Thank you so much for praying for us during these past two very busy months. The Lord has enabled us to be with Faith’s parents, send five of our six kids to camp, have a mini family reunion with Mike’s family (Tammy, his sister, was home from South Africa), all while visiting one of our supporting churches every Sunday or Wednesday! Mikey was also able to counsel at Camp Peniel for three weeks before attending his fourth week as a camper himself. The last two weeks we have been visiting churches mainly in the Columbus area.
We have been really encouraged to see many of you! We are overwhelmed by how much some of you know about our ministry and how you ask about our people that you have been praying for by name. Thank you so much for your faithful prayers!
Church in Mexico:
Since we have been in the States, we have heard that Nico has come back once to church with his family! This has been a huge answer to prayer! Please pray for the Lord to continue to work in that family. We have also been encouraged by reports of the Vacation Bible School that they are doing totally on their own just this week. There were 71 different children in attendance. Jon and Andrea Crocker planned to let them do everything as they have worked on their own in the past. We have seen pictures on Facebook, and it is such a joy to see them being faithful and serving with such joy.
We were able to present our work to our home church, Bible Community Church, in Mentor, Ohio on July 20th. During that visit our pastor, Josh Scheiderer, told Mike of his plans to accept another position as an assistant pastor in PA. We were extremely surprised to hear that news.
The elders then approached Mike with the request of his helping by being the interim Pastor while they look for a new pastor. The elders expressed their sadness in asking because they know that our hearts are in Mexico. But they knew what we began to understand—that the church right now needs someone who knows and understands them. Knowing this, we appreciated so much that they asked us because we are family. These are our people. We both grew up at Bible Community. They are the people that trained us, and we love them very much.
However, there were several things that The Lord had to do in our minds to assure us that this is what he wants us to do. All of this has happened in the last 12 days.
1. First, Mike shared his complete heart with the elders. They voted, and their vote was unanimous. Together we had decided that the vote had to be unanimous for us to go forward.
2. Second, our mission board, GFA, had to be completely supportive. Since we have not taken a furlough for eight years, they feel that this is a good idea because it gives us time to take a full year furlough. This will enable us to visit all 28 of our supporting churches instead of visiting only half.
3. Third, we were and are thinking about the work in Mexico. When we called missionary Jon Crocker, who is covering for us in our absence, he said, “Well, I think this is the perfect time! We are here to cover for the church in Mexico in your absence and the church there needs you—it seems like a no brainer at this time.” Since they are in the beginning stages of ministry in Mexico City, they are available to help us in this area now, whereas in the future that will not be a possibility.
4. Fourth, the Lord’s working in our children’s hearts. Our children are Mexican, but we have one child especially that is 100% Mexican and always is missing home. Again in our minds, the Lord changing his heart would be a miracle. (He even missed Mexico so much that he wanted to wear his Mexico shirt on July 4th.) When we presented to our children how we felt that the Lord may be leading, to our astonishment, Matt was the first to be extremely excited! (He said that he had a great friend that even had moles in the same spots on his arm and back where he had moles???!!!! What?????). Hearing this we realized that the Lord has given him a very good friend here, and the Lord has used this friendship to already change his heart before we had even asked.
The plan right now is:
-We plan to begin helping the people of Bible Community on the evening of August 10th.
-We are planning on contacting each church that is already scheduled for the rest of August to see how each Pastor would like to reschedule or keep their meeting. How can we keep our meeting in August? One church has already stated that they would like to have our kids come and present the work—they do know all about it and they know the presentation by heart. J We think that would be fun for all.
-We are still taking Mikey to college at the end of August. While in Greenville, the whole family will be presenting our furlough report to Trinity Bible Church, and Pastor Scheiderer has already found a special speaker to cover for that date.
- Right now the plan is for us to be here with the church until about February to help them find a new pastor. At that time we would like to finish visiting our churches and revisit any churches that Mike and I did not get to visit during August (with the children). Also during this fall and winter, as the Lord allows, we will also report to some other supporting churches.
-We would like to be heading back to Mexico by the end of May.
So in total our furlough should be less than a normal year long furlough. Since we have not taken a furlough in 8 years, both we and our mission board feel like our help to our home church will in no way impede the work that God has called us to do in Mexico.
Right now our big prayer requests are for:
2. Wisdom for each child regarding their education. We will be both homeschooling and using Mentor Christian School based on each of our children’s needs.
3. Padierna Bible Church in Mexico as they continue to grow and experience blessings and growth pains. We have to let them know in a letter this weekend of the change in plans for now.
4. Pastor and Christy Scheiderer have been very kind and helpful. Please pray for them as they are also making big transitions and especially for their 5 precious children.
If you have any questions, feel free to email us or call the cell phone that we are using right now—570-529-2091. We thank you for your love and concern at this time. We are just so grateful for your faithful prayers and support.
Mike and Faith