Praise God! When I was in Sudan, Peter talked about going to cattle camps in the surrounding counties, even though the Dinka Agaar (Peter’s tribe) and the Dinka Atuot and Nuer (the people of Yirol West) are typically fighting and killing each other. He told me that he would go anyways, and that God would protect him, and now he’s doing it!
Monday, November 5, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
– Ephesians 2:4-7
This month I had the privilege of taking the youth group from Indian Avenue Baptist Church to camp. Before going to Sudan, I worked with the youth group off and on for about six years, so going to camp was a treat. The camp these this year was “Identity” and focused not only on the lost students’ need to identify with Christ, but also on the Christian’s identity as a new creation in Christ. This year each student was encouraged to consider his need for Christ, and then consider his role in the body of Christ. On the last night of camp, the students were given blank puzzle pieces on which they wrote a way in which they could be part of their youth group, church and the overall body of Christ. One of the boys in our group gave his life to Christ while at camp, and at least three others were challenged in various ways to live more surrendered and godly lives.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012
But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.
- 2 Corinthians 10:17-18
The last few months have been kind of a whirlwind tour for Amy and me. Shortly after writing the last update, we made a trip to St. Louis to visit with some of Amy’s friends. We came home from St. Louis and were back for a few days, and then left for a trip to Warren, Arkansas where we visited some churches from the Bartholomew BaptistAssociation.
The people in Warren, AR were so hospitable and open to our ministry. We were extremely blessed to meet the brothers and sisters at Saline, Macedonia, Ebenezer, Immanuel and New Light Baptist Churches, and are looking forward to our relationships with them.
We got home from Arkansas and a few days later received news that Amy’s grandmother, Elsie Carlson, was in poor health and might not make it through the weekend. We left the next day and drove to Columbus, GA where we spent a few days visiting with grandma and Amy’s parents. We are extremely blessed with loving families, and it’s always hard to leave them behind. Elsie passed away on April 6th at about 12:30am.
Throughout these busy weeks we had a chance to see God’s hand in providing for us in some major ways. Our car had a major coolant leak from a bad timing gasket, a job we couldn’t afford to have done right away, so I was a little worried about making so many trips. We prayed that God would sustain the car for us, and although the mechanic told me I would need to stop every hour or two and check the coolant level, we literally lost no coolant for most of the trips. I went from adding a gallon of antifreeze to the car every 3 or 4 days to adding exactly half a gallon over 4,700 miles of driving in three weeks. God is good.
The car was not the only way that God provided for us. At the end of the whirlwind of trips I sat down and wrote in my journal about every time we prayed for something and had an immediate answer. It took three pages to write them all down. Amy and I have been studying 2 Corinthians lately, and Paul repeatedly says that the only way he is going to boast is in his weakness because it is through our weakness that God is powerful. It’s awesome and humbling to be so completely dependent on God and his providence to make it through each day, and to watch him actually provide when we ask him!
Amy is coming up on her thirteenth week of pregnancy. We had our first ultrasound a few weeks ago and saw our little 36.2mm baby moving around. The road trips have been difficult for Amy with the usual nausea and discomfort of being pregnant, but she has been quite the trooper!
Please pray for us as we keep going through the support raising process. We are now at 58% of our total goal. Also pray for Amy and the baby as she goes through this new world of being pregnant and all of the changes that come with it. Pray for our families, this was my grandpa’s first Easter without grandma around, and Ray and Karen as they adjust to not having grandma around after years of working very hard to take care of her.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Last month I shared about the opportunity we’ve found with the People Teams. Amy and I are partnering with some friends from Antioch Bible Baptist Church to try and reach out to the Sudanese people living in the Kansas City area. We found a store in town where many of the Sudanese people hang out, so we’ve been frequenting that place and visiting with the people we find there.
I (Justin) usually take my laptop with me when we go to the store so I can show people my pictures from Sudan. One day while Tim and I were sitting there talking, we came across some pictures of spearmasters (they’re like witchdoctors) and a chicken that go along with a story I told in a letter sent last July. The guys asked me about those pictures, so I began to tell them the story about how God provided rain at the right time to show his power to the people of Paloc. In the course of telling that story to the men in the store, I was able to share the good news of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, the power of God, and the need for people to repent of their sin and make Jesus their Lord. The men in the store reacted positively, and we continued to have a long, fruitful discussion about the nature of sin and the gospel. God is providing some great opportunities!
This has been a busy month for our family. We’ve been working hard at finding new people with whom we can share our ministry, and are at about 45% of our needed monthly support. A few weeks ago we went to Plano to visit the e3 offices and have some evaluations done. The day after we got back from Plano, I came home from an appointment and Amy handed me a positive pregnancy test. It’s exciting news for us, we were hoping to have our first child before we return to Sudan, and apparently God has heard our prayer! Last Sunday we went to the hospital after receiving a call about my grandmother. Grandma had been rushed to KU Medical Center for emergency surgery on Sunday afternoon, but she passed away at 10:45 on Monday. Fortunately for us she was awake and responsive for her last couple of hours on this earth, so some of us were able to pray with her and say goodbye.
Please remember my mother (Stephanie) and her siblings in prayer as they cope with the passing of their mother, and my grandpa (John) as he adjusts to life as a widower after 61 years of marriage.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
But you will receive power when the Holy Sprit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. – Acts 1:8
I (Justin) remember a phone conversation between Amy and me while I was still in Sudan. Amy was excited because she had just heard about a ministry called “People Teams.” People Teams is basically a bunch of people in Kansas City who, realizing that there are so many countries and ethnic groups represented right here in our neighborhoods, decided to start training people and encouraging local churches to mobilize to start reaching the nations right here in Kansas City with the good news of Jesus Christ. Antioch Bible Baptist Church, which is the church where Amy is a member, decided to get involved in this, so Amy joined the team. To make a long story short, they researched some people groups and decided that Antioch’s focus would be on the Sudanese people located in Kansas City.
Amy mentioned People Teams quite frequently when we were on the phone, and even brought it up on my ride home from the airport when I got back home. For months she’s been casually mentioning to me that we need to get involved, but with the wedding, seminary classes and support- raising, I was kind of slow to come on board. I knew that it would be fun and a worthwhile ministry, I just didn’t’ know how much more time we would have to do it.
Well, after months of waiting, adjusting, and…dragging my feet, Amy and I started going out with Tim and Vanessa from Antioch once a week just to see who we could meet. There are churched Sudanese people here and we know where to find them, but we want to have relationships with the ones who are lost, and find opportunities to share Christ with them. Will you pray that God uses us to reach Sudan in this way as we await his provision for us to return? My experiences in Sudan are a good entry point for conversations, but when we start talking about serious things like the gospel, things will get a lot more difficult.
The support raising is going better than we could have expected. In January we were able to reach our fast-track goal and were hired as “Temporary employees” for four months while we finish raising our commitments. We’re at 42% of or monthly goal, God is providing in amazing ways!
Thanks for your prayers!