Our team with some of the children we ministered to at the park in Anchorage
I've titled this update "Re-entry" for two reasons. One, after almost 2 years, this Alaska trip was my re-entry back into an e3 mission trip and two, because I forgot how difficult the re-entry of coming back home from a trip can be. But, it is all good and I am so happy and thankful to God for the opportunity for both.
The trip to Alaska was both wonderful and challenging. Challenging because I came on the last week of a team who had already been serving together for two weeks and were tightly bonded by the time I arrived. But they were a fun group of young adults who welcomed me and I really enjoyed ministering with them. Wonderful because, as I stated before, this was a different trip for me. Ministering to the children everyday in a park, was enjoyable, so much fun and honestly, exhausting! The ministry consisted of playing games (I'm exhausted from trying to keep up with them...my old self should know better!) crafts and daily Bible lessons and Scripture memorization. The Thursday I was there, I got to lead the lesson and share the Gospel. It was amazing, how when drawing the 3 circles, the kids were able to tell me the Gospel story and many of them said they have, at one time or another, put their faith in Christ. They also memorized the Scriptures quickly and were able to repeat them daily. It was so encouraging to see how well they listened and learned about the things of Christ.
One of our hosts told me a little about the spiritual state of our 49th state. When the US purchased Alaska, they divided it up into 5 parts, giving a part to a different denomination with the goal of evangelizing each area. However, there has never been a major movement of God in Alaska, and the state is the least church attending state in the union.
Pray: - For God to move in Alaska and for many to put their faith & trust in Jesus - For God to raise up more laborers to share the Gospel - For the children we ministered to that the seeds that were planted would grow
Commissioning three of our five new e3 staff members from our church.
On June 12, we had a service at our church to commission three of our new e3 staff members. I had the privilege of commissioning, Nguyen Chau (e3 USA), Terri Escalante (e3 USA) and Carol Revuelta (e3 Mexico). The other new staff members are: Tim Weaver (SC for e3 Asia) who was commissioned a few months ago and Stacie Ripkowski (e3 South Africa) who will be commissioned this month. Next steps will be to get them all trained and ready to lead trips when the world opens up. I am truly excited for them and it is a blessing to walk alongside them on this journey.
Praise: - For new laborers being obedient to God's calling on their lives
Pray: - For the countries to open so they can be trained
Giant's Causeway from our last trip almost two years ago.
September 2019 was the last time we had a team in Ireland. And while it has been a long, strange two years, we have seen God do some wonderful things in answer to our prayers. Laborers and partners have been raised up and bible studies have taken place during this entire time! God is so good! And another answer to prayer, is that Ireland is opening up on July 19! So, God willing, Tony and I will be heading to Dublin in October to do a small training and vision casting with some of the new laborers. This trip will also be an assessment as to what post-COVID travel there will be like and how to move forward with ministry. Excited isn't a strong enough word to describe my feelings! I am beyond thankful for God to open this door for "re-entry" back to this island that has captured my heart!
Praise: - For the new laborers and partnerships in Ireland - Opportunity to resume travel to Ireland for ministry
Pray: - For the training/vision casting - Planning of the October trip
As I thank God for allowing me to walk alongside new staff members, new laborers and new believers, I also thank God for all of you for walking alongside me with your prayers and giving. I know I say this all the time, but it is true, I could not do this without you.