New Partners – Freedom Baptist Church

Today I learned that Freedom Baptist Church (Dundalk, MD) has welcomed us into their Missions Family! When I told our children, they were so excited. We had such a wonderful time with Pastor Barry and the church family at Freedom this past October in their Missions Conference.

We are so thankful for their support and encouragement. This puts us at 48% of our needed support. Almost half way there! We are grateful to the Lord.

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New Partners – Bensalem Baptist Church

On Sunday (1/28/18) Bensalem Baptist Church voted to welcome us into their Missions Family. We are excited to partner with them. Truly the sun never sets on the ministry of Bensalem Baptist Church, and we are grateful to have a small part in that!

This support puts us around 45% of our monthly need.

At present we only have 6 remaining Sundays open here in the Northeast through 2018. Our schedule for our westward trip toward the end of 2018 is also beginning to take shape. We are excited and grateful!img_1525

Boy or Girl?

We are excited about the new little one who will be joining our family in May. We wanted to have a gender reveal, so we decided to create a volcano, and color the “lava” to match the baby’s gender. The camera did not capture the color perfectly, but if you watch closely you should be able to tell. And if there is any confusion, just listen for the screaming after the reveal!

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Future Hopes

FUTURE HOPES

The future holds no fear for the child of God resting in His promises and grace. As our family trusts the Lord to continue to lead and direct us, I wanted to lay out the plans we are making for the future. Our goal is to arrive in the Philippines in May 2019 in order to launch Haven of Grace Seminary in June 2019. Our arrival in the Philippines is determined by two controlling factors:

  1. Birth of Baby Valiante – Lord willing, we will greet our new baby in May 2018. We felt that it would be beneficial for Sarah, the new baby, and the rest of the family to wait to travel overseas until everyone has a chance to get acclimated.
  2. Filipino School Year – The Filipino summer is April and May with most schools beginning sometime in the month of June. Since the seminary is an educational institution, it makes sense to launch the seminary at the beginning of the school year.

Based on our deputation experience thus far, we are very hopeful to have all of our support raised by May 2019. We have been raising support for only four months and currently stand at 41% of our needed support. Additionally, there are a number of churches that have expressed a desire to support our family who have yet to formally vote on us.

With regard to the seminary, we are already making preparations for the programs we will offer. God has been so good to direct us to godly men who have experience in theological training abroad to offer support and counsel as we lay out everything from our philosophy to the degrees offered. Mark Kittrell, Dr. Curt Lamansky and I recently had an extremely productive planning session to begin constructing a program that will provide the most effective platform to train Filipinos for ministry. To say I am excited would be an understatement!

Looking even further ahead, after we are on the field, we have plans return to the States every April and May. Since these are the summer months in the Philippines, the seminary will not be in session. This will allow us to report back to our supporting churches, and raise any additional support needed without having to be away from the work at the seminary for an entire year every four or five years.

At this time, I want to thank each of you who have prayed for us, as well as those who have sacrificially supported our family over these months. We are confident that Haven of Grace Seminary will be used greatly by God for the furtherance of the Gospel, not just in the Philippines, but all throughout Southeast Asia. We are humbled by the opportunity to equip and train national pastors in the Philippines.

 

New Year of Spiritual Growth

The New Year offers us an opportunity to take inventory of the previous year, and make appropriate changes for next. Unfortunately, there are countless pitfalls that await us in the coming year that will sidetrack us if we are not on guard. Below is a sermon I preached this past Sunday at Bensalem Baptist Church from 1 Timothy 6. This text helps prepare us for those pitfalls, and gives instruction on how to thrive spiritually in 2018. I hope it will be a blessing and encouragement to you!

FOUND FAITHFUL

FOUND FAITHFUL

The Scripture tells us that “it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor 4:2). This text is situated within one of the most extensive sections of Scripture detailing the work of a minister of Jesus Christ. In the previous chapter, Paul uses the imagery of a building to illustrate the importance of building our ministries upon the sure foundation of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11). Once the foundation is set, it is up to the builder to use materials that will endure—gold, silver and precious stones—rather than materials that cannot withstand the test of fire—wood, hay, straw (1 Cor 3:12-14).

As Paul expresses, one of the keys to a “successful” ministry is being faithful to the calling God entrusts a person’s care. This point is highlighted by the usage of the word “stewards.” This term brings out the concept of a “manager” (specifically a manger of a household). Once again, the image of a “building” or “house” lingers in our minds from the previous chapter. Every “minister” is entrusted with a different responsibility to oversee (we could call it a different place in the vineyard to tend). But the key to success (wherever God places you in his service) is to be found faithful.

This past weekend, our family had the joy of being with the Hubble Family and Noxen Bible Baptist Church.img_1601When I think of a man being found faithful, I think of Pastor Ben. I knew Ben from my time at Northland, and even then I knew him to be a godly, consistent example of faithfulness to the Lord. So, this past Sunday it was a joy to see Ben and Heather’s steady, consistent ministry to the folks, not just within their own congregation, but within the community as well. Being from the area in which God has called them to serve, their heart for children and families within the community was a powerful testimony to me. They clearly have a desire for God to use them to lead folks to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that God would honor their faithful service and continue to bless the ministry to which they have been called.img_1607

A Special Sunday

A SPECIAL SUNDAY

Words cannot express how meaningful and special this past Sunday was to our family. We are so thankful for the opportunity to present our ministry at Bensalem Baptist Church. If you were not able to make it, here is the video of our presentation, and the message I preached from 1 Thessalonians 1.