Our God is so good. It has been a great beginning to 2015. Our family is doing well and we are really enjoying the teenage years of our kids. We do not have foster kids at this time and it has been incredibly peaceful in our home. We are thanking the Lord for this season.
In February, I had the opportunity to train the children’s ministry staff at Scottsdale Bible Church; this is what the Children’s Pastor had to say…
“Michael took my children’s ministry team through the StrengthsFinder training and we came away with a better understanding of each other and I even changed some of the responsibilities of my members to better reflect their strengths. Some of the strengths I just didn’t recognize as a strength until going through the material. For instance, I have a team member that has strengths as a Learner and in Input. I now have her using that strength to research the latest children’s ministry tools and strategies and she gives our team input on new ways we can better minister to the children and families in our ministry. Such a great resource!”
– Ryan Heath, Pastor of Children’s Ministry – Scottsdale Bible Church
Coaching has been full and is a ton of fun. I am working with some of the staff with Athletes in Action in person and over the phone. They have been open to coaching, transparent to transformation, and zealous for growth. Their stories are all different but growth for one guy included now being fully funded for ministry. Another guy has opened himself up to some discipleship with me that will transform his heart in powerful ways. There is also a guy that is incredibly hungry for the work of the Spirit in his life and those around him; we spend time praying and talking about how his zeal impacts those around him.
Chris and I were recently trained and certified to utilize a tool called Prepare/Enrich. We have worked around it for years but have not received the training until now. We have used the tool mostly with pre-marital couples but are very excited to begin utilizing the tool with pastors and their wives. We are continually reminded how important marriage is in life and we really want to see pastors have thriving marriages.
Chris recently returned from Switzerland and Hungary. She was in Switzerland loving on and ministering to a sweet couple. Chris has mentored her for years and they are there for two years for his work. Chris went to love on this young mom as they just had their second child. Chris is amazing with young moms. It is a sweet spot for her. She also travelled to Hungary to visit some missionary friends Mark and Beth Van Bebber. Our daughter Charis is considering spending a semester of her Junior year with them in Hungary.
–Planning retreat for 2015-16 school year is in May for Athletes in Action. Most of the region will come to this retreat; it is a great time to coach them towards mission and vision.
–Considering a trip with Medical Mercy to India in October; it will be Cassidy’s trip to go with dad.
–Do we take on more Foster Kids; we really want to honor God and our family.
Thank You for you continued prayer and support.
The team started our journey with weather- delayed flights, diversions, and many hours in airports. 27 US citizens arrived in the Dominican Republic within a 48-hour time period. Some teammates on their way to JFK were on a flight that experienced some type of fire on board and diverted to Dulles then bused to New York; after hours in the airport they caught a flight to Santiago, DR. Others from San Diego on their way to JFK were diverted to Atlanta and flown into Santo Domingo, DR and then took a car to Santiago. Some teammates were just delayed while others were transferred to a different airline and flown through Miami. On Sunday we all gathered at a hotel in the DR, boarded a bus and drove to Haiti.
Once we were in Haiti, Josh and James (a translator and One Child Matters staff member) joined us. It was so good to be back together with them for the third trip. We had our first clinic Sunday afternoon at a town just across the border. After clinic we continued the journey to Cap Haitien where the Mont Joli hotel rests in the mountain side overseeing the water and part of the town. Mont Joli has been our resting spot each time we have been to Cap Haitian so our familiarity with it brings rest immediately. Four of the next five days of clinic were an hour and a half or more bus ride from the Mont Joli. We did devotions on the bus, we took naps, and we got to know each other on a personal basis, but the bus ride was long.
We saw 1400 kids
Offered first aid training
Educated and provided water filtration system
Taught public health
Installed hand washing systems
Gave out tooth brushes along with dental hygiene education
Counseled and Pastored people
Three highlights for me:
First, a girl came into clinic with the complaint of a bad spirit, her mom said at random times she would physically be out of control and would not recognize her as mom. The Medical Examiner did not find anything abnormal physically. She brought the girl and her mom to me, I quickly found James who is a pastor in training and we began to investigate what was going on. Long story short, mom and daughter gave their lives to Christ, we rebuked and renounced two evil spirits and she was different. Mom’s sister joined us part way through and shared that she has been praying for their salvation for a long time. They were all celebrating and very excited for what God had done.
Second, some of us were sharing our faith stories on the bus and it became clear that some teammates did not know Jesus personally. We shared the gospel a few different times. Through a few other team members talking about their story, one of the guys committed his life to Christ.
Third, working with the national pastors and leaders is what I really enjoy about these trips and it was no different on this trip. The time is spent hearing their hearts, encouraging them, talking through issues in their church and praying. I was blessed to have time with Joshua and James talking about mission, vision and values. Joshua is creating a ministry to work with the youth of Cap Haitien so we talked at length about how to establish and mobilize his vision.
Thank you for Partnering with me. I could not do these trips without your prayers and financial support!
Live Powerfully Love Powerfully
The New Year is fast approaching and it is my habit to evaluate my personal values, celebrate goals accomplished and set new goals. The goals I set are based on my values that drive me toward my vision. Some thoughts as I approach this process over the next few weeks…
My Mission Vision & Values
Mission: Live Powerfully Love Powerfully
Vision: Developing Workers to Mobilize Ministry—locally and Globally
Values: family, legacy, adventure, growth and genuineness.
Questions to ask myself:
Is my mission still a fit for me?
Is my Vision still on target?
Are my goal Crystal clear? Do I know what success will look like in December 2014? Are my goals focused accomplishing my vision?
Are my goals clear and compelling?
Research shows that people who live consciously set goals to intentionally create the life they choose. People who do not set goals are less likely to achieve their dreams. The big question for you is do you go for the goal(s) or do you allow current circumstances dictate your future.
May you be blessed as you seek the Lord, seek first the Kingdom of God, determine to count the cost of discipleship and walk worthy of the Gospel.
As I write this I am celebrating God’s Goodness! He is so amazing, loving, gracious, giving, tender, sovereign, powerful, and the words could go on. I am looking back over the last six weeks and sit with incredible AWE of His Blessing in my life. Kendra and I had a great time in India, God is doing great things in our home, ministry opportunities have been fruitful, and His provision is amazing. With a grateful heart I wish you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING.
In addition to the 1414 children we served in India we shared the gospel with several Muslims and Hindus, loved on pastors and staff and encouraged teammates on the journey with us. God ALWAYS has a plan and is glorified by our obedience. Although we knew Kendra was supposed to go to India at this time it was not easy to raise the funds but God provided. It was a ton of fun to walk with her into projects as her heart connected to people of an entire different lifestyle. She can’t wait to go again. Her heart will not be the same. Also, we had some teammates that had their lives transformed, some seeking Christ in new ways and some who heard the Gospel in word and action. God was glorified.
God has given Chris and I opportunities to mentor/coach couples in ministry. We have spent time praying for and encouraging couples who are just starting out in ministry and couples who are facing transitions. We have been praying for these opportunities for years and this feels like a “sweet’ spot for us. Ministry takes a toll on marriage that is why we believe team ministry with these couples will make a Kingdom impact on these couples. Please pray for our marriage as the enemy spirit of retribution comes against us as we serve.
We were at court this week for the foster boys in our home. The plan is for reunification as early as January or February if all goes well. Their mom had a baby several weeks ago and has him at home and they seem to be doing well. We believe God for his timing. We want them to be with their family, but we want the best for the boys too. Please Pray.
Thank you for being committed to our ministry. We need you! We need your prayers and we need your financial support. We cannot do what we are doing without you!
Will you pray about joining our support team? God is good and always provides for us! We know we can trust HIM, but we also feel like we need to keep letting the need be known. We would love to continue to build the base of our funding on $10-25 gifts a month. If you can do more than that is GREAT, but the stability we have when the base is wide is a true blessing. I know I have talked with some of you that have not started giving because you feel like $10 a month is not enough…well it all adds up and is very helpful. One time or year end gifts are always appreciated also.
The Lord has authorized a trip to Haiti for me in January and will need to raise those funds soon.
Thank you in advance for partnering with us!
In just two days of clinic we have seen over six hundred kids. Clinic is going well, the medical team is able to treat and care for for most of the needs of the children. But there is one issue that we can not do anything about. It is the fact that many of these children have been so malnourished in their younger years (before becoming a sponsored child). The damage is done and is not recoverable. Many of the children are stunted in their physical growth. Due to the lack of needed calories and nutrients many of the children will have life long health concerns. See Dr. Beyda’s blog for more
The journey of caring for children around the world is an exciting journey and one that is hard to deal with. There are days you walk away feeling good about the day but wonder about the future of many of these kids. We will be part while we are here and many of us will also take a part home with us through child sponsorship. We see the difference in the lives of these kids. There is a vast difference in the health and hope of children who are not in the program. Today we added a sponsored boy to our family.
I am also writing to ask you to pray. Our team is doing well as a whole but there are some who could use some extra prayer. We have team mates dealing with deep grief. Team mates who have recently lost loved ones and others preparing to loose loved ones. We have some who are questioning why they do what they do. are they man pleasers or God pleasers. There is a heavy sense of reflection, asking God some tough questions. Will you pray that the voice of God, the love of God and Gods hand would be seen, heard, felt. Will you ask him to be experiential in ways beyond belief.
I am filled with gratitude for you, thank you for your enlistment in this battle. We need you warriors.
I was reading through 1 Chronicles 29 this week and was reminded of God’s goodness. He is the only one who deserves our praise and honor.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
I am so amazed by God. I am continually challenged in my faith by growing in knowledge of Him. When I read the scriptures I see the only true God all-powerful and majestic I get to know Him and His greatness. As Doug Keough a mentor of mine, who is now with the Lord, used to say “God is good all the time, All the time God is good!”
Ministry is going well and I am blessed to be walking alongside some godly men. These men are church planters, missionaries, local church pastors and a few that are just hungry to make a difference in the kingdom without a title. This summer the some of the men that I have been working with here in the states will be going to Haiti, Kenya, India, China, Mexico, Turkey, Fiji, Honduras and more. When God called me to Develop Workers to mobilize ministry in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the ends of the earth I wasn’t sure what all that meant but He has blessed the ministry and allowed me to see great fruit. “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty!”
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. This ministry could not and would not exist without your partnership.
Please pray for us:
- Kendra and I will be going to India in October we need to raise $7000 (Checks can be written to Medical Mercy and sent to our home address, 1260 E Wesleyan Dr. Tempe Az 85282)
- Chris has several women who want to be mentored by her. Pray for wisdom how many she takes on and time to be effective.
- We have 3 foster boys with us (almost 7, 2 ½ and 10 months). These boys are younger than we were planning on when we started, but God is using these gifts for discipleship in our family as well as them. The almost 7 year old prayed to know Christ and is interested in the things of Christ. The big question we are always asked, “how long will we have them?” “we don’t know”. Trusting God for His plan and timing.
- Summer vacation plans are still being made
- God’s direction for other trips He may have me go on. (I know we have a house full, so I have said no to some trips already. I want to be obedient)
Thank you for praying for us. We seek to know and follow His plans for our lives and ministry. We need prayers for wisdom and discernment. We are blessed to have you doing battle on our behalf.
Live Powerfully Love Powerfully
As I think about Nepal I am grateful for the ministry opportunities. God always has a plan and reason for his timing. There were several times in the week that I knew God had me there. The One Child Matters staff that oversees Nepal are the same team that we work with in India and Bangladesh, so I have spent some time with them. I love having the opportunity to coach them and encourage them in the work they are doing.
I was also blessed to speak in two different local churches while I was there. God was so good to me. I had a feeling that I might be asked so I brought a message with me that I felt He might have me share. He also went before me in preparing the way. At the second church the pastor referenced 4 verses in an encouragement to the congregation, all four verses were a part of my message. The pastor did not even know what I was going to speak about much less the specific verses. God prepared the hearts of the people and led 22 men and women to a decision for Christ. Nine of those people were first time visitors to Church . The best news for me, they have a follow up plan in place.
In a recent letter I asked for prayer regarding going back to Kenya to do more training with the pastors. This week I shared with them that airfare is outrageously expensive in July and we are feeling that later in the year will be better. Please keep praying for His guidance and clear direction.
This past week I had the opportunity to speak at Arizona Christian University. I had a great time interacting with those men and women in that capacity. I can be a guest speaker but not teach an entire class because I do not have my masters. I have been praying and searching masters programs but have not found a program I have really felt called to do. I may have found it. I am interacting with Grand Canyon University about their Masters of Science in Leadership. Many of the courses will be beneficial for my growth and equip me with some tools to better coach leaders. Will you pray with me, they have a few start dates in the near and distant future. What does God want me to do?
As always I covet your prayers for my family. We are all doing well, the new boys are learning the ropes and we are becoming a family. It is always an adventure at our house but we love it. Our foster care license is required to be renewed yearly. That will be done in May. In order for us to be licensed to have 3 or more foster kids in our home we needed to have vehicle that would hold us all. We truly feel called to provide a home for sibling groups because they are often times split up and that breaks our hearts. We have been praying since November, asking God for wisdom and provision. Our hearts have been filled with gratitude by the generosity of some people around us who support what we are doing with foster care. We were able to purchase a 12 passenger van! We still have some payments on it but the support we got made it do able.
That leads me to the next prayer request. Our two boys have a younger brother who has been placed in another home for now. In May we will be licensed for 5 kids, so we are seeking the Lord’s favor on bringing this 9 month old into our home. Please pray. Just because our hearts are broken for them doesn’t mean it is His Will, but it looks like these boys will be with us for awhile and it would bless them to be together.
Thank you for your continued partnership, we are dependent on you both financially and in prayer.
As always we are so appreciative of your ongoing prayers and support.
We have transitioned to two new foster boys, ages 6 and 2. Having a two-year old again is a big change but we are doing well. The first set of siblings went home to be with their parents. They have been home for three weeks and it seems to be going well. . We talked to them briefly on the phone and they are happy being with their family.
Foster care has been an amazing journey for our family. We are teaching our children to live “life-discipleship” and give to others whose needs are greater than our own. We are in the process of renewing our foster license. Pray this goes smoothly.
I leave for Nepal today. The trip is with Medical Mercy (One Child Matters). I will return April 16. Please pray for our team, for the people and pastors of the communities of Nepal, and for my family at home. I am going into this trip with some residual bronchitis so please pray for great health and strength.
Again thanks so much for partnering and praying,