Hope Community Evangelical Covenant Church
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
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Mission Updates Sept 2008
Posts on behalf of the Missionary
Families that Hope supports.
Blessings and grace to you! We appreciate your friendship and prayer
support. Your prayers were answered on our behalf in September. Thank
you for your continued prayers.
1. Pray for our son, Skye, whose hip saga continues as he has pain in
his right hip again. There are some , and possibly other
tissue damage, that produces the pain caused by activity. They need to
take away the impinging structures, decompress the joint and repair any
tissue damage through hip arthroscopy so that Skye can continue to be an
active young man. The hope was that it would not require surgery, but it
does. Skye has an appointment with a specialist in Los Angeles . The good news is that they know what his condition is and
they know how to treat it and correct it. Pray for all the details that
will go into scheduling the surgery.
2. Please be praying for Mary Lou's dad, Ken Clausen. He is struggling
with lack of circulation in his legs and feet. He has diabetes. He has
been in and out of the hospital and now they are treating him for
pneumonia, dressing his wounds and trying to keep infection out. Pray
for excellent care for him and that excellent decisions will be made
concerning his care and treatment.
3. for the positive visit of Dale Lusk, of Covenant Merge
Ministries. Pray for our staff as we work through the process of
developing a larger staff in Colombia to work along side of the many
Covenant ministries going on here. Pray for a visit from Joel Howells,
a young man seeking to know God's next step for him in Missions,
possibly in Colombia. He will be with us October 2-10. Pray for
continued good communication with the Covenant of Colombia as we work
with them to expand the Kingdom of God here in this country.
4. Pray for Mary Lou and Gary as they will be in Barranquilla, , to continue with their Pastoral couple Spiritual retreats.
5. Pray for the Cali church planting team as they will be changing
leadership at the end of this year. They are now in the process of
looking for a pastoral family to take this work into its next phase.
Pray for good decisions to be made.
Love, The Sander Family
Little Parsonage in the Tundra --- Aug-September 2008
Dear Family & Friends,
This week marks 6 months since we arrived in White Mountain. Life has yet to slow down, but we sure are looking forward to the time when we can have a "routine." The days are definitely getting shorter as the sun doesn't rise before 9 am now and has gone back down by 9 pm as well. The end of August we had a cold snap in which several mornings the thermometer said it was 22 degrees outside. The willows and alders put out their colors in all their glorious splendor a couple of weeks ago. Now many of the trees have dropped their leaves as they prepare for their long winter nap.
That early freeze killed off blueberries and damaged the cranberry crop. We are ever so thankful that we were able to get as many blueberries as we did. It helps us to understand the Eskimo mindset of doing things "while you can" because with things so unpredictable, you don't know what the future will hold. Our poor potatoes that we planted late were not able to handle such cold weather, even though we tried to keep them covered. We harvested what potatoes had grown. Most were the size of golf balls to marbles -- but they still tasted wonderful. Hopefully next year we will have the little green house covers built that will protect the plants and allow us to grow things much longer into the Autumn. We still have some salad greens and radishes that shrugged off the cold and kept right on growing. Rachel Joy is telling me that the peas are just now blossoming!!! We hope to have a plant table in our kitchen with some gro-lights so that we can have some "green things" during the winter as well, if not to eat, at least to look at :)
The Pastor's Wives' Refresher was way beyond my expectations. Thank you for your prayers. I was deeply blessed with sharing the goodness of God and His wisdom and counsel to various Pastor's wives. I realized that even though this role has only been mine for about 6 months, God and I have been walking together in intimacy for over 25 years. So, I was blessed to get to know some new friends, to pray for fellow sisters, to minister to them and to be ministered to. It was a deeply satisfying and enriching experience.
My friend, Teresa Allen, did end up in the hospital upon our return to Anchorage but she did Not have bacterial meningitis-- just viral. I teased her and let her know "you are my first official pastoral visit in the hospital." God was faithful to keep me from any sickness and to bless my short time in Anchorage with shopping and getting the tasks done in the two days I was there. (thank you for your prayers for Teresa and for me).
Back on the home front, Ross and the children attended the brand new school dedication. Elders from Kotzebue came and prayed and sang Eskimo songs. I was told it was quite an event. The Lord gave Ross the opportunity to pray the Invocation. Ross took the time to share 2 quotes, one from Robert Lewis Stevenson and the other from Benjamin Franklin. God is being acknowledged here in a way that is freedom in the school system, unlike the more restricted lower 48. It is exciting and refreshing to see.
We had a "rummage sale" at the church on September 6th. (Ruth's birthday.) We were able to bless many people in the community as we intentionally priced most things to where anyone who had need was able to get things. This was the first time that people had seen things (especially clothing) actually laid out and sorted. All of the monies that were raised have been designated toward youth programs for the church. It amounted to about $250. We had clothing that was either sent up or given to us by several of you from the lower 48 along with some donations from within the community here. We had such positive feedback that we will plan to have another one either in November or December. Since the church was able to purchase a container like the ones we shipped up from Texas, it makes it possible to collect items and keep them from being damaged. We will likely announce the next sale to our neighboring villages as well as transportation by snow machine allows for greater movement in the winter.
The final 4th construction team left the second week of September. They worked to within an hour of their leaving on the airplane trying to get as far as they could, knowing what remained would fall on our shoulders to complete. The house has been transformed and looks so nice. We are still trying to finish organizing and sorting. All of the bedrooms have been repainted and carpeted. Ceilings had to be worked on as no vapor barrier had been installed when the house was first constructed. This caused problems with condensation literally dripping back through the ceiling, staining it. We also have a new arctic entry to keep the cold air outside, a place to take off and store boots and coats and also a pantry to store the many items that can't handle being frozen. The pictures attached will describe the "before and after" better than words. Thank you for all your labor, Teams!!!
School is back in session with Samuel at the High School. Even though he is a Sophomore in age, he is taking some Junior classes as well. Please continue to lift him up in prayer. There are many adjustments especially with challenges of "busy work." This is our son who would much prefer to spend his time doing something worthwhile and being challenged to more academic strides than to "just get the task done." Yet at the same time, he feels a peace knowing he is where God wants him to be.
The other three kids are being home schooled and for the most part, enjoying it. (Between being given the option to move boxes, sort and organize, or to do school, they would much rather "do school.".) Just had to throw that in there :) It is exciting to watch the blossoming of their gifts so thank you for your prayers for our children. Speaking of moving boxes, we have managed to empty out one of the four shipping containers -- it was one that we were allowed to borrow. After six months, we are finally beginning to "move in." It feels so good to finally begin to feel settled.
I wish there would be a way you could be a fly on the wall during our Sunday morning adult Bible study. It is extremely informal but God has shown up in amazing ways the last few weeks. We spend time fellowshipping, listening to the lives of the people and inevitably we end up praying and watching God bring healing and restoration and insight to the demonic strongholds.
For instance, this past Sunday, a precious sister ended up sharing how as a nine year old girl, she had overheard her teachers talking, "The Eskimos are so dumb. We should just abuse them the way their parents do." It had deeply hurt her and the grief was great in her heart. The Spirit of the Lord led me (Ruth) to look at her "as a white woman" and to confess the sins of my people against her and her people and to ask forgiveness. Then I looked at her, in the Name of Jesus and broke that curse over her and her people. We held each other and cried in one another's arms. She told me later, "you are the first white person to ever ask our forgiveness." Wow! So, Ross prayed a blessing over this lady and her husband, who was with her, and we watched God continue to bring joy where there once was grief.
These are our new friends and oh, how rich are lives are for knowing them! We found out later, "This is the Inupiaq way." Meaning, you sit and visit and as you fellowship, the Lord will lead you where you are to go and when you are to go there. It makes me think...is that what Jesus and the disciples did? They broke bread together, fellowshipped and He taught them. Later, the believers met in house churches and fellowshipped together. All this sharing of lives comes in the context of friendship, caring, love, concern and is not a set scheduled framework.
Last night, after service, Ross ministered to a man in the village who showed up in the church for the first time since we've been here. His daughter asked Jesus into her heart about 3 months ago and last night her precious father surrendered his life to God. Please keep him in your prayers that the enemy would not steal the seeds that God planted. There is much that can only be restored through the grace, power and mercy of God.
There are those few with whom we can seemingly do no right but in light of the favor of others, we have left those few in the Lord's Hands to deal with as He chooses. We are focusing on the ones who are coming, with ever such small steps but oh, so sincere. It is with great joy that we write this newsletter.
Fall is here and winter will soon be upon us. We love to hear from you. Please know that you are also to see God do the miraculous in your lives. He is not "just mundane and humdrum" if we will but open our spiritual eyes to see His Hand orchestrating events and putting His Signature on happenings and relationships. Remember, "where two or three are gathered in My Name, there I Am in the midst of them."
We are so grateful for your friendship, your love and concern for us. The joy that you would see and that you hear in our lives is there because we are surrounded by the prayers, love, concern and friendship of you. You sustain us as we remember your faces. We are uplifted when we consider the closeness of years of knowing many of you. We are blessed by the wealth of life experiences we have shared together. For many of you, we are just beginning to get to know you. How we delight to see how close we can be when we allow the Lord to be the Center of our lives and relationships.
Oh, on further prayer and reflection, we felt it wisest not to do a "hell house" at this time. Thank you to all of you for your support, suggestions, prayerful considerations, etc. We are thankful that God is giving us wisdom in this area and we were blessed by the number of you who were willing to share your thoughts about our idea.
We wanted to also give the praise report that we were able to pay off the last of what was owed to the barging company this week. We have been so amazed and blessed by God's goodness in taking what in our eyes was such a massive mountain and making it as if it were nothing. All told, the shipping costs alone for our two containers from Texas to White Mountain was just a bit over $30,000.00!!! Praise God, for He is good. Also, we have another contract on our home back in Texas. We are scheduled to close the first week of November.
As a family, we will be attending a Family Ministry Retreat in Port Alsworth, Alaska from Sep. 30-Oct. 3rd. It will be our first time as a family completely away from the village. It will be a good opportunity for us to "decompress" and just be with other pastors and their families for a few days.
Life for me hasn't been too bad, except for not having a life. Due to the advanced placement I got, my day looks something like this: wake up/devotions/eat breakfast. School for six hours, homework for two, work with dad for some, vegetate with family for a while, go to sleep. Repeat. Anyway, joined the volleyball team and my arms are really sore, so between practices and nerdish activities, I haven't had much time for other things. Please pray (or write) to counter some of the loneliness, and a few myspace messages would be nice. I really do pray for y'all, even if I don't seem to pay attention. BTW, Rachel Joy has a myspace as well, so you ladies have the option of talking to her rather than "her annoying older brother." :)
* Family Ministry Retreat be refreshing for all 6 of us
* Sustained physical health (there are many in the village who get sick during this time of year)
* Continued grace as we "schedule" our lives
* God's wisdom as we continue to sort & organize our homes (it can become overwhelming and nerve-wracking to keep re-shuffling boxes, clothes, other items as we find new places to put them)
* Discernment to the schemes of the enemy
* Joy in the midst of adjustment and periods of loneliness, especially for the children
* For true revival, that God would move on peoples hearts
We'll send more pictures of the inside of the house once we can get things unpacked and looking nice :)
Ross L. McElwee, Pastor
PO. Box 84013
White Mountain, AK99784
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he can never lose." -- Jim Elliot
Of course we always enjoy the personal e-mail or letter too!!! Our postal address is PO Box 84013, White Mountain, AK 99784