“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Greetings to you all in this new year, 2011! We rejoice in the goodness of our Lord as He has once again brought us through a season of transition. Every season of change seems to be filled with feelings of sadness in our parting, yet anticipation of the joy that is set before us as God’s blessing of faithfulness unfolds. Our Father is so tender with us as we surrender our hearts and seek hard after Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a reminder of His desire for us to trust Him and acknowledge Him in all things so that we might rest in Him and the assurance that He will lead us into the plans that He has made for us.
Upon closing the TMI base in Belize, our family left our home of the past year and a half in late December, after saying good-bye to lifelong friendships. We returned to Merritt Island, Florida at Teen Missions headquarters and were greeted with a warm welcome from the staff. Upon arrival, we were provided with free housing that is fully furnished, access to a vehicle and food in the pantry. We have never lived in a neighborhood with such hospitality as we have received here. Sarah, Gabriela and Caleb have easily befriended the neighborhood children. They have wasted no time in getting to know them and are enjoying new friendships. After living in the remote jungle of Belize, I believe we have all been looking forward to more consistent companionship.
At this time, we will be serving here at the Florida base and better acquainting ourselves with the ministry as a whole. Without the self-supported staff that labor in the offices in FL, the mission work that takes place overseas would not be possible. We are grateful for the opportunity to get to know those who have been undergirding our work, and who laid a foundation of prayer for our success in Belize. David is currently assisting with building Teen Missions’ third life-size replica of the Old Testament Tabernacle, as it is described in the Bible. The first replica remains at the Teen Missions property here in FL. The second replica was built to be mobile and has traveled to a number of locations in the US. Tours of the tabernacles are available for a suggested donation which has brought in approximately $15,000 a year to support the AIDS Orphans ministry that TMI has in Africa. TMI has also seen a number of people put their faith and trust in the Lord after touring the Tabernacle. A thorough study of the tabernacle reveals the true character of God, His heart, and the glory of His majesty, which few men can deny. The third Tabernacle, being built now, will also be used to promote TMI and raise support for overseas ministries.
Becca is currently homeschooling our children in the mornings and works in the TMI office every afternoon as a receptionist at the front desk. She enjoys interacting with all the volunteers, staff and students who come and go. We are very excited to volunteer with the Bible School students here in FL who are just about to begin a new outreach of personal evangelism in the community. Twice a month we will be joining them in this outreach which will conclude with follow-up in a youth rally at a local church. Currently there are 15 students and five more are expected to arrive for the new term in February.
The last four months that we spent in Belize without a school to coordinate or a camp to run was, in some respect, a gift from the Lord. We had wonderful, quality time together as a family without TV, computer games and very few phone calls. Although, I must add, some days were trying, for conversation we began to look to the chickens, which, by the way, can be very interesting entertainment. It was also a great time to draw near to the Lord and hear His counsel for our lives. It was a very impressionable time that will not soon be forgotten. With thankful hearts, we laid our desire to continue to serve in ministry overseas before the Lord and said, “Here we are, send us.” The burden in our hearts grew as we prayed together for the Lord to send us to an unreached people who have had very little exposure to the Gospel of Christ. We want to reach out to those who have been spiritually blinded in this dark age and have not been told of the message of our living God.
Northern Italy is the challenge that God has put before us. As we began to do some research on the internet, we discovered that out of 33,500 Italian communities, 32,000 have no established evangelical witness. There are 616 official religions in Italy; Less than 5% of Catholics are actually practicing; Islam is the second religion in Italy, and in Milan, alone, more than 1,000 teenagers commit suicide each year. Italian Ministries quotes, “Italy is a land steeped in tradition, superstition, apathy and hopelessness. Often taken off the ‘mission map’, Italy remains a country in need.”
Upon returning to Florida, we surrendered this ‘call’ to the Lord, knowing that Teen Missions has no current established ministry in Europe. After meeting with Mr. Bland, the director, it has been agreed that we will lead the U.S. Team that is scheduled to go to Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia) this summer. Concluding the team project in Serbia, we will explore our options in Northern Italy with the goal of starting a Motorcycle Sunday School Mission (MSSM). This is a unique ministry, started by Teen Missions, that currently only operates in Africa. MSSM was designed to plant local ‘Sunday School’ ministries to avoid labeling themselves with any denominational titles that are attached to the ‘church’, therefore making it acceptable for all denominations and all ages to freely participate in hearing the Gospel message. We stand in awe before the Lord as we watch His creative hand go before us, stitch by stitch, to knit together a dream that only He can fulfill.
In regards to this summer, our U.S. Team’s project in Serbia will be to enlarge and improve the Campa Mrcajevci building. Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), an outreach ministry for youth, is currently operating their ministry out of this building. Our team will also have opportunity to interact in their free time with the local children attending the CEF camp. The youth registered for this team will be arriving at The Lord’s Boot Camp in Florida on June 23rd to begin their two-week training before departing to their mission field in Serbia. As was the case when we took the U.S. Team to Belize in 2009, David and Becca’s travel expenses are paid in full, but Sarah, Gabriela, and Caleb must raise their own financial support. Since Caleb is not yet 13, he will be going as a family member; Sarah and Gabriela will both be team members. They will each need approximately $3,000 to pay for their summer expenses. In addition, we will also need to raise our families monthly income in order for us to remain in Italy and pursue the MSSM ministry. If you are not already a financial partner with us but would like to be, you may join with us by either supporting our children and their travel expenses or by making a pledge to our family’s expenses. You may do this online at www.teenmissions.org, or you may mail in a check with the attached coupon to Teen Missions Int’l. If you send a check, please do not put our names on the check, but rather fill our names in on the attached coupon. All donations are tax deductible.
Most importantly, we are in need of your prayers. God is a God of detail. He hears our prayers, He answers our prayers, and He wants to be glorified through our prayers. If you would like to be added to our e-mail update list to receive specific prayer requests on behalf of our family, please let us know. Our contact information is:
David and Becca Powell 867 E. Hall Rd. Merritt Island, FL 32953 407-340-1353 [email protected]
We want to thank you for the loving support that you have extended to our family in this last year. Your e-mails, letters, prayers and financial support have been a strength to us and brought us much joy as we know that the Lord has been using you to work miracles.
Blessings in this new year, David, Becca, Sarah, Gabriela, and Caleb