Monday, December 2, 2013

Exciting News & Upcoming Events

Well, the moment has finally arrived! We have a date for when we will officially be moving to Arizona. January 7th, 2014, we will leave Greentown, IN and begin our journey to new adventures at the Southwest Indian Ministries Center in Peoria, Arizona. We are very excited about how God is working and can't wait to share with you about our plans in the upcoming months!

But first, a brief overview on the last few weeks here in Indiana...

On November 17th, several tornadoes ravaged Illinois and Indiana. After church that Sunday, Jon and I got on the internet to find that an EF 4 had gone through Washington, IL. For those of you who don't know, Washington, IL is about 10 miles north of Morton, where Jon and I lived for about 3 years as Jon served as Youth Pastor of First Mennonite Church. We were shocked by the news and as we wondered about the safety of our friends still living in that area, we realized that the same storm was headed our way. The storm moved FAST! By about 3pm, winds had picked up and the tornado sirens were going off in Greentown. We quickly headed to a friend's house who has a basement and camped out there with several friends of ours until the storm passed.  As we climbed out of the basement, we soon received word from others that the tornadoes had passed to the northeast of us, hitting Kokomo, a nearby town, with two EF2 tornadoes. We felt very blessed. All we had in Greentown were high winds with no damage.

Over the next few days, we received word that although there was damage to some homes, everyone we know, both in Illinois and Indiana was safe. Time spent by Jon and I cleaning up damage in Kokomo with friends on Nov 22nd and 23rd revealed many down trees, snapped power poles, strewn debris and many damaged homes, but no deaths were recorded in the state of Indiana as a result of the tornadoes. We have seen and heard many stories about God working in the hearts of people to join in relief efforts in both Indiana and Illinois. People have selflessly offered their time, resources, and even their homes to people in need. Devastation, like that brought by these tornadoes, is often very ugly but the way in which it brings people together to help one another, especially in the love of Christ, is a very beautiful thing. We praise the Lord for His protection and provision.

On a brighter note, Thanksgiving for us was spent up in Wisconsin with Lindsay's family. As a matter of fact, we enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving twice- once with Lindsay's mom and dad on Wednesday, and again on Thursday with her grandparents and other family. It was a great visit!

Christmas this year will be spent with Jon's family here in Indiana. Then, in January, we make the highly anticipated move out to Arizona! Leaving on January 7th, we hope to arrive on the 9th or 10th dependent on weather. Once we arrive, we will take part in on the field training as well as more fundraising and spreading the word about camp at local churches. Friday, Jan 17th, marks the beginning of LITE Leadership Training and planning for the summer camps of 2014.(LITE, or Leaders in Training Experience, is a discipleship program for our older youth in which they are discipled to be leaders for our elementary camps as well as other local ministries. The goal for LITE is to disciple young people to become leaders for Christ in their churches, schools, and communities.) We are excited about our first opportunity to experience this weekend event as it will decide the theme for summer camps.

We are currently about 80% funded, so when we arrive in Arizona in January, we will still have some fundraising to do. We are excited about this opportunity because it will also help us to spread the word about camp and offer churches the chance to be involved in local ministry. Before we can begin our full-time work at SIMC, we will also need to complete a training course in Colorado. This is a month long training taken by many missionaries around the world. As such, it is very difficult to get into, since it fills up so quickly. We are on the waiting list to complete the training in April, but if there appear to be no open spots, we will complete the training in the month of May and begin our full-time status at SIMC in June for the start of summer camps.

Many new and exciting adventures lay in wait for us in the coming months! Please continue to keep us in prayer and don't forget to visit our Praise & Prayer tab above to find updates on praises and how you can be praying for us, those we know, and the ministry. Thanks for reading!

Blessings and safety to you and your family during this Christmas season!

-Jon and Lindsay