Greetings to our Friends and Family,
With the arrival of spring we are gearing up for this summer and the whirlwind of activity that is quickly approaching. April 18th we will begin setting up the Big Top Tent where our evening rallies are held during Boot Camp. This tent holds approximately 1,900 youth and requires nearly 100 people to set it up. Five other tents, about half the size, will also be set up for a variety of other activities during the camp. We have volunteers coming from all over the US and Canada to help with our Boot Camp and the summer teams. Currently, there are over 700 team members and leaders signed up to participate in one of the 26 teams that are scheduled for this summer, 25 of which will be going overseas. There are also four Preteen Teams (ages 10-13), four Peanut Teams (ages 7-9) and one Mustard Seed Team (ages 4-6). It takes nearly a whole year of planning and preparation to set up for the summer teams.
Our family continues to stay busy working at the Florida office to help with the summer preparations. David has been dying the wool coverings and making the vinyl curtains for the outer courtyard of the three life-size Tabernacle replicas. Two of them will be on the road for touring to raise money for the Aids Orphans ministry in Africa. One of the Tabernacles will be going to Pennsylvania on May 7th and the other will be going to Canada the first of June. David may be traveling with the group to help set up the Tabernacles, a task that takes 5-6 staff and several volunteers a full week to set up. It is a lot of hard work!
We have been having a great time with the Florida Bible students and getting to know them through the evangelism ministry on the weekends. We have been training them in a personal evangelism course in conjunction with experience through door-to-door evangelism. It has been rewarding for us all as we learn to share our faith and have had the opportunity to pray with many who are struggling.
Sarah, Gabriela and Caleb have done an excellent job pushing through their school work with determination. There have been so many interruptions in this school year: our trip to Colorado in August, our move back to the states from Belize in December and now our drive to finish school by the end of May. They also enjoyed taking some time off of school in March while their grandparents came to Florida for a visit. They have kept up their grades and kept up the pace. We are very proud of them!
Serbia – At this time, there are seven other team members and two leaders signed up to go to Serbia with us this summer, a total of 14 of us all together. So far, it is one of the smaller teams, which we believe may provide stronger unity. We are excited to meet this group of youth whom God is bringing to us for a total of seven weeks. It is a wonderful opportunity to love them and to speak into their lives about Kingdom truths that create eternal purpose. Many youth come to our camps not knowing the Lord. It is a wonderful miracle to see their lives changed through the summer as they choose to trust in Jesus. We look forward to interacting with the local youth at the national camp in Serbia while serving the staff through painting and minor building repairs to their facility where our project is located. The map shows the location of the town where we will be staying in Nis, south of Belgrade.
It is an inspiration for us to study the deep culture, language, and history of this country where Christianity was birthed, but currently exists as everything but a Christian nation. Less than 1% is Evangelical Christian; less than 5% of Catholics practice their religion. Foreign immigrants populate a vast majority of the country from every tribe, nation and tongue. Many of these foreigners are from surrounding Islamic countries. Some estimate that approximately one out of every 50 people are from a country that is closed to the Gospel witness.
Through our correspondence with other missionaries in Italy and the research we’ve done with the Italian Embassy, we have decided it is in our best interest to send our children back to Florida with the assistant leaders and the rest of the team returning from Serbia to attend Debrief. Upon conclusion of the summer team, David and I will stay in Europe and travel to Italy to find a home for our family. We would like to meet the contacts that we have become acquainted with in northern Italy and seek out the exact location where the Lord would have our family settle down and begin the Sunday School ministry. This is all in the Lord’s hands and we trust that as we walk in obedience to His leading, His direction will become more clear with every step.
What? Malawi, Africa? Yes, Sarah has had a change of plans and has decided to go on her own team this summer since our family will be returning from Serbia this fall. She would love the opportunity to explore missions on a team of her own and through much prayer, has chosen to go on the Malawi Boat Team. The team is attending the early Boot Camp which begins on June 12, two weeks before the Serbia team begins their training. They will be stationed at the newest Teen Missions Bible School base and be ministering among the Yao tribe which are predominately Muslim. Their team will be working on the construction of the new school where future missionaries will be trained to minister among their own people. They will be evangelizing through puppets and drama by traveling in hand carved wood canoes to those living around lake Malawi and along the Shire River. They will also have the opportunity to minister to the children at the AIDS Orphan Rescue Unit there in Malawi. The support money she has received for the Serbia team will transfer to her account for the Malawi team.
Upon returning to Florida after the summer teams, while we are in the process of finalizing our visas for residency in Italy, we would like to spend some time strengthening our relationships with you. We will be available in September, if any of you are interested in having us visit your church or youth group or share in your home about the ministry of Teen Missions, we would love for you to contact us in the next two months, before June 12.
Please be praying that our summer with the youth going to Serbia would be fruitful and that lives would be transformed for God’s glory.
• Pray for Sarah as she ventures on her own trip to Malawi, Africa.
• Pray for God’s hand of protection over all of us during this preparation time and throughout our summer traveling.
• Pray for clarity and direction as we seek the face of God for His will for our lives.
• Pray for our financial needs to be met for our travel expenses to Serbia and Sarah’s to Malawi and while we are in Italy. Our children are currently at 20% of their needed funds.
Please pray about how you can partner with us. We are asking the Lord for 50 people who would commit to pray for our family on a regular basis during this primary stage of launching this new ministry in Italy. Please do not make this commitment lightly. We know that we will need a lot of prayer as we step onto a spiritual battle ground in enemy territory.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16. We believe in the power of prayer!
We want to thank each of you who joined with us in one way or another during the past two years while we were in Belize and in this transition time. Your faith in God, your friendship with us, and your commitment to stand with us through difficult times of adversity is a huge blessing for us…but an even greater blessing to the Lord. We cannot express our gratitude enough. Thank you!!
If you do not receive our e-mail updates and would like to, please contact us at [email protected] If you would like to contribute to Sarah, Gabriela or Caleb’s travel expenses, please do so by mailing in the coupon marked with their names and a check made out to Teen Missions.
Walking in His Grace,
David, Becca, Sarah, Gabriela, and Caleb