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Update on a few good things.

Hey friends-

Things have been busy but good. I’m going to update in short form.

– the chch plant had it’s third meeting Sunday and it was our best yet. The teaching/discussion time was powerful. The community is slowly being formed. We have a good mix of mature people and difficult situations. Thanks for praying for this new gathering.

– Jenny’s local bff ( the one who has come to faith and who was attacked and has been slowly recovering) came to the Easter sunrise service with her daughter who is in Max’s grade. We all went together at 5am to St Cyprian’s basilica for a sunrise. It’s the first time the bff has attended a large gathering. We were so happy to spend the whole morning with her and her daughter.

– Jenny and the same BFF are studying Ephesians together every Tuesday after school. Both of them are growing and loving it.

– Max has begun to really like boxing even though he is the only American kid. I’m super proud of him.

– last Thursday our little ministry team went a couple hours south to meet with new people. We had a 48 year old guy in the boondocks pray to receive faith. Met two young guys in their 20s who have been secret believers for 4 years and looking for community. Made good connections with other leaders in the south. Thursday have become a very powerful time.

– CCA has had some fun Easter activities and things are going great there!

– This past Holy Week was a powerful time of spiritual realignment for Jenny and myself. We feel the Lord’s deep presence in a new way. PTL.

We couldn’t do our lives without your prayers, thoughts and support. We are indebted to His body in a beautiful way.

Thanks for reading.

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New official group startup from Sunday…

Friends and family, I am so excited to report that the “plant” we have been helping with had it’s soft launch on Sunday and it was a huge victory.

Some scattered believers who don’t have a home came. Some “not-yet-believers” came.

We had an hour long service then had lunch all together. And afterwards we planted a tree to represent this new official home gathering. All led by locals.

Thanks for lifting this group up!!

5 of the guys in this picture have been on “the list” that I’ve sent out to those of you pr’ing by name.

Things are still messy and hard, but they are good. AND HE IS GOOD!

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Latest Newsletter just went out!

As always folks, please check your spam or make sure to look in “all mail” in your inbox.

Jenny be like, “peace, I heard dat!”

This pic was taken while trying to watch in silence UK play Auburn. Still haven’t gotten over the loss. Anyone else feel the same?

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A record month!!

The radio silence has mostly been due to things going really well.

About 5 weeks ago I went to the south with a small group of local leaders (my Egyptian friend, a young local believe in training and another pstr). We actually went to a place that was at one point the 4th most important city in Islm. It is certainly one of the darkest and most oppressed cities here. While there we helped lead a college age girl to faith, we met two older believers who have rarely had contact with “the body” in 20 years, and we met two young guys in the middle of nowhere to share and answer questions. Truly a good day.

Two weeks later our little team went to another city far off the grid and met with a new believer mom and daughter. Then met with about 4 other first time people. This city is also one of the hardest to reach in country. But He is at work.

Then the very next week our small team went to yet another difficult city to meet and encourage some new believers, we helped bring another young man to faith, and we met with a mom and little daughter who have been believing for a long time but have very little support.

While back in the capital each week we have kept seeing good growth happen with some of the latest new believers. Although things are always really messy and difficult and exhausting, we continue to push through and focus on the light that keeps shinning bright.

One of the most exciting things is this Sunday is the launch to a new, official local house chch. I’ve been able to be apart of the planning and strategy team. It has been so rewarding and exciting. Please pray for the launch this Sunday morning.

Jenny and I are in an amazing place in our marriage. Our kids are doing great. We will make a family post soon. Truly we feel so blessed and inspired by the opportunity we have to represent all of you here.

He is GOOD! All the time!

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Quick and awesome answer to prayer!

After spending this morning with the Lord and then being inspired to write the previous blog I was out the door to do some Wednesday discipleship.

(Wednesday’s I essentially split the day completely in half between discipleship mtgs and my Old World Timber tasks).

But today’s first meeting was not a meeting. Nothing had been set up. The last time I chatted with Aymen was about 2.5 months ago right before he completely closed me off.

He is most likely dealing with a combination of demonic activity and disfunction from growing up in a broken family.

We had a small group in his house the majority of last year. Then once the summer hit he went in a steep downward spiral.

He closed me from his Facebook and from his phone (But at this point I’m used to this. This happens from many locals more than I can report). So I gave Aymen some space. Then today me and buddy went to meet him without him asking for us. We were headed to knock on his door and get him out of bed.

We enjoyed a powerful time of prayer in the car ride to his house. We pleaded to the Lord that we would be able to connect with Aymen and try to build a new bridge.

We got there. Knocked. Knocked again. Rang the doorbell. Knocked and rang the door bell. Texted and called. Nothing.

So, we decided to just wait and see if he either wakes up, comes home, calls or something.

As a side note, while we waited we found a construction sight that had about 20 of these wood boxes. My partner and I both have wood piles that need organizing…

So… as you can see we threw two in the back of my car. One for me and one for my partner. We refused to go home with zero success.

Then we went to a cafe to continue to pray and wait. We waiting and prayed for about 30mins.

Then we decided we had waited enough and would choose to come back another day. But then, no joke, on our way to the car Aymen came walking towards us. I felt like it was a needle in a haystack kind of find.

We sat and caught up for about 45min. Built a small but new relational bridge. Then we said our goodbyes.

The Lord answered. He seriously answered. After 2.5 months of zero contact, we just showed up (knowing prayer is powerful) and the Lord led Aymen to us.

What a quick and awesome answer to prayer.

*For those who receive our long list of names to pray for, Aymen is on this list.

*For all of you who pray for us, whether it’s once a month for 2 minutes, or daily for longer, all of you play a part in this quick and awesome prayer. That’s how prayer works. We don’t understand it exactly, but certainly it’s true. You pray for us. You pray for our people. Then when we carry an entire bowl of “incense” wherever we go. And often that bowl gets poured out and “Aymens” show up.

It’s an incredible journey we are all of us on!!

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Why don’t we start everything with this??

Im not sure who this post is for.

Why am I being urged right now to write this?

Is it for you wonderful readers? Someone in particular? Someone one of us will talk to? Me alone? For my kids many years from now?

The Lord knows.

Jenny and I took a couple nights away two weekends back with two other couples. We decompressed. Celebrated life. And we spent an afternoon in prayer and reflection together.

I shared with the others something that is deep on my heart. Something that is often hard to even express in prayer. Something that often feels too annoying to repeat over and over to people in my orbit.

One of the other husbands shared with me Rom8:26… “we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

I can’t tell you how much this one tiny passage became water for my soul. I’m still reading, reflecting and meditating on it.

It lead me to read all of Romans 8 just now.

Have you read Romans 8:1 in a while?

Why don’t we start everything with this verse? Every greeting. Every letter. Every sermon. Every phone call. Every text. Every morning. Why don’t we repeat to each other at every opportunity this verse?

How easily do we ignore how much stress, pressure, heaviness, guilt, pain, suffering, agony, anxiety, hurt, brokenness, disappointment, burden, frustration, fear, judgement and doubt each of us battle regularly as we live this human experience?

Raise your hand if you show up to a service on Sunday, work on Monday, lunch on Tuesday, practice on Wednesday, quiet time on Thursday, date night on Friday and house work on Saturday with one or many of these emotions or feelings above!!

This life is difficult. Even in victory and achievement we feel unsatisfied or disappointed, quickly to move on to the next thing because of these heavy earthly feelings.

My tears are falling as I write this.

Friends. Family. Compatriots. Sisters. Brothers. Listen.

As you stair into the eyes 👀 of people all around you, don’t forget, they share these same hard emotions of heaviness. When people let us down, disappoint us, judge us, break our trust, we can know as a fact, simply because they are human, that they also quickly forget… forget what?

People, “there is no condemnation left for those who believe!”

THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION LEFT!

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My best friend is back.

Sorry we have been a little bit less active lately. We’re in a good rhythm but a busy rhythm so our capacity has been lower as of the last couple weeks.

Many good things are happening. Although times are still hard. It seems like maybe that is one of the themes of our blog. Good and hard. You could say that’s life with Jesus.

Many of you know my local buddy who got married here at our house a couple years ago and who over the past year got a divorce. He certainly is one of my best friends here in the country. We had a small group at his house most of all of last year until his marriage broke up.

A couple months ago he needed some space from almost everybody in his life. He was having a hard time simply living the life of a believer. I took the advice of another close local friend and left him alone for a while. But this morning we met up and had an amazing conversation. He has not walked away from the faith. He has not desired to rebel in his heart. Yes he has made bad choices. Yes he has areas that he still needs to work on. But after speaking with him this morning and having coffee I am so encouraged. And I’m reminded of how much prayer continues to work even when people are absent from our lives.

I know this update is not like many others but I simply wanted to say thank you for the way you guys care for us so that we can care for others.

Have a wonderful week friends.

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Like stepping into Star Wars.

Two weeks ago I went with three local partners to do follow up in the south. The town is over two hours away into the south western mountains. As a caveat, these are the same mountains that Allied Forces came through in NAfrica to overtake Germans in WWII.

It’s beautiful there. And a bit colder. So people often dress in their Star Wars barnoos, or what we refer to as a Jedi cloak. It’s fascinating to me still to this day how people here will dress like normal in what we consider a “Star Wars costume.”

Without trying to be insensitive, I like to imagine an alien inside the barnoos. Can you see what I mean?

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A large spoonful of Arabic

Here’s a taste of what life is like here in our world. Don’t know why we haven’t thought of this before. But here is a recording of sounds that have become very familiar to us.

For some context, there was an Egyptian guy who came to do some training last week for local leaders here. The training was on discipleship making movements. I was extremely encouraged to see many of my close friends receiving this training.

By the way, Egyptian Arabic is quite different than Tunisian Arabic. See if you can notice the difference 😁.

Teaching time:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ylxm9sps60lntkh/New%20Recording%207.m4a?dl=0

Worship time:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rmw0qd773ew0i5d/New%20Recording%209.m4a?dl=0

Prayer:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7szon198chy1g8b/New%20Recording%2010.m4a?dl=0

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“Tunisian Victory” on Netflix

Want a great date night or family flick? Last night the 4 of us watched a documentary produced from the 40’s after WWII.

It’s all about the North African Allied advancement. It’s great on explaining the importance of these battles in order to have won the war.

We highly recommend it.

In fact, Max loved it so much he came home from school and asked if he could watch it again because, in his words, “I didn’t understand everything so I want to watch it again.”

I love this kid. Camping at the US Memorial has made its lasting impression. I think he’s hooked!!

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