Dear Prayer Partners,
It has been a while since we’ve written. We want to apologize for how infrequently we have written in this past season. We believe that you are an essential part of our mission team and we have not been keeping you up-to-date so you can “be with us” in prayer! So, here is a longer update to catch you up on what God is doing among and through us.
Below you will see:
- Grieving due to loss
- Central Africa missions sending conference
- D for D update
- Upcoming Luke 10 Exploration Trips
- Ministering to the Missionary Community
This past season has been a good season of life in many ways. It has also been challenging for several reasons. God has given us MANY wonderful mentors in our lives and ministry. One of the painful parts of the last few years has been that Jesus has taken four key mentors in relation to being missionaries of ours to heaven (they are David Kellum, Gene Pickard, Ron Stansell, and Willard Ferguson). It would take too long to write about all of the ways that God used these men to prepare and mentor us to be on mission with him. They loved and served God with much wisdom and humility, they modeled life with God and shared many important insights with us that continue to shape many aspects of how we serve as missionaries.
Central Africa Missions Sending Conference
At the end of April, we had a week-long conference in Burundi in which we learned with Friends Church leaders from Burundi, Congo, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United States. The Lord blessed our time together! One of many highlights was hearing from our Central American Friends and Kenyan Friends share about how they have sent their own missionaries out among the nations. Burundi and Rwanda Friends are preparing to send their own missionaries out in the next year or two. I have been taking some courses on missions through Fuller Theological Seminary and am really thankful for the ways that God is teaching me and giving me new insights that will help us in the time ahead.
D for D
Our D for D team is working with groups in Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo, helping them finish a phase called Mobilization with members of their local churches and surrounding communities. We continue to hear testimonies of transformation! There are several other churches and church leaders who are asking for us to mentor them in the D for D process. We are praying that God will give us the wisdom to know how to help them in ways that fit in our current capacity. As we write this, Pastors Augustin, Gerard, and Tertullien are in Burundi visiting the homes of those we are discipling to learn about what God is doing in them and through them in mentoring their local church teams.
Upcoming Luke 10 Exploration Trips
We will give more details in a few days, but in the next month, Brad will be a part of a second Luke 10 Exploration Trip to South Sudan with EFC-Rwanda and EFM leaders and a second Luke 10 Exploration Trip to Tanzania with EFC-Burundi and EFM leaders. Both trips will be for the purpose of discerning where God is calling our African Friends to begin mission work and how God is calling EFM to be a part of what God is doing in those places.
Ministering to the Missionary Community
We were so blessed to have a team come from Northridge Friends Church (Wichita, KS) to help us put on a missionary conference in July. We worked hard, and so did they, to love and serve around 85 missionaries from this region of Africa. Shane Shetley (pastor at Northridge) led us in some great teachings from 1 Peter, Eli Copas (youth pastor at Northridge), and a team of around ten led VBS and youth group for all the kids present from 0-18 years old. We were also blessed to have Alex Grier (Friends University student) lead us in worship in song. Missionary families walked away from the conference feeling more refreshed from our time together. Also, we were so thankful to show the team members a little bit of our town and our lives and ministry. We had sweet times sharing our hearts and hearing from theirs, playing with each other’s kids, and feeling connected to each other in light of God’s worldwide mission.
We had a busy summer, hosting family in June and the Northridge team in July, as well as other various tasks and travels. We all had a lot of fun, and we are also really tired now! Our kids just started school again at Virunga Valley Academy (an American international school in our town) and it is a blessing to be starting to get settled back into school year rhythms a bit.
Thank you so much for all your love and prayers!
Brad and Chelsea
Sarai, Gideon, and Ian