While on our retreat for two weeks at Adirondack Bible Chapel Ministry Center in upstate New York earlier this month, we had a lot of time to study/read God’s Word, attend devotions and Bible studies, contemplate and talk about our past and future, and rub shoulders with the people at a church and ministry that knows well how to “do” or “be a” church and ministry. The two things that stuck out the most to us is the humility in the leadership of the church and Ministry Center (the church stewards a ministry that serves people in crisis) and hospitality of the individuals in the the church body as well as the church/ministry as a whole.
Recently we read an article from Puritan Thomas Watson. It said:
“A humble man is willing to have his name and gifts eclipsed, so that God’s glory may be increased. He is content to be outshone by others in gifts and esteem, so that the crown of Christ may shine the brighter. . . A humble Christian is content to be laid aside if God has any other tools to work with which may bring him more glory.”
In speaking with the retiring pastor, new pastor, and others at the church, we sensed a humble god-honoring approach to leading the flock at ABC and the Ministry Center. They exemplified well what Thomas Watson said, and it was an encouragement to us. Furthermore, humility is exemplified in their emphasis on the “body” vs emphasis on the “individual” person(s). We have never seen a church that describes their staff as the entire congregation. On their website, under “staff”, you will not find individuals pictured/listed but rather the entire congregation is pictured (http://adirondackbiblechapel.org/about/staff).
Hospitality and the edification and building-up of one another was also evident. They welcomed us in; they came together regularly for times of Bible study, prayer, meals; the entire church seemed plugged in and engaged with the Ministry Center; they helped one another and took genuine interest in the lives of each other. There was a sense of true community. We feel hospitality is one of our gifts, but seeing this church in action taught us a lot of how to do hospitality better.
We appreciate the time we had at ABC Ministry Center. We have been impacted and blessed by the love, generosity, care, and service of the dear people at this church. With hearts full of gratitude, we continue to remember them in our thoughts and prayers.
Where We Have Been
We are currently on the last weeks of our busy fall tour. We have had some awesome visits with supporters, past mission teams, friends and family. Along our journeys, God has given us some awesome opportunities to rest and learn/understand more about Him, ourselves and what it is to do ministry and be a church. Despite the great fellowship with others, one could say we are a bit road weary, tired of living out of a suitcases and looking forward to settling down. Settling down (if the Lord wills) will begin December 9th.
As we mentioned, we began the month in Speculator, NY at Adirondack Bible Chapel (ABC) and Ministry Center. ABC has been a strong, faithful supporter of ours for many years. They strongly support missions and have been very generous and caring towards us.
We were able to spend a weekend in the Cleveland, OH area with our friends David and Gail Herwerden and members from Grace CMA church that came to Nassau for mission trips this past summer and in 2016. Dave and Gail have been to Nassau to volunteer on several occasions.
In La Crosse, WI we were able to spend some time with Rich and Karen Maurer (pastor from our sending church), and supporters/ministry partners Theo and Ruth Habel.
We were able to visit with 3 of our sons and their families and our daughter in law Katie. We treasure every opportunity we have to visit and pour into these young people. Please pray with us for each one of them.
We were able to connect briefly with the Loge family. They live near our parents in Minnesota and have been to Nassau often to serve at the ALC&C
Thanksgiving Day was spent as a family at a local restaurant followed by a mini-celebration of Mom and Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary (which was that day). Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! You are an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for the godly heritage, love, care, support, generosity, (and the list could go on) you have given all of us. We love you!
One of the events of this fall that was planned over 2 years ago was a reunion with our parents for their 60th wedding anniversary. Tim’s parents celebrated 60 years of marriage surrounded by their 3 children and their spouses, and all but a few of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Festivities began on Thanksgiving Day and continued through the weekend. Though many became ill with a nasty stomach virus (some still are getting sick), we all had a great time together celebrating Mom and Dad, playing together, talking, laughing, and of course eating.
This week we are spending time with my (Mindy’s) parents in Indiana. We will be here until we leave on December 6th to go to Tennessee to attend the wedding of Cranston Knowles (good friend of ours from Nassau and board member of ALC&C) and Susanna Flanders on December 7th.
Ultimately anything accomplished in us or through us, any life touched, any soul brought to Christ, any seed sown, or any project completed is a result of the grace of God. Although we recognize this sufficiency of God and give him all the glory, we recognize that God has used others to help us and materially equip us to do the work He has called us to do. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported us and partnered with us in our full-time ministry work these past nearly 10 years. We pray for you and will continue to do so as God brings you to mind.
We still do not know where God is leading us next, but we do have plans for the immediate future, and those plans include returning to South Carolina to live with my sister and brother in law. We will continue working with and mentoring some young people that God has brought into our lives while we wait for direction from God. We will keep you posted on what happens.
Until next time, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!