prayer & praise


After a friend introduced her to Jesus, a tiny woman from India walked up the street bundled tightly against a bitter March wind. She kept walking past the end of the street – and right into our church. In the weeks that followed, she shared her story and asked to be baptized. This first Sunday in May we will fulfill her request and rejoice with her! Elsewhere at the church, Wednesday Bible Studies and Life Night have continued to deepen relationships, grow knowledge and encourage the folks who make space in their busy schedules to come. We thank God for how this has set the stage for a renewed commitment to church life. Please join in our thanksgiving, along with the associated plea, that God would continue to instruct and change hearts, to draw us deeper into relationship with Him and thereby move us to be more willing to commit and serve.

Rich (Slick) has continued to be present in the local train station during the morning rush hour – but this month someone finally and bravely stepped forward to accept the offer of prayer. His life is a “train wreck” of crisis despite his best efforts to hold it all together. And his greatest concern? His estranged wife and his 10-year-old. Would you, too, ask God to intervene demonstratively in this man’s broken life?

And finally, on the home front, Grandpa Douglass flew in from Minnesota and Grandma Kohout hosted a wonderful birthday dinner for Matti’s big 6 years old celebration. A pink ballerina lemon cake and pink ESV Bible all her own, along with a few gifts, completed her day, though she attempted to retain her center-of-attention status for several more days :). Thankfully she has also begun reading her new Bible with a passion.

Thank you for joining the journey with us, and please let us know how we might partner with you in both prayer and praise – His love is abundant and amazing!

The life-sized Noah’s Ark in Kentucky is REALLY BIG!

Pink ballerina cake?! We definitely have girls!

Advertisements

Thankfully, April Fool’s day was eclipsed by Easter, an egg hunt, breakfast at church, Grandma’s help decorating the Easter bunny cake and her company for lunch. The girls had a long list of tricks to play on Mommy and Daddy, but the list was mercifully misplaced or forgotten in the activity of everything else…and our twelfth anniversary.

Twelve years that have literally flown by. They have taken us from Korea to New Mexico, South Carolina, all over the US, to France, Kenya, Germany, Palau, Japan, back to New Mexico and now to New Jersey. They’ve seen us move from Air Force work to parachurch ministry to language study to missionary flying to contractor work with the Air Force and now to pastoring a church. And we are wondering if it will stop?

We praise God for a major breakthrough in one family in the church and continue to hold them before the throne as they walk a difficult road. We praise God also for significant positive progress in Life Night’s fellowship and teaching, and in our worship service. Would you join us in requesting God’s continual movement in those as well?

On the home front, we celebrate with Zoe for winning the Bible Bee (like a spelling bee, but on the Bible) for the whole school, including three grades older than her! As we walked into the school to pick them up, the administrator told us we needed to have more kids because the staff so much enjoy the girls. Even while we vehemently disagreed, we silently thanked God for such beautiful, sweet, smart kiddos.

We find ourselves incredibly thankful for all of His many blessings…is there something you are thankful for that you would like to share? Thank you so much for continuing with us on the journey!

A four-footed Gwendi at "Kid’s Kingdom" between snow storms.

"Why are there so many churches and so many denominations in the world?" is a common question when someone wants a reason to discount Jesus and the Bible. Why, indeed! So we rejoice and know that it is only He Himself at work to help us actually begin to partner with another church, rather than stay isolated in our own walls. So far, we shared one Life Night Special Dinner hosted by our Peruvian missionary friends and are planning a summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) together with them – unity!

A huge God-gift this month came in the form of a gal who feels a burden to help one very technical area of need: our online presence. We have had several visitors who "found us on the web," so join us giving a huge "Yay, God!" for sending us Denise who’s helped our internet abilities and presence immeasurably! We’re even on FB now!

Also, available online is the latest article Donna wrote, published by CCCA’s “InSite” Magazine and another might be on the horizon shortly as well J We are very encouraged to see God bringing new life and new directions. Having recently heard that our long-beloved camp in the Adirondacks has now decided to leave the Cedarbrook Association, Donna is now working directly for the Association and looking forward to see Him moving there.

We so appreciate you joining us in continued prayer that God would change hearts and lives through Life Nights, Men’s and Women’s Groups, Sunday School and Sermons. Please also pave the way in prayer for continued collaboration between these two churches and between the 12 remaining Camp Cedarbrooks. “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 133:1)

Please let us know how we can unify with YOU as well in what we pray for you. THANK YOU for joining with us in these endeavors!

Min-mountain at Keystone with Matti (5), Zoe (8) and Gwendi (3).

Three quarters of a century! We celebrated with Donna’s mother and aunt, identical twins, their birthday marking 75 years. Impressive!

Just up the hill from our house, at the church, Wednesday evening Life Night kicked off in mid January and has received positive feedback. Together with the morning men’s and women’s groups, we’re thankful to see people seizing the opportunities to get to know one another better and to be together in God’s Word more.

Praise God also for a set of 13 year old twins who were baptized last month, and for the 10 new members inducted at the January membership meeting. Exciting beginnings!

In a small church, covering all the necessary tasks can be a challenge, so we’ve enjoyed the front row seats to watch how God has been raising up folks to step into a wide variety of roles. While we continue to pray that God would bring in the outsiders living around us, we are excited to see the body beginning to function as a body, and to hear feedback from visitors about how welcomed they felt.

We so appreciate your praying and praising alongside us for each of these areas. Please pray also for specific individual needs for several of our members, as life at the moment is exceptionally challenging for them, as many of you know it can be. Thank you for praying, and for the words of encouragement many of you have sent! May you also see the Master Artist at work in your corner of creation. And as usual, please let us know how we can pray for you – it is our privilege!

Celebrating Mom and Aunt Dorothy’s 75th birthday, Douglass style.

"Peace," the text read. N__’s mind had been running wild as she prepared for bed. She doubted that she could sleep. Suddenly her phone received that text. Though it was from a friend who probably sent it off-handedly, N__ thanked God for the deep sense of Peace that settled into her heart, and remained through a sounds and refreshing night of sleep.

On the home front, after much deliberation and prayer, Donna queried about writing an article for Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA)’s magazine. In a sense, she was asking God if now was the time to write. The first reply was a polite "no," as expected. But the second email explained a glitch they had just run into, "perhaps providentially," and asked not only if she could write an article, but if she could write it quickly for the next issue. So as we cautiously move forward, we’d appreciate your prayer for us to only follow, not run ahead.

And finally, we much appreciate all who can stand beside us before the throne during the next week or two, as Rich coordinates and directs many events following the passing of two well-respected and well-loved long-time members of our church. One had been in hospice for months; the other was a sudden heart attack and remains a shock to many. We ask the God would comfort, unify and heal as only He can.

Thank you for walking with us on this road. Please let us know how we can share your burdens as well. Let us praise God for all He’s done in the last year and be on the watch for where He’s working in this new year!

Ginni and Donna take a meander down memory lane when we played Christmas duets as kids on various instruments. Never knew Ginni could play clarinet that well!

The girls sport their new socks. The came this way!

How fast relationships form varies directly with how mobile people are. In highly mobile military communities, friendships form at “mach” speed. In the stable south, they come much, much slower. Here in New Jersey at the end of just three months, we recognize God’s hand moving in many relationships between us and church folks to develop great depth in such a short time. Only He could prepare the hearts for this to happen and we thank Him for it.

He’s also brought more children and youth to the church, and inspired some moms and dads to ask for a family-friendly Wednesday night program, which we’ll begin in January. He is beginning to answer your prayers for the Word to be established in the hearts and minds of young folks. Please keep them going!

On the camp front, Donna was invited to speak at the Association of Cedarbrook Camp’s national conference. She shared the leadership program she wrote last year and taught over the summer. The presentation led to an invitation to write other staff training classes for the Association. We’d much appreciate your joining with us in asking for guidance for her future involvement in camp. There is always plenty to do, especially with a family and a church, so she is waiting for His word that this is something He wants her to do.

Other requests for intersession mount: As former missionaries, we were able to encourage a younger family who is passionate about missions to the unreached. The legacy of the family of God continues. Lord, please strengthen and guide Noah and Noelle as they begin this journey! And looking forward, our church sets up a life-size nativity scene on the lawn this weekend for the local commuters and neighbors to enjoy, but more importantly to turn their thoughts toward Jesus as they pass by. Lord, draw them into the church (not just past it) and let them receive You.

We do continue to pray for you, so please tell us how to sharpen our aim!

The church…and our house is just behind that little forest, out of the picture to the right.

Over time, the fresh excitement of new beginnings wears away to expose deeper and more lingering challenges. We have definitely begun to battle some of those, but are even more deeply encouraged when we reflect on how God’s hand has been moving.

On a typical Sunday we have about 50-60 folks come to worship, but last Friday night more than 25 youth came to a “Coffee House” at the church with intentional discussion about God and worldviews. And we have been blessed to experience His presence here in North America as He responds to His people when they pray: 12-year-old Zach found his phone just after praying last night, and is now convinced that it was God who helped him find it in the dark on the grass! God is good.

On our home front, we were able to go on a date for the first time in a while – to a banquet given by the local women’s resource center, First Choice, and praise God with them for the 700+ babies last year who were allowed to be born as a result of the center’s work. If that weren’t enough, the dinner raised almost $500k for future efforts among young women and even in public high schools in north and central Jersey. God is very good!

Would you join us especially this month in prayer for the youth, that God’s truth would take root in their hearts and minds; and for the Bible studies to experience the fellowship of the Spirit and encouragement of the Word. THANK YOU for walking this path with us. Please let us know how we can be praying for you. God is so very good to us all!

Sleeping Beauty, a butterfly ballerina, Peter Pan and their mother the cow – lol!

« Previous PageNext Page »