March Meetings – Part 2

Following our conference in Denver we drove through the Rockies to Farmington, NM, where Pastor Mauldin at Grace Baptist had given us a meeting on short notice. Because we left early in case there was snow in the mountains (it didn’t come), we had extra time. So we stopped at Aztec Ruins, the site of a 900-year-old Pueblo complex. Our children were fascinated, and are still talking about them and making ruins out of various things (to be distinguished from the usual children’s practice of making ruins out of various things).

Ruins Doorway

 

Arthur at Ruins

 

Aztec Ruins

Over supper with Pastor and Mrs. Mauldin, and then during services on Sunday, we heard how the Lord has been providing for them to consider expanding their missions budget. Very exciting.

To get to our next meeting in western Colorado, we took the most scenic route marked on our map. They should have also marked it as the most scary, since we crept around several bends trying not to think about the fact that the edge of the road was also the edge of the mountain.

Looking down on Silverton, CO!

Looking down on Silverton, CO!

But it was beautiful to see the mountains and consider the Lord who made them.

Comfortable housing was waiting for us at Pear Park Baptist in Grand Junction. Our children enjoyed the church playground. We had a few days of our normal homeschool and work routine. Church members at the Wednesday evening prayer service were friendly and encouraging, and we were glad to present our burden for Taiwan there. A couple who’d taught English in China for 3 years treated us to a good meal and great conversation.

Our next drive was 6 hours to the southwestern border of Utah. We’d planned to visit our friend Kevin Collins who’s teaching at a Christian school in St. George. After a brief stop to see his church and school, he took us to a museum created from the trophies and specimens of big-game hunter Jimmie C. Rosenbruch and his family. Then we had a picnic in Snow Canyon at the foot of a petrified sand dune.

Petrified Sand Dune

 

Family at Snow Canyon

 

Some of the sand dunes are coming un-petrified! The world is a playground. In this case, a sandbox.

Some of the sand dunes are coming un-petrified! The world is a playground. In this case, a sandbox.

Just one night in St. George (our children asked why we couldn’t stay longer, and we wished we could), and we were on our way. We’ve been eager to return to San Diego to see our friends Tim and Eileen Sneeden who’ve planted Metro Baptist Church. When we think of them, we think of Paul’s statement that he was willing to “spend and be spent” for the people he ministered to.

Since we’ve been praying for Metro Baptist since it started, we considered it a special treat to visit. I got to teach Sunday School, give an update, and lead a Sunday evening Bible study. Lunch was a picnic at a park with the Sneedens and a visiting youth group. We were glad to find other ways to serve the Sneedens and their church.

Tuesday we helped them stuff door hangers with Easter service invitations.

Erin Stuffing Door Hangers

 

Brian and Bella Door Hangers

 

Easter Tract and Postcard

Wednesday morning they let me putter around with some potted plants, doing some work they haven’t had time to do since their recent move. Speaking of their move, we were also excited to see their new home since we’d prayed with them for the Lord to provide the right one for their ministry since they didn’t have space at the condo they used to have.

March closes with Easter Sunday, and we’re glad to visit friends at Grace Bible Church in Menifee, CA for the Easter weekend. Friday morning Pastor Tim Lovegrove invited me to join a leadership meeting with him, Eric Rea, and Eric True. Most of the meeting was a very good prayer time for each other as men and ministers, and for Easter Sunday events.We’re looking forward to a baptism and communion service after the morning service.

Lord of the harvest, send more laborers to work in these field!

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March Meetings – Part 1

We thought we wouldn’t make it out west. A stomach bug hit the evening of our first all-day drive. Limping along, we wondered if we should stop early and get a hotel. But God really helped our children do great, and we made it. Unloading a few overnight things, thinking about another long day on the road made us want to cry! But we hit the road and continued limping along (Denver or Bust!).

Lots of stops, a detour, and heavy traffic conspired to keep us from reaching our missions conference housing. But we finally made it, dropping our luggage inside the door and crawling to bed. Thank the Lord we arrived on Friday. A snowstorm hit Saturday. We just got to hole up and watch the snow come down. All day.

Snowed In Van

Emmett especially was chomping at the bit to get out in the snow and have fun. I made a few attempts to build a snowman, but all were sabotaged by Arthur. He thought it was more fun to push them down. Two snowfalls were the Lord’s providence to change the missions conference schedule at RedRocksBaptistChurch. We were disappointed to miss a meal together with the pastors and other missionaries, and Erin especially missed the Ladies’ Tea which got cancelled. But the conference was great. Here’s some of what we got to do in addition to presenting our burden for Taiwan in a service:

  • Enjoy an international dinner.
  • Talk with church members and staff members. Many have missions experience or have family members in missions.
  • “Shop talk” deputation, missions, and ministry with the church leaders and other missionaries.
  • Children’s Sunday School, chapel, and evening meeting. I especially enjoyed the Wednesday night children’s meeting, during which I talked about Taiwan’s idolatry. Then I told the story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking about eternal life. He thought he’d kept all the commands, but he wasn’t willing to give up his wealth and position. He didn’t have any statues, but he sure had some idols. We value opportunities to challenge children to live for the Lord wholeheartedly.
Pre-school chapel at Silver State Christian School

Pre-school chapel at Silver State Christian School

  • Reconnect with other pastors in the area. I visited a pastor’s fellowship with Pastor David Chavez, who’s church (Calvary Baptist) we’d visited for a conference last fall. Later in the week we all had a meal with his family and had a great time. I also got to visit another friend who’s now the youth pastor at a church in a southern suburb of Denver.

Because of the snowstorm Saturday, we expected the whole week to be cold and snowy. But the snow melted off and by the Friday after the conference, it was warm enough that we had a picnic lunch at the incredible Red Rocks formation from which Red Rocks Baptist Church takes its name.

Red Rocks Baptist Church  and Silver State Christian School

Red Rocks Baptist Church and Silver State Christian School

Children in front of Creation Rock at the Red Rocks Formation. This image doesn't do justice to the size.

Children in front of Creation Rock at the Red Rocks Formation. This image doesn’t do justice to the size.

The Denver skyline view from the Red Rocks Formation amphitheater

The Denver skyline view from the Red Rocks Formation amphitheater

 

Temporarity

That’s a word I made up. But I think it describes a lot of the experiences of deputation life pretty well. A lot of what we do during this stage of our life seems temporary. Our visits to other churches, and our direct participation in the Lord’s work there, is temporary. Our time with friends is limited. (One of the sad things for our children at this point in life is that they make friends and leave them. It’s a special treat when they get to be in the same Sunday School class for two weeks in a row.)

Our time at home is punctuated by trips to visit churches and present our burden for Taiwan. And even if we were here all the time, it would feel temporary because we’re doing everything with moving to Taiwan in mind. So we go to the store and see something we like. Should we get it? Do we really want to take it to Taiwan. Not really.

There are some interesting parallels here to the whole Christian life. It’s temporary, because this world is. But that doesn’t mean that everything is temporary. That’s the message of the book of Ecclesiastes. You’re surrounded by temporarity [vanity], but don’t live for it. Live for what is eternal. While our time with people is limited, our ministry with them has eternal consequences – all our little conversations. When we pray for people, we continue our ministry with them. And we’re supposed to imitate Paul (who himself imitated Christ). His attitude was: “I do all things for the sake of the gospel” (1Co 9:23) and “do all to the glory of God” (1Co 10:31). Life-orienting statements.