Our last email update was in September . . . now November is half over! It’s time to share with you what we’ve been up to. Firstly, God blessed us with a really wonderful holiday in Italy. See this post for a more detailed report with photos. After we had been back two weeks, Peter and Joel took a trip to Oregon, USA. Joel had a fantastic time with my parents and sister and her family and Peter enjoyed a really encouraging and fruitful 10 days of ministry. This included preaching at our sending church and doing a “report” evening on the Friday night, co-teaching a Cor Deo intensive course which received great feedback, preaching at a church in central Oregon and doing a Saturday seminar there. He came back exhausted but thankful to see how God had worked in hearts. This last week Peter and two others were leading a special Cor Deo intensive course for preachers which seems to have gone well.
We shared with you in September about our desire to start a new church. We have been meeting to pray as a group (4 couples in the start-up team plus others) for 8 weeks now. We’ve been referring to this season of prayer as “Phase One” of the new church. Our living room has been very full and we thank God for the way He is knitting hearts together and for the loving and gracious attitudes that have flowed out from those in the group. Besides prayer, we have also had time each week to hear God’s heart in His Word as people share Bible verses that have spoken to them during the week. For the past month, we have had a fellowship time after the prayer time, sharing some food and having time to talk together. Hearts in the group have been warmed and we are confident that moving ahead to start this new church is the right thing to do. People are excited and anticipating what God will do.
Hannah and Aliyah (with help from Mariah) have been sacrificing their time to watch the smaller children during the prayer meeting and lots of other meetings we’ve had. They have even been preparing activities and stories all on their own for the little kids during the Sunday meetings. Besides this, all of our children have been really understanding and helpful during this extra busy time. We are really proud of them for all their hard work and the mature attitudes they are showing.
During the past weeks, the four men in the start up team have been busy praying about and discussing the vision and values of the church. Last week we were able to share the first draft of the vision and values document with people at the prayer meeting and we have asked people for their feedback. Now that we are close to having our vision and values established (the foundation of the new church), we need to start thinking practically about how the vision and values will affect the way our church will function. So in a few weeks, we’ll have a feedback session where people can share their ideas. We are also working on figuring out what to name the new church!
We will continue with our Sunday afternoon prayer meetings for the next few weeks and then, Lord willing, we plan to start “Phase Two” on January 5th. We are currently working on finding a venue where we can start meeting officially as our home is too small for the group. We are looking at schools, office buildings, and other “outside the box” ideas. Please ask us if you want more information about “Phase Two” or the rest of our plans for the new church. We finally have a document prepared with more information and prayer requests so let us know if you’d like us to email it to you.
Thank you so much for responding to our September email update and all your encouragement and prayers. We understand that our decision to start a new church may be confusing to some and we would love to communicate with you if you have questions or comments. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. We thank God for the relationship we have with each one of you and we want to be as transparent and open as we can. We are doing our best to keep up with correspondence but we haven’t been as prompt as we would like! So thank you for your patience with us. As we mentioned above, we have a document that we can email which has more information about the new church plus some detailed prayer requests.
Lastly, we praise God for our son Joel! He is seven years old today. We plan to celebrate with a little party with his grandparents and a couple other families. Please join us as we pray for him to grow to love Jesus with all his heart, soul, mind and strength!
With our love and gratitude for you,
Peter & Melanie