Dec 17, 2009

A Thousand Thanks and Prayer


We have now left Jackson, MS and moved to Zachary, LA.  There are several reasons for doing this. One is that Zachary is where much of my family live. Second is, we have a lot of itinerating do in this area while we seek to raise the remaining support needed for us to move to Peru. Third is, Don Charlet, one of the designers for Parish Furniture lives here also and I can spend some time learning from him.

We are extremely thankful to all the people that have helped us in Jackson over the last several years. To only name a few we are especially thankful to the Robertson’s, Vickery’s and McGowan’s  for their help in babysitting at different times. We are also thankful to the Robertson’s in the amazing show of love in helping pack up for the move.

God has show us so much love through the members of Redeemer and other brothers and sisters in Christ in the area. We are great debtors to be servants of Christ because we have been served so much by His servants.

We are also thankful to the body of Christ in Zachary in their show of love in helping us unload and to my parents for putting up with us for the month of December.

Please be in prayer for Stuart’s father battling prostate cancer.  He was recently accepted into an experimental trial in Houston, which shows much promise.

We are ready to make our departure date for January 5th!  As soon as our passport comes in for the baby, we will book our tickets. Please continue to pray that God will raise the last remaining funds, only $25,000 left to bring our budget to 100%

Nov 13, 2009

Heard of God


     We give praise to God for the life He gives us.  We really wanted to avoid a C-section for this baby.  We prayed for a safe and healthy delivery.  I must admit that as much as I don't like all the unnecessary medical intervention in labor, I am extremely thankful for the necessary medical intervention in labor.  If there were no such thing as C-sections, it is very likely that I would not have a family today.  I give praise to God for being in a place where it is a routine procedure and everything went smooth.  I am very glad we decided to name our son Samuel since God has shown us time and time again how he hears us and answers our prayers.  Often the answers are not exactly what we want but it is obvious that He hears us and is good.
     I have been encouraged lately in reading through the Scriptures.  In attempting to keep up with a daily reading schedule, I am in 2 Chronicles, Daniel and John.  In reading through 2 Chronicles I came across the history of Jehoshaphat.  There came a time when a great army was making their way to attack Judah and Jehoshaphat sought the Lord in prayer for deliverance. In his crying out he said, we are weak and powerless against this great multitude and we do not know what to do but our eyes are on you.  Then God responded by telling him to go out but that God would fight them himself. Before Judah got to them, God had caused them to wipe themselves out.  This reminds me of another rare king in the midst of  2 Chronicles, Asa.  Most of the kings during this time did not seek God but sought other idols and God allowed them to be destroyed.  These two kings were among the few who sought to follow God and honor him.  God blessed them for it.  It wasn't that these men were really great or awesome men. It was just that they sought to follow God and worship Him alone.
  There was another very similar message in reading Daniel chapter 2.  Daniel didn't learn the interpretation of the dream because he was so smart or wise.  He didn't know what it was when the king demanded the wise men to tell him what his dream was.  Daniel decided to ask the one who did know and asked his friends to pray with him and fast.  God revealed the dream to Daniel so he could tell it to the king.  Again, God tells us in Scripture that he answers prayer.
     Again in reading in John there is a very encouraging message about prayer.  Jesus himself is praying to the Father. He just finished telling the disciples that it was necessary for him to leave so he could send the Helper who would convict the world and guide us into all truth.  Then he prays to the Father that those whom He has given Him would be united with Him with the Father in heaven.  How much more if God answered the prayers of Jeshoshaphat or Daniel will he answer his own prayers in Jesus?  We can be certain that though, God may not answer all our prayers as we want Him to, He will answer them. We can also be certain that He will answer the prayers of Jesus in uniting believers with himself and guiding us by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said to ask in His name and we will receive.
     We are at a point where we are asking a lot.  We have a large amount of money to raise before we can go to Peru.  We believe that it is necessary to leave for Peru in January.  This is not something that we can do on our own. So we cast our eyes on Him and ask you our friends to seek Him for us to move in mighty ways.  While the money is a very tangible thing that we need to get there, we realize that in our need for prayer money is only a small amount of what we need from God.  Much more than money, we need God's Spirit to empower us and help us serve Him and obey Him. We need the Spirit to help us love Him and love our neighbors.
     The most important thing we need from God is His equipping us to serve and His continued grace and lovingkindness.  The most important thing in going to serve Christ is faith and repentance. That is what we ask for.  Without His spirit working through us, we will simply be going to live in another country.  There is nothing special about us that will fix anybody.  Jesus is the one who will fix us and the people we go to serve.  We are only going to Peru because we are certain God wants us to go there, not because we think we are needed there.  I truly believe this, but I realize I need the Spirit to remind me of this every day.  It is something I often forget.

Oct 29, 2009

Last month's update

I finally figured out how to post it.:) More to come about our new son born!




Oct 22, 2009

Overflowing Joy!

I made a little table for our little daughter to play at.  It was a lot of fun.  I kind of experimented with the joinery and got a little creative.  It may be a little fancy for a toddler but it was worth it.

Oct 7, 2009

Make known His deeds among the peoples!

This morning I was reminded of the power of God's Word to encourage. I was discouraged because I was being forgetful. By God's grace, I was working through 1 Chronicles and came across the description of David and his mighty men.  Some of them came to him when he was in Ziklag and he came out to meet them and said, ““If you come peacefully to me to help me, my heart shall be united with you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, since there is no wrong in my hands, may the God of our fathers look on it and decide.”” (1 Chronicles 12:17 NAS95)  I was impressed with David’s confidence in God as well as his awareness of the evils of man.  He was not afraid of the possibility of deception though he was aware of it because he knew that God was in control and would protect him. I keep forgetting that it is not about me but it is about God.  I spiral down and look at my sin because I am not looking at Him but at myself.  He is righteous, not me.  I trust in Him, not in myself.  I was also very encouraged by this speech of David after they finally brought the ark to the place he prepared for it according to God’s ordinance. It is also found in Psalm 105, 96 and a couple others.
“Then on that day David first assigned Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the LORD. Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad. Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually. Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth, O seed of Israel His servant, Sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. Remember His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. He also confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, As the portion of your inheritance.” When they were only a few in number, Very few, and strangers in it, And they wandered about from nation to nation, And from one kingdom to another people, He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes, saying,“Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.” Sing to the LORD, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array. Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD; For He is coming to judge the earth. O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name, And glory in Your praise.” Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. Then all the people said, “Amen,” and praised the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 16:7–36 NAS95)
This is our reason to go out.  What confirmation that we kill sin by the Spirit through the Word. Speak the promises of God to ourselves and drive away our doubts and fears.

Sep 19, 2009


Time keeps on slipping away.  Before I know it, January will be upon us. Will we be ready to move to Peru? I don’t know. I hope so. I am plagued with doubts and fears of failing. I must remember that God is sovereign and that He has called me.  I keep wanting to make everything about myself. Life is about God, not me.  I keep forgetting that. I look at my weakness and shortcomings and start to spiral down.  I must look to God and His greatness and remember that if He has called me, He will equip me.  I must remember that if He has called me, He will provide. He has always provided all our needs just in time in the past. Why should I doubt that He will do it now?  I shouldn’t.  I struggle with this doubting in everyday life dealing with our second baby coming, work and support raising as well as in seeking Holiness and being faced with sinfulness. I so badly want to be Holy because He is Holy and has called us to be Holy. I am torn in this desire because it is mingled with a desire for sin. I am full of it. The more I try to be free from sin the more I realize how deep it is in me.  It is not that I commit a few sinful deeds but that my very core is sinful and wicked.  It is true. I tend to ignore it or try to cover it.  Only the blood of Jesus can cover it.  When I start talking about sin, I keep hearing people or my own heart say that I should not be so hard on myself and that I should be more confident.  I agree and I disagree.  I should be honest and admit the wickedness within.  I would be a liar if I were to be confident in myself and say that I am not that bad.  But, I should also look to my reality in Christ. I have been called by Him in his death and resurrection and am now raised up with Him and seated with Him in the heavenly places.  I should be confident in what Christ is doing in me. I should stop looking down at myself, not because I am not that bad, but because Christ has redeemed me.  This is such a hard thing to accept.  I do accept it and glory in it, but at the same time I find it hard to live out.  I read God’s command for obedience and am floored by my disobedience. I wish that I were not plagued with desires that offend Him.  I want to be free from sin. I hate it. But I love it at the same time. Paul tells us about this war with my old man and the new man in Christ. I feel it. Romans 8 tells us to kill sin by the Spirit. John Piper makes the point that this means by hearing God’s word and believing it in faith since the sword of the Spirit is God’s Word.  So, though I see a sinful man I must look to the Word that tells me Jesus has redeemed me and made me righteous. I can also look to the Word and see how it points to glorify Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Instead of wanting to glorify myself and trying to make life all about me, I must repent and glorify God and make life all about Him.  Because it is.  This is why I want to serve Him. It is not because I am so good or so brave but it is because I am so bad and weak, yet He is so good and powerful. I want to tell the world about this good and powerful God. I also can trust Him to provide for us and pave the way for us in His timing.

Aug 22, 2009

Changed Times?

Ten years ago when I lived in Cusco for 7 & 1/2 months as a soltero (bachelor) it was very easy to get by on $1,000 a month. Actually that was more than enough. Most Peruvians get by on $200 a month or less.

Now as we are preparing to move to Trujillo with a family and working out our budget, it doesn’t seem so easy. We had a budget for 50K a year and thought it was plenty. Now after looking over it with our team, it seems it should be more like 75K a year. With all the one-time costs such as 4 airplane tickets and house furnishings and language school it really works out to our living expenses being only 39K a year. I still have a hard time adjusting to things costing so much in Peru. I suppose there is a big difference from living in Cusco with (in 2002) around 300,000 people and living in Trujillo (in 2010) with over 1,000,000 people and growing tremendously. The cost of living has definitely gone up.

All that to say that we are now around 60% of our support. Not far below but we do have more to raise. I trust that God will raise it up if it is necessary to get us there and if He wants us to go. He has raised up so much so far, I am confident He will raise up the rest and even more if it is needed. I do ask you to keep praying for us whether we have all the money needed or not. One thing we need is more people, families, and churches to commit to lift us up in prayer.


Our plan is still to leave for Peru in January, if our son is born in good health and the financial support is sufficient. We are now planning to move to Arequipa to start language school for three months and then move to Trujillo and start our two years of work with the ministry.

Aug 6, 2009

Fun work



I had fun working on this project. I was reminded while doing it how much fun woodwork can be.

It has been a blessing to have work lately. On the other hand, having work has slowed down my progress on getting support raising work done.

The most exciting thing lately is seeing that God is raising our support without us. It looks like we are already above 80% of our two-year support! While we have been busy trying to keep up with work and Satomi, God has been gracious. I hope to be able to get back to taking care of support raising work more this fall. Please be in prayer for that.
I should have a new update soon on how things are going with Parish and Peru Mission.

Jul 6, 2009

How to Pray for us?

Praise:
  1. We rejoice that we celebrated 7 years of marriage last monday!
  2. We are excited to find out that the baby is a boy!
Prayer:
  1. We grieve with our great uncle Gilbert Mills and his family at the homegoing of his wife, Lejeune, while we rejoice for her entry into glory.
  2. Pray for our support raising: a. we are close to 70% of the two year support! pray for God to provide the remaining 30%. b. we are seeking church families to support us in prayer and encouragement. Even if we had all the money we need we still need connections with folks who will commit to lift us up before the Lord in prayer and not forget about us.
  3. Pray for our organization in preparing our family to move as we consider what to sell, give, store and pack.
  4. Pray for our diligence in studying Spanish these next several months before moving and for our studying in language school after we first move to Peru with a newborn, Lord willing.
  5. Pray for Meg and baby Samuel as she is approaching the end of second trimester for safety and health.

Jun 26, 2009

Presentation

We are giving a Parish and Peru Mission presentation at Faith Pres. in Clinton,LA this Sunday. Lord willing, Don Charlet will be there to talk about the furniture production and sale and I will talk about my future role in working in the shop and discipleship.

Jun 24, 2009

Counting Eggs?

We found out the baby is a boy! We already have a name for him, Samuel. Actually we came up with two male names before our first was born, since she was a girl we had to come up with a new name for her. So this time it is easy. Is it too early to give him a name? Well, it does feel a little awkward but why not? There is no doubt he is living with all his kicking and tumbling and his heart beating. I wonder if the phrase, "don't count your chickens before they hatch" would apply here. Well, if God knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb, I trust that he also knows our Samuel even now.

I like the name for two reasons both having to do with prayer. One, the biblical reference to the Hebrew name sounding like, "heard of God" when God answered Hannah's prayer in giving her Samuel. It is not that we were specifically praying for another child at this time, but we are in a season of dependence on prayer. We are very aware of how much we depend on God answering prayer. The second reason for this name goes back to a historical prayer meeting, called the Haystack Prayer Meeting. Samuel John Mills Jr. was the leader of that meeting. Some say this was the starting point of American overseas missions movement. He also started the American Bible Society out of concern for God's word getting into the hands of people that don't have it. Some accounts say that his mother dedicated him to service in foreign missions. My main interest in this is that God seemed to answer the prayers of a small group of people seeking to be faithful in proclaiming the gospel to those who don't know Jesus. May God raise our Samuel up to be another bold warrior servant for the Kingdom that Christ is establishing on Earth.

Jun 18, 2009

Prayer: Part II

I was reminded this morning how valuable prayer is. I have been struggling with doubts and insecurities over the last couple of days. Meg and I have talked and prayed about it. I also met this morning with my prayer partners and was very much encouraged by them and reminded of the wonderful grace we have in Christ. We prayed about it and by the end of our time I felt like the foolish Israelites who keep forgetting what marvelous grace God had shown them and turn and complain again and again. I realized how foolish my doubts and insecurities were.

I have also been encouraged by reading E.M. Bounds in his book, The Essentials of Prayer. The most recent was his last chapter titled “Prayer and Missions”. He said many things worth quoting.
Money is important, but money without prayer is powerless in the face of the darkness, the wretchedness and the sin in unchristianised lands. Prayerless giving breeds barrenness and death. Poor praying at home is the solution of poor results in the foreign field. Prayerless giving is the secret of all crises in the missionary movements of the day, and is the occasion of the accumulation of debts in missionary boards.
It is all right to urge men to give of their means to the missionary cause. But it is much more important to urge them to give their prayers to the movement. Foreign missions need, today, more the power of prayer than the power of money. Prayer can make even poverty in the missionary cause move on amidst difficulties and hindrances. Much money without prayer is helpless and powerless in the face of the utter darkness and sin and wretchedness on the foreign field.
…The common idea among Church leaders is that if we get the money, prayer will come as a matter of course. The very reverse is the truth. If we get the Church at the business of praying, and thus secure the spirit of missions, money will more than likely come as a matter of course. Spiritual agencies and spiritual forces never come as a matter of course… They who give, will not necessarily pray. Many in our churches are liberal givers who are noted for their prayerlessness. One of the evils of the present-day missionary movement lies just there. Giving is entirely removed from prayer. Prayer receives scant attention, while giving stands out prominently. They who truly pray will be moved to give. Praying creates the giving spirit… It is marvelous how little part money played in primitive Christianity as a factor in spreading the Gospel, and how wonderful part prayer played in it.
…one of the leading petitions in the Lord’s Prayer deals with this same question of the establishing of God’s kingdom and the progress of the Gospel in the short, pointed petition, ‘Thy kingdom come,’ with the added words, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.’
The missionary movement in the Apostolic Church was born in an atmosphere of fasting and prayer. The very movement looking to offering the blessings of the Christian Church to the Gentiles was on the housetop on the occasion when Peter went up there to pray, and God showed him His Divine purpose to extend the privileges of the Gospel to the Gentiles, and to break down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile...
Is the harvest great? Are the labourers few? Then ‘pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into his harvest.’ Oh, that a great wave of prayer would sweep over the Church asking God to send out a great army of labourers into the needy harvest fields of the earth! No danger of the Lord of the harvest sending out too many labourers and crowding the fields. He who calls will most certainly provide the means for supporting those whom He calls and sends forth.
The one great need in the modern missionary movement is intercessors. They were scarce in the days of Isaiah. This was his complaint; ‘And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor.’ So today there is great need of intercessors, first, for the needy harvest-fields of earth, born of a Christly compassion for the thousands without the Gospel; and then intercessors for labourers to be sent forth by God into the needy fields of earth.


I would say this is very applicable to our time as well. Some may say this is not a good time to be raising support or even trying to start a new business with the Parish furniture. Perhaps, in light of what Mr. Bounds is saying, it is an even better time. With the economy being low and people being without money this may remind us of our need to pray. In times of poverty, people tend to fall to their knees much more than in times of plenty. Perhaps this time of financial crisis will inspire the type of prayer that is needed to really make this ministry successful. I am reminded that throughout history the most notable times of revival were always preceded by times of increase in prayer. What we need most is to be inspired to pray more. Please continue to lift us up in prayer that God would enable us to faithfully proclaim Christ and that His Spirit would work powerfully to bring the Lost into faithful obedience to Christ in word and deed. I am also struck with the realization that our own churches and homes are just as much a mission field as the most remote regions of the world. There is growing up around us a generation that does not know Jesus. Let us all be praying that He will send out laborers into the harvest wherever that field is.

Prayer: Part I

I have been thinking a lot about prayer recently. One of my close friends and prayer partners and I recently started working through a book by Richard Foster called The Celebration of Discipline. His chapter on prayer struck me. He made reference to Christ’s teaching on prayer. The thing that stuck out most to me was from Mark 11 when Jesus told us to pray believing that we have what we ask for before we ask for it. Foster recommended a book by Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School Of Prayer. This book has also been very encouraging and thought provoking. One of Murray’s chapters focuses on Mark 11:22 where Jesus says, “Have faith in God.” Murray says that this statement to believe in God is crucial in preceding the command for faith in what we ask for. We must first believe in the giver before we have any reason to believe in the gift. This may be the heart of why Word of Faith folks are going too far with their “name it and claim it” approach. I think on the other hand we are going too far in reacting against their over reaction and being unfaithful in not believing he will answer our prayers. We do have the command to believe what we have asked for and it will be ours. The crucial aspect of this is having faith in God himself first. It becomes a God-centered prayer instead of a me-centered prayer. Murray makes a good point of faith being the means of a real relationship with God himself more than it is a means of getting the thing we ask for.
I am struck with this being very important in my support raising process in two ways. The first is that I need to be praying for God to provide and confidently trusting in Him to do it. This does not take away from the fact that I need to be doing the work that is in front of me but I need to do it trusting that God will answer my prayers. This thought is supported in reading through Joshua. The Ephraimites were complaining about the mountain land being difficult to clear and the valley people having iron chariots. Joshua’s response to them was that they will clear out the highlands and they will conquer the iron chariots. God had already promised them that he would give them this land but they still had to work for it. At the same time they had to trust and believe in God’s answer to his promise to do the work. The second way this is very important is to remember my need to be in communion with God. If I am focusing too much on seeking support and also seeking how to help others see Christ to the neglect of my dwelling in Christ then I will have nothing to offer. I am constantly being reminded of my need to be healed by Christ in order to be able to point anyone to the Christ who heals.

Jun 12, 2009

World Magazine Article


Cool! World did an article on Parish you can see it here.

ICFF


It sounds like the International Contemporary Furniture Fair went well. While there is a huge learning curve and the economy is not promising, there were still several good leads. We will continue to pray that God will provide and bless this ministry. More to come soon...

May 8, 2009

Timing

It looks like we are adjusting our plans for the arrival of baby #2. The more we have talked and prayed about the timing of when we move down to Peru the more it seems it will be best to wait until we have the baby to move down to Trujillo. This may put us waiting until the end of the year before we are able to move.

I also have a new work situation while we are here in Jackson. An opportunity came up to work with my brother doing home renovations so I left the coffee shop and started working with him this week. This will allow more flexibility for working on support raising and allowing Meg to work on her part-time post-doc work.

God is good all the time!

Apr 2, 2009

Two Exciting Announcements!


Our family is growing! Due Oct. 24th!

Also, Meg is now Dr. Meg! She passed her PhD. defense today!

Mar 30, 2009

Updated website for Parish Furniture!


Check it out! www.parishfurniture.com
They also just presented the furniture at an Architectural Digest Show in New York this past weekend. More to come on how that turned out. They also have plans to present this furniture at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair May 16-19th. Please pray that this will go well.

Please also pray for the rest of our support so we can get down to Peru and join in all the exciting fun with this ministry. We have been abundantly blessed so far. Meg and I visited a Church in Convington, LA for their missions Sunday and were greatly encouraged. We also have a busy week with both a conference in Brookhaven and one in Jackson! Please pray for wisdom and the right words to speak clearly of the gospel of Jesus Christ and what He is calling us to do.

I will be posting more exciting news soon!

Mar 7, 2009

What does a furniture shop have to do with church planting or missions?

I haven't heard this question yet, but I am anticipating it. We are in the midst of our first missions conference this weekend at Redeemer in Jackson,MS. I have found our support raising experience to be surprisingly encouraging. I have often heard it is the most difficult process. I have found talking with folks actually encouraging. Well, it is encouraging when I am actually able to have the time to get on the phone to talk with them. The most encouraging thing is that much of our support has come in outside of our efforts.
It seems God is raising the support without us. It is easy to forget that the support we need is not only financial. Some churches have told us that they don't have the funds to support us but are interested in what we are doing. This doesn't mean they can't support us. If we only wanted money we might go to the government or some foundation. We need support in prayer and fellowship, perhaps more than we do money. I recall that one of the biggest struggles of a missionary is feeling alone on the field.
One big prayer request is for Meg's finishing her dissertation. In the midst of the busy mission's conference this weekend she also is trying to finish her dissertation to turn in Monday in hopes of defending this month to be ready for graduation in May.
Another prayer request is for the safe transport of the first shipment of furniture from Peru getting ready for the Architectural Digest show March 26-29. They are also about to load the first container of furniture to be shipped for the Contemporary Furniture Fair May 16-19. Both of these shows are in New York. Please pray for success at these shows. If things go well and we get many orders, it will be very important for me to be getting to Peru in June.
We praise the Lord that our support is somewhere around 50% already!