28 December 2012

New Print Newsletter

After tracking down photos and proofing, I have finally completed our print newsletter. The files are going off to the printers today.

08 December 2012

Homes for the Holidays

Jonathan and Dan Christmas Shopping
Praise the Lord for granting us many mercies over the last several weeks.
I spent much of the month of November traveling to conferences. First came the BILD Summit where I was able to meet with Dan Huffstutler and Jonathan Moore, our missions team partners. I relished the chance to get updates from Dan about the progress of the work in Nairobi and to discuss ministry plans for the near future.
Next I traveled on to Milwaukee for the ETS conference. This is always a good opportunity to network with friends and fellow educators, especially my friends from DBTS. Kevin Sherman, who worked alongside us in Zambia last year, was with the DBTS group, and we enjoyed a number of conversations about theology, leadership development, and our prospects for cooperation in the future.
Grabbed Useful Books at ETS
We were grateful to spend Thanksgiving with Jenny's family while we continued meeting with churches in the Northeast. After a restful weekend and a refreshing time presenting at Open Door Baptist Church, I packed and prepared for a few months of support raising in the Southwest. That next Wednesday, I preached in chapel at Cortland Christian Academy. Then we were off for Albuquerque, NM.
Our time in the Northeast was very profitable, and we look forward to moving ahead with our relationships there in the spring. I hope to produce a print newsletter this next week with an overview of our work there. We pray our time here in the Southwest will likewise add to our growing network of supporters.
Before heading for El Paso, our family nabbed an opportunity to visit with Alameda Bible Church in Albuquerque. This church has faithfully supported us through their prayers over the last few years, and we look forward to years of partnership in the future.

Jamin Reclaims Snow Leopard in ELP
Here are a few other examples of God's mercies and our thanks:
  • Good prospects for partnership continue in the Great Lakes region.
  • We enjoyed a safe trip down to the Southwest.
  • We will be able to share Christmas with my family before leaving the States.
Please pray with us that God will continue to provide:
  • We would like to see four new churches in the Northeast decide to partner with us.
  • We would like to develop relationships with new churches in the Southwest that flourish into partnerships.
  • We need wisdom to shepherd our children to Christ through the celebrations of the season.
I have uploaded our newest video presentation to YouTube:

As always we appreciate your support and prayers!

24 October 2012

New Friends, New Materials

Josiah Takes a Horse Ride With an NTBC Family
We continue to work on developing relationships in Central New York and praying that the Lord would provide for us to leave for Kenya this coming May.
A couple of weeks ago, Jenny and I had an opportunity to meet with Pastor Steve Little of Heritage Baptist for lunch in an effort to share our ministry vision and begin to develop a relationship. As a missionary church planter both in Brazil and here in Central New York, he had some great biblical wisdom for us; I came away from the meal encouraged about the way we were doing our deputation and about the road ahead in Kenya. Please pray that our meeting with Heritage Baptist at the end of this month will result in further mutual edification and partnership in the gospel.
We also had the opportunity to serve Bible Baptist Church, in Cortland, NY, recently. I treasured the opportunity to get to know this church better and expose them to our ministry. I believe we will have more opportunities to serve with these folks in the near future.
Three weekends ago we were off to Boston, MA, to Church of the Open Bible. The pastor and I overlapped in seminary and even shared office space at my job during that time. My wife and I are looking forward to continuing to work with him and his family and making new friends at the church.
Last weekend we had the pleasure of serving alongside some extraordinary servants of God at New Testament Baptist's missions conference. I was most encouraged by the way the Lord Jesus is renewing a focus on training and equipping strong, servant-hearted, biblical leadership within the mission fields of the world.
Lately, much of my time has been invested in editing, recording, and updating web and multimedia material for use in the next several months of deputation and for the school in Kenya. We hope to be able to release these items this month, and I'm looking forward to it.
Thanks for praying for us!

Someone else has been busy too: Jamin took his first steps recently.

13 September 2012

Moving to Homer

Enjoying Dinner at the New Place
Since my last update, the Pittsleys were grateful to accept an offer of missionary housing that we found through a member of Calvary Baptist, Preble. While we are endeavoring to spend loads of time with Jen's family whom we'll be leaving soon to live in Kenya, we are also grateful for the Lord's provision and his people's generosity in opening this apartment to us.
This week I was able to meet with the pastor of Grace Baptist Church, in Pennellville, NY. I believe we are of one mind, and I hope that we will find partnership together in our future. As he and I talked, and he shared some of his ministry plans, I saw how he too was working to meet the need of church-based theological education and leadership development. If we want our churches to gain ground in the coming generation and make lasting strides in Christ's commission, we must train men of God set on fire with the word of God.
Right now, our ministry team is working on the website for our school. It's exciting to see the way the Lord Jesus is working to begin a theologically grounded church-planting movement in Nairobi. Please pray that he would continue to shepherd us through this process, and that his Spirit would help us to make wise godly ministry decisions.

Here are several other requests to mention in your prayers for us:
  • Opportunities to serve Grace Baptist Church of Pennellville, NY
  • Continued development of our relationship with Calvary Baptist, Preble, NY
  • At least one or two more partners in this region as we seek to serve local churches and develop the relationships the Lord has granted
  • A full schedule for our time in the Southwest this winter.
  • Efficient interactions with the US government as we seek to prepare documents for our departure.
We're grateful for your prayers!

21 August 2012

Back to Central, NY

Saturday before last, our pleasant stay in Michigan drew to a close. I am so glad we had the opportunity to enjoy time with friends new and old while I worked with Community Baptist. Our family will look forward to many future visits with this precious church as our friendship blossoms into partnership.
Before we left Michigan, we met one of Jenny's friends who works as a photographer. She gave us an exceptional rate for a photo shoot, so we took her up on the offer. We're so grateful for the way God grants these opportunities.
On Sunday, 12-Aug, I served at Calvary Baptist, Preble, supplying their pulpit. We also joined in their Wednesday night prayer meeting. I was excited to hear Josiah jump right in with me and the other men, praying for our needs and the needs of the church. I love that we are developing these memories as a family in the context of churches we hope to partner with in the future. Serving and praying with these committed followers of Christ draws us together into his mission!
Last Sunday found us back at New Testament Baptist. We had not visited this partner church on a Sunday in some time, and I was glad to speak with a number of our friends there. I hope to continue working with them on a project or two in the coming weeks.
Next Sunday, I will be presenting our ministry to Dresserville Baptist Church. I met the pastor there through Calvary Baptist, Preble, where he was discipled. It's exciting for me to see the way God has grown a faithful network of solid churches through the faithful work of Bible-driven pastors. The gates of hell will not prevail against Christ's church!
My home church regularly asks for 5–7 prayer requests to guide the church body in prayer for us. Allow me to share them with you:

  • Please pray for us to maintain hearts overflowing with gratitude in light of our Savior's shocking sacrifice.
  • Please pray for confidence to put our shoulder to the task of finding partner-churches, knowing the Captain of our salvation is ever victorious.
  • Please pray that relationships with local churches here in upstate NY would continue to develop into partnerships.
  • Please pray for great contacts and meetings this coming winter in the Southwest.
  • Please pray us that we would be able to leave for the field by the end of next May.
As always, your prayers are deeply appreciated.

30 July 2012

Prizing Community

After our last post, we left to spend some time in Michigan with Community Baptist Church. While we're here I am helping the church develop a curriculum addressing the various challenges we face as Christians at each life stage. From my experience, it's too easy to forget what it was like to be a teenager, or to be completely shocked by the responsibilities of being a parent with young children. On the other side, I can't pretend to know what it's like to feel "Lost in the Middle." Each transition in our lives gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our new identity found through the gospel. And it's been my job to begin to cull resources and to outline a path for courses to prepare people for these changes. I am enjoying the assignment and also the chance to develop relationships with the people of CBC.

One of our Homes During This Stay :)
We are also thankful for the hospitality of God's people that have made this extended period in Michigan a reality. God has been so good to provide each of our needs (and even beyond our requests) every step of the way!
Please continue to pray for wisdom for the leaders of the churches I visit as they seek the Lord's desires for the use of their resources. Pray that God would provide for us to leave for Kenya on 27 May 2013.
Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!

06 July 2012

VBS and Independence Day

Vacation Bible SchoolWe have been traveling less the last few weeks. Our main task has been to continue building up relationships and partnerships here in central New York while setting up time to invest and minister with other churches here in the region and back in the Southwest.

One answer to prayer was an opportunity I had to share the gospel briefly with children and young people at the Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church, Cincinnatus, NY. The church welcomed us to the cookout afterward, and we enjoyed connecting with new friends and with folks Jenny's family has known for years. Jen's grandfather had pastored this church when their family lived up here, and the church remembers him fondly. We hope to continue building contacts here and look forward to their missions conference this October.

We spent part of Independence Day with Calvary Baptist, Preble. We savored the opportunity to celebrate our American freedoms with these believers. We had already enjoyed presenting our work to the church on 24-Jun, and we're looking forward to continuing to serve this church as they look for a pastor. Would you pray that God would grant wisdom to the pulpit committee and that they would be able to find a pastor?

Community Baptist ChurchThe coming weeks have us in Michigan as we get to know Community Baptist Church in Woodhaven. They are graciously having us back for an extended time after my initial presentation in April. We are excited about this opportunity to dive into ministry with this church as it seeks to fulfill Christ's mission.

We are so grateful for the host of people who pray for us regularly. Please keep these three churches in mind as we pray together for God to provide for our needs through his people so that we can further Christ's fame in Kenya!

12 June 2012

Great Lakes Gait

May proved to be a high-mileage time for the Pittsleys. I have taken three trips over to Michigan, and Jenny and the kids have been with me for two of them. I have been down to Texas and over to Wisconsin. God has graciously kept and shepherded us each step of the way.

Josiah with the Moores
Our first trip to Michigan was to visit our sending church, InterCity Baptist Church, for Mother's Day. We also visited our missionary partners, the Moores, who are also currently raising support to go to Kenya. We loved the opportunity to catch up with friends and plan for future ministry opportunities in that area.

Next, I had an opportunity to visit Sun Valley Baptist, in El Paso, Texas. To save some cash, I took the long bus ride from Syracuse to Detroit and flew out from the airport there. I was grateful for two households that were gracious to host me while I was passing through Detroit on the way to and from El Paso. The occasion for my trip back home was the commencement ceremony of the Christian school that I attended from kindergarten to 12th grade. I enjoyed the opportunity to exhort this class to keep the faith, no matter what else they lost, by beholding our unstoppable God. My time in El Paso also afforded me the opportunity to preach at Grace Bible Fellowship and to help my parents with a few home improvement projects.
Boys Celebrate Jonas's Third Birthday
Last week we went through Michigan again on our way to Madison, Wisconsin. There we visited Meadowood Baptist Church and a family Jenny knew from her childhood. I enjoyed casting a vision directly from the Great Commission in Matthew 28, showing why a work like ours is necessary for Kenya. The work isn't done until we are partnering with Kenyans to reach unreached tribes and territories for Christ's name all over the world!

While we are here in New York, we have been visiting Calvary Baptist Church in Preble, a small town to the south of Syracuse. Pray that our presentation there on 24 June will go well and that a partnership will develop from the relationship we are building there.

Thank you for praying for us!

01 May 2012

Moving and Two Conferences

The Lord answered your prayers while we were in Albuquerque, NM. We only had an extended weekend to move our stuff from storage, organize it, and load it into the trailer we rented to move everything up to Michigan. But we were able to finish the job. We were grateful for help that came in from a few family members to keep us going. My mom pitched in and babysat the kids many of the days. They even got to go to a local aquarium one day.
After dropping off the trailer in Michigan, we enjoyed Resurrection Sunday with New Testament Baptist Church, a partner church in Syracuse, NY, where Jen's family attends. No sooner had we arrived, it seemed, and I was off for another engagement.
One of my good friends from seminary days is a pastor at Community Baptist Church, Woodhaven, MI. The church's two pastors, a mutual friend, and I, attended a large pastors' conference in Kentucky. I can't remember a more spiritually enriching time of preaching from the Word, theological discussion, and fellowship around the gospel. I was glad to touch base with many contacts from college while I was there as well. We came home eager to return to our ministries in local churches. That Sunday I was able to present the ministry at Community Baptist.
Last week, I gave myself to catching up on a considerable task list that had mounted while we were packing and attending conferences. During the week, the pastor at New Testament Baptist made arrangements to take another church leader and me to another's pastors conference. This smaller conference was still characterized by great preaching from the Word and fellowship. The three of us had a few great theological conversations on the six-hour car ride each way. God is so good to provide these times of mutual sharpening and encouragement!
Sunday before last, I was able to introduce myself to the deacons of an area church that is currently without a pastor. I'm eager to see what opportunities to serve the Lord will provide through this church, New Testament Baptist, and others in the area. Building relationships through service is often the route to new partnerships for the progress of the gospel around the world.
Thank you for keeping our desire to reach Kenya quickly before the Lord in your prayers.

28 March 2012

And Back Again

Jamin Explores Backwards
After our last update, we continued our time with Crossway Baptist Church in Bakersfield, enjoying the company of church members throughout the week. The Lord has been kind to guide us into partnership with this young church; it's exciting for us to be taken on as a church's first missionary family!
On that Friday, we left Bakersfield for the San Francisco Bay area. We stayed at the prophet's chamber of First Baptist Church of Pinole and updated the church on our ministry that Sunday. FBC Pinole has consistently helped us with lodging as we have sought partners in the bay area. We're thankful for the way they have reached out to us as a family and their consistent investment of resources in the prophet's chamber and missionary closet.
Josiah Goofing Around After Services
On Monday of last week, I had a meeting with a few pastors from Grace Baptist Church of Fremont. We spent several hours discussing missions philosophy in general and the Kenya work in particular. The goal is a thriving movement of churches, independent of foreign resources, planting churches locally and globally. We believe that the means to that end is church-based theological education—grounding believers and training leaders to defend and proclaim the true faith. We hope that more will come of that discussion and that we'll have opportunity to get to know the Grace Baptist better in the future.
Golden Gate Bridge
I spent most of the week working on the script for an updated video as well as expense reporting for the business side of my work for last year's finances.
Sunday, we enjoyed meeting Pastor Charlie Eldred, his family, and Fairway Park Baptist Church. They had a number of excellent questions about our ministry to Kenya. The next night we visited a missions conference at Calvary Baptist in San Francisco. We have high hopes of seeing more of these two churches in the future.
This week and next, we have the herculean task of going through a mass of possessions that are now in storage back in New Mexico and Texas. We need wisdom and grace to decide what goes with us up to the Great Lakes Region (and eventually to Kenya) and what we can live without. Pray for speedy, productive and wise work.
Thank you for your continued partnership through prayer!

10 March 2012

Spreading the Word About Kenya

Our Name In Lights ;)
We praise the Lord for a great time with Community Baptist Church, Brighton, CO, just after our last update. We are grateful for the relationships we have had the opportunity to build over our multiple visits with this church.

That week I was also able to present our ministry to a number of pastors at a luncheon hosted by Grace Bible Church, Colorado Springs. More and more I find myself referring to Titus 1:9 as we explain the goals of our mission. There Paul says that an elder of a church "must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it." Kenya, just like Crete in Titus's day, needs strong local leaders in its churches. It needs pastors who can equip people to leave behind nominal Christianity for a vital, working, growing faith in Christ. It needs overseers who can guard the flock against false teachers who would arise like wolves from within or attack from without. We are eager, prayerful, and excited that God would use us as his means to equip his church in this area of the world. I was grateful for the opportunity to spread the word among these pastors about the needs in Kenya for theological education and to explain what we are doing to meet those needs.
7 Crazy Boys & 4 Smiling Parents
Next we met with Highlands Baptist Church in the southern Denver suburbs. We had such a great time here with some of the members here as they had us over for meals and fellowship. We were also glad to have an opportunity to finally meet Steve and Toni Hafler who have been missionaries both to Nairobi, Kenya, and to Kitwe, Zambia. We are hopeful that our friendship with this church will soon blossom to full-fledged partnership.

Two Sundays ago put us at High Country Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. We were housed by two generous families during our time there, both of which had children similar to ours in age. We all had a blast and doubt that we'll soon forget our time with this church. One outgrowth of our time there was an opportunity to present our work to Ordway Baptist Church on Wednesday of that week. When we stumble on surprises like this, we can only rejoice that God is setting up appointments ahead of us and making our path to Kenya straight for the sake of his Son.
Friends, Old and New
I've enjoyed this last week of fellowship with our friends in California. Tomorrow I will be updating Crossway Baptist Church and teaching the evening Bible study there.

So many are faithfully praying for us! God has been answering your prayers and providing for our needs. Thank you all for your prayers and partnership in the gospel of grace.

11 February 2012

Texas, New Mexico, Colorado

Jonas Catching Some Zees
Last month we spent a good deal of time in El Paso, catching up with two partner churches, Sun Valley Baptist and Grace Bible Fellowship. Small group meetings, men's morning Bible studies, and prayer meetings kept our schedule full as we sought to reconnect and serve these two faithful supporters. We praise the Lord that a new member at one of the churches decided to take us on as an individual partner as well.

Then we hit the road to Albuquerque, NM, to visit two other churches where we've spent a significant amount of time. We visited Alameda Bible Church and had a meal with their new pastor. We were sad to see their previous pastor retire, but we're excited about how God is going to use the new pastor to continue to forward the cause of his Son through the church and continue to make a difference in that community.

We also saw our good friends at Northwest Baptist Church. We invested our Wednesday evening updating them about our last year in Zambia and our hopes for a quick return to ministry in Africa.

Yesterday we drove the 479 miles from ABQ to Brighton, a town north of Denver. Tomorrow we'll be updating Community Baptist Church about our ministry.

Praise the Lord for our safe journeys and encouraging times with fellow followers of Christ. Please pray for continued wisdom with raising children on the road, for healthy bodies and good attitudes, and for more partners among the churches we visit and people we meet.

We're so grateful for your prayers!

24 January 2012

A Partnership to Consider

Jared Compton recently posted this interview with me over at the DBTS blog, Theologically Driven. It serves as a great overview of our year in Zambia:

Here’s some good news. According to Operation World, evangelical faith exploded in Africa during the 20th century. There are now approximately 182 million believers in Africa, a population nearly double the size of the evangelical community in the United States. This staggering growth, however, has led to what Operation World calls a “critical bottleneck.” There are simply too few theologically-equipped leaders for all these Christians. How should we in the West respond to this need? One of the ways we surely must respond is through fervent and united prayer. God loves his church and loves to answer just these sorts of prayers. Another avenue open for some is to partner, either short or long-term, with one or another of the handful of indigenous ministries seeking to meet this need, sharing with them one of the resources we in the West have in abundance—theological education. A dear friend of mine (and DBTS grad), Jeremy Pittsley, just spent a year doing this at the Central Africa Baptist College (CABC) in Kitwe, Zambia. I recently had a chance to ask him about his experience. Here’s what he had to say.
(1) Jeremy, can you tell me a little bit about your experience? Last year I had the opportunity to train pastors and church leaders at CABC in Kitwe, Zambia. I taught a number of Old Testament classes, as well as English and Apologetics. Moreover, in my second semester, I took on some of the lower administrative responsibilities to help Nathan Washer, the college’s academic dean. I became directly involved in the admissions office, organizing and conducting interviews for applicants to the college. I’d say that nothing impressed me with the need for leadership development in Central Africa more than my interviews with these prospective students. False teachings and nominal Christianity abound, and leaders often lack the biblical grounding necessary to expose error and commend truth. These future and current pastors are hungry for the truth of the Word and eager to shoulder the hard work of becoming able students and expositors of that Word.
Also, at one point during the year I had the opportunity to teach two one-week block clasess on theology in South Sudan. I had an incredible time exposing a group of church leaders, some for the very first time, to the broad story of the Scriptures (creation, fall, redemption, consummation), the doctrine of the Trinity, and the person of Christ (100% divine and 100% human). The thirst for the Scriptures in this war-torn land was palpable.
(2) Who can get involved in this sort of work? These short-term teaching opportunities are available to anyone with a master’s degree in theology, divinity, or Bible. They are also available to those whose master’s degree included at least 16 hours in Bible.
(3) I know you managed to bring your family with you. Would you recommend others do the same, or is a post like this best filled by singles or those without children? Some single men have taken this opportunity to teach. The flexibility afforded to singles can open many doors of opportunity for mutual discipleship and encouragement of faith with the students. But that doesn’t make being single a necessity whatsoever. CABC has housing for both single and married students. They provided housing for our family in the married student flats near campus.
(4) Let’s get real practical. Where does the money to make this sort of trip come from? I was in something of a unique situation because I was in the middle of raising support to go to Nairobi, Kenya, when the Lord used my sending church, Inter-City Baptist (Allen Park, MI), to point me in this direction. Our partner churches unanimously agreed that gaining experience and helping this sister ministry was a great opportunity, and they continued to support us while we were there. We had friends, however, who probably represent a more repeatable model. They were able to raise the necessary support by saving their own income and by visiting a handful of churches. The fact that God provided for us and for them in the current fiscal climate is a good reminder not to put anything beyond God’s ability to provide.
(5) Any parting words for those seminary students who might happen across this interview? The year in Africa confirmed my calling to leadership training abroad like shorter missions trips never could. It also drew my wife and me closer as we teamed up on my work assignments and faced challenges together (including the birth of our third son!). I treasured the opportunities I had with my family to welcome the students into our home, introducing them to our children, and helping our children to listen as the students shared their testimonies of salvation and the circumstances surrounding their call to ministry. We were glad for the opportunity to put the boys in a context full of real adventure and loving friends and neighbors. Looking over my life, I cannot think of a happier year than the one we just spent in Zambia. I know I’ll never forget it.
Note: Have you had a similar experience? If so, we’d love to hear from you.