Day by day, and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here. Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He whose heart is kind beyond all measure, gives unto each day what He deems best. Lovingly it’s part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest. Those words are the first verse of Day By Day, a favorite hymn of mine written by Karolina Sandell. It is a great reminder to us that God is with us every day, every moment of the day, loving us and giving us strength to trust Him in everything – no matter what happens. Please pray that we will trust God each moment of the day that He is in control and knows what is best for us.
It is now April which means it is time to get ready for the Boot Camps starting in June. Staff and students have started putting up the big top tents which include the Visitors Tent, the Peanut Tent, the Mustard Seed Tent, Big Top #1, and Big Top #2. Don has been working on the covered wagons, to get them ready for a Peanut Team to sleep in. Melissa helps with pre-proofing and keying in donations given to pay for team members’ summer team expenses. There are over 600 registrations for the summer teams. Please pray for the Lord to provide the finances for those coming. Our family will not be traveling this summer. We will remain in Florida and serve at the home base as “summer staff”.
Since our last newsletter in January, we remain busy serving in our same departments: Finance and Land Crew. The Finance Department had another big mailing (2013 tax receipt mailing). Melissa helped with stuffing and sealing envelopes. She enjoyed working with some of the volunteers who came to help. You might wonder what Melissa does in the Finance Department? She does a variety of jobs along with other people in the department. One of her main jobs is to key in financial donations for staff and team members. She also helps prepare deposits, match receipts with statements, file, add people and addresses in the database, mailings, deliveries, and the list goes on…
Besides the preparations for Boot Camp outside, Don is also busy with other things. He drove north of Orlando to Pokey’s to pick up some orange and grapefruit trees, which he also helped to plant. He helps with the Boot Camp garden. There are three groups of students, each organized by a staff person, that planted vegetables that will be used for food during Boot Camp. Don’s group planted tomatoes and lettuce, another group planted carrots and kale and the third group planted cucumbers and peppers. Shannon Bobb, a fellow TMI missionary, set up an overnight outing for the Bible School students and any interested staff to travel to ECHO near Fort Myers, Florida to visit and learn more about gardening. (ECHO is a global Christian organization that equips people with agricultural resources and skills to reduce hunger and improve the lives of the poor.) Don helped drive the bus and enjoyed learning and seeing some very interesting things that they would love to do here in Florida for training overseas. A few things, like having a duck pond, which would provide water for the garden, eggs and meat (fish), and food for the ducks, would be very helpful. There is also a plant that can be grown which one can make tea from the leaves that may help to treat malaria. In his own garden, Don has harvested some nice vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peas, and lettuce (greens). Please pray for enough water for the garden plants and a good harvest of vegetables for feeding the Boot Camps.
Another project that Don helped with was to get the container on the trailer so it could head to Malawi. Besides all of the clothing and shoes, this container has a new well drilling rig in it. It is on its way to Malawi now. The two Malawi teen teams this summer will hopefully be able to use this rig to drill wells in villages so the people will have a good source of clean water. Please pray that the container will arrive in good time and that it can be cleared through customs without difficulties.
Don also enjoyed working alongside the many volunteers who came to Teen Missions during January and February. Many of these volunteers are retired and come here every year from up north. The men do a variety of jobs around the property such as carpentry, repairing things, fixing up things, painting, etc. The ladies mostly sew puppets that are used on summer teams, at the Motorcycle Sunday Schools and at the AIDS Orphans Rescue Units. Teen Missions greatly appreciates all of the ways these volunteers help the ministry.
Pastor Lee and Carol Lee Stauff, from Don’s home church in Pennsylvania, came to visit our family the last Saturday in March. We had a thunderstorm and tornado watch while they were here, so we were not able to do any outside activities. Don gave them a little tour in the display room at Teen Missions that has pictures and helps to explain the overseas ministries. Then, they treated us to a nice meal at a Chinese restaurant. We enjoyed their visit and fellowship and are thankful that they could learn a little more about the ministry and see the base here in Florida.
Tori and Joshua are doing well. Reading is a favorite pastime for both of them. Joshua also enjoys playing the Skylanders game he received for Christmas. Tori loves drawing horses and dogs. She also likes to write. Her teacher recently wrote this about her: “She is an amazing writer with great imagination and voice.” One day her teacher read aloud stories that each student in the class had written. Many of her classmates enjoyed her story. One classmate advised her that she should become an author when she grows up and that when she is famous, she should remember that he gave her this advice in the sixth grade. Joshua’s teacher described him as a superstar because he is a hard worker, responsible, caring, cooperative, always does his personal best and is a good leader. We thank the Lord for our children. Please continue to pray for Tori and Joshua.
Once again we want to thank you for serving in this ministry with us. We are blessed by your faithfulness in giving of your time in prayer and/or by giving of your finances so we can serve here in Florida. May the Lord bless and encourage each one of you. Please pray for encouragement for our family as we serve with Teen Missions.
“Where we feel weak, our weaknesses are a cup for God’s power. Where we feel stretched thin, our stretching is a canvas for God’s glory. Where we feel out of our depths, right there is where we touch the depths of the love of God.” – Ann Voskamp
In His Love,
Don, Melissa, Tori, and Joshua Derstine
Ephesians 5:17, Joshua 1:9