Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pray with Operation Christmas Child - January 2017 week 4

Until the end of January we are praying for Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The specific requests are listed below. Join us in prayer as we lift them up!

·         Pray for the recruitment and selection of a new Prayer Coordinator. 

·         Pray for the implementation of the Ministry Partner materials on how to increase the effectiveness of the Gospel presentation to children. 
Uruguay OCC
·         Praise God for His care and provision in the midst of difficult times. Praise God for the strength He has given the team to remain faithful to His calling and work.
·         Praise Him that the children and adolescents who have received the message of salvation are persevering and believing the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ.
·         Pray for peace in Venezuela- that God in His mercy will take control of the situation. Pray the country will experience political changes without bloodshed.

Join the OCC global family in prayer and fasting the first Wednesday of each quarter (starting in February) as we humble ourselves before our Heavenly Father and ask Him to work in the hearts of children impacted by war, poverty, famine, disease and exploitation that they may know Jesus.

The dates for 2017 are:
February 1
May 3
August 2
November 1

A booklet of praises and prayer requests from all Operation Christmas Child countries is published on the Extranet each quarter. This resource is made available at the request of many Prayer Mobilization Coordinators who are interested in receiving it. Feel free to use it or simply refer to your Monthly Prayer Update to pray for one region’s requests.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Pray with Operation Christmas Child - January 2017 Week 3

Will you join us in praying for South America this month? This week we are praying for Panama, Paraguay and Peru.

·         Pray God will provide a new storage and distribution location for the shoeboxes for this year. Pray against challenges as the teams distribute the shoeboxes to the ministry partners.
·         Pray for the logistics process; pray that all of the communication and work with customs and the port will be handled without any delays. 
·         Praise God OCC was able to reach the city of PuentesiƱo, which is difficult to access. Praise Him the team was able to reach over 1,000 children, demonstrating the tangible love of God.
·         Pray God will guide the team to hear His voice and will provide the ideal person to serve as the volunteer National Coordinator for Paraguay.
·         Pray that the successful church-planting tool of shoebox gifts will continue to multiply. 
Peru June 2016
Peru June 2016

Peru June 2016
Javier is a volunteer with OCC in Peru...the other side of the box, Judy and I are on the NEA Area team in the USA, we met him as our translator when we were on a medical/dental mission trip last summer (June 2016)
Proverbs 3:5 - this hangs on a wall in the church in Neuvo Pachacutec, Lima Peru.

Peru June 2016 - you can NOT send liquid in shoeboxes but we were able to take it on out mission trip, the kids loved bubbles!

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Friday, January 13, 2017

January 1-14, 2017 Operation Christmas Child Prayer South America week 1 & 2

Prayer Reminders
Prayer is what opens the heart of a child to the redemption available through the blood of Jesus. Franklin Graham says, “The most important item you can send in a shoebox is prayer.” Faithful prayers are what allows the journey to accomplish its intended purpose. What a glorious opportunity we have to participate in his plan.

                                See our new OCC Prayer Video and share it with your friends.

This month we are praying for South America
General Prayer Requests each country faces:
·            Wisdom to recruit, select, and lead new and/or transitioning volunteer leadership team members.
·            Provision of resources and the person who leads this area so they are able to reach their God-sized goals for the current year.
·              Pray for the new Mid-South Regional Director Todd Edwards as he transitions to the region January 3rd.
·              Praise God for the many gospel opportunities that He blessed our region with in 2016!
·              Pray for Godly wisdom for Mid-South staff and Area Coordinators as they begin planning for 2017.
·              Please continue to pray for prospective volunteers who are showing interests in serving with OCC on their local Area Teams as year-round Connect volunteers.
·              Pray for all National Leadership Teams as they begin receiving and distributing shoeboxes.
·              Pray for the many children who will receive shoeboxes and as they have the opportunity to attend The Greatest Journey.

NEA Prayer Requests:
  • Pray for our area team as Vicki Pepper, our Regional Manager, as she will be helping our Area Team until we have a new Area Coordinator. 
  • Pray for Melinda Dixon and her mom as she is healing. Pray for blessing on Melinda as she is a care giver for her mom and as her work load increases - she had to resign, with heavy heart as our AC and will be greatly missed.
  1. Millions of shoebox gifts packed by prayerful donors are on their way to children in over 100 countries. God has allowed Operation Christmas Child to reach more children this year than any previous year with the precious gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
  2. Praise God for the 11 countries that have already received their 2016 season shoeboxes and for the volunteer teams now working hard in Outreach Events to share the Good News with over 200,000 children. 
  3. Pray for the over 6 million shoeboxes on the way to children in 43 countries 
  4. Prayer is what opens the heart of a child to the redemption available through the blood of Jesus. Franklin Graham says, “The most important item you can send in a shoebox is prayer.” Faithful prayers are what allows the journey to accomplish its intended purpose. What a glorious opportunity we have to participate in his plan.

Argentina OCC
·         Praise God for the completion of the volunteer National Leadership Team this year.
·         Pray for the children enrolled in The Greatest Journey in the cities of Buenos Aires and Corrientes to grow in discipleship. 
·         Praise God for the honor of preparing pastors and teachers, as well as mobilizing churches, for the spiritual formation of the new generations that will come to know God the Father.
·         Pray that in this season, God will open the doors to reach new unreached communities where the Gospel has previously been inaccessible. 
Bolivia OCC - The Greatest Gift Book
·         Pray for an opening in the bureaucratic process to allow the importation of shoeboxes in the future.
·         Pray for wisdom for the volunteer team in the city of Recife as they plan for future seasons.
·         Pray for the contacts that will be made with new churches and ministries in the Northeast of Brazil for this year. 
·         Praise God for the more than 5,000 children who received Christ in 2016. 
·         Pray for the vision castings, as well as the Ministry Partner and The Greatest Journey trainings that occurred throughout the various regions in Colombia for greater effectiveness. 
Ecuador OCC
·         Praise God for the largest and most effective national volunteer conference in the country held recently.
·         Praise God for the provision of various gift-in-kind donations for storage of the OCC materials.
·         Pray for wisdom in navigating the government bureaucracy that comes with managing a large amount of boxes in the country.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reflections from 2016

Happy New Year!
Another year has passed, all too quickly…so here it goes – 12 months of quick review for each of you. Matthew and Michael played basketball once again so we spent lots of time going to ballgames. They had an excellent season that ended with several trophies including Back-to-Back 1A State Champions! Just today, as I was working on my blog post, Matthew and his whole team received a free pair of shoes and a Nike shirt from LeBron James!!! How cool is that!?!? Matthew received his 1 year license to preach from our association on January 9, 2016 and turned 17 on the 20th. He has had the opportunity to preach lots of places since then. He wants to be a Youth or Children’s Pastor and attend Welch College. (as I finishing this post, on 1/7/17 Matthew received a recommendation from the Social Band Association to be ordained as a minister!) God is go Good, ALL THE TIME!

February was exciting because my Dad, Bobby, turned 68 and we all chipped in and bought him a German Shepherd puppy. My mom made all the grands chip in $1 each so we would ALL be in trouble together! He acts like he doesn't like KiKi much, but she rides the mower, tractor and everything else with him!

Gum Slough Adventures
March winds blew in Kevin’s 43th birthday, Matthew’s baseball season and him running off the levee and hitting a tree. We are thankful it was just a truck that was hurt! He learned the valuable lesson of driving fast on gravel and after he and Kevin done all the body work themselves, he learned how hard it is to get a truck fixed. He calls if he is late now, instead of trying to beat the clock! Michael, Nathan and a friend also learned some lessons, like not canoeing down t he Gum Slough when water is not high enough to float you, especially without cell phones, and while using shovels as paddles on a cold, muddy day! They scared us, but once we found them it was funny.  

April showers followed Kevin and I to Atlanta for the Operation Christmas Child Connect Conference. It was a wonderful event and so exciting to meet Year-Around volunteers from everywhere! Kevin helped lead Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey at our church during April also. Matthew continued to preach at surrounding churches and had his Junior Prom. 
Connect Conference Atlanta

May flowers blossomed into both boys finished school with A’s again this year. Both received many academic awards again this year. Matthew, Sydney and one other student are on track to tie for Valedictorian at Bay. Graduation will be May 5th, 2017 at 7pm. May 13-14th I went to the Minister’s Wives Retreat and had a blast once again. Mother’s Day was a SPLASH with Michael falling into the St. Francis River after an exciting boat ride with MeMe, Matthew, Dustin and Uncle Glenn to see the jumping carp! We realized how busy of a summer we had approaching so as soon as the boys were out of school we went to Disney World May 29-June 1st. It was a magical time, as always. 

Mother's Day 2016
Disney World 2016
Lima, Peru June 2016
Instead of “June Bugs” we had June Busy—on June 9th-29th Matthew was part of E-Team Cuba and I went to Lima, Peru on a Dental/Mission Trip. Poor Kevin and Michael were left home alone to paint and clean house!  
Mathew leaving for E-Team Cuba
In July we celebrated our 7 year anniversary at First Free Will Baptist Church. God had been so good to us and blessed our family beyond all comprehension. It is amazing how much He loves us and takes care of His children! Matthew was a part of Truth & Peace Leadership Conference for his 3rd year. Kevin and I went to the FWB National Convention in Kansas City. Michael skipped this year, but agreed to apply to Truth and Peace since he didn’t go to the NAFWB this time. Michael turned 14 on July 29th and got his driver’s permit! So far, no crashes with poles in the church parking lot, which puts him a step ahead of Matthew!

August brought on our 22nd wedding annivesary and we celebrated by Kevin and the boys re-roofing our house while under a crazy, hot heat advisory!  They said NEVER AGAIN!  Dustin, our bonus son, moved back in with his mom right before school started.  School started back with the boys in 12th and 9th grade! We can’t believe how fast time passes. They are growing up to be Godly young men too soon. Harvest started early so by the end of August I started my “normal fall asthma sickness”. Michael is on the golf team this year and really enjoying it, especially the new golf clubs instead of mine and Kevin's from the attic!In September the leaves were starting to change and changes were beginning in our lives. Both of our boys applied to Truth and Peace and later received letters of acceptance! We started cutting out, sanding and painting wood cross door hangers as a fund raiser for them. Matthew also applied to E-Team and Welch College. He was also accepted to both. During September Kevin started talking to the Pastor Search Committee at Sutton Free Will Baptist Church in Pocahontas, Arkansas. At first we did not think about God ever leading us away from where we had been the last 7 1/2 years and really since we got married, but you never know what God has in store for your life, until you completely say, Here I am, send me.

In October, Michael and I went to Sutton and looked around, met a few of the trustees, made sure my asthma would not go crazy in the church or parsonage...and I done really well. Matthew kept taking the ACT, he still needs 1 more point for $16,000 in additional scholarship money (pray for his last two testing dates - February 11th and April 8th if you will). October was also YOUTH HUNT!!!! Matthew was too old to go, and Michael didn’t see anything, maybe next time. Both boys and Kevin had an unsuccessful deer season this year…no meat in the freezer from them!

  November meant basketball was in full season with lots of games and lots of wins! It also marked the day Kevin went in view of a call to Sutton. On November 6, 2016 we went and he preached both services. The next week they called us to let us know that he was voted in with only one “no vote” as pastor. We knew without and doubt, with even more confirmation that Sutton was where God was calling our family to move. This was no easy decision; it was difficult for our families, friends, and First FWB, but we want to do exactly what God calls us to do. Michael will begin attending Pocahontas High School in August 2017 as a Sophomore. At the end of November we went over for a service to Sutton and Kevin was blessed to be able to baptize 5 people! God is so good! As soon as National Collection Week for shoeboxes ended we headed to Dallas to take the boys and my Mom to the Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Game and then we worked in the Dallas Shoebox Processing Center for my 41st birthday…it was a fabulous trip! We found out Matthew’s E-Team trip 2017 will be to Kazakhstan, June 8-28th, please keep him and the rest of E-team in your prayers.


December was a hard month. We had to say good-bye to First Free Free Will Baptist Church on Christmas Day, after Matthew and Kevin both preached and Michael was an usher. It is never easy to say good-bye, to so many people you love, so it is until we see you again.  We had a blast at our traditional Gillis Christmas Gathering. The Haag Christmas was cancelled due to Uncle Johnny being sick. Our senior high basketball team won the NEA basketball tournament! We skipped the Gillis New Year’s party because we were moving into the Sutton Parsonage (5489 Hwy. 62 West, Pocahontas, AR 72455). It was crazy-busy, sad and exciting all in one month!  Life can get a little crazy, but it is always exciting!

Please keep our family in your prayers as we strive follow God's will for us. We are very thankful for all He has done for us and look forward to being involved in all God has in store for us in 2017. We are blessed to have each of you in our lives and are thankful for all the wonderful friends and family we have. We pray that you had a blessed Christmas and will have a prosperous 2017.

We love you and hope to see you soon!

Kevin, Jennifer, Matthew & Michael

“The Lord will be with you, wherever you go” Joshua 1:9