Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stonewall, Colorado

You know I can't pass up a yard sale!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dear Friends,
Just in case you are kind of tired of listening to the news lately, can I, as Paul Harvey would say, wash your ears out with what God is up to in SE Colorado.

Tuesday we had the "Coffee & Chat Time" in Aguilar with 4 people showing up. Some great conversation was had. We then took some surplus bread to the low income housing and were blessed to meet 9 new people. One man expressed a desire for a Bible study and several young women are looking for practical helps on being a better wife and mother. Pray with us as we seek what all God wants to do as He moves us through these opening doors.

Along with the Wed. nite Bible study, last week I began leading a Wed morning study called, "The Power for True Success- How to build character in your life". This takes place in the Faith Pod at the Huerfano County Correctional Center. This week I came in as the men were finishing their praise and worship time. What a joy it was to hear 35 of them sing and lift praises to Jesus. We had a good lesson on Joy vs. self pity. The interaction with these guys is great, and they have no problem going for 1 1/2 hours. This time abruptly ended with a call for an emergency lock down. And you know what that means - no one leaves. The biggest problem here was, it was lunch time and I was ready to eat.

That evening at the Bible study as we looked at our justification, we had some great discussion, and I believe we all went away with our relationship with the Father a little deeper. A real highlight for me was hearing several express how really grateful they were to be at this prison. I know that doesn't sound quite logical until you hear them explain that they are learning the real meaning of being a follower of Jesus and deepening their walk with Him. This coming from guys who are not new to the prison system, they are frequent flyers. But deep in their hearts they desire a transformed life, a life under the control of the Creator of the universe, with Him flowing from them. I don't know if I can fully communicate, to you, the gratitude they express weekly to me for coming to them. I always tell them it is because of some of the greatest people I know, our supporters, who make it possible for me to be there. Would you consider yourselves thanked by these men and me for your generosity, until the day we can all face to face thank you.

1. Pray for our regional director, Stan Spiess, he is in the hospital with a lot of abdominal pain. The doctors are looking at the possibility of tumors causing this.
2. As I write this we are working with a family, (they are presently staying at our house) who are in a lot of need. Mostly they need to fall at the feet of Jesus and let Him BE in control of their lives. I will say there are some serious financial needs that we believe will be met as they choose to live in God's design and plan for them.
3. Tomorrow we will travel to Denver Seminary on a recruiting mission. Pray that some will consider the mission field of the U.S. and hear God's call to them.

Seeking Him,Bill and Mary

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Prison Stint!

Well I just got back from my latest stint in prison. Hope this doesn't effect my "reputation". That was some of what we talked about tonight. Am I more concerned with building my own reputation (as the Pharisees were) or is it about "Christ in me, the hope of glory".

One of the best questions of the night was "so do you mean that my spiritual life & my physical life overlap, that they are not segmented?" YES!!!!!!!!!! Don't you just love it when we get right down to the meat of the issue. That we would begin to discover that Christ in me encompasses every breath I take, every word I speak, every move I make when we get ourselves out of the way, surrender to Him, and seek Him.

Pray for these 17 guys. Some have a very good knowledge of the Bible(lots of time to study). What is needed now is for it to trickle down and their hearts to get a hold of who they are in Christ. One other guy boldly expressed that he is looking for a God that will change his life, he is tired of his old life. He is a believer, and desires to become a follower.

Tuesday was the first coffee time in Aguilar. We had 7 people show up and all were so appreciative of us coming out to their town just to have coffee and get to meet them. Julia called later that day again just to say how very blessed she was that someone cares for this little town. Extra bread from Dorcus CIrcle was handed out and we hope to see what other ways God desires to meet the many needs of Aguilar.

Mary is in NM for about 10 days. She is speaking at a missions conference, taking care of mowing and upkeep at the Tulie house (please keep praying for a buyer to come along!) and then has a wedding to attend next Saturday before heading back home.

Seeking Him,

Bill and Mary

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Current Ministry and Future Goals

One of our supporting churches asked us to write a summary of our ministy and goals - we thought it might be useful to anyone interested in what is happening in SE Colorado - This was written September 08

Future Goals

a. Begin a ministry at the Huerfano County Correction Center. This is a medium security prison just outside of Walsenburg. As a volunteer with the Faith & Citizens Program/ Colorado Dept. of Corrections, the desire that has been put in my heart is to help inmates know Jesus as their redeemer/ savior. Then to guide them and others who are believers, into a relationship with Jesus. When I speak of relationship I am thinking of scriptures like Gal.2:20 & II Cor. 4:11 where we become the skin of Jesus, responding only to His moving in me. Recidivism is a huge problem and I believe there is only one solution - Jesus manifest in our mortal flesh. Anything less will result in being squeezed back into the mold of their old ways & old friends, responding to the culture rather than to Jesus.
b. We are praying about and beginning to explore new ministry in Aguilar/ Gulnare area. All the information we have so far is that there isn't much interest in Bible studies/ church. We want to explore what are the felt needs of the people and begin there.
c. Begin meeting with some men in Colorado City/ Rye area. They are mostly young Christians. Rather than a structured study, we will meet for fellowship, sharing what is going on in each ones life and then see what Scripture has to say.
d. We want to be involved with Dorcas Circle, a ministry to people of the community in need of food and clothing. We see this as a way to meet more people here and to have an opportunity to talk to them about Jesus.
e. Get the training needed to begin work as Hospice Spiritual Care Volunteers.
f. Facilitate more Dave Ramsey “Financial Peace University” classes to instill Biblical financial principles. Normal in our society is broke – so be “weird” don’t conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Spiritually - (personally) Two passages that I have been chewing on this year are Matt. 9:9-13, & I John 1:1-3. In Matthew, Jesus' words to the Pharisees seem to be telling them to go back and learn more of who God is, and what His compassion really looks like. Then what they see Jesus doing, they will easily recognize as God at work. This is drawing me to know more about His nature and to see those I come in contact with through His eyes. Also that how He calls us to engage in the lives of people may not have any resemblance of my preconceived ideas. Then I hear John saying let us (eyewitnesses of Jesus) tell you what we heard, saw, touched, and beheld that you might believe and have fellowship with Him. This begs the response from me as to what I have heard, seen, touched, and beheld that convinces me and hopefully convinces others that Jesus is the Christ. (Ministry) We have seen 2 things in this area, 1) evidence that God is preparing to move in this place 2) most of the pastors and a lot of the people in the churches are discouraged. We desire to be encouraging and reminding that the darkness cannot overcome the Light.

Our main ministries this last year (being new to this field and this work) have been, taking every opportunity to meet new people, see what ministries are in place already, and asking God to show us what He wants to do through us in SE Colorado. We have been amazed at the number of people God has opened the doors for us to meet and begin building relationships. We have people that we pray with on a regular basis. Meeting with pastors to encourage them and pray with them. Mary has been helping a small business owner by working as needed for free, to allow her some time off. Living in snowy country we have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know some people by shoveling snow for them or going with them to help feed cattle, etc. We have enjoyed surveying parts of our area to find out what needs are there and what ministries might be needed. This summer has taken us to 3 camps. We helped in all areas as needed at La Veta Rodeo Bible Camp. Then we were the missionary speakers at 2 Jr. High camps at Homestead Bible Camp. I have been able to have some good talks with a man that is helping me rewire this old house we bought. We pray for many more times to share Jesus as we work along side others. We facilitated a 13 week course of Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" at a church in Pueblo, CO. This is a great class teaching Biblical financial principles. Also our goal is to equip churches with this as an outreach tool.

I am personally excited about the ministry God is opening the doors to here. Our expectations are that God is going to stretch us way beyond where we have ever been and are "equipped" for and do more through these clay vessels than we can even imagine.

During the last year I have often been reminded of a quote from C.T. Studd, missionary to China, India, & Africa. He said "Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell, I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell". I don't know what that might look like for us, or where all it will take us. So far it has put us in a town, a neighborhood with a lot of poverty, drug abusers and drug dealers. This has provided the occasions to meet & talk with some. When I read Matt. 9:36 it causes me to pray "Jesus let me see these people the way you see them and let me feel the compassion for them that you feel for them". For such a sparsely populated area ( the largest town is less than 10,000 people) there is a large diversity of culture. I am reminded of Paul's words "I have become all things to all men that I may by all means save some". The possibility of that happening is only in Jesus manifesting Himself in us.

We are very blessed and thankful that you, lead by God, have locked arms with His ministry through us. It means so much to us to have great partners standing with us. Your support makes it possible for us to be full time and always available to the people and needs of this rural area of our country. Please keep us aware of how we can be praying for you individually and as a church.