Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Prayer Concern

As we in Florida have been in a state of prayer (and rain) over the last several days, please continue with these two requests: 1) Pastor Tony Buchanan (preached the 1st revival meeting at HGBC after I came as pastor) is in El Salvador with two other preachers on a mission trip. They are doing pastor's conferences and revival services; pray that God uses them for His honor and glory. 2) Tim Guthrie's son T, Tim is a pastor friend from Tennessee, experienced a shooting at his high school today. I believe one was killed and the shooter was caught before he could do more damage. Please pray for T and the others who are trying to minister to their classmates during this very difficult time. And pray for the families of those affected by this tragedy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fay More Days

As we sit here in the comfort of our home, my family and I are wondering with the rest of NE Florida: "What is TP Fay going to do next?" I think she is tired because she is moving very slowly. That is not a good thing because she is "crying" about her pace, and it is leaving us awefully damp.

Most weather "experts" are only guessing about what will happen next. I do know that I can add, and if she continues at her current pace we will be dealing with Fay all weekend. I know that most in the state are ready to give her "the boot." I hate the "wait and see" game, but we are getting very good at it this week.

OH! and if you didn't know: we found out what we are having. You can ask us if you want.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Storm on the Horizon

Faye is on the way. No one on this earth really knows what is going to happen or what direction she will decide to go. One minute the report is it's going away, the next is that she is growing. It looks like what ever she does she will hit our area tomorrow evening or Thursday. I'm kind of nervous because I've never had to go through one of these storms with the responsibilities I have: husband, father, homeowner, etc... I pray God's protection on all who have been, are or will be affected by Faye. God bless you. Prepare well and stay safe.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Still Here

As I sat down to write a few lines I thought to myself, "What can I call this?" And after the time I've had while in Honduras and this week, about all I can say is I'm still here. I finally broke down and went to the doctor Wednesday and he put me on two medications for my stomach problems. Thank God for medicine.

I was at church all day Sunday, God blessed our share service and then I preached Sunday night. I preached an introductory message on the book of Acts; we will begin a verse by verse study of the Book of Acts. I can't wait! I've done bible studies of this wonderful, amazing book, but I've never actually preached through it before. I know that God is going to revolutionize our church as we take this journey through Acts.

I actually feel much better. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday at the house unable to leave whatsoever. I was at home most of Wednesday; going into the office about 2pm to get ready for Wednesday night. I love teaching my DC, Theology 102 "Why We Believe What We Believe." Thursday I was in the office most of the day studying for Sunday morning. I cut my grass today, but I realize after the fact that I am still weak from my "missionary blessing." But I will be ready come Sunday morning. Can't wait to see you there.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Honduras 08- Part 5

I'm sitting in my recliner watching the Olympics and the PGA Championship. It's nice to be home.

We left Tegucigalpa at 4:30am, and traveled the 4 hours to the airport at San Pedro Sula. We checked in, paid our exit taxes, and hung out until our flight left for Houston at 11:55am. Each leg of the flight we lost an hour as we traveled East. The flight was uneventful.

We landed in Houston, got through Immigration and Customs, got some good food, and waited until our flight for Jacksonville took off at 7:25 (8:25 EST). The flight was uneventful once again, except that as we approached JAI we witnessed a beautiful lightning storm out to the North. It was quite impressive to see the lightning light up the night sky. It was just another demonstration of the magnificence of God. We landed safely and began the last, small portion of the journey home.

As we were walking toward baggage claim, I saw Melissa and Morgan. I was so excited to see them. Morgan ran to jump up in my arms, and I just hugged her for a minute or so. I gave Melissa a big kiss and we were off to get the luggage. We had to help one of the team fill out some paper work because of a lost bag. We loaded up and headed home.

It's always good to come home, but every time I do, I find that I leave a little bit more of my heart behind. I pray that God continues to give me a GLOBAL VISION that will accommodate his GLOBAL COMMISSION.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Honduras 08- Part 4

As I write this post it is Thursday afternoon 2:20pm Honduras time (4:20 EST). We arrived safely in Tegucigalpa about 11am this morning. Most of us are in some state of sadness having had to leave those we have come to love from Kerygma (Proclamation); that is the name of the church in Juticalpa we have been serving along side this week. Several from the group volunteered to take extra vacation time if we could just stay a few more days. (You will hear about much of this on Sunday morning during our share service.)

When we arrived in Teguc we unloaded the van at the missionary house, and then went to Greengo ally for lunch. It is a section of Tegucigalpa with several American resteraunts (Wendys, Burger King, Subway, etc...). Steve, Iris and I decided to come back to the house rather than go site-seeing. Steve and I are still somewhat leary of our stomachs, while I believe Iris is just tired. When the rest of the team returns we will be going to eat with the Acosta's.

We will "hit the sack" earlier b/c we will have to be up at 4am or so to load up and travel the 4.5 hours to San Pedro Sula for our 11am flight back to Houston. We have a 4 hour layover in Houston and should arrive back in Jacksonville at 10:42pm. We can't wait to see our loved ones, and share all that God has done during this short stay in Honduras. I pray God multiplies "the seed" over and over to the ends of the earth. See you Sunday.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Honduras 08- Part 3

It’s Wednesday morning and our trip is quickly coming to an end; it’s always a sad time when one of our trips comes to an end. We have to leave friends and family here. It’s amazing how quickly you can create a bond with people in another place and from another culture. The Lord God is God of all the earth, and it’s so very easy to love people. In Honduras the people we work with are so kind and gracious. They are so appreciative of what “little” we can do in such a short period of time, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve them.

Tuesday was a very interesting day for me. I got sick Monday night after supper and haven’t eaten anything since then (through Wednesday morning). But what made yesterday interesting was the time I was able to spend with 6 local pastors, when I say local I mean they traveled and hour or more to come and allow me to teach them. I am so overwhelmed at the responsibility and possibility for disciple-making which can come from the 6 hours of teaching on Monday and Tuesday. God I pray that you would multiply and duplicate in them the things they have seen and heard.

After the teaching time yesterday, we rested for about an hour and then it was church time. The local church here meets every night but Monday night. Dave shared a tremendous testimony last night. It was a great encouragement. I preached last night out of John 3:1-21. I had to keep it short and sweet because of a certain “missionary blessing” that I have had the last few days, but I believe God blessed in spite of my ailment.

VBS has been going very well. Sue and Iris have shared the teaching responsibilities. Debbie and Judy have been taking care of the crafts, and Joy and Carrie have been handling the recreation time. Today has been the largest crowd so far. All of the chairs were full and children were standing around the room. At the end of the lesson today, they did a question and answer time reviewing the weeks VBS stories and awarding prizes to those who answered correctly. The children were so excited and enthusiastic; it blesses my heart to watch them.

One of the things I enjoy most during our trips is being able to do food ministry. We purchase food, bag it up and with the help of church members hit the streets of the community seeking out nonchurch members to minister to. We do this to meet a physical need but more importantly we do it to help the church establish a relationship with the family so that they can have a door of opportunity to minister in the future. We share the gospel as the Lord opens the door. It is always a great time. After we finish the food ministry we will gather once again with our brothers and sisters in Christ for worship. We will share testimonies, sing songs and the Word of God will be preached. At the conclusion of the service we will present the church with the items we collected from our church as a gift. They will use it to minister to others. The pastor will come back to the hotel with us and we will give him “the clothes off our backs.” He will take them home, his family will wash them, and they will use them for ministry to others.

Please continue to pray for the 3 of us who are suffering with the “missionary blessing.” Traveling will be very difficult in the condition we are currently in. Pray that God will touch are stomachs and settle them so that we can travel the 4.5 hours back to Tegucigalpa. I will try to put one last update on here tomorrow evening. Pray also for safety as we travel. There will be about 9 hours of travel in the van, plus the 4 or so hours of plane travel. Everyone says hello and we miss you. See you soon.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Honduras 08- Part 2

Yesterday, Monday, was a good day. VBS went very well. The construction project is going smoothely, or at least as smoothely as it would in a 3rd world country, but we are having a good time.

I spoke to 14 pastors yesterday, and they seemed very attentive and excited. I was suppose to speak for 2 hours today and 2 hours tomorrow, but they have asked for me to do the rest today because gas prices are so high. So I will do 4 hours this afternoon, and then preach at church tonight. That doesn't seem to bad, except that I got very sick yesterday, and it has continued on today so far. I feel very weak, and am having some stomach trouble. What is even sadder than that is several from the team are starting to have some physical problems too. I chalk it up to the attack of the enemy because what we are trying to do is world changing and eternal. I ask that you pray for us at your every remembrance. We are stedfast and refuse to let these problems get the better of us.

In the midst of the physical discomfort, I am so excited and am preparing for today with great anticipation wanting to see God restore the "lost vision" of what His people are suppose to be doing: fulfilling the Great Commission/making disciples of all the nations.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Monday, August 04, 2008

Honduras 08- Part 1

Hello from Honduras. It is a beautiful Monday morning and the team is about to head out to the church to do VBS for the kids and construction for the church. We are going to be completing a shower and bathrooms for the church. This afternoon I will be teaching about 18 local pastors; I will be introducing them to the discipleship process which Christ commanded us to follow (Matt. 28:19). I can't wait to see what God is going to acomplish through these teaching times this week. I covet your prayers.

I will give you a "play by play" of the days so far, and I will try to keep you up-to-date on what happens each day.

We left the church at 3:30am Friday morning, and flew out of Jacksonville at 6:10am. We flew to Houston, TX and then to San Pedro Sula. We were originally scheduled to fly into Tegucigalpa, but dew to a plane crash last month, the President of Honduras had closed the airport. By the time we flew down, the airport was open again, but they wouldn't transfer our flight back to Tegucigalpa. So we had a 5 hour van ride from SPS to Teguc. No problem, but it was a very exciting ride. We stayed with some missionaries working with North Carolina Baptists, Steve and Elaine Stevens. They work in Honduras coordinating mission trips for NC Baptists. We will be staying with them Thursday night also.

Saturday we got up and left for Juticalpa. It is about a 4 hour van ride from Teguc to Juticalpa. We arrived safely, checked into the hotel, ate lunch and went to the church in the community of Solidadidad. We conducted our first session of VBS for the kids, and about 50 kids came that first afternoon. We came back to the hotel, ate supper, had a team meeting which was interesting to say the least, and then it was off to dream land.

We got up yesterday morning, did the usual and the necessary, and then went to church for the AM activities. The ladies taught SS for the kids and youth, while the men began working on the construction project. It looks like we have enough resources to complete the project, do food ministry to about 40 families, and do some minor repairs to the electrical project from last year. After SS we went to Chester's and had some good fried chicken (don't think that you will come on a trip like this and go hungry. I bet you won't even lose any weight.) We met the Pastor Jesus Torres and some from the church about 2pm for a baptismal service in the river. He asked me to help and I had the privilege of baptizing 2 young Christians: David and Noel. It was my first experience baptizing in a river, outside, in moving water, but it was a wonderful experience. We have some good video and pictures of it. I can't wait to show them during our share service Sunday morning. After that it was back to the hotel for a quick change of clothes, and then back to the churh for the evening service. Joy Loner did an excellent job of sharing a testimony, and I was given the opportunity to preach. I love preaching. I preached the final message from our study of the Gospel of Mark, Mark 16:12-20, "What are we suppose to do now?" A delicious meal was prepared for us at the church, we ate, and came back to the hotel for our nightly team meeting. Then it was off to dream land again.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike