Happy Spring! Even though I enjoy the Florida weather, I miss seeing the changes of the winter season turning into spring. The last of the snow disappears, the trees bud, the grass turns green, flowers bloom, birds sing and the air is warmer. New life is all around us. That’s a lot like what happens when one accepts Jesus as his Savior and is born again. He has a new life – the old is gone. If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, why not make now the time for a new life in Him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Things are changing here at Teen Missions this time of the year. Boot Camp is right around the corner, and everyone is working hard to prepare for all the activity of training young people to be missionaries serving the Lord here in the U.S.A. and all over the world this summer. Big Top Day was April 4. Don and I both helped put up the two Big Top tents. Don and I first met on Big Top Day in April 2000 – right under Big Top One. That day neither one of us thought that we would be married about a year later.
I continue to serve in the Finance Department while Don serves on Land Crew. He does a variety of jobs. He recently went on a “bus road trip” with Dave Charron, coordinator of the TMI base in Canada, up to Wisconsin to pick up sound equipment. They also made two stops in Ohio: one to pick up meat for the summer teams and the other for air conditioning ductwork. The last stop was in Tennessee to pick up shoes and clothes that will eventually be put in a container and shipped overseas to be given out at AOSC Rescue Units and Motorcycle Sunday Schools. A container was filled and sent out to Malawi on January 29. Staff prayed over it, put it on the trailer, and watched the truck take it away. Don also enjoyed working with some of the other guys using the heavy equipment putting in a culvert pipe for the Boot Camp entrance. He is now helping Howard Vanderpool with repairing the Tabernacle walls. In May, some of the men will be traveling to Ohio and Indiana to put up the Old Testament Tabernacle replicas.
There is now a Motorcycle Sunday School (MSSM) Circuit Rider band. The members have come together and have been busy preparing and practicing for their tour after the summer. They will be performing and sharing in churches and other places to promote the MSSM ministry. When they come to an area near you, please be sure to go and support them as they serve the Lord. Pray for them as they travel and perform. We continue to hear good reports from the Sunday Schools in Africa. One Sunday School reported about how a man was saved out of witchcraft. The Sunday Schools not only teach about Jesus, but also teach phonics. A woman who attended a Sunday School to learn phonics became a leader in her community because she can now read. Praise the Lord for the great things that are happening in the MSSM ministry.
Here at Teen Missions we sometimes get the opportunity to hear firsthand how the Lord has used the ministry to change the lives of young people and guide them into a life of mission work. First, a young lady named Holly was invited to come and share in our chapel service one morning. She came to Teen Missions as a team member one summer, later was a one-year volunteer and after that went to midwife training school in the Philippines. Right now she is raising support to go to South Sudan as a midwife missionary. Second, a young man who is a native from the country of India was invited to share in another chapel service. His name is pronounced “Sun Graham”. (I am not sure of the spelling of his name.) He is now a pastor in Illinois. He first became involved with TMI as a team member in India nearly 20 years ago. He always dreamed of coming to TMI in Florida and that dream became a reality this year! This man was saved at Boot Camp in India and later became a missionary. Don has served in India and remembers his father and cousin. We praise the Lord for how He works in the lives of so many through the ministry of Teen Missions. How exciting it is to hear those stories!
Tori now has partial braces and still needs to have three baby teeth removed. She has adjusted well to not being able to eat popcorn. She has enjoyed different study trips at school and is excited about the next trip to Seaworld in May. Joshua celebrated his 8th birthday at the beach. He finally got to swing across the Slough (part of the Boot Camp Obstacle Course). Don even jumped for the rope and made it. It’s been quite a few years since he has done that. We enjoy going to the Teen Missions property sometimes on a Saturday to fish, canoe, explore and play.
We are still assigned to lead the Peru Team this summer. Please continue to pray that we will receive the financial support that we need to cover the expenses for Tori and Joshua to go along with us. If you would like to help with that, send a check to Teen Missions, made payable to Teen Missions along with a note stating it is for Tori and Joshua to go on the summer team. Thank you to those who have already contributed to this need.
Before I close, I have one last thought to share. Joshua received some socks in his Easter package from his Grandma and Grandpa. He said, “They must think I like socks.” (He had just received a pair of socks from them the month before.) When his Grandma heard this, she responded that she thought he might need them. It’s like that with God. He doesn’t always give us what we like or want, but what we need. Just a thought that we may need to be reminded of from time to time.
We want to thank each of you who pray for us and those who have contributed financially to support our family while we serve with Teen Missions. We are blessed and pray that the Lord will bless each of you as we serve Him together.
While listening to the song The Words I Would Say, I thought the simple truths in the song were good things to ask you to pray for us.
1. That we would be strong in the Lord
2. That we would never give up hope
3. That God would keep His hand on us
4. That we would not live life in fear
5. That we would forgive and forget
6. That we would not forget why we are here
7. That we would take our time and pray
8. That we would thank God for each day
In His Love,
Don, Melissa, Tori, and Joshua Derstine
Ephesians 5:17, Joshua 1:9