|Becca reading the Incarnation story to the kids|
Christmas- Thank you to all who encouraged us this Christmas season, as this was our first Christmas away from family. We received many sacrificial financial gifts from many of you and, although we are far away, we felt very near to you and loved by you. Thank you. Our day started off with Lyzee opening some presents sent from friends and family. Big thanks to Molly, Laura D, Laura R, Whit, Kristy, Rach H, Rach F. and both of our families. She had a wonderful time opening the packages and playing with new toys and getting “big girl underwear” (we are potty training so this was a great gift). My sister Laura sent one of her favorite gifts; it’s a tin small mailbox complete with felt letters and crocheted envelopes. My mom and sisters wrote the letters. It is a wonderful gift of love that Lyzee can keep for a long time. She has asked me to read and re-read the letters over and over. After a nice breakfast we headed out to our home church in Bangwe for a Christmas service and fellowship after. We had a wonderful time talking with our friends and singing Christmas carols in Chichewa (at least trying to). We praise God for this vibrant Body of believers! Christmas day was quite encouraging to us as Luke was asked to go and pray with the church elders before the service and the women really showed love to me (Becca) and Lyzee. It was a big time for us because, for the first time, it felt like home. This is a big answer to prayer! The rest of the day we spent together as a family resting at home and focusing on God coming to us in the form of a baby in a rickety wooden manger. In one of the packages Lyzee received, there was a book called Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story by Sally Lloyd-Jones. (An author we highly recommend.) One line of the book sums up the wonder of Christmas perfectly, “The one who made us has come to live with us!” This statement is why we are here. This is why we do missions. Our rescuer has come!
Ministry-The past few weeks have been an intense time of digesting all that Luke encountered and learned in Ethiopia. It has been so good to talk with Fostance and all the sports ministry leaders about the mighty work that God has done in Ethiopia through simple sports ministry.
Just today, we were in Bangwe (a slum on the south end of Blantyre) meeting with 15 youth from three local churches who wanted to learn more about how to use sports as a platform for the Gospel in their community. God is doing something in the hearts of the youth! They are sick and tired of the same old religious activity lacking evangelistic outreach. The Spirit of God inside them longs to make Christ known to those in darkness around them. So….He is stirring them up. We brainstormed about how we can most effectively do a sports outreach in their specific communities for Christ’s fame. They had so many amazing ideas and we have a lot to work with. Before the meeting was over, there was over 100 kids wondering what we were doing. So…Fostance said, “Why don’t we go and start? God has already brought people to us to minister to and share His Gospel with. So let’s practice what we preach!” From there, several of the sports ministry leaders broke the kids up into age groups, taught them how to effectively work as a team on the soccer field and then sat the kids down and told them how to be born again in Jesus Christ. It was incredible! We praise God for you and your continued prayer for this ministry and it’s exciting to see Him stirring up the youth to reach out in their communities. He is worthy!
|Youth Leaders teaching the kids|
Plans for upcoming year- Luke and Fostance will be holding a Sports Ministry Conference for all the Blantyre-area church leaders. This will be a crucial time to get all the leaders in one place on the same page about sports ministry. Pray for logistics as we prepare for 50 plus people to join us at this conference. Also please pray for God’s leading and direction as we long for the Gospel to reach out to people and places who have not heard of this child in the manger. Our specific prayer is that God would use this sports ministry to raise up a generation of people who are set apart for the preaching of the Gospel of God and that they’d leave this city of Blantyre to church plant. Will you seek the Lord with us on this?
Love you all,