Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Temporary Home

Sullivan, IN

It is a rare occasion that we are able to spend a full week in any one spot, but that is exactly the blessing we were given in Sullivan, Indiana by the Wabash Valley Community Church (WVCC). The church has a nice apartment just a few yards away from the parsonage on the church grounds and Molly and I made that home for the time we were there. Our “neighbors”, Pastor John & Bev Moyer were wonderful hosts. Bev, a great cook, made sure we were well fed. John, the master craftsman, showed us some of his hand made furniture around the house. Next time through we’ll have to have a woodworking seminar so Bryan can build some things in Santa Cruz. We had fun playing games like Farkel and watching O’Reilly factor a few nights.

Being able to stay in Sullivan for that full week gave us several chances to connect with the people of WVCC.

1)    Saturday morning breakfast with the Men’s group. Bryan brought the devotional and there was some great discussion.

2)    Sunday Morning:  Bryan & Molly shared with adult Sunday School Class, Bryan preached the message while Molly led the junior kid’s church.

3)    Sunday lunch with Ron and Marianne (former missionaries to Bolivia) now residing in Indiana. Good discussions about exchange rate, weather, ministry, etc.

4)    Sunday afternoon: Much cheering and heckling could be heard from the Moyer living room as John and Bev (Packer fans) rooted against Bryan & Molly (Bears fans). All smack talk was in good fun and we’ll continue to pray that those Packer fans wont get big heads about their victory. Humility is key….

5)    Sunday evening: Bryan led a few choruses with his guitar and then we had an informal time of sharing with some interactive powerpoint games.

6)    Tuesday evening Molly shared with the Women’s group through our favorite interactive game for all age groups..."Pass the Parcel". 

7)    Wednesday evening we sat in on the Bible study and prayer time. Pastor John has been taking the people through the book of Luke and we were in chapter 14. A good lesson on the excuses people give for not attending the “Banquet”. If you get a chance, read it in your devotions this week and you will surely be challenged. 

As I thought back on our week in Sullivan and our "temporary home" I was reminded of the scripture in John chapter 15. 

John 15:19 (New International Version, ©2011)

19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 


I hope you will be challenged and encouraged by this scripture as I was. This world is our "temporary home". That is 2 fold. Temporary in the fact that we have limited time to reach all the people that God is calling us to reach. Also temporary in the fact that we have a hope in glory on the other side of death. Go out this week and make the most of the temporary. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

MID WEEK BLESSINGS

I mentioned in the previous post about how God has been working on our hearts to keep our eyes open for all the ministry opportunities He is putting before us. We are anxious to get to Bolivia, but are very much enjoying our time connecting with the ministry happening all across the Evangelical denomination state side. Each Sunday we are blessed to share with a new congregation about God’s vision for our future and occasionally we get an added blessing to share in a mid-week service as well. One of these mid-week blessings was in Everson, Pennsylvania.

We were most graciously hosted by Neil and Vera Stevens and had a wonderful time getting to know them and their son Scott. Scott is in his sophomore year as a history major at California University in California, Pennsylvania. Don’t worry. It took me a second to wrap my brain around the geographical oddity. We caught up with Kara, Neil and Vera’s youngest daughter, over lunch one day and it was a good time swapping exciting traveling stories. Kara spent several weeks in Bolivia with Molly shortly after she had arrived for this last 2 ½ year term. One skill Kara came back from Bolivia with was the knowledge of the game Settlers of Catan. It was exciting for us to get a game in one evening with the family. Just so it’s on the record….I (Bryan) came away with the win. This is a rare occasion.

Wednesday nights at Everson EC seem to have a great community outreach. They serve a meal before the service and there are many community kids who attend, get a hot meal, and have some time to play and also hear the word of God during lesson time. After the meal, we spoke to a small group of adults who richly blessed us with an offering and a monthly share. We then drove over to the house where the young adult group was meeting. The young adult group is comprised of college and career age men and women from several area churches. We fit right in with this group, had some good conversations, and they also richly blessed us with an offering.

We continue to trust and God continues to provide.

Now Neil and Vera told us when we arrived that we had to finish a puzzle of this covered bridge Amish scene before we could leave. Somehow they let us slip out the door with several of the pieces still scattered about the card table. We packed the van, hugged our hosts, and got back on the open road headed for Sullivan, Indiana. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Steelers country...

Some of you avid blog readers may have noticed that our share count changed dramatically within the last couple weeks. The share count is displayed in the right margin of this blog. I had forgotten to update the count since before December, yet God has continued to bless us at each church we’ve been to. Our service at New Beginnings Evangelical Church (N.B.E.C.) in Youngwood, Pennsylvania was no exception to this continual blessing.
We knew going into the Sunday morning service that spirits would be high because of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens the night before. However the service was far more than just a lot of people in a good mood because of a football game. The presence of the Holy Spirit was really evident in the worship that morning. It is an absolute privilege, as we are on deputation, to be able to share the prayer concerns of each congregation that we visit. During the prayer time that Sunday morning we lifted many prayer concerns, but some of us were gathered around a boy named Josh who has struggled with an irregular heartbeat and often times has been sent home from school. The doctors are still working on finding the problem. As we laid hands on him and took some time to pray that morning I lifted up prayers for Josh that he would find the courage and confidence despite all of these struggles and that if it be within God’s will to take the struggles away. As we said amen Josh looked up, smiled at me, and thanked me for praying. It has been moments like this during our deputation that remind me of the ministry God has for us all along the way. As we focus on raising support to go to Bolivia I never want to lose sight of the ministry that stands right before us.


Just being part of the service was a great time of blessing for us, but after we had shared our presentation and the final benediction was given, we had a chance to look at the commitment forms that had been turned in. God abundantly blessed us through the people of N.B.E.C. They gave 7 ½ shares. One of those shares came from Rebecca and Emily Hixson (teenage daughter’s of pastor Dave Hixson). We had so much fun with these girls and their 6-year-old brother Josh. Dave and Rae Ann have raised some good kids. They were fun, respectful, and servant hearted. Emily even gave up her room for us for 4 days. We came away from the weekend with so many great memories that we will carry with us for a long time.
Bryan sporting a robot DJ t shirt 


JUST DANCE 2 on Nintendo Wii
To the left to the left

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On the road again...


Christmas break is over. A new year has begun.
And we are back on the road for deputation.

The next few months we will be out east in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Our first stop out east was at the Kilgore Evangelical Church in Kilgore, Ohio. Pastor Terry Will and his wife, Alice, hosted us and we felt very blessed in the days we shared with them.

We shared with the congregation in a couple different services. Sunday evening was a bit more informal with some interactive powerpoint games and a Q&A time. A couple of younger boys asked some questions that I had not heard before. One boy asked, “Do they have fire fighters in Bolivia? Are there policemen”? I honestly couldn’t recall seeing a fire-truck during the 2 weeks we spent down there in April and I saw some traffic police no squad cars like you would think of here in the states. I looked toward Molly for some help and then another question rose from the boys, “Do they play baseball”? I explained that the favorite sport was soccer and that I was going to work really hard to be a soccer fan since we wouldn’t have any American Football in Bolivia. One topic of interest and discussion was when we showed a slide of me eating guinea pig that, in Bolivia, is a meat group rather than a house pet.

We had opportunity earlier that Sunday to go out to lunch with two very nice couples. It is always nice to connect outside of the church walls when we are outside of  “presentation mode”. It was a good time of fellowship. We went to a really great Chinese restaurant nearby, but sadly I didn’t see any guinea pig on the buffet. 

Pictures from the road to come in new posts........

Happy Birthday Jesus

We hope this Christmas season was joyful for everyone. This was our first Christmas as a married couple and this extended the celebrations for both us. We spent a week in Oskaloosa celebrating with Bryan's family. We also took gifts to Bryan's mom, Brenda, as she is currently in a care facility in Seymour, Iowa (about an hour and half from Oskaloosa). She has struggled with depression for many years and this past year has been a trying time, but God continues to show Himself faithful in everything. Please be in prayer for healing and to be able to move Brenda closer to Oskaloosa and near her loving husband. 


We were also able to spend some time in Moville to celebrate with all of Molly's extended family. There was a lot of good food, laughs, and many games. We came out with a new favorite board game called "Dice-capades". If you're up for fun and using every part of your brain then check it out. It can be purchased at Target. 


In other family health news: Some of you may have seen Kim Treiber (Molly's dad) on the Prayer prompter sent out by Evangelical Church Missions. Kim was diagnosed with Lymphoma in October and has started Chemotherapy treatments. The treatments are every 3 weeks and Kim seems to be handling everything really well. He is strong and is continuing to go to work on the days he doesn't have treatments. 


We want to take this time to thank everyone for sticking with us during our deputation. As we are looking toward our ministry in Bolivia we are trying to keep our eyes open to the ministry all along the way during our travels of raising support. You all are important parts in our ministry as you have made it a point to stay connected with us. 


Blessings in 2011, 
Bryan & Molly



A Thousand Apologies and a Happy New Year

I realize it has been over a month since we posted an update on the blog. The last post promised a recap of our stay in Wadena, Minnesota with the Ellingson family. That story is still to come, but I felt it necessary to at least touch base and let you know a little bit of what has gone on recently in our lives on the "road back to Bolivia". 


December is commonly a time when deputation slows down a little bit. Many churches have Christmas programs and many things going on. We did visit one church in December and, as usual, met smiling faces and welcoming arms. 


December 5 - Fairfield Bay, Arkansas - Cornerstone Evangelical Church
Molly and I have been checking off states together as we have been traveling. Arkansas was a new state for both of us. We arrived Saturday night, December 4th,  at the house of the people that were hosting us only to find out that they were native Iowans. In fact several people from the congregation had some connection with Iowa. God seems to find ways to bless us with little reminders of home even though we are several hundred miles away. Good fellowship, good sharing, good potluck. 


December 8-12 
We returned to Minneapolis just in time to catch another big snow storm. I grew up in Iowa so I'm used to shoveling the fluffy white stuff, but with each scoop I kept repeating in my mind, "South America. South America."


We spent a couple days packing up our belongings from the house we had been staying in near the EC Mission Office. We put some stuff in storage and packed some stuff to get ready to take to Bolivia. Our original target departure was January, but we still have need of some more financial support (Current share count is in the right margin of the blog). We are scheduled in churches through March and now hope to return to Bolivia at the end of March or early April. With this in mind we knew we should get a jump start on the packing. 




More recap of the past month to come...give your eyes a break. Go outside and get some fresh air. Get your digital camera, take a 5 minute walk, then take a picture of wherever you end up. 



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