Sunday, April 27, 2014

Follow Me

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them...Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is it to you? You follow me." John 21:20-22 (NIV)

We took off from MTI in Colorado around 11:30 yesterday morning eager to get on the road as we had a 12 hr drive ahead of us. As we got into southern Colorado, we noticed the wind picking up drastically. Before we knew it, we found ourselves caught up in a dust storm with winds so strong that our little truck at times could barely manage to maintain 60 mph. We fought the wind and dust all the way into New Mexico and through Albuquerque when all of a sudden the dust turned into pouring rain. As we pushed forward through the rain, we finally found the calm after the storm with some rays of sun. As we pulled into a little town for dinner about an hour or so from the Arizona state line, we realized that we had just driven through a cold front. By the time we were done eating, clouds once again filled the sky and flurries of snow began to fall. Fortunately, the warmth of the day kept the snow from collecting on the road and since the front had passed through, we also didn’t have wind to deal with. Finally, we felt we were making good progress.

As we got into Arizona, after the sun had set, we were driving along I-40 when a couple of cars quicker than us were coming up on our truck. I decided to move over to the right to let them pass. The first car went by and sped on its way. The second car, an SUV, got up right beside me and suddenly hit his breaks and quickly pulled in behind me. My initial thought was maybe he had a radar and it had went off. A couple of minutes went by and I began to get annoyed with him because he was following rather close, with his headlights coming right over the top of my little truck into my eyes. It was making it hard to see. I decided to pick up my pace a little and try to get some distance, but he followed me. I then decided to slow down to below the speed limit hoping he would pass me, but he followed me. Every move I made, speed up, slow down, or pass...he followed me.

After about 20 minutes, I began to think this could be a serious situation. I wanted to take an exit ramp and try to find a well-lit area or gas station to where I would hope he wouldn’t follow me but in eastern Arizona, those places are few and far between. So we drove on towards Flagstaff another 20 minutes or so. In the meantime, I began to pray for God to give me the wisdom and understanding on what to do. As we got into Flagstaff, I knew we would be taking the exit to I-17 which heads down to Phoenix. I told Lindsay that I was not going to use my turn signal and would turn onto the exit ramp at the last second hoping to shake our follower. It didn’t work. 

We both looked at each other and knew what we need to do next, call the police. As Lindsay got ahold of dispatch and then in contact with an officer, I slowed the truck down and continued heading south towards Phoenix. The police officer told us to take an exit about 4 miles up the road and to meet him at the gas station there. As we come upon the exit, I once again decided to try a last second exit but to no avail. He followed me down the exit and as I saw the gas station parking lot, NO POLICE! What should I do?! By instinct, more likely by God directing me, I pulled up through the pumps and made a quick U-turn back through the pumps and out to the road. Not only did it give us an opportunity to finally see the make and color of the SUV (being dark and with his bright lights, we had no idea what exactly was following us) it also got him hung up because he couldn’t maneuver his car through the parking lot quick enough to follow us out. A few seconds later our policeman called us back wondering where we were. We told him what we had done and the description of the vehicle. We pulled into the parking lot of a bar just down the road and waited for further instructions. In the meantime, our police officer had already pulled into the gas station and found the car we had described. Over the phone, Lindsay could hear the officer talking to both dispatch and the person but not much could be distinguishable.

 After about five minutes, the officer picked up the phone and told us that the man in the SUV was drunk and would be arrested for DUI. What a feeling of relief! Thank goodness this is over! But wait, why did a drunk guy follow us for a whole hour? What was it about our car that he made him want to follow us? Why was he drunk in the first place? These questions bounced around my head all the way home. Obviously, I won’t know the answers to them but I do know one thing, the man behind that wheel was looking for someone to follow. Someone who could lead him at a time he felt that he couldn't do it by himself.

Father God, only you know what struggles in life this man is going through. You alone know why he decided to get drunk last night. You also know why he choose to follow us.  Lord, we pray that this man would get the council and treatment necessary to repair his physical, emotional, and spiritual brokenness. We pray that he would come to know the perfect leader to follow, Jesus Christ. We pray that we too will recognize the need to follow our Leader, especially in times where we feel we can’t do it by ourselves. Amen. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Past, Present and Future


Jon and I (Lindsay) wanted to take some time to update you on a few things from the past, present and future...

Past: Grace Bible Church Missions Conference & Elementary Weekend Camp
We had a wonderful experience at our first Missions Conference at Grace Bible Church in Sun City! We enjoyed getting to know the congregation as well as the other missionaries better. It was great to see how God was at work all around the world and have the opportunity to speak about how the Lord is working here at SIMC! Words cannot express the kindness, hospitality and support we have received from GBC! From small conversations, to shared meals and gifts, Grace has been such a blessing to us and we thank God for the staff and congregation!

Elementary Weekend Camp was March 14-15. We had about 51 elementary campers along with 5 LIT youth who assisted staff in leading programs and activities. It was a blast! We talked about our super powers as followers of Christ and took part in activities such as games, worship, Bible class, and art class. We even turned our chapel into a movie theater and watched The Incredibles, complete with popcorn and drinks! Jon and I enjoyed being a part of this camp and getting to know our elementary campers. 

Present: Connecting, Networking, and Camp Planning
Currently, Jon and I are in the process of contacting everyone on our support and mailing lists and sharing the news of an offer we received recently. An individual connected with our ministry at SIMC is willing to match any new or increasing donations that we receive up to $250 per month for 2 years! What a blessing! Jon and I have been praying for an opportunity such as this one to carry us into full-time ministry. At the moment, we are involved in summer camp planning as well as networking with local churches on how they can get involved in and support our ministry, but these relationships take time. We are planting seeds that we hope to see grow in the years to come. But, in the present, we need help from supporters like you to get us over the hump to 100% funded so that we can begin to do the work God has called us to full-time. This will enable us to further develop our leadership development and camper follow-up programs, and fill other much needed roles. Will you join us in prayer that this opportunity would come to fruition and consider giving a new or increasing donation? (To donate online, click the "Donate" tab above.)

Future: Missions Training and Upcoming Camps
A little over a week from now, on March 28th, Jon and I will be leaving for our Missions Training in Colorado. We will be going through a month-long training course called Compass. Why is Compass important and what does it do? Here's a quote from the website:

     "Compass is designed to help you—and your family—develop the practical skills and attitudes that will successfully take you through the challenging and rewarding process of being interwoven with another culture. "

In a nutshell, that is what Compass is about- preparing missionaries to adjust to the new culture of their mission field and equipping them to be effective witnesses for the Kingdom. The Compass program is put together and carried out by Mission Training International. Many missionaries from all over the world take this training. For more information on Compass and MTI, please visit and click on the "Programs" tab. We are excited about this training and what God has in store for us there!

When are our next camps? Soon! They're coming up fast! Our next camp is May 2-4, right after we get back from our Compass training. This is another LIT Camp designed to prepare our older teens for leadership roles in our elementary camps. After LIT Camp, our four summer camps will begin in June and July. Our theme for camps this summer this year is The Great Adventure. Although we don't want any spoilers about camp to leak out, (we try to keep it a surprise for our campers), we can tell you that the theme will be based off of Hebrews 11:8-10. We will be talking about how following God on the adventure of life is a journey of faith. Summer Camps begin with our two Teen Camps June 15-19 and June 22-26. In July, we will continue with our Elementary Camps with Grades 4-6 July 6-10 and Grades 1-3 July 13-17. We look forward with anticipation of reuniting with campers and watching God work in each of their lives. 

Be sure to click the "Praise & Prayer" tab above to read how you can be praying for us, our ministry and our campers.


Lindsay and Jon

Monday, January 27, 2014

We're in Arizona!


Well, after being snowed in for three days under 17" of snow and below zero temps, we were finally able to begin our journey from Indiana to Arizona. Our original plans were to pack our u-haul trailer on Monday, January 6, and head out to Arizona on January 7. However, as we all know, more often than not, our timing is much different than God's timing. This was certainly one of those times. We were very eager to reach Arizona, but in this instance, God was calling us to be patient and wait on Him. Sunday, January 5th brought 17" of snow with gusting winds and waist-high drifts. The following days produced windchills of close to 48 degrees below zero. We finally saw a plow on Tuesday afternoon, January 7th. Wednesday, we were able to dig out, pick up our trailer, and get it loaded. After packing nearly all day Wednesday, we were able to begin our journey from snowy Indiana to sunny Arizona Thursday morning, January 9th.

view out our door in Indiana
view out our door now in AZ

We thank you for all your prayers for our safe travels. We certainly felt them along the way! By Thursday evening, January 9th, we had reached Springfield, Missouri. Our second day of travel brought us to Tucumcari, New Mexico. On our third day of travel, Saturday, January 11th, we reached our destination at the Southwest Indian Ministry Center in Peoria, Arizona around 6pm. We were very glad to reach our new home and we were very well-received! We were welcomed by pizza, groceries, and the Colt's game all in our apartment thanks to the other missionaries her on the field. It was great!

We quickly settled in and jumped into camp. LIT Weekend Camp was just around the corner. LIT Weekend Camp in January is for our youth who are interested in leadership in general, whether that be leadership in their schools, churches, communities, etc.--it's an all-encompassing leadership camp. For this camp we had a total of 13 Leaders in Training (LITs). Jon and I led 3 training sessions on leadership. The first focused on leadership as Christ commanded it in the Great Commission in Matthew 28 when He called us to make disciples of all nations. The second lesson focused on the great leaders of the Bible. We chose to dig a little deeper into the story of Gideon in Judges 6 and 7 and discover the qualities that made him a great leader of God. Lastly, we chose to focus on what happens when leaders fail. We thought it was important for our young leaders to realize that you don't have to be perfect to be a leader and how to pick yourself back up again when you fail and continue on God's path. For this lesson, we spoke about Peter's denial of Christ and how Christ offered him a chance to redeem himself in John chapter 21. This camp is also important because it is a chance for our youth to help us brainstorm ideas that they would like to see implemented into our summer camps this year. They had some awesome ideas! The weekend was also packed with 3 video messages from Louie Giglio, a hike and scavenger hunt through Thunderbird Park, a youth-led Sunday worship service, lots of games and icebreakers, smoothies and food that "tasted like it came down from heaven" (camper quote).  It was a great chance for us to build relationships with future youth leaders and it was very inspiring to see God at work in their lives!

Group pic before our hike
Games in the dorm
Youth-led Sunday worship service

Now, our focus is continuing with our fundraising. One way we are doing this is by connecting with local churches. Unfortunately, after we switched from being a boarding school to being a camp ministry back in 2000, we lost contact with many of our supporters and volunteers for the ministry. Jon and I are trying to reestablish these connections, and partner with local churches to get them back involved in what we are doing now at SIMC. It has been fun to reconnect others with the ministry. It seems that just about everywhere we go, we find someone who has been involved with SIMC in one way or another and we enjoy listening to their stories about how God has been working through history to develop this ministry. We look forward to meeting new friends through this process.

We thank you for your part in our journey and will continue to keep you updated on how God is working here,

-Lindsay and Jon