31 May 2017

Proclaim!

We're thankful for the many answered prayers over the last month.
The first weekend of the month, EABST hosted a workshop on Bible message development. We explored 2 Timothy as a case study. Jonathan and I enjoyed watching as the students worked through the text, observing the structure of the book, its original occasion and central themes, and its 21st century application. It's such a privilege to see the way that the Lord is equipping these men to serve the church with the Word.
The next week the Huffstutlers and Pittsleys took a quick break out of town. This was an opportunity to retreat and take a deep breath before the next couple of weeks of intense busyness and work. We also took time over the weekend to grow in our relationships as members of the EABST team. One of the first things I noticed was how quiet it was outside the city. We have become so accustomed to the noise of traffic, school children, radios and TVs; it's nice to just hear the wind sometimes.
Two weeks ago, Jenny and I had the privilege of traveling to Malawi. I was able to visit with a teacher and administrator at a pastors' school. There I acquired a feel for their ministry, some ideas to take home for our ministry, and some ways our ministry might be able to serve them in the future. While we were there, Jenny and I also stood as best couple in the wedding of two dear friends. It was such a beautiful ceremony, and it was so exciting to see this couple finally tie the knot!
Last weekend EBC and EABST partnered to host the long awaited Proclaim Conference. We had just over 400 attendees including many international guests. Christ's grace in allowing us to participate in his plans for his church in Africa is so incredible! The opportunity that we have here to equip pastors from many backgrounds with the truth of God's Word—especially this year, with our concentration on God's plan for local churches—is truly invaluable. Please keep praying for this ministry!
During Proclaim and now into this week, Dr. Mark Snoeberger has been teaching on the topic of biblical theology. He has been equipping pastors and other church members with tools they can use as they seek to study for themselves how the pieces of the Bible fit together.
Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. Please continue to mention us before the Lord: It is by his work in us that we are able to bring glory to his name.

26 April 2017

Catching Up and Thinking Ahead

Every once in a while the Lord gives us merciful little reminders that what we call normal is in reality a very fragile thing. As the seasons changed from dry to rainy this year, I noticed a number of people taking time out due to illness. And three Fridays ago, I got hit too. I was diagnosed with some sort of bacterial infection in my blood. Antibiotics treated it pretty quickly, but a stomach bug took the opportunity to swoop in just as I was getting over the infection. I've been grateful to God over the last week to be able to recover the energy to catch up on everything. All told the month of April has flown by incredibly quickly!
This last week we had the enjoyable treat of meeting with a pastor friend from the States. We had  nyama choma (Kenyan barbecue), and he walked our students through several aspects of the life of a church planter and pastor. We're thankful for opportunities like this to equip and shape our students as they engage in ministries of their own.
Next month is shaping up to be a big month for EABST and our local church, Emmanuel Baptist. The weekend after next, EABST is doing a one-day workshop on 2 Timothy, helping students work through the process of interpreting the Bible and preparing expository sermons. The big event at the end of the month is the Proclaim Conference, our pastors' conference. This year, we will be concentrating on the importance of the local church. Christ's good news creates a community and to miss the priority of the community is to misunderstand his mission.
Please keep these items in prayer. As always your efforts and partnership with us in prayer are a source of deep encouragement. Our awesome God is worthy of our reliance and confidence.

24 March 2017

The Kids

One area of everyday life that I don't frequently write about is family. Jenny and the boys work hard on their homeschooling throughout the day during the week. Sometimes it's difficult to notice development as each day blends into the next.
However, we're excited about a few areas our boys where the boys are making some progress. Josiah has begun joining us in the adult services at Emmanuel. I don't remember specifically how he conveyed to us that he was ready, but we've been enjoying the discussion after each sermon. He appears excited to learn what to listen for to understand a sermon well. I've had the opportunity to preach several times recently, so it's been fun to discuss my sermons with him.
Together as a family we have been memorizing Hebrews 11. Jonas has taken the lead here: He's the one to remind us at bedtime that we need to spend some time working on it, and he always wants to try the new verses first.
Jamin has been reading The Big Picture Story Bible to us in the evenings. It's so neat to watch his confidence in reading grow as he makes steady progress through the hefty book. As a father it's exciting to see these evidences that God is watching over our children spiritually. Please continue to pray that we would lead them well and that they would walk with the Lord.