Hello to all and greetings in the name of Christ our Lord.
Where to begin? The last two and a half months have been somewhat like living a Soap Opera. Although I (Steve) never watched them much, maybe a little bit as an adolescent, (and of course, that was for language learning!) I do remember that they were filled with way too much information. So, here comes the condensed version of Days of our Lives.
The ministry at the North Side Christian Church has (ICN) been very rewarding, but not without its heart breaks. The leaving of a pastor always creates a dilemma for some. Do they stay and build up the church or do they leave also? Well, some left. It was difficult to watch and frustrating at times. We praise the Lord for those that stayed and are building up the congregation. The leadership is taking their responsibility seriously and are encouraging the people. The leaders’ actions are encouraging to us. There is more participation by more people in the congregation in decision making and in serving. In part, our role is in directing the leadership to focus on what are the priorities of the congregation. Healing, mission and ministry are only three of many. These are being accomplished through fellowship and prayer, healthy doctrine (preaching through Acts at the moment) and service (food boxes for widows or others in need and home visits). Kay and Steve are partners with two Mexican couples and two Mexican women and another missionary couple, Victor and Pam DeLeon on the provisional counsel that is leading the congregation at this time. We are currently discussing worship patterns, finances, construction projects, Sunday school lessons and what classes to offer. OK, that is just a few of the subjects. Victor DeLeon is encouraging the men to think about Godly leadership and how that forms their own leadership. Pam is encouraging the women to develop a women’s ministry. Kay is working with several young women and helping them develop as teachers. Steve is working with the worship music team.
Accomplishments include completing the first construction project which was started around the middle of December 2012. It was a challenge to raise the necessary funding, and it was a growing time as well given all the distractions. A fellowship time has been initiated after the dismissal song has been sung at the end of the worship service. It consists of someone or someones preparing a light snack to be shared by everyone. It is a huge hit and appreciated by all.
Please lift up the North Side Church, her members, her leadership and her future.
The bible studies have continued along side the ministry at the ICN church. As with most home bible studies each one is a micro-cosom of the home and marriage itself. One study is on hold due to work schedules. Another is switching to a better time now that the mother is having to work. Another continues on track while yet another is not only on track but the family is beginning to attend the ICN church.
And now, before we turn to the coming summer ministry activities, let’s get soapy (as in Soap Operas!). Natasha is graduating on Saturday, May 11th from Milligan College. We are always very proud of Natasha and are looking forward to sharing this very special day with her and our family. We will be visiting Upper East Tennessee for two weeks in which we will attend the graduation, help Natasha move, visit with family, visit with doctors (our least favorite!) and seeing some of our church friends. Remember this is only two weeks and not an “official” visit. Next year we will be on furlough and get to see many more of you.
In June we will travel to Oregon for a family reunion. It is always a time we look forward to. This year is bitter sweet, however, because Steve’s father, Olof, is declining in his health and growing much weaker. Although Olof’s future is secure in Christ his earthly journey is drawing to a close. We love him dearly. Please pray for Dad, for his comfort, for Steve’s mom, Lois and all the Carpenter family.
Another struggle that we honestly wish we did not have to pass through is a conflict with our bank in Mexico. The bank had the opportunity to prevent a fraudulent transfer of funds from our account, but didn’t. This has resulted in a suit being filed against the bank. Thankfully different documents including our phone call records support our claim that the bank was negligent in this matter. Without going into any further details we would ask for your prayers that justice be done on our behalf.
We don’t want to focus on struggles as there are exciting things on the horizon. . . . on to summer’s plans and your prayers. This summer the DeLeon family will host three REACH Interns. These interns will participate in activities at the different churches and help us with some activities in our neighborhood. They will not be alone as a work group from the Colonial Heights Christian Church of Kingsport, Tenn. will be joining us for ten days. We are looking forward to their time with us and their ministries (interns and work group). W are also very excited for Benjamin as he completes his third year at Milligan and officially becomes a senior. Not only that, he has made plans to serve this summer with CMF as an Intern with Globalscope Spain. We admire his dedication to the Lord and to ministry and pray for his summer experience.
Well, we will bring our Soap Opera to a close. Thank you for tuning in. Until our next installment may our Lord bless you and your’s and the Days of Your Lives.
Steve n’ Kay