March/April 2020 Newsletter
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:18-21).
Certainly, there is “more than pen can tell” of God’s working in small and big ways. From our daily tasks to his clear direction for our future, our God is real, personal, and faithful. We will likely start posting an update on our website about once a month in the future to help capture all that God has accomplished.
At the beginning of March, when it seemed that the COVID-19 situation was eminent, we still had the privilege of presenting our burden in two churches near home: Salem Baptist Church with Pastor Stephen Brown and Bridgeway Baptist Church with Pastor Ron Reasoner. It is very strange to see weeks passing by and be unable to gather together with God’s people, whether at home or on the road. We know that there are many who are struggling to pay their bills having no work and facing the possibility of these circumstances extending for a while. For those in that position, we are praying for you, and we know that God has a plan in all of it. We hope that things begin to open up soon, and we can all get back to normal life again or settle into a new normal quickly.
As some of you know, we had the opportunity to do some flight training during this impromptu “down time.” The Lord’s leading was evident as we headed down to Alabama to begin the task of obtaining my private pilot's license. We are thankful to not have experienced any emergencies as we traveled from Oregon to Alabama. However, the smoothness of travel did not preclude the Lord from making himself evident in His protection and divine appointments along the way.
I have logged about thirty hours of flight time since arriving in Alabama three weeks ago. Providentially, just prior to the economy lockdown, the Lord brought us into contact with Jon and Katie Stanczak with AERO Missions. They are missionaries with a vision to aid other missionaries of like faith in necessary flight training to get the Gospel to unreached people around the world. (For more info about AERO Missions, visit aeromissions.org.) We are thrilled to have the chance to partner with them, and we really appreciate all they have done for us already.
We have witnessed God’s amazing provision in so many ways during the past couple of months. One such example is that our sending church received a donation that enabled a gift to be sent to every missionary they support. This resulted in a substantial gift to our family as well, which was timely, in that it provided the amount that we were needing to cover the cost of flight training. What a great Lord we serve! Our growing list of memorials, like this one, are incredible reminders to us every time we wonder how the Lord will provide a specific need. As we step out in faith, he shows us clearly that He has a plan.
· We are praising the Lord for his general provision for our family while there are no meetings. Many missionaries on deputation or furlough are facing difficulties during this unique time, but our testimony is that we have seen the Lord direct and provide for us in so many distinct ways.
· We are praising the Lord for His provision through our church for the costs of flight training.
· Rebekah and Emily had a great trip to Mexico with our church's teen missions group. They were able to spend time in helping Raymond and Laurie Jones in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and the churches in the area. We debated about having them bring back some extra toilet paper with them when they returned, but the Lord provided enough here.
· The Lord provided a buyer for our extra vehicle with little-to-no effort on our part.
· Our travel to Alabama was almost entirely uneventful, for which we are very grateful. We had the chance to make all the fixes needed from the last trip, prior to leaving, and the Lord has blessed.
· Please continue to pray for opportunities to present our burden for Australia in churches of like faith. We, like so many others, are wondering how this next couple of months will go. We are praying that the Lord will help us to have a full schedule once churches are open again.
· Please pray for the remainder of my flight training. It has gone well to this point, but I most certainly need your prayers for the completion.
We are so grateful for your consistent prayer for us and your encouragement to us during our deputation ministry. May the Lord bless you for your part in winning souls for Christ!
Faithfully in Christ—Matt, Rebekah, Emily, Michael, Chelsea, Elijah, & Noah