Tuesday, July 30, 2013

WHEW!!! (An Update)

Hello everyone,

Suzanne and I apologize for the lapse in any new info for the past two weeks, it has been a whirlwind of good activity for us. Our heads are spinning.

This is a brief update about what is happening with us as the Lord continues to amaze us and pour out His grace in our lives. 

Through Matthew (executive director for 20schemes), we were recently put in touch with a Baptist church in the Highlands of Scotland. It turns out that this church has been looking for a pastor and, after checking into me, they have settled on pursuing me. Wow! All of this within a two-week period of time. 

That's the very, very short version of what has been going on behind the scenes as we have made a quick visit to Georgia and come back to Indiana to begin packing for our relocation to Georgia - whew! Why the move to Georgia? To be a part of Faith Bible Church in Peachtree City, live with my parents, and continue our work with 20schemes while also continuing to prayerfully discern God's will about pastoring in Scotland. 

The church in Scotland has purchased plane tickets for the entire family to come for two weeks beginning August 20 and returning September 3. During our time in Scotland I will preach and teach a number of times, meet with families and leadership from the church, explore the ministry climate in and around the village, connect with a couple of American pastors serving churches in Scotland, and attempt some family sightseeing. 

We want to try to patiently wait on saying very much about this opportunity at this time (it's hard not to get our hopes up because we are so excited). But we realize that we are still very much in the investigative phase of things, and that it might not work out for us to be a part of this opportunity. We know far less about them than they know about us. But what we do know leaves us hopeful and prayerful that it will come to fruition. We are very eager to meet them and serve them while we are there. 

Please pray for us as we prepare to move to Georgia (moving day approximately Aug. 8 or 9) and as we prepare ourselves for our two weeks in Scotland. Please pray for the church there as it prepares for us and seeks the Lord's will in their relationship with us. 

None of this is overwhelming or moving too fast for us. We have been praying and preparing for this kind of thing for many years. The suddenness of it isn't as sudden as it appears, and we are very encouraged by all that the Lord is doing in our lives. While we are busy, we are so thankful for the Lord's kindness and for this new adventure in our walk with Him. 

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. As we know more we will pass it on to you. 

We love you all --
grace and peace in Him. 

Jeff and Suzanne and kids


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kids + missions = a great investment!

It's never too early to begin teaching children about missions, and there are so many ways to do that.

Each summer, Church on Mill in Tempe, Arizona, weaves a mission project into their Vacation Bible School (VBS). When a friend from high school, Lesley, invited us to develop a project for Church on Mills VBS to support 20schemes this year, we were happy to be a part -- even long distance! (Can you believe that 90% of this was done via Facebook?)

Working with Lesley, Andrea Heaton (Preschool and Children's Ministry Coordinator for Church on Mill), and Sharon Dickens (Director of Women's Ministries for Niddrie Community Church), we came up with a plan. Sharon introduced the idea of raising funds to provide additional training for Tasha, an apprentice working with youth and children through the ministry of the church in Niddrie. Tasha grew up in the schemes and came to the Lord a little over a year ago. We all agreed that would be a great investment. Andrea also asked if the VBS children could write letters to some of the children Tasha is working with, in hopes of building some penpal relationships.

This was a really fun project for us. The first night of VBS, Andrea interviewed us via Skype -- isn't technology great!

We were also able to send some photos and videos from Jeff's visit to Craigmillar Castle, as well as a few photos of Tasha and the children's ministry in Niddrie, and Church on Mill's resident techie, Bennett, transformed them into multimedia presentations for group time at VBS. You can see by the photos below that the VBS staff took the medieval theme very seriously!

Some creative soul also created a clever castle bank where the children could deposit their mission offering each night.

One of the highlights of the week was hearing from Lesley that the group was praying for us and for 20schemes nightly. During the week, Jeff was also able to talk with Church on Mill's pastor, Chuck Newkirk, to learn more about the church and share the ministry of 20schemes.

We were so happy to be a part of this mission project, and we're thankful for the investment of Church on Mill in future ministry in the schemes of Scotland.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meet the 20schemes Team: Matthew Spandler-Davison

In a recent post, you met Mez McConnell, Director of 20schemes in the UK. Now we'd like to bring you back to the U.S. to meet Executive Director Matthew Spandler-Davison.

Matthew is originally from Stonehaven, Scotland, and came to faith at the age of 16 through the gospel ministry of a small Scottish Church. After graduating from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and completing an internship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC, Matthew planted Redeemer Fellowship Church in Bardstown, Kentucky, about ten years ago. This church went on to plant Grace Fellowship Church, and these two churches have teamed up with Niddrie Community Church in Edinburgh, UK, to establish 20schemes.

Let Matthew tell you of his passion for bringing the gospel to the schemes of Scotland through the planting of churches there:

20 Schemes Vision from 20 Schemes on Vimeo.

You can learn more about our work with 20schemes here.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sharing 20schemes with Hope United Methodist Church

This past weekend, I took along my trusty photographess (AnnaKate) and headed off to Dayton, Ohio, where I met up with my friend Jason Bunger, pastor of Hope Church. Jason and I met at The Gospel Coalition conference in Orlando back in April. He stopped by our 20schemes booth and chatted with me and, before he left, he had booked this time for me to come and share our ministry with the folks at Hope.

I spoke in both morning services using our Powerpoint presentation and some video. The material was put together by Mez and his staff and makes use of some very sobering stats put out by the Scottish government each year. Look for a post on this soon with corresponding graphics of just how bad things really are across Scotland and especially in the schemes. Jason also allowed me to do a Q&A session for the adult Sunday school between services.

Jason and his wife, Dawn, hosted us in their home and were great to allow us time with them and one of their little girls, Joy-Joy. Thanks so much Jason and Dawn, and thank you to Hope Church for your kindness in allowing us to come. We look forward to what the Lord will do in our partnership of grace for the unreached in the schemes of Scotland. 

Enjoy the pictures of our time with these precious folks! 


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