One of the many holidays celebrated here is Cambodia that is not celebrated in the US is International Women’s Day. Since Mother’s Day is not observed here, this is one the biggest opportunities for our church to do something for the ladies. This past Saturday, our church here in Phnom Penh had a Ladies’ Tea. There was a great turnout of church members, visitors, and ladies from other local churches. Mrs. Ruppel taught a wonderful lesson and presented the gospel to the ladies. We were especially excited that our landlord’s wife came with her children. They are Buddhists and are far as we know have not really been exposed to church or the gospel. We are praying that the Lord would use the contacts made and relationships strengthened for the furtherance of the gospel. Please be in prayer for our landlord’s family. Because our language abilities are so limited right now, we can’t do too much, but we desire to be used of the Lord in their lives.
Faith Baptist Church of Jefferson City, TN was our last scheduled deputation stop. We were so encouraged by the extremely friendly and kind people of the church. So many promised their prayers, and we are so grateful. Having the chance to share our ministry and preach is always a blessing, and so was fellowshipping with Pastor Cross and his wife. On our way to Tennessee, we were reminded of God’s care for us. A car in front of us ran off the the road and crashed into a tree. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Many times we take our safety for granted, but we are so thankful that God has kept us from danger over the many thousands of miles we have travelled on deputation.
Our thoughts and efforts now turn to our upcoming move. Please continue to pray that we will have the wisdom and strength we need to prepare as we need to.
As Thanksgiving approaches, we are especially thankful for the opportunity to spend this time with family. As our departure date rapidly approaches, we especially cherish these special times. We are thankful for God’s supply as He has allowed us to reach our support goal. We are thankful for a wonderful day of services yesterday at Calvary Baptist Church, Nikki’s home church, and for three souls that trusted in the Lord! Most of all, we are thankful for the grace of God in saving us and putting us into the ministry. It is all of the Lord, and we never forget that. We hope that all of you will have a blessed Thanksgiving remembering the goodness of the Lord!
Had a wonderful day yesterday at Fellowship Baptist Church in Emlenton, PA. I had the opportunity to teach in Sunday School and to preach in the evening service, and we were excited to find out that several members are preparing to go to Cambodia next month for a mission trip.
The Lord gave me a comforting reminder as I listened to the preaching of Pastor Langdon in the morning service. As he spoke out of John 17 about Christ’s prayer for His disciples, I was reminded of our greatest prayer partner. One of our main goals in deputation is to raise prayer support. We ask people everywhere to remember us in prayer, because we realize how vital that element is in the Lord’s ministry. We are so thankful for the many we have met who have prayed and continue to pray for us, but I am most thankful for the prayers of Jesus Christ. He is the most faithful, most powerful prayer warrior we could ever have on our side, and this is what He said while on earth – “Neither pray I for these alone (the disciples) but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” John 17:20. That is us! What an encouragement to know that Christ, who will never leave or forsake us, “ever liveth to make intercession” for us.
On a related side note, Pastor Langdon also made this statement – “We know prayer must work, because Jesus did it.” And praise the Lord, He continues to pray!
We are so thankful to share some big praises! First of all, thanks to those who prayed for NIkki’s dad. His surgery went smoothly, and he got a cancer-free report. He is recovering well and already back at work.
Also, we had a great conference last week, and also had a couple more churches take us on for support. Cambodia is looking closer and closer. We were able to have a talk with Bro. Ruppel, the missionary we will be working with at first over there, and really get some good planning advice.
We have spent the last few days with our ministry partners, the Stivers family, enjoying some fellowship and working on preparation. Last night, we took a big step and bought our plane tickets! By God’s grace, and thanks to the generosity of churches across the nation, we will be leaving for Cambodia on January 7, 2014. The countdown is beginning, and you will notice the tally on the sidebar. Please continue praying as we enter the home stretch of deputation!
As the summer comes to an end, we are currently in Western Massachusetts, prepping for another conference in Pennsylvania at the end of the week. Joshua is enjoying the chance to spend some time with his great-grandmother while we are here. We had the opportunity this weekend to visit a couple churches in Connecticut, connecting with an old friend and then presenting at North Stonington Baptist Church. We had a wonderful time with Pastor Tim Gengarella and also shared some fellowship with several who spent time in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. I am always very interested to hear the experiences of these men, and marvel at how the Lord has worked His will in opening that part of the world up to the gospel.
Deputation is progressing well. We currently have 94% of our support promised, and are planning to fly out this upcoming January. Please be in prayer for our moving preparation.
Please pray also for Nikki’s dad, Charles McElveen. He is scheduled for thyroid surgery tomorrow to remove a suspicious lump. We are hoping and praying for a good result from this procedure, and would appreciate you joining us in lifting him up before the Lord.
Well, much has happened since our last post. We thank God for the safe arrival of Joshua Matthew at 3:49 PM on June 7. He weighed 7 pounds 11.5 ounces and was 22 inches long. Mother and baby are well, and we are enjoying so much getting to know this little blessing from the Lord.
Last week, Joshua took his first road trip as we traveled to Memorial Baptist Church in Ocala, FL for our mission agency’s annual Family Fellowship Week. Just the fact that we were able to go was a huge answer to prayer. Nikki’s blood pressure had been high, but by God’s grace it came down enough for us to travel. We enjoyed fantastic preaching and especially fellowship time with many of our dearest friends. A number of fellow Crown College alumni, now on deputation to various parts of the world, were there, and we are so thankful for the time spent with them.
We are now in Macon, GA, where Joshua is enjoying some time with Mamaw and Papaw before we get back into the traveling routine in earnest again. Please continue to pray for Joshua’s healthy development, and for Nikki’s recovery and the continued stabilization of her blood pressure.
We had a wonderful time at the annual mission conference of Grace Baptist Temple in Blackstone, VA. Many different aspects combined to make this a special and memorable time. Pastor Rhew, his family, and the kind church members made us feel so welcome and we appreciated the time we were able to spend with them. Additionally, we heard some good and challenging preaching. Every missionary family that participated in the conference was one that we have been in a conference previously, and we really enjoyed renewing our fellowship with the Galis, Rhoades, and Gates families. During the week, we had the opportunity to help out with the church’s visitation outreach and also get involved with their Scripture assembly ministry. All in all, it was a full and blessed week. We are now back in Chesapeake, where we plan to remain until the baby arrives. Please continue to pray for Nikki and the baby as the due date approaches very soon.
We had a blessed time this past weekend at Cross and Crown Baptist Church in Clarksville, TN. Pastor Caldwell and his family planted this church just 10 years ago, and they are now thriving in their own building. Due to their proximity to Fort Campbell, a major Army installation, there was a high percentage of military members in the church, making me feel right at home! Because of this, both the Sunday School time and morning service were live-streamed to Afghanistan via Skype by folks who have family members deployed over there. It’s amazing what is possible with technology, and we are looking forward to using the same methods to stay connected when we go over. Everyone was so friendly, and we spent much time answering questions about the work in Cambodia, including the entire evening service.
We are thankful now to be back at home base in Virginia. No more long trips are planned until after the baby’s arrival. Prayers are definitely appreciated for the health of Nikki and the baby.
The past few weeks have been filled up with some great church meetings and special times with friends and family. We kicked off with a week of revival at our home church, spent a weekend in Northern Virginia in a couple of churches, enjoyed a mission conference in South Carolina, and caught the last few days of the Independent Baptist Friends meeting at our alma mater. We have been in Georgia now for a couple of weeks and have been able to preach and share our work in churches throughout the state. We are now just a little over a month away from the baby’s due date, and have one last leg of our journey before we return to Virginia and prepare for his arrival. Please pray for God’s hand on us over this next week as we continue our travels. Also, please praise the Lord for several new supporting churches over the past few weeks – we have now hit the 75% mark! Below are a few pictures from our latest adventures.