Here in Kansas, despite the cold temperatures that usually accompany Christmastime, it isn’t uncommon to see a young boy outside riding a brand new bicycle on Christmas Day – and I always enjoy seeing the smile on his face at he tries out his new bicycle.
This week, although it would seem odd, we were able to see smiles on the faces of adult men who received the gift of a bicycle. It wasn’t at Christmas time, and, although we are in Kansas, the men weren’t.
Earlier this year, we received a Gospelink newsletter (Gospelink is an organization in the States which allows families to sponsor native missionary pastors in a foreign country; many of whom can be fully supported for $110 a month; you can often choose the pastor you would like to support; and you may write letters back and forth to your pastor – more information below). Many of the native missionary pastors that are sponsored through Gospelink have no form of transportation, and will often walk many miles to minister and share the gospel in villages near (or far) from their homes. In fact, at one point, when we asked a pastor that we support what his means of transportation was to the villages that he ministers to, he wrote back that his means of transportation was his feet.
The Gospelink newsletter mentioned that they had received a “matching donation offer” of several thousand dollars towards bicycles for pastors that had no transportation: for every dollar given towards bicycles during a set period of time, this other donor would match with another dollar (up to several thousand dollars of matching funds). Each bicycle cost $75 (US funds). As it was an incredible opportunity to help poor pastors advance the gospel, and at the same time was a great way to increase one’s financial gift, some in the family were excited to contribute towards the project.
Just this past week we received a thank you letter from the Gospelink National Director in the particular African country where the bicycles were purchased and then distributed. Accompanying the hand-written (and then photocopied) letter were photos of the pastors receiving and trying out their new bicycles. The joy that was on the faces of these pastors was a thrill to our hearts – and we hope it encourages you as well.
If you, your family, your church, or possibly your home church, is interested in fully or partially sponsoring a native missionary pastor, please visit or contact Gospelink.org.
I believe one reason children lose interest in their parent’s faith is that they see a life that is simply religious. There is no deep love and excitement for Jesus, but simply going through the outward motions and with the flow of those around them. Difficulties, persecutions and trials of life that come into our lives provide excellent opportunities for our children to see Who Jesus is in our life.
Certainly, they are not what we prefer, but they bring with them the blessed grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our children have had those blessings and the most recent was this weekend. As we were packing up after our Charleston conference, Sarah was sitting on the floor amidst some boxes. She said she was feeling terrible and really didn’t know if she could do much more. With others pitching in to finish what Sarah normally does, we were soon packed up and heading for the hotel.
Such was the beginning of some of our family’s most memorable days because by Sunday morning six of us were terribly ill and since then only one has "escaped". Still very sick, that afternoon the Lord enabled us to begin the 900 mile drive to Shreveport, LA for a conference on Monday and Tuesday. Then on Wednesday with some better and some worse we drove 600 miles home.
It is easy to praise the Lord Jesus when all is well, but the real growth opportunity is to rely on Jesus and be at peace when things are terribly bad. The children saw that if Jesus doesn’t remove the problem, then He will enable us to go through it.
It made no sense for us to begin homeschooling when Teri was in the midst of depression. She shares that she was hopeful that if she was obedient in homeschooling God would remove the depression. However, we found that God is faithful and He gives grace to do what He calls us to do. We want the difficulties removed, but most often, His way is to enable us through them.
After thirty days on the road and thirteen cities, we are home in our own beds again. We met many special and courageous brothers and sisters in Christ and were shown much love and kindness. I think we would all agree it was our most memorable trip, in more ways than one, and we praise our Lord Jesus Christ for His love, mercy, and sustaining grace.
We have been so blessed as we are approaching the half-way point on this trip. Being away is difficult, but we love being together and sharing as a family. The hearts vary greatly in each city, but there are always some that respond to the challenge to draw closer to Jesus and throw the world out of their home. Here is an email that thrilled my heart that I just received.
"Steve and Terri, I would like to thank you for ministry! I’ll admit that I was not the one who raised my hand when you challenged the entire conference on removing the beast, but when I got home I was so convicted that I removed BOTH beasts from our house. I have to admit that it was a very uplifting experience, stepping out and doing something in faith, even when my flesh cried out NOOOOOOO! I know my family will be blessed by this decision and my wife and I are very excited about what lies ahead. Thank you again and may God bless the rest of your ‘tour’." A dad of a home set free.
It is good to see Christopher and Sarah sharing their hearts with the young men and young women. They are blessed and challenged as they share with homeschooling children whose hearts range from tender towards the Lord Jesus to well, let’s say, just shy of openly hostile towards the things of the Lord. I’m sure the parents of the rebellious young people were praying that their children would respond to the message. Dad and Mom, don’t ever think that homeschooling is enough if your desire is to raise men and women of God.
If God would prompt you, please, please, pray for our meetings. We have seen God do a mighty work in many, many, hearts. He is the One that must do the work.
As I mentioned last week, we’ve just started our 22nd year of homeschooling. The Mom’s Corner for this month discusses some of the scheduling changes that we’ve made over the past week in starting school once again. Even now, we continue to modify our schedule as our needs change.
We’ve been sending the September Corner’s over the past few hours. My Dad’s Corner is based upon some of the interactions we had at the County Fair outreach, and also brings up the issue of Youth Mission Trips.