What a month! It started off sort of sluggish but ended in a flurry. Everyone was trying to get back into a normal routine again. Thankfully, we were able to meet in the same place every Sunday this month - a first for us. We had about 40 souls every Lord’s day, while having 16-20 for Bible studies throughout the week.
What is really fresh on my mind right now is Evan & Crystal. This young couple became Christians back in October. Their one year old son Chase lost his life from Meningococcal Meningitis. This deadly sickness usually claims the life of its victims in 2 days. Chase fought for 5 long days. Through many prayers & much encouragement and a faith that is grounded on God’s promises, Evan & Crystal handled the whole situation in a way that has inspired non-Christians and Christians alike. Their confidence in God’s promises has given them a strength that has touched many lives. I am so proud of the way they have responded to such a tragedy.
Because of Evan’s boldness in his own faith & encouraging friends and family to follow Christ there are at least five people who have told him or I that they want to start going to church. One man said he never went to church, but wanted to start because Evan had something that he did not. This past Sunday there were two people who attended that normally would not have attended.
God was so good even in such a hard situation. I don’t have space to tell you all the things that “just came together” for the burial and funeral. Things that Evan and Crystal have taken note of and have shared with family and loved ones, so that God might be glorified in all that was happening.
We are so thankful for all the brethren that have helped out. As the family put it: “Team Chase” were all those who came together on behalf of helping Chase. Money, food, time, prayers and facilities were all donated to help Evan and Crystal. Your kindness and generosity have been clearly seen by the family. You brought glory to our God and His church. Thank you!
This month brought a first experience for me in working with Chris Macy from the North Valley congregation. They have started a radio program and he asked me to speak a couple of times. It was great that we were able to talk about the new work that we are doing in the Salt River area, especially among the Native American people.
Dean Dallas and I attended the men’s leadership meeting again this month. Dean has really been doing a good job in his personal studies. Patrick preached this month and did a good job once again.
This month we also had another person baptized into Christ. Juan Havier is a Papago man who is almost 70 years old. This is a man who was searching for the truth. Our door knocking campaign with Bear Valley is still bearing fruit. Juan had been studying but just didn’t understand, so when we came knocking he was ready. We are excited about his decision. He is a single man who has lost his wife and only daughter. He has two granddaughters that are in foster care right now.
Please continue to pray for Juan as well as Evan and Crystal and all those they have influence on.
As for the family, the death of Chase hit our girls hard as they liked taking care of Chase during Bible class and worship. They have done very well in understanding that we want to live by faith so we can go and be with Chase again.
As for homeschooling, Divine attended a mid-year home school refresher with a sister in the congregation who recently started homeschooling her daughter. They were able to meet some other women homeschooling in the Valley and hear a great talk reminding us of our reasons for home education. We’re in the process of finding what sports the kids enjoy. They tried basketball for a couple of days, but did not really enjoy it. A couple of them have indicated interest in volleyball, so they’ll be playing on a team this spring. They have been going to roller skating lessons and really enjoying it. They also had several field trips this month, one to the Art Museum and another to a wildlife refuge.
We continue to keep you in our prayers and thank you for the role you have in this ministry. To God be the glory!!!
Josh & Divine Austin and family