Communities, Girls Ministry, and New Meeting Place!

Greetings from The River Church!

We are enjoying life on the east side of Washington. The temperatures are starting to feel a little more like summer and the skies have been clear and sunny for the most part.  Today’s high was 90 degrees! God has called us to the sunny side of Washington and for that I am thankful.

It has been a busy month since I last wrote. This is probably best evidenced by the fact that we’re halfway through May and I am just now able to sit and write this update. We have been getting our Missional Communities started and currently have three in operation. Please pray that we would be bold to invite our neighbors and friends to join us in our missional communities and that God would grow them in His way and in His time. We are especially keen to connect with unsaved people around us. Please pray for more opportunities to reach unbelievers with the gospel.

The women at The River have begun volunteering at an alternative foster care home for girls in Yakima. This has been a precious time for each of us to reach these girls with the love of Christ.  We’ve even had a few opportunities to share about our faith in God and what He has done in our lives. Please pray for more opportunities and that God would draw these young women to Himself and bring lasting transformation to their lives. They desperately need Jesus!

We will begin meeting for our worship gatherings at the Moxee Community Center the first Sunday in June. We are very excited for this move and pray that God would use it to grow His church here in Moxee. Please pray for us that we would build a good relationship with the community center and they would view our presence there as a blessing. Please also pray we would become aware of more and better ways to serve the community through this connection.

As I write and reflect on all that God has done already, all I can think to say is, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!” He has been SO faithful and SO worthy of all praise and glory and honor. This journey has been scary and uncertain but so exciting. I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I pray that each of you is faithful to pray and participate in this church plant exactly as God has called you. I know God has a blessing for each of you, as well. I encourage you to be faithful in prayer and enjoy watching God being faithful in everything.

God bless you always!

Field Trip Time!

We are chomping at the bit to get on the ground in Moxee!! Our move is barely two months away and there is still so much to do to prepare. We are still looking for a house in Moxee. Please pray that God will direct us to the house he has for us. We are praying for a house that we can use as our “mission headquarters.” God is already providing and we couldn’t be more excited or grateful for his provision!

Please pray for us as we take a trip to WA for a field trip. We will be attending the state convention meeting in November which will take place in Yakima this year. (How convenient!!) At this time, there will be a serious fundraising effort as we will have an opportunity to make contact with as many local pastors and churches as possible. It’s also going to be a great opportunity to meet face-to-face (Skype not necessary!) with our church planting team. We’re very much looking forward to seeing them!

Several people will be working to help us raise support. Will you please be in prayer that we find several churches that would be excited, willing and able to support us in the work in Yakima? Please also continue to pray that we find individuals who are excited to be a part of the work and would be willing and able to offer financial support. Right now, raising financial support is our biggest need so we appreciate your fervent prayers in this area!

That is all for now! Thank you and God bless!

From Here to There (or, why are we there, yet?)

Sometimes it seems we have been set adrift on the S.S. How-the-Heck-Is-This-All-Going-to-Work-Out??? It seems the list of details to be worked out to get us from AL to WA, from need to provision, and from nothing to something, is never-ending. In all the craziness, it’s easy to forget why we are doing this in the first place. It’s easy to lose focus when your future looks like a giant black hole. But the reality is, God WILL get us from AL to WA, from need to provision, and from nothing to something. Not only that, but there will come a day when all of these details will seem meaningless and trivial compared to what God is going to do in Moxee and the Yakima Valley region, and even more importantly, what he will do in the lives of individuals that are reached by the work he has invited us to be a part of through The River Church.

As our lives get turned upside down, we are striving to remember the lostness of the people God is seeking out and calling to himself. That’s what we are praying, and we ask you to pray that, as well. Please pray for God to move mightily in the hearts of his people who have no idea what God is about to do in their lives. Perhaps he is about to rescue some from a lifelong addiction. Some from a toxic, abusive relationship. Some from religious legalism and some from a life of licentiousness. Some from bondage to liberty in Christ. From darkness to light. From fear to faith. From lost to found.

This is our prayer. That in all our frantic efforts to get from here to there we never forget that the ultimate goal is to get people from hell to heaven. Right now there are people living and dying in Moxee and all over the Yakima Valley region who do not know Christ and never will apart from the work God has given us the privilege to be a part of. And while it is the scariest, craziest (and that’s saying something for us!) and most faith-stretching mission we’ve ever been a part of, it is also the biggest, best and most amazing opportunity we’ve ever had to watch God work in ways we’ve never seen before or even dreamed possible. It’s not everyday you see a desert turned into pools and springs of living water, but get ready. God is doing something that if we told you, you would not believe!

Pray with us!

(To help make disciples and plant churches in the Yakima Valley, go to www.theriverchurch.co/give.)

The Big Ask

The end is nigh! Well, the end of our time in Alabama, at least. A new beginning in Yakima awaits. A new beginning, new adventure and most importantly a harvest field that is crying out to be harvested. God has called us to join him in what he is doing in Yakima, but our question today is: has he called you as well?

Pray

Our calling is one of being sent. But we believe that we are not the only ones called to this harvest field. Perhaps God is calling you as well but it will look differently for you. Perhaps God is calling you to participate in the harvest through prayer. Of all the people who partner with us in this work, most will probably be called to consistent and earnest prayer. God loves to answer prayer and show himself mighty in response to the prayers of his people. “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.” Psalm 34:15. If you feel burdened to partner with us in prayer, we ask that you would take that calling seriously and ask God to help you be faithful to obey. We would also ask that you share this calling with us so that we can pray for and encourage you as well.

Go

Another way God may be calling you to partner with us as we go out to Yakima is to come participate in the work. It may be a short-term mission trip but perhaps for a few, it will mean moving to Yakima and beginning to work alongside us as we work alongside the Lord. It is possible that God has something radically different for you than you ever dreamed. We know! That is our testimony!

Give

Lastly, God may be calling you to partner with us in the work by supporting it financially. I have been reading through the Bible this year and way back in Exodus I was moved by the picture that was presented in chapter 35:21-29. The people of Israel were about to begin the work of constructing the Tabernacle as they were instructed by the Lord. It was time to gather supplies and resources for the project. “And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects. . . ” The passage is filled with phrases like, “whose hearts stirred them,” and “whose hearts moved them.” As we have prayed about raising the support we will need to do the work God has given us to do, our prayer has been that people would give as God has stirred their heart. Not out of duty or begrudgingly, but only out of a heart that longs to give cheerfully, generously and obediently. This passage also describes that each person gave what they had to give whether it be a talent, skill or resource. If all you had to give was goat hair, you were asked to give it. (We, however, humbly ask not to receive any goat hair.)

The principle of giving out of a willing heart is repeated in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart.” We are not asking anyone to give whom God has not burdened to give. We also do not want anyone to give beyond their ability. But give according to what the Lord has laid on your heart and what you could give cheerfully. Whether a monthly pledge of support, yearly or one time gift, no amount is too small and no matter what you have to offer, we will make every effort to use it to God’s glory and in keeping with the vision he has laid on our hearts for the Yakima Valley.

We believe that just as God has called us to go, He is also calling others to join in the work by giving. He would not call where he will not provide so we know he is burdening people’s hearts and preparing them to give. Are you one of those? This would be an investment with eternal dividends as you “lay up treasure in heaven.” We have been invited to take a front row seat in watching what God is going to do in Moxee and the whole Yakima Valley region. We would love for you to come join us there as we all watch our God do some amazing things and bring transformation to a dry and weary land. “I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys.” Isaiah 41:18.

God bless each of you as you prayerfully consider how God would have you participate in the harvest in the Yakima Valley region. If you have any questions, please contact us through theriverchurch[at]outlook[dot]com or https://www.facebook.com/#!/yakimavalleychurchplanting.

For more information on giving, go to https://theriverchurch.co/give/.

To give online, go to http://www.terraceheightsbaptist.com/#/give.

Happy Last Day to Grill Day!!

Happy Labor Day!

I hope most you are enjoying a day off and getting to have some time with friends and family. Our plans for the day include sleeping in and then, well, we haven’t planned beyond that. So it’s pretty much just the sleeping in. . .

I have some awesome God stuff to report!! God has moved in the hearts of some people in WA to see to it that our whole family is able to fly to WA in mid-November for the state convention. (Thank you! Whoever you are!) The convention will be held in Yakima this year. (Coincidence?! I think not!) It will be a wonderful opportunity to address the leadership and many, many pastors in the area and share with them the vision God has laid on our hearts for the Yakima Valley. We will be able to talk to local pastors, visit with churches and do a field survey.

I am so excited for this trip on many levels and for many reasons!!! First of all, the generous offer made by individuals in WA to make the trip possible at all is another confirmation of God’s leading. We are walking a path of faith like never before and these confirmations serve as encouragement to keep going.

I am also excited to see the “lay of the land” with fresh eyes for the harvest. We know WA well and are very familiar with Yakima in particular. But we have never really looked at it from God’s perspective of a harvest field, ripe for the harvest. It will be exciting to be able to be on the ground there and pray over the area, specifically Moxee. I can’t wait to meet our core team in person and be able to talk and pray with them face to face.

And finally, I am of course excited to see our friends and family again. We haven’t seen many of them for over two years. It makes me want to cry just imagining what the reunion will be like.

This trip will be a whirlwind, I know that already. But, it will also be a wonderful time of seeing God work and delighting in Him.

Would you please pray with us as we plan out the trip? Including meetings, events and possible speaking engagements that God will lead and guide us and cause the trip to be very fruitful? Please pray for all we come in contact with that they too would be able to see the vision God has laid on our hearts and will be excited to help and participate in the work. And please pray for safe and smooth traveling! We’ve never done a trip like this with the whole family and I’m sure it will be an adventure!

Lastly, when we get back, our house will be turned into crazy circus town as we will have just barely a month to make final preparations for the move. Cars will need tuning, walls painting, house cleaning, paperwork and important documents gathered and organized and all other final preparations for the big move will need to be made. In short, there will be a lot to do and very little time to do it. Please be praying for that critical time in the move.

That is all for now! Please comment with your own thoughts and prayer requests! We would love to be able to pray for you as well!

Where we’re at right now!

Just wanted to give a little update about what we’re up to this weekend.

Michael and I are at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega, AL for (no, not NASCAR racing, although that would be exciting!) a church planting basic training conference. (Tada! Better than NASCAR, right?!) We just got here today but God has already begun to move and speak into areas of the church plant where we have lacked a clear vision and guidance. There are innumerable things to consider and decisions to be made when planting a church and the process of mapping it all out seems, at times, like eating an elephant. We ask ourselves questions like, “Where do we start?” And then later, “We’ve come so far, yet we’ve barely made a dent. Will we ever get it all done?” But God is graciously guiding us and giving us precisely the direction we need to move forward. Praise God!

God has given us a vision for the Yakima Valley region. We would love to see the whole area reached and refreshed with the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. People are lost in those communities and we’d like to approach them with the same generosity that Christ has shown towards us. We want to love and serve that community, starting in Moxee, until Jesus becomes famous in the whole region for what and who he is and what he has done in Yakima.

I believe that we are not the only ones called to this ministry. I believe God is moving in hearts all across the country to participate in this work. However, not many will actually get to go do the work. For most people involved, Yakima Valley Church Planting will simply be a ministry of prayer. It may seem like it’s not much of a contribution. It may seem underrated and overlooked. But don’t be fooled! God loves to act on behalf of the passionate, earnest and fervent prayers of His people! It delights him to show himself worthy and powerful and almighty in the eyes of those who have set their faces on his glory!

It is a privilege to be a part of a wonderful work of God. He doesn’t need any of us. Not Michael, not me and not you. However, because he loves us and because he is gracious to us, he has invited us to have a front row seat to the awesome work he is about to do in Yakima. Has God invited you to participate through prayer? If he has, I would encourage you to obediently follow as He leads you in prayer for this church plant. I would also ask that you let us know so that we can be in prayer for you as well.

Come on the adventure with us in whatever way God calls you! God bless you all!

The Premier Weekly Update

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend! We had a lovely weekend that included “Family Day” and a not-so-lovely date night that included the movie Paranoia. We left early. It was that bad.

I am excited to be writing my first blog/post/prayer request/cry for help. I hope you’re just as excited to read it and participate in church planting in Yakima through giving us your support in prayer. At any rate, we should all enjoy it while we can because after this, Michael may never let me do the prayer/update post again.

We have several prayer requests, it’s hard to know which ones are the most pressing or urgent since they are all pressing AND urgent. But I have to start somewhere so here goes.

Our entire purpose in all of this is to see God glorified and made famous in the Yakima Valley region. Please be praying for the hearts of the people there. Pray that they would be “good soil” and the many seeds we hope to sow there would find fertile ground and grow and be fruitful. If the people’s hearts aren’t receptive to God and the things of God, this is all for naught. So that would be our first prayer. Please pray specifically for the people of Moxee since that is where we will be planting first.

Our second prayer request is for the financial piece to be put into place. We need to start raising support and honestly, are quite at a loss as to where and how, exactly, to begin. Which is unfortunate considering how important it is that we do so and do so quickly. One important piece of raising support is getting some material together to give out and we will be receiving something to help us with that this week. Please pray that God would help us to work quickly but do a very good job at putting this informational material together so that it will be an effective tool.

We also need to set up some sort of account or means by which people can give should God put it on their heart to do so. We are receiving help in this area as well and will hopefully have something in place in the next couple of weeks. Please pray that God would throw open the doors on this process and nothing hinders its completion.

Please pray that we are able to find a place to live in Moxee. We have many hopes and dreams in this regard, as do the girls! They are all praying for their “dream rooms” to become reality when we start our new life in Moxee. I don’t know about dream rooms, but I do know we need a place to live that will accommodate our size family and hopefully have room to host a few others and perhaps even serve as a meeting place for our church for some time. You never know! Please pray that God would provide, probably in a miraculous way, a place that will serve our needs and that can be used to serve Him.

Please also be praying for our core group in Moxee. Please pray God would grow us together even over the miles that separate us for the moment. Please pray that God would prepare them for all the challenges that lay ahead and that their own excitement and enthusiasm would grow as we all work towards planting in Moxee.

I think that should do it for now! I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your prayers. We have never needed people to pray for us quite like we need it now. We are definitely in a situation where if God doesn’t move, this whole thing will fall apart. So please pray passionately that God will move mightily, move mountains and move hearts.

Thank you again! God bless you!