When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! – Psalm 8:3-4,9
Have you ever been at the ocean and watched the sun set and a full bright moon appear in the dark sky with the stars shining as you walked in the water on the beach? Or watched the sunrise in the early morning on the beach? Because we live near Cocoa Beach those are two beautiful scenes we have been blessed to experience. Our family enjoys going to the beach in the evenings when it is a bit cooler and less crowded and walking/playing in the water as the sun disappears and the moon appears! It is beautiful and peaceful and one cannot help but declare praise to the Maker of heaven and earth. We are so blessed by the beauty in nature that He created for us.
Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning? And who told the ocean you can only come this far? And who showed the moon where to hide till evening? Whose words alone can catch a falling star? Well I know my Redeemer lives. I know my Redeemer lives. All of creation testifies. This life within me cries. I know my Redeemer lives. (My Redeemer, written by Nicole C. Mullins)
We had another busy summer starting with the first Boot Camp in June. There was plenty to do even though we did not have the responsibilities of a particular team. We did a variety of work, with Don’s main responsibility being Special Blessings and I continued working in the Finance Department. We were both assigned to speak in the evening Rallies. Between the two of us, we spoke in all five Boot Camps: First Boot Camp, Second Boot Camp, Preteen Boot Camp, Peanut Boot Camp, and Mustard Seed Boot Camp. We were blessed to counsel some kids after the services. Don talked with a preteen boy who was having some difficulties. Don shared a verse with him and told him to memorize it and say it different times during the day. The boy sought Don out later and told him that he was using that verse and God was helping him. Even though this young man was sent home and did not go to the field with his team, his heart is learning to know God better. That is the most important thing.
A funny little story…. I had counseled a preteen girl one night after a rally. The next day the girl and her friend saw me and came to talk to me. The girl gave me a hug and said, “You smell better!” This statement surprised me because I did not think I had smelled that bad. (I smelled like bug spray.) So, thinking the girl said this because she thought I had smelled bad the night before, I said, “Oh, I am sorry. I did not realize that I smelled so bad last night.” Then the girl said, “You did not smell bad last night. I meant that you smell better than us!” We thought this was really funny. You need to realize that the kids at Boot Camp take bucket baths and hand wash their clothes with somewhat smelly water from the lake. Also, it is so very hot and humid that they are constantly sweating and all have a distinct odor. However, I was going home each night and showering at home and had fresh smelling clothes to wear so I did not smell the same as they did. Just chuckle a little to yourself.
Most of the youth made it through Boot Camp and were commissioned with lighting their candles to go share the Gospel around the world. The first wells were drilled in Malawi, eye glasses were given out in Zambia, orphans’ feet were washed in Cameroon, English was taught in China and South Korea, a Boot Camp was run in Mongolia, motorcycles were ridden and Sunday Schools were taught in Madagascar and Cambodia, and the list continues. The love of Jesus was spread throughout the world and more people became a part of the family of God because one went, one gave, one prayed, one encouraged, one worked, one sang, one smiled, one loved…
I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, for I’m part of the family, the Family of God. (Family of God written by Bill and Gloria Gaither)
The 2015 team choices are online and some teens have already registered. Check out the teams at www.teenmissions.org. Please start praying for those who will be participating.
After the teams went out on the field, we spent the summer working here at the main headquarters. It involved a lot of work, sweating, sweating, more sweating, and lots of bug bites. Tori and Joshua spent most of their summer in Ohio with my family. Even though this was not our plan, we believe it will probably be one of their most memorable summers ever. We have lived in other countries, so maybe getting to stay in the USA with family is a bit more special for them. Some highlights of their summer included camping with horses and riding the trails at Hueston Woods, camping and kayaking at Lake Lararmie, and vacationing at a cabin with a creek in Tennessee. Joshua wanted to include that they also rode the Wild Eagle roller coaster at Dollywood.
This summer three of us celebrated another year: Don, Tori and me. Tori blew out 12 candles on August 15 and three days later started 7th grade at the middle school. (When I was in school, we called it Jr. High, but here it is called middle school.) She is enjoying school with art and science classes being her favorites. Joshua is now in 4th grade and really likes his teacher. He has a great time learning because his teacher is fun. However, his favorite teacher is still Mrs. Marchal, his 1st grade teacher at Bradford Elementary.
With Tori starting 7th grade and everything new and different, we felt that it would not be a good idea to take the kids out of school to travel up north for our deputation/vacation time. Although they both seem to adjust well to changes, we felt the adjustment would be more difficult for Tori if she missed the first weeks of school. So, we stayed here in Florida and rested. I had (and still have) shingles during this time. The pain is much less and the rash is slowly disappearing. Please pray that I will not have the post nerve pain from any nerve damage that can last a long time. Joshua now has impetigo and had to miss a few days of school. (Maybe we should move to a deserted island until we are healthy.)
Once again we would not want to end this letter without expressing our thanks. Thank you for praying for us, praising the Lord with us and giving to provide for us. May the Lord bless you.
Today is about maintaining your gaze on Him in the midst of everything.
Today isn’t about straining for perfection in everything.
Today’s about reaching for The Perfect One in everything.
Today isn’t about just trying to get through everything.
Today’s about letting Him carry you through everything.
In His Love,
Don, Melissa, Tori and Joshua Derstine
Ephesians 5:17, Joshua 1:9