In the morning we were given the opportunity to share with nineteen 3 to 6 year olds about missions and Mexico and in the evening we were able to share in the main service. We were so blessed by our fellow Hollow Rock-ers this year as we received encouragement and support from them. The people of Hollow Rock and their passion for spreading the gospel through missions continues to impress and encourage us. Many thanks to Stu Smith and all the help he extended to us to make sure that we were able to be a part of the camp this year. We are very thankful to have been a part of what God did and is doing through Hollow Rock.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

4 Years of Marriage!

Today we celebrated our fourth aniversary. It's hard to believe four years have passed since we began our life together. We were able to get away and have some time by ourselves in Pittsburgh, and Jennifer introduced Josh to the amazing world of IKEA before we had supper at Bucca di Beppo (one of our favorite restaurants). May the next four years of our marriage be as enjoyable and exciting as the last four years.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thanks, Finley UMC!

Yesterday we hit the road for Hollow Rock Camp Meeting, a trip Josh has been making almost every year of his life and our second as a married couple. We are very excited to have a full week of great preaching and seeing and making friends at camp. Today we were blessed to worship with the Finley UMC in Steubenville, Ohio, the home church of one of Josh's best college friends, Wes George. We really enjoyed worshipping with the congregation in the morning and hearing Wes' grandpa preach, and then sharing our calling with them in the evening. We also had a great time catching up with Wes over some tasty watermelon. Thank you, Finley UMC for your hospitality and interest in the work God is doing in Mexico.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Let [us] Eat Cake!"

Tonight we had a wonderful time meeting with friends and talking about our future role in what God is doing in Mexico while we ate some authentic and delicious Mexican desserts. One of the things we enjoy most about the process of gathering a support team is the opportunity to tell others about the great things God is doing in our lives, and then to see people whom we esteem so highly catch the vision and become excited about our future ministry is an immeasurable blessing and encouragement. We cannot put into words how touched we are by the love we have been shown by those who support us, and our gratitude could never be fully expressed.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Home Sweet Home

We had a busy weekend of support raising hosting a dessert presentation Saturday night and speaking at our home church, the Wilmore Free Methodist Church. We feel like we're starting to get some positive momentum with raising support and we feel like we're starting to get the hang of it. We are so thankful to have such an amazing home church with so many genuine people. Without the support of the WFMC we would sure have a hard time of fundraising. We love you all!!