As I write I am sitting in my living room pondering the summer of 2010. It has been filled to overflowing with activity. Raising your own support is tiring, but I find it has been a fulfilling time as well. Let me explain.
As we have shifted into the summer, a few things have changed for us. First, I (J.D.) have moved back to 3/4 time at the church I serve (South Parkersburg Baptist Church, Parkersburg, WV) to allow me more time to go around and work on raising support. So far we have been able to share God's mission in Bolivia about 15 times in these 2 months with more to come. We have shared in our church, in other churches, with friends and family, and in our region's Camp Global...I'll mention more about that later.
Another change is that for the first time all of our kids will be in school and we have been preparing them for that. We began homeschooling our daughters, but this past year our oldest, Grace, went to school for the first time. This year we have decided to put all three of them in a local Christian School to help prepare them for when we go to Bolivia. So we have been working getting books, uniforms, and now taking our oldest to volleyball practice, her first organized school sport!! Dad is excited!
A third change is that for the past 10 years, I (J.D.) have directed a Junior High Camp at our WV Baptist Camp at Cowen. Each year around 2,000 kids of all ages come through the camp for a week of connection with God. This year about 330 kids and adults came to Jr. High 2 for what would be my last year as a director. I have loved being a director of this camp, and it has truly been a joy in my life, but all good things must come to an end. We were blessed to have a special surprise celebration on the last night put on by our staff that was a really special time for us. More importantly though, this year we had 21 students who trusted Christ as their savior and over 100 who recommitted their lives to him. What a blessing!
My last change is at our second camp of the summer...Camp Global. For three summers now, our family has participated, this year we were presenters. Camp Global is a three day camp here in West Virginia that gives people a chance to hear about God’s work around the world. For us though, this year was a little different. This time, we were part of the program as endorsed missionaries to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
On the first afternoon, we took some time to talk to people about Bolivian culture and food while we showed them how to make Saltenas (a baked empanada filled with meat). Then on Saturday morning we gave our presentation about our mission in Bolivia and how they could partner with us to make it happen. This was followed by a very special commissioning service. All of the people in attendance were given cards to write down prayers and encouragements then they gathered around us and prayed. Madeline Flores-Lopez, missionary in the Dominican Republic, Bill Morlan, our MPT Pastor and David Carrico, WVBC Executive Minister all prayed for different aspects of our ministry. It was a powerful moment for our family and a great way to end the camp. We were truly blessed to be a part of it.
All in all it has been a very interesting summer so far, and with school starting in less than 2 weeks. It has definitely been busy, but getting the opportunity to travel around and speak at churches and association meetings have been fun (and filled with lots of good food too!). One of my favorite parts of it is telling the churches and people that I am just like them. We have grown up in the same state, gone to the same events and shared in many things together. God can use us all on mission, wherever we are. We just have to look around.