Sunday, December 11, 2005

Merry Christmas & A Very Happy New Year!!

Hello Prayer Partners! It is time again to celebrate Christmas and the New Year! What a joy to share with all of you the happenings of this past year and to rejoice with you because of Jesus, our Savior and Lord! We do focus this time of year on our Savior’s birth but we also refresh and renew our commitment to Him. In Luke 2:7 we read: “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” The story is so familiar as it has been read to children and in church services all our lives and yet, does it bring a warmth to your heart and a peace to your mind to know that our Lord Jesus was born, that He lived on this earth, that He died for all of us, that He rose again and He lives today. Does this make a difference in the way you conduct your life day to day and the way you treat others? Who is Jesus to you today?
In Nehemiah 8:10b the Word says: “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Praise the Lord! This year we have experienced much joy! We traveled 21,404 miles in 2005 and spent 6 months on the road. The first of the year we traveled to Colorado and New Mexico. We were able to encourage several pastors and ministry leaders. We have a couple of adopted children in the area and we shared Father’s love and words of encouragement with them. Twice this year we traveled to the East coast. We added several new pastors and deepened relationships with others. We took one pastor and his wife to supper and during the meal Charley began sharing about authority. The pastor called later and asked Charley to speak on authority during the Sunday school hour. It was a blessed time as Father gave Charley a bold message on submission to authority. During another visit with a church in the area we adopted a whole youth group, 12 of them, and found their parents very supportive of our ministry to their children. We were blessed to take all of these young people out to supper and to watch their excited faces as we fellowshipped together. They know that when we return we will spend time with them and they also know that we pray for them every day. They love the Lord and were very deeply impacted by summer camp and our love for them as grandparents. One of the new pastors we added in Virginia wants Charley to preach when we return next spring. During September our son was sent to Iraq for 7 months. While on the East coast we met a young wife in a restaurant whose husband was to be sent to Iraq around the same time as our son. She asked us to pray with her about something and as she shared about her husband’s deployment for 18 months, we were able to share that we understand the situation because of our son’s commitment. We also met a couple in one of the motels who minister through tracts and visits to the military overseas. We were able to encourage them and add them to our prayer list. We have no idea how many people were added to our prayer list this year due to our travels but there are many. We have mentioned in our newsletters several times the Love Bears that are made for us by a group of folks in Texas. We were given over 200 bears this fall and had the awesome privilege to send 150 of these to the Philippines with a missionary couple. We also receive cross bookmarks that are made by a couple of ladies in California and we were able to send 150 of these with the missionaries. Father continues to flow His resources through us to those in need and for the sharing of the Gospel of Christ. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina we had the opportunity to share clothing, toys, books and bears with a youth pastor’s wife in Plano who had several families she was helping. We loaded our trunk and back seat with these items and delivered them. It is so exciting just to be used of the Lord where He chooses! He provides the time, resources and the love for us to share. There are many other stories to share but space will not allow. Please know that we are busy about Father’s business and there is never a slack time. Even when we are at home we are busy about the work that Father has called us to do. This week Charley will spend several mornings meeting with men and just fellowshipping about the Lord. We meet with couples on a regular basis and meet needs according to Father’s plans and purposes. God is in control of our lives and this ministry.
As we travel the land we see churches that are hurting and needy! Many in their body do not have a daily relationship with the Lord Jesus. They attend church but they do not worship the King. The pastors preach the Word of God but the people do not hear. God loves these people so much and He has sent His servants to tell them the truth but they are deaf and blind to the things of the Lord. This world has blinded them, the pleasures of this world entice them and the riches of this world lure them away from the one true Lord. Some of our adopted children are suffering greatly! Either their marriages have been torn apart by drugs, alcohol, pornography or gambling addictions or their children have gone the way of the world. The pressures are great on the family! We see fathers who refuse to take responsibility for their family and have left the home. We did attend a beautiful wedding this fall that was an awesome blessing! It was the desire of the couple that as they recited their wedding vows that the couples in the audience would reflect on their marriage and relationship and be encouraged to live together God’s way and not the world’s way. It was a beautiful picture of God’s kind of love! After 37 years of marriage our relationship has deepened as our relationship with the Lord has grown and continues to mature. In many people that we have visited we see a new luster a glow which is the light of Jesus. They refuse to hide that light any longer under the cover of shame, fear, insecurity and unforgiveness. They have chosen to let their light shine for all to see. We would ask that you would pray for our President and our military daily. Freedom does come at a price!
Have a wonderful blessed and prosperous Christmas and New Year! We love all of you and appreciate your prayers and love for us. You have blessed our lives through your faithful prayers, notes of encouragement and financial donations. We are excited about the New Year and all that the Lord has planned!

Charley & Karen