July 2013 Ministry Trip
It was very exciting to be on the road for over 2 weeks and 2,200 miles, sharing the message of Jesus as the bondage breaker with many hurting hearts. This is a recap of some of the highlights of our trip.
We stopped in Lynchburg, VA, to meet with Dr. Robert Alderman at a Wendy’s just off the interstate. He graciously interrupted his busy day to get together with us. Dr. Alderman has had a profound influence on both of our lives and it was a joy to be able to share what God has called us to do and to glean his wisdom for the road ahead.
Our first stop was in Pigeon Forge, TN, where Grace Fellowship International is headquartered. We were able to assist in the preparation for their summer conference/workshop and then taught 2 of the sessions of the conference. God opened up many opportunities to talk and counsel with a number of people who had come to the conference struggling with addiction and who were facing losing their families as a result. Others came with deep pain in their lives, such as a woman dealing with unforgiveness toward her abusive father. There was a man from a middle eastern country who was at the conference/workshop to learn the message of the Exchanged Life and take it back to his Muslim country – it was very interesting to interact with him. He will be translating some of Dr. Charles Solomon’s books into Farsi in the future.
Our next stop was in Muskegon, MI, where I have some family connections, namely 2 of my sisters and their families. Joe gave his testimony in the morning service at Bridge Bible Church, where my brother-in-law Robby serves as pastor. There were a number of people who talked with us after the service regarding addiction and the pain in their lives that led them down that path. In the afternoon we did a seminar/Q&A session at the sister church campus. We showed our “Faces of Addiction” media presentation (check out our website’s “About” section to view it) for the first time and were grateful that it was well received. There were a number of families present who had a loved one caught in the bondage of addiction, as well as 2 women who courageously admitted to the group that they were struggling with alcohol addiction and talked about the ramifications to their families. It is very common to hear a person say that they love someone to death. We encourage people to love addicts to LIFE, which means not enabling them. There were many questions from hurting people, and we thank God for the opportunity to share the hope that is found in Jesus Christ, the only bondage breaker.
Our final stop was in York, PA, which was a homecoming of sorts for Joe. He had lived in York in 2002 and had attended Bible Baptist Church during that time before he fell back into his addiction. He had formed many deep friendships while there and it was a joy to be able to see so many people rejoicing at what God has done in Joe’s life. He gave his testimony at the Wednesday evening service; so many people came up to him afterwards and said that it had been such a blessing to them. One man who used drugs with Joe in 2002 and is still struggling with addiction asked Joe to help him break the bondage he has been in for so long.
We have a number of upcoming ministry opportunities and will be updating you on those in the near future. There is an exciting opportunity for any of you to attend a Grace Fellowship Conference Sept 20-21st in Freehold, NJ, with Dr. John Woodward. This is sponsored by Grace Christian Church of Freehold. We will get the details out to you as soon as possible so that you can reserve those dates if you are interested.
Thank you for praying for us. We could not do it without you.