Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thanksgiving and prayer

Hello faithful friends...

Here's a quick update on Jennifer's health since many of you have expressed concern.

She is still not doing well, but we think there is a possibility that we've found a diagnosis and that is good news. This Thursday and next she has some appointments so please pray they go well and we can find treatment. As soon as we know something for sure we'll let you know. Thanks for walking with us, for caring, and praying!

Lots of love,
J and J

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Get Off the Couch

There's a t-shirt that reads, "You can fall off the raft, get sucked under and die... You can fall off the raft, hit your head on a rock and die... You can fall off the couch and die... So get off the couch!" This sums up beautifully the lessons God has taught us in the past months. Danger is everywhere. Living in the states does not guarantee our safety or comfort, so why let fear of danger keep us from doing great things for God?
Tonight we shared this message with Asbury students at the WGM Global Cafe. In a fairly recent survey conducted at Asbury, fear of danger is the number 2 reason students said they would not consider serving through missions, yet when we take a look around at this world we live in we realize that we have little if any control over accidents, diseases, or crimes committed against us anywhere. Why do we live our lives in fear holding onto "safety", when we should be living our lives in the security that comes from being the hands and feet of Jesus?
We are thankful that several students have already learned this lesson and are going out this very summer to do great things in some dangerous places. Pray for them as they go overseas and as they "get off the couch" here.

The challenge before all of us is to live a radical life in the midst of our dangerous world.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mount Holly UMC

We knew when we called Pastor Rob at Mt. Holly UMC in Fairdale, KY that he was very welcoming to us and we were eager to share with the Mt. Holly congregation, but when we had the chance to meet him and hear his story we were sure he was not only a great pastor but also a great man. Before the service, Pastor Rob told us he was so grateful to no longer wear a boot on his foot because he had been wearing it for years and, at the beginning of the service, Pastor Rob was proud to show the congregation that he was wearing shoes on both feet. As we were driving from the church to Applebee's with Pastor Rob, he shared with us about how great his congregation was while he was suffering from complications of diabetes. Pastor Rob lived for years with his foot in a special boot, seeing the doctor on a weekly basis, sometimes confined to wheelchair, in hopes of the sore on his foot healing. He spoke nothing of his struggles or perseverance, but only told us how wonderful the people of Mt. Holly UMC were to him during the whole ordeal. What Pastor Rob didn't know is that we were blessed by his testimony. The kindness of the congregation and Pastor Rob's commitment to minister as pastor in the church were both touching. We know how hard it is mentally, spiritually, and physically to fight against diabetes, and during this time neither Pastor Rob nor the congregation were willing to give up on healing, on loving, or on the call God had placed on their lives. "He's been sick for how long? He's still your pastor," was what one person outside the congregation said to one of the members who recounted the story to us. She never considered wanting a different pastor. Pastor Rob never considered giving up. This is a story of a body of believers sticking together and loving each other even when times were rough, and, although I know Pastor Rob is grateful for the love he received, we're sure there are people at Mt. Holly who will never know just how far their love has reached.

* Pictures: From Mt. Holly

Thursday, April 17, 2008

College Students Experience Mexico

The smell of garlic, onions, and chilies was strong, the music was loud, and the room was filled with Asbury students who gathered together to hear about what is happening in Mexico and our calling there. Tonight we played host to over 50 students. We fed them tostadas de tinga, arroz, frijoles, and tres leches cake all prepared by Jose of La Casa de Jose. The meeting was held at the World Gospel Mission Student Center here in Wilmore and it included delicious food, a documentary on Mexico, and a latin dance lesson. We are privileged to be able to share our call to serve others, the needs of Mexico, and how, though young, college students can make an impact in our world. We were encouraged by several students who wanted to make a difference by joining our team and also by others who voiced their interest in serving the church through missions.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jesus Raising

The business of raising support as a missionary can be taxing and difficult, even somewhat discouraging. I must confess that for me the whole process has been extremely stressful despite my strongest efforts to grin and bear it. I now have been made aware of the reason for my struggles.

Steve and Theresa Manchester (WGM missionaries to Tenwek hospital in Kenya and friends from our mission training in Colorado) were in Wilmore to speak at the WGM student involvement center and we had a great time of fellowship after the meeting. We shared about our successes and struggles in finding partners in ministry, but one thing Theresa said really touched me. When we are disciples of Jesus Christ, when we are missionaries either on our fields or here at home, our number one task is not to be successful or productive, but to glorify our Lord. I have been focused on fund raising this whole time and am ashamed to say that I have missed the bigger picture. I have been raising funds and not raising [up] Jesus. My flesh has been striving and worrying over budgets, numbers, dates, and time frames because I long to be in Mexico, and I have placed my focus on Mexico instead of the one who has called me there.

Today I choose to begin Jesus raising and to stop fund raising. I choose to decrease so that he may increase. I choose to be free of worry and anxiety about when we will be in Mexico and to embrace being in his presence in the present.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Quick Update...

Hey ya'll from actually sunny central Kentucky. =D The sun makes us think of sunny central Mexico.

We just wanted to fill you in on a few things...First of all we're having some technical difficulties so our computer capabilities are not up to speed at the moment. Thanks for your patience.

Yesterday Jennifer actually had a positive appointment. Yahoo! We are leaning towards the idea that she is struggling with some parasites and they have been causing the majority of her health issues and pain over the last few months. We aren't sure currently, but are thinking that is the case anyway, and the person Jennifer saw yesterday thinks it is a strong possibility. For a while we thought parasites were the issue, but were unable to have any success with doctors or any relief until yesterday. Currently, she is on some meds and hard core herb supplements for a while. If they don't help then we go from there...She has been feeling slightly better yesterday and today and for that we are grateful! Thanks for your prayers and concern!

More to come shortly...
Lots of love,
J and J

Friday, April 4, 2008

Topeka First United Methodist Church, Kansas

What a Difference a Friend Makes

Good friends make a difference in our lives in countless ways, and we'd like to tell you about one of our good friends. Jayna is a friend whose love and influence touched Jennifer in a special way when they met in high school, and, although Jennifer and Jayna may have only spent one year in Wilmore, their friendship continues to grow. It grows because of the love of Jesus Christ that compels people like Jayna to go above and beyond the greatest expectations of a friend. This past weekend Jayna organized and orchestrated a very enjoyable breakfast meeting with the beautiful congregation of the First UMC of Topeka, Kansas. We thoroughly enjoyed being with our friends and worshipping and sharing with the people of this great church.

We hope you received our newsletter via e-mail or in your mailbox without any problems. =) Thanks for your continued prayers as we travel on this long journey. You all have lifted us up with your words of encouragement!

Jennifer is still struggling right now with her health, but has had moments of feeling a little better over the past few days. She is having some pretty severe symptoms so we would still appreciate your prayers.

In the meantime we press forward as we seek to surround ourselves with friends who will be a part of what we will be doing in Mexico and who want to make a difference by joining with us. We are encouraged, motivated, and affirmed by all those who have taken the step to join our team, but there are still many opportunities for people to be a part of the great things God is doing in Mexico. Could God use you in this way?

Each partner, each friend brings us closer to Mexico and the needs of the people, and each one of you makes an impression on our lives and the lives of those we will work with in Mexico. What a difference a friend makes!

Easter Sunday and Kansas City