An update is needed. An update is way past due. Forgive me. How about some pictures to quickly get you up to speed? In the last 3 months, all this has happened:
My grandmother passed just a week after my previous post. She is home. Looking through old photos brings nothing but joy to my heart. I miss her. Thank you, for your continuous prayers.
We are blessed to share that the church has experienced such great growth. Slowly but surely, the Lord has brought the right people to join our community at the right time. Oh, and Theodore Rex has done nothing but GROW, EAT, SLEEP and PLAY and GROW some more.
In honor of my grandmother, I took on gardening while still at the apartment. She had a heck of a green thumb. Most of these died, however, during our move and the crazy bi-polar weather/storms. But weren't they pretty? The herbs tasted great, too. The basil is still alive to this day. My weekly Italian dinner dishes are grateful. I'm hoping to give this a try again, soon.
Also, we got an INTERN! That's right, folks, the lovely Gabrielle Garcia, a current student at ETBU, agreed to join us here in Katy, Texas as we plant and grow a church. She is specifically helping us in the area of missions and our desire to raise awareness and prevent the injustice of human trafficking.
Because if you DIDN'T know, human trafficking IS happening in the United States. Human trafficking IS happening in Texas. Human trafficking IS happening in Houston. And human trafficking IS happening in KATY, TEXAS! (We've grown very passionate about this. Maybe a specific blog on this and our hope to start a missions organization to combat this, later? Okay, yes!)
As of June, we now live in a new rent home! Bye-bye apartment life. Insert happy dance here. God has continued to blow us away in the amazing ways that HE provides. And to say we are grateful is an understatement. We love it here. The house provides more rooms, a backyard for Theodore and more space for our House Church to meet. We used to just host one House Church (a term used to identify a time of worship, coffee, snacks, prayer, laughter, Bible teaching and discussion with other believers and/or nonbelievers in the comfort of a home) but we now have two! One on Monday nights and one on
Wednesday nights. We have experienced growth in these weekly gatherings as well. The second picture is from a recent Wednesday night House Church. Because Christ's Mercy Church believes greatly in community and transparency, we encourage each church member to be a part of a House Church one night of the week and maybe even host or lead one if God calls them to. Church is so much more than just a one hour Sunday gathering.
It's Summer, right? I mean, whether the calendar has had it's official 'first day of Summer' or not, IT'S HOT. But hey, another way to identify Summer is weddings! We've been to a ton. We've road tripped to them. Theo included. They've been fun, weekend get-aways for us. So, thanks goes out to all our young and in-love friends.
Husband has been doing so great at leading this church and teaching it's people. Here he is during our Father's Day service. (Yes, Calvin was included in the Father's Day celebration by being presented a "Happy Father's Day" button of Theo's face - our puppy - cause it does count!) Anyhow, we had our highest attendance that day. We started the year out with a service of 10 people total, us included. On Father's Day we had a total of 32.
Isn't God good?!
It's been wonderful meeting new people, hearing their stories, witnessing God's love capture them and introducing them to Christ-centered community.
Husband has also continued writing music and helping me with worship on Sunday mornings. He has also had quite a bit of requests to teach guitar lessons! I'm honored to get to serve the Kingdom along side such a devoted andpassionate man of God. (See what I did there? Sneaked in that mushy moment.)
Last, but not least... YES, WE ARE TRAVELING THIS SUMMER!!!!!
Brazil is our first trip. Panama will be our second trip.
BOTH are happening in the month of JULY. BOTH are mission trips.
BOTH have been fully paid for. Praise JESUS! Again, God's faithfulness and provision continuously leaves us in awe.
Nothing is impossible with God. Absolutely NOTHING.
BRAZIL || July 3rd - 12th || Santo André, São Paulo || International Commission
IC has been invited by the ABC Baptist Association of São Paulo to bring Christians from the United States to partner with them in sharing Jesus Christ with the people of this large metropolis. Santo André will be the central point. The Greater São Paulo area has a population of close to 20 million making it one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.*
*Information provided by IC at THIS LINK.
Pray for us. We will be evangelizing to the people of Santo André the entire time we are there. Calvin has prepared sermons if asked to preach, which our trip director mentioned is very likely to happen. Join us in praying for our translators and our host church. I'm so excited to meet my Brazilian sisters and brothers in Christ. Pray with us for them, as well.
I hope to blog about Brazil once we are back and also share more details over our Panama mission trip happening July 23rd-30th. The villages in Panama have recently experienced wild fires. We ask you pray for the people of Panama. Our itinerary will continue to be formed in the next weeks for this trip, but we do hope to help rebuild what needs to be rebuild, host a Vacation Bible School for kids and share the news of Jesus to as many people as possible.
Thank you. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement on posts I share or through every day conversations. We are grateful for such a wonderful support system.
"I cannot boast in anything. No gifts, no power, no wisdom. But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection."
This single phrase, as well as this entire powerful hymn, has been brought to mind constantly over the past few months. We deserve none of this. We honestly didn't even earn any of this. It's Jesus. He provided, for one, the best thing anyone could possibly have, which is salvation and new life. Calvin and I are always brought back to the cross and reminded of the beauty of redemption and freedom from our sin and selfishness. And as if that isn't enough, God has graced us with the opportunity to serve Him where we are serving Him and experience all we are experiencing. I dare not boast in myself, my husband, my skills, or any of that, but simply on the One who brought me true life and life to the fullest.
Be blessed. He is a good Father and His love for us in unlike any other.