Friends, greetings in the Lord’s name. He has been so good and faithful to us this year that it is hard to know where to begin. A good place to start would be to say “Thank you!” for your prayers and support of the work here in North Idaho.
The biggest focal point of the work since May especially has been the renovation of the building here in Bonners Ferry. Once a neglected and overgrown eyesore that made the neighbors wince every time they saw it, the church-turned-business-turned-residence-turned-church-again has risen like the mythical phoenix to be a place that is both delightful to look at and to be in. The entire community has marveled at the transformation, and even in mid-process, the change has made people glad that we moved into town. Since the first Sunday in September, we’ve been enjoying the use of it at last, though there is still much work to do before it is “finished.” Many, many hours of hard work by our small congregation and friends from our Presbytery and the community have resulted in a place that exalts our Lord, as He enabled us.
Church planting is seldom one long, smooth climb toward establishing a mature body. Along the way, there are always ups and downs and the challenges related to beginning something new. This fall, one of our core families was forced to move out of the area due to employment demands, but the Lord has been bringing others to encourage us. We hope the family will be able to return next year but are thankful for the blessing they are being to one of our sister BP churches.
I continue in my role as Field Director at PMU, a necessary and welcome obligation. I spent nearly three weeks away in Cambodia this summer and another at Synod. Then, I fell ill with pneumonia and threw my back out setting up the log posts for the church sign, which has made work very difficult for the past month. Still, the Lord continues to do and keep the work, and I am confident that His testimony in and through us here will be well established. Just this past Lord’s Day, we were encouraged by brand new visitors who assured us they would return. So, the Lord gives us the tokens of His blessings along the way to remind us exactly Who is “at large and in charge,” as a friend of mine likes to say.
The newer church planting work in the city of Sandpoint to the south of us here has also been going well. The group is slowly growing, gaining oneness of mind as we go along, and rejoicing in the study of God’s Word together. Though I’ve started churches before, I’ve never started two at once, and so it is fascinating to me to see the different ways in which the Lord takes His people and molds them into a visible communion. It’s exciting to be part of it, to say the least.
For your times of prayer, here are a few items that I hope you’ll remember as you think of us:
- Over the fall and winter, we hope to begin the process of seeking the Lord’s moving among us to raise up officers from the body here in Bonners Ferry, a momentous step forward in the life of the mission.
- Please keep the Sandpoint preaching point in your prayers as it develops and grows. Specifically, we would ask for avenues of testimony to open up in the community where the power of the whole counsel of God would be appropriately applied in the civic and spiritual lives of the populace.
- Karen, my dear wife, is facing foot surgery this winter, and we would ask for the Lord’s provision of what we need to cover the bills, and cover the work here in the office, a great concern to her. She’ll be off her feet for six to eight weeks, so we’ll definitely have some shuffling to do to get everything accomplished. She continues to do a terrific job in the PMU office, balancing those tasks with the duties of wife and mother.
- Our daughter, Chelsea, continues her college studies in California. She’s doing well, though keeping her health strong is proving to be a challenge this year. She was just diagnosed with mono, and so we are praying for her endurance and return to health. Costs have also gone up, and so we pray for the Lord to provide a job for her there that will enable her to stay in school, and still do school.
- Our son, Eli, is pressing on full steam ahead with his desire to graduate from the charter high school a year early, and he is doing well. He’s learning a little of the cost of being righteous, as those he counted as friends last year have snubbed him this year due to his lack of enthusiasm for their fallen life-styles and choices. Pray for him to stand strong and be discerning. He desires to be a restaurateur and is eagerly pouring himself into preparing for that profession.
- As for me, your prayers for my physical and spiritual stamina would be greatly appreciated; for growth “from grace to grace” so that I would be a fit vessel to serve the Lord in the three ministries (four, counting my family) that the Lord has entrusted to me; and for an abiding joy and love for the Lord’s people.
Once again, thank you for your love and support of our family as we labor here in Idaho. May God bless and keep you in the safety of His everlasting arms.
Yours for Christ’s service,