I (Tim) am a computer programmer by trade, and if you've worked much with programmers (sorry if you have) you know we hate documentation, that is writing out what our code does. "Just trust me, it works! I know what it does and if it ever needs fixing, I'll do it." Famous last words. Anyway, writing prayer letters can sort of be like "documentation." Sometimes life speeds up a bit too much and it's much easier at the end of the day to crash (another computer term!) than to sit and write about what we're doing. But, that's not a very good excuse for not writing, especially when we depend on your prayers. Maybe if we took up a blog...
Anyway our first three months of 2008 have been action-packed and full of activity. We have held a membership class, prepared and baptized 10 ladies, held two outreach services, hosted a medical clinic, put together a plan for church leadership, started forming the leadership team, begun a monthly ladies' breakfast, preached, hosted a weekly kids Bible club, taught 3 weekly Bible studies, remodeled the building where we meet, and helped with music at church. And God has blessed. At our Good Friday service 5 people accepted Jesus as their Savior. We saw 166 people during the medical clinic and gave away lots of tracts and Gospels of John and New Testaments. We are developing new relationships with neighborhood kids. The baptism was a great day, with almost 80 people at the event. We are very thankful for what God has done and enabled us to do this year.
On a family note, we're thankful for God's goodness. First, in January we found new shoes and a bar to help straighten Gavin's clubfoot. It has worked wonders and he's now toddling around the house and the yard. Fiona is starting to add words to her vocabulary, "Pooh Bear" being a favorite. Drew is taking swimming lessons and really getting the hang of it. Barbara-Lee continues to amaze with her abilities to take care of us all and still help in many ways at church. We enjoyed a slowdown this past week. Most schools get two weeks off around Easter, so after Semana Santa (Holy Week) we like to take time off.
In February and March we came to the decision that it would be best for the work here if we stayed for one more year before furlough. We're thankful for the progress God has brought, and we are trusting Him to continue His work. He has seen fit to bring us a group of godly men who fit the description of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and we are excited, hoping He will allow us to form this group in obedience to His direction and see Him bless the ministry of the church. But to step out of things this summer as that is being formed would probably be too much strain on a new organism. So with the blessing of EBM and our home church we're going to stay until 2009 and work to see the church on its own at that point. We hope to be able to gradually pull back out of responsibilities beginning next January and return to the States at the end of May.
These next few months will be much the same: preaching, teaching, leadership development, planning, and looking ahead to some involvement with summer camps. Here are some specific prayer requests:
1. The baptisms.
2. New believers.
3. Many people who received God's love and His Good News at the medical clinic.
4. Gavin is walking! (did we report when Fiona started walking in November?)
1. Follow-up and discipleship with new believers and contacts.
2. Our newly forming leadership team. Pray for unity and good communication throughout the team and the church.
3. We may have the opportunity to move into a vacant church building. Pray for God's will to be done in the situation (it's somewhat complicated).
4. For energy and focus on the Lord.
Thank you! For standing by us and praying for us, even when we're under the radar for a while!
Grace be with you.
Tim, Barbara-Lee, Drew, Gavin, Fiona
Phone: 011 (522) 222-48-50-07