Great things are happening!!!

Hi! We wanted to give you all an update about what God has been doing in our little valley in WA.  And, it was recently pointed out to us that we have not been posting or updating as much as we could/should be, so this is the first step in fixing that, thanks for the patience and understanding… now, on to the cool stuff!!!

I (Hope) have been teaching an after school bible club for the elementary kids every week, and this Thursday is our last day.  It has been wonderful teaching and learning from these kids the last 4 months.  One of our little guys, he comes faithfully, though his parents don’t come to church.  He is eager to learn, has the answers, and loves participating.  Recently, I got to have a great conversation with him about how when we are forgiven of our sin, God takes it away, never to return, as far as the east is from the west.  He was so happy to know that he didn’t have to keep asking for forgiveness over and over again.  What a great lesson for us all.

Another of my boys, who hadn’t liked coming, though he was encouraged by his mom, is now loving it, excited about the bible lessons and going home to share them with is parents, and is actually the encourager to his whole family to get up on Sunday mornings and get to church on time.  He is eager to hear about Jesus and His word.

Another girl, she just loves God.  She knows every answer, all the time, and melts my heart.  She hasn’t gotten the best hand in life, but she is leaning on her Heavenly father and trusting Him with a child’s pure faith that I pray carries her through her life, because life doesn’t always get easier.

When I started, there were siblings that came, but didn’t enjoy it as much.  Wouldn’t participate, sing with us, or anything else, for that matter.  now they are answering questions, smiling as they come in the door, and are right in the middle of the excitement.  I could go on about every one of these precious kids, but that would take forever.  Needless to say, I have been so blessed to work with them, learn from them, and be a better GNC teacher next fall when we start it all up again!  So during our final party on Thursday, if you hear some noise an mayhem, just know it’s us, celebrating another  Good News Club year on the books!

We also have lots of amazing things in the adult world!  We have a weekly prayer meeting with seperate men’s and women’s groups.  One such prayer has been for relatives of one of our dear friends here.  They have recently been contemplating a dangerous faith road.  Casey had the opportunity of making a connection with the man, invite him to bible study and church, and he has come to both!!!  And tonight, brought another of their relatives!!! He is searching and we are excited, knowing that God will meet him and do amazing things in his life and his family.  As an aside, the Men’s bible study, which normally runs about 10 guys has been growing, and is now at 16!!!  They are a really great bunch of guys, as Casey says, and loves that part of his job is to simply be with them, studying with them, encouraging, teaching, and learning from them.  Especially when it’s about smoking meats or learning where all the good fishing spots are.

With the sweets comes the sour.  It seems like everyone nowadays is touched by cancer one way or another.  We have a couple members of our church battling this and it is devastating to see such wonderful people suffer.  And yet in this hell they are going through, we can still see God working.  It has made our time with them all the more precious, and it reminds me of the Apostle Paul, when he talked of running the race and finishing well.  It’s easy to start strong, but these women are choosing to finish strong as well, showing faith and Grace in spades.  They are a constant testimony of God using evil for good, and trusting that true healing can only come through Christ, and physical healing may be here on earth, or when they walk with Jesus in heaven.  One of Casey’s aunts is fighting this battle as well, and is taking an aggressive faith filled and naturopathic approach, showing that only God knows when to stop fighting, and God, being the great physician, can heal us inside and out.

We are also blessed to continue working with the youth group, seeing the depth of faith and maturity in young men and women, being shown how old we really are when they don’t know who Sienfeld is, or thinking Def Leopard is classic rock.  We are getting our summer schedule together, and it is going to be awesome~ we are contemplating a weekend Christian rock concert with great speakers, as well as a overnight lock-in at the church.  We have been doing service projects around the community, weather permitting, and are about to kick off a prayer walk/ stretching our faith activity, asking people in our neighborhoods for their prayer requests, reguardless of church affiliation, belief in God at all, or anything else.  It’s part of what the ladies prayer group is doing in their individual streets, doing personal prayer while walking, praying for those around us.  We are excited to see how it challenges the kids and the neighborhood impact.

We are so blessed to be put here to help, encourage, grieve with, and serve our church and surrounding community in the Lewis River valley, and thank you all for supporting us in this, knowing that through your prayers, this is your ministry, as well as ours.  Thank you so much for all you do, helping us here, and in your own communities.

Love in Christ,

Casey and Hope

Welcome to Yale!

 

Greetings from Washington!!

     So, we are fully moved in and have started working at the church.  The people are awesome, and we have gotten the best holiday cookie baskets ever! We have had snow for the last full week, and lots of fog, so the twists and turns driving have been done carefully. Small town life is fun!  We are about an hour “from town”, which is Vancouver.  Though many of the folks actually use the phrase, “down river”!!!  It’s really fun!  We are the only church in town, so we go to church with our postman, the fire chief, the local trapper, half the volunteer fire department, and the family that discovered the Ape Caves, a series of caves, well known in the area, and a great tourist destination.  We have been able to be a part of delivering Christmas baskets for the community, so we have already visited many in the area, and are getting used to the area, with roads that aren’t on the map! Casey has been out with the men, using a new toy, the log splitter. The kids are settling in well, thanks for the prayers on that topic.  There are some families with younger children, so Finn is thrilled.  There are lots of grandmas in the church, so Caleb is happy with all of  the snuggles!  Rosie is still sticking closely to mommy, but is beginning to warm up a bit. We also have the local “Mr. Wilson” next door, one of the families we delivered a Christmas basket to, and he seemed to do well with Casey, so that was a fun surprise!

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            Casey is starting to settle into his duties, which will be light until after the new year, but something big has come up…the date for his first sermon, which will be January 12th!!!  He is a bit freaked out, but very excited.  The pastor here is very good, very biblically based and a teaching pastor, so Casey’s joke is that it wouldn’t be that bad if he didn’t have to follow Pastor Rob!  He will be giving his testimony, rooted in scripture.  It will be a way for him to start off with a pretty easy topic for him, and will be a way for the congregation to get to know him.  I am so proud of him, and that his excitement is greater than his fear!

            We know that coming up we will be busy with church duties.  Casey will be preaching at least once a month, have custodial duties, we will be teaching a bible study, as well as running the youth group.  I will be working with a weekly after school kids program and helping here and there, when able. 

            We are praising God for the wonderful welcome from the church and the community, the children’s transition going well, and seeing how amazing this internship is going to be for Casey.  Pastor Rob teaches the way Casey learns and has a true heart for others, though loves to talk, so I never expect him home quite on time after their meetings! And of course the beautiful country up here is a continual blessing! We so appreciate your prayers, and are already seeing and feeling God’s answer in a big way.  Thank you so much.  We ask for continued prayers for transition, relating to people we meet, and that we can really hit the ground running.  When there’s someone new in the community, and especially with people coming to church during the holidays who normally don’t darken the door, there is a huge opportunity to reach out and connect that we really don’t want to miss.  We also pray for balance and discernment.  We have lots of ideas, want to volunteer for all we can, but we want to really be in God’s plan and be a help and blessing, without overextending or burning out. Please send us an email if there is anything we can pray for on your end. Let us know if it’s confidential or public and we will post some of the public ones here to get more people praying. The more the better.   

            Finally, thank you all for taking an interest in our calling and our activities. We are planning on posting smaller, more regular posts. Some will be stories from our mission, some stories of the family, etc. I, Hope will also be looking to post some homemade  recipes as well, cleaning supplies, lotions and such,  as well as  various homemade food ideas and successes. We love you all and thank you for joining us on this ride. 

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