Saturday, June 21, 2014

Westward bound!

Back in February, we told you about some challenges we were facing. Those challenges, along with Jeff's growing desire to return to pastoral ministry (whetted by our almost-move to Scotland), led Jeff to begin exploring opportunities for full-time pastoral work.

In the Lord's faithfulness, Church of the Redeemer in Los Lunas, New Mexico, has invited Jeff to be co-elder. Our family visited Los Lunas and Albuquerque for about a week back in late April; Jeff preached, and we spent time getting to know the church family and checking out the area. We hope to relocate in mid- to late-July.

We're so thankful for the past seventeen months of sharing the ministry of 20schemes with churches all around the country.

We'd appreciate your prayers during our transition, especially in the following areas:

1) While we're planning for AnnaKate to travel to New Mexico with us, she'll return to Georgia to attend college. Please pray that we'll be able to find a safe and reliable (but inexpensive) car for her. We're thankful that the Lord has already provided her with a job, a wonderful living situation and a good church.

2) We have many details to work out for the transition. Please pray that in the midst of all of this, we'll recognize God's sovereign hand and rest in His plan.

3) Please pray for health and physical endurance for our family leading up to the move and during our 3-4 day cross-country trip.

4) We hope you'll continue to pray for 20schemes' ongoing work of bringing gospel churches to Scotland's poorest -- there is still much to be done.

Thanks for your prayerful support!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Evangelicals Now interview with Mez

Evangelicals Now recently posted an interview with Mez McConnell, ministry director for 20schemes and pastor of Niddrie Community Church in Edinburgh, Scotland. We wanted to share this interview with you because it's a concise overview of the mission and ministry of 20schemes. You can help us by reading it and then sharing it with your friends via email and social media.

And if you need more information about how you and/or your church can be involved in this ministry, please contact us. We love to talk about it and help people learn how they might partner with 20schemes!

Monday, March 3, 2014

What happened to February?
February. It's the shortest month of the year. But this year, our February seemed both shorter and longer than it really is.

The month slipped by without us posting a single thing to the blog. We're sorry about that. We managed to send our monthly e-newsletter out today, and we thought we'd share part of it here in the way of explanation and prayer request. We're still here. February was just a little... different. 

As we came into February, we were tempted to be a bit discouraged as we faced an empty calendar. Coming off the holidays, it has proven difficult to secure speaking opportunities with churches. Jeff was considering attending one conference, but had nothing booked as far as sharing with churches.

As always, the Lord had worked this for our good. 

In our last couple of newsletters, we’ve asked for prayer for Suzanne with regards to her kidney disorder. (She has medullary sponge kidney, which basically makes her kidneys stone-making machines) We’ll let her tell the story from here.

Around Thanksgiving, I had an unusual and very painful week-long episode which culminated in passing between 30-40 stones over a four-day period. Since that time, the stones have continued to pass with varying degrees of pain. But at the end of January, things began to change. I struggled with an infection for most of the month that required two rounds of antibiotics to clear it. Stones continued to pass, but some seemed to get stuck in very uncomfortable places. A couple of different doctors prescribed a couple of different medicines to try to help with the constant discomfort, but they didn’t really offer any consistent relief. Last fall, we met a sweet Christian friend who is a licensed massage therapist. She had helped me after the Thanksgiving episode, so we decided it was time to see her again. After about an hour of intensive massage, I passed a wad of stones but, on the way home, I started having some intense flank pain. I took my pain meds and went to bed; the next day, February 27, I passed a wicked-looking stone* that actually appeared to be several stones fused together. After a month of much pain, frustration, and lots of prayer, relief had come. 

And we understood a little better about why our calendar had been clear. Jeff was home and free to minister to me, encourage me, to drive me to doctor’s appointments, help keep the kids focused and the household running. And in between doing all of that, he was still able to study, disciple a couple of men, and network with two new pastors in hopes of building partnerships with 20schemes.

And the work of 20schemes goes on. Right now, a mission team from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is in Scotland as part of a partnership with 20schemes. The following week, five potential church-planting couples will be in Scotland on a Vision Trip as part of the exploratory and interview process for candidates. And here in the states, 20schemes will be present at the Ligonier’s Conference, Shepherd’s Conference, and Together for the Gospel (Mez will speak in a breakout session). 

God's work continues... in us, through us, and in spite of our weaknesses... all to His glory.

By the way, let us know if you'd like more information on being part of an upcoming Vision Trip, or if your church might like to partner and participate in a mission trip.

*And if you're one of the curious types who just has to see the wicked-evil kidney stone, click on the beach graphic at the top of this post. It's ugly. Don't say we didn't warn you.