In the past week I have been reminded over and over again that we have been here for exactly one year!! This morning as I woke to the sound of fighting and screaming at 6 am, I let Satan whisper that not much has changed. And in some ways that is true. There is still crime. There is still brokenness and sin ALL around us. Sometimes, it creeps into our home as well. Sometimes it is literally just too much to put it all away that night, kiss our kids and go to sleep. Instead, we cry and question why and are short with each other. The ground is still hard here. I am talking plowed for 4 years and its still rocky hard. We still need laborers to come and move one rock……to come and water one section of the garden. These things have not changed.
But on the other hand things have changed!! We are JUST beginning to earn the trust of some of our neighbors. They will let their kids go to camp with us for a week. They will share with us their lives and tell us SOME of the struggles they face. This is progress but it is VERY slow. Our lives have changed. We have moved to a different trailer with a more central location (it just happens to be the trailer our friends Grant and Amber lived in too). We moved churches and became part time staff members at Hyde Park Baptist Church. This has been a huge change and we believe part of God’s big plan for the future of the Connection.
MOST OF ALL WE HAVE SEEN GOD MOVE AND CHANGE THINGS!!
We have almost an entirely new set of children at Homework Helpers this year. This is the nature of living in a very transient neighborhood. Unlike the 60-70 children who went to AWANA for 2 years with us, these children have NEVER heard of the parting of the Red Sea. As of right now, we are no longer transporting children to AWANA, instead, we have begun a new Backyard BIBLE club right here in Countryside on Thursday afternoons! An opportunity for ALL churches to come and share Christ with anyone who walks up that day!! This has been an amazing time of learning and new relationship building each week.
This summer, God moved mightily in the lives of our children here. We know that 13 made first time professions of faith. I can only say this is a part of kingdom work that the churches in Lancaster and even as far away as Sylacauga Alabama have done together as THE CHURCH!! It was a direct reflection of all of you pouring the love of Jesus into these children through VBS, sports camps, mission trips and much much more.
Finally, we are beginning to see God draw his first few FAMILIES to himself! We have personally gone to church with 3 sets of parents and children this year! One of the families has been to church with us multiple times and their teenage daughter made a public profession of faith in youth class a few weeks ago!!! She will be getting baptized very soon at church!!
Would you join us and commit to pray for this ministry? Pray that God will continue to move in the families here at Countryside. Pray for clear direction for our ministry team as the ministry continues to change and grow!! Pray for more church partnerships as we know that our neighbors are drawn to the Lord through the witness of many! Pray for our family and Shanda’s family as well as we try to live in a difficult and all the time stressful environment. Lastly, pray for how God could possibly be calling you to witness to one of our neighbors!