Do We Matter?

We were recently in New Hampshire as honorary guests to another church’s retreat. On the last night of the retreat, an impromptu discussion arose amongst a group of ladies gathered around La Tascha... "wait, so you don't believe in women pastors?"

This has been a common question asked by women all around the world. If not aloud, then for many, in their hearts. But, we know that the underlying questions really being asked here are: As a woman, what place do I have in a church? Do I have opportunities of ministry where I can be effective?

Less than 48 hours later, almost 10,000 miles across the globe, we sat in a shipping container in South Africa, where over 20 women were gathered asking the same questions. Fast forward one more week, we held a two-and-a-half-hour Bible College session with the women students discussing the exact same topic. Too many women, though hungry to live for God, “move on" in life because this question is never answered for them. The analogy I give regarding women pastorates is much like God’s instructions to Adam and Even regarding the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden of Eden. Too many women will never understand that the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil is not the only tree in the Garden of Eden. God's instructions did not only state, "do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil", but rather began with, "of every tree of the garden you may freely eat… ". But, how many women have been oblivious to the other trees in the garden and have only known about the one prohibition of the one tree. There are, in fact, so many needful avenues of ministry and impact for women, but unfortunately for most, they are lost in the clamoring over that which is prohibited: women pastorates.

The scriptures are clear that the position of Pastor is to be filled by men. There is an order in church government that God has set. But, that does not mean that women cannot have an effective ministry in the kingdom of God, because impact has nothing to do with position. It is possible to empower women in the church without usurping authority. Christ said of the woman with the alabaster box of oil, "leave her alone, she has done what she could". He said of the woman from Canaan, "O woman, great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt". In both of those examples, the women were the ones in their respective situation that made the greatest impact. Dorcas was another example of a woman that had impact in the kingdom. We learn in her death of all the people that were touched by her life her because of the ways she helped and served them. So, too, can we ladies have impact in God's kingdom. God has given each one of us a very unique spiritual calling and as we get to know Him, our place and portion in the kingdom clear to us.

We finished off the journey in Montpellier, France, where we held a weekend women’s seminar on the necessity of a devotional life. The turnout was incredible. There were women of all ages, (hungry teenagers included), from all over France and even neighboring countries, that traveled to the south of France just for this conference. The women came ready to listen, again, seeking answers to deep questions that plague the soul. Again, questions of purpose, questions of place, and questions of value. It is clear that women are craving to understand their personal design and spiritual potential in the Kingdom. It is also becoming apparent that if we do not show them the answers to these questions, then we will lose many of them. May we endeavor to keep these truths before us as we continue in the call of God.

A Few Prayer Requests

The summer is coming to a close and we have a few prayer requests. Maryland Bible College of York is gearing up for their third semester. I am still in awe that the school even exists. We had our open house last Saturday and it was a very sweet time. The President of the York City Council, Carol Hill-Evans was there for our ribbon cutting ceremony. Pastor Jay gave an incredibly inspiring speech about the purpose of Bible College based upon Jude 22 which reads, "And of some have compassion, making a difference." This Bible College education is not an education for education's sake. It is an education for the sake of touching the lives of others. Amazing.

We have an incredible line up of teachers and classes this semester. One new class, in particular, has caused a lot of buzz in the community. We are now offering Spanish, with an emphasis on learning how to be conversational enough to share the gospel and the class culminates with a missions trip to Argentina between semesters. How cool is that!

Please keep our Bible College in prayer. Registration is open and we already have new students signing up. But, we want more. Classes are being held at Shiloh Baptist Church in York City and the location is central to Lancaster, Harrisburg, Gettysburg, and more. Our prices are unbelievably affordable at $100 a class or $400 for a full load of 6 classes (12 credits) because we want to train anybody and everybody to take this world by storm and make an impact. Please pray for more students from York and all over the surrounding areas. We want to fill the classrooms.

Secondly, September 9-18, we are having a booth at the York County Fair. Apparently, fairs and festivals are the big thing around here. The booth will be promoting our new church and getting the word out about our Bible College. Please pray that God would lead the hungry and desperate souls (whether they know it or not) to us so that we could share the good news and make that connection. We have the right message, the right God, the right people, and now we're just looking to let people know we're here for them!

Thirdly, we are looking for a church building and/or a team house. The benefits are endless, and it would really help us get a foothold in the community. Please pray that we would find the right property, and that God would provide the funds. It seems like buying makes more sense than renting given the real estate market, so we are believing God for all of the wisdom, guidance, and provisions towards that end.

Our house continues to be a work in progress, but it already has served its purpose in that it has been a true retreat for those who have come away to rest awhile. Pray for continued finances and provision in repair, renovation, and furnishings so that it will be all that God wants it to be for everyone who enters our doors. May God be glorified in it all.

Lastly, in general, please keep all of us in prayer. The days are evil (Ephesians 5:16), we have an active enemy, and there is real ground to be gained for the Kingdom! I pray that we keep ourselves in the love of God, remember the importance of redeeming the time, and guard against the tendencies of these last days as described in 2 Timothy 3. I often have to remind myself that there aren't many people doing what we do, and for certain, not with longevity. I musn't quit or get distracted. My portion of the wall is for me to build, guard, and repair (Nehemiah 3) so that the breach will not be on my watch by God's unending grace and mercy. It is my prayer that we all remember that, for the glory of God and his Kingdom.

Summer Harvests

It's been an eventful summer full of conferences, mission trips and church planting here in York, Pennsylvania.

We kicked off the summer with our annual missions conference in Marlboro, Massachusetts, and then ran three booths at our international convention in Baltimore, MD. It was a great time of seeing people from near and far, and hearing about how God has been working in their lives.

Montreal, Canada

Shortly thereafter, we spent a week with our sister church in Montreal, Canada. You may remember that we had visited this same church Thanksgiving weekend of last November. We packed out a 15 passenger van with musical equipment, speakers, portable batteries, balloon animal supplies, mime props, and so on and took a drive up to blitz Montreal with the gospel. It was a great time. We went from park to park gathering crowds, singing, performing skits and mime, and sketchboard (a creative way of street preaching using illustration). The testimonies from the church members were overwhelming. They could not believe the freedom we had to proclaim the gospel, and the anointing we carried while we ministered to the people of Montreal. People were open and souls were touched. Pastor James exclaimed by the end of the week, "I think Montreal has definitely heard the gospel this week!" It was great to be with the church there, and we plan to go back again in November.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Similarly, we just returned from a weekend trip to our sister church in Cincinnati, Ohio. A few weekends ago, we decided to drive to Kentucky to see the replica of Noah's Ark that had just opened. Then, we realized that we had a church only 45 minutes from the Ark in Ohio and decided to stay and bless them for Sunday service. Pastor Bob Schwartz and his wife Johnda were thrilled and asked us to come back only a few weeks later to help their efforts at the town festival. So, we said, sure, why not? We told them we would come up with a crew to do free face painting, balloon animals, music, and sketchboard, and that is exactly what we did. The festival was a hit, the traffic flow was non-stop for balloons and face painting, and we took advantage of this attraction by doing frequent sets of sketchboard while we had crowds of parents and children. I could not help but think that while they were in our presence, we had the responsibility to tell them of God's love towards them in the midst of such a world that wanted to chew them up and spit them out. To give you an idea of the atmosphere, there was a famous rock band there one night screaming in the background, "we're on a highway to hell!". Yes, this was true, and yet in our booth, we had this small space of grace to them there was a way out.

Upcoming Weeks

For the upcoming weeks, we'll be hitting local fairs and festivals in the York, PA area to help bolster our Bible College before the beginning of our third semester. Please pray for our Bible College, the interest has been strong, we believe it really has the ability to turn this area around. We would love for people from various churches to get trained in our Bible School and help to effectively and biblically lead others in their spheres of influence.

Our Responsibility

A few days ago, a group of five of us returned from a missions trip to Uganda. For many of us, the timing was quite crazy. We are in the thick of a new church plant in York, PA, the construction of a new Grace Words Bible Church meeting place, and a personal move to a new home of which we did not even live in before getting on an airplane. To many of us, it really seemed crazy that this would be God's timing, but as we arrived, we soon realized just how responsible and privileged we were to take trips like these. The magnitude of the impact that we made was humbling. Shameful, actually, when I remembered how I had murmured to God about the timing of this trip. My meditation throughout the trip danced between the parable of the Good Samaritan and the mandate of the Great Commission. I'm not really sure where this trip fit. To me, it was both. As we saw our neighbor in need, we helped with all of our might knowing that we were stewards of what God had put in front of us. But, I also had to consider the principles of the Great Commission. No, this was not my "Jerusalem", so to speak, of which was currently crying out for time and attention, but, it was my "uttermost parts of the world", and as I detached myself from my current involvements and considered the work of God, I realized that as easy as travel is these days, this, too, was my necessary responsibility in fulfilling the work of the gospel. Below, you will hear about the different components of the trip and please feel free to contact us directly ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you feel in any way called to help.

The Mityana Children's Shelter:

Two of our younger ladies came on this missions trip to help fulfill their Bible College practicum. It was their desire to work with the Mityana children's shelter to both spend time with the children there and also partner with Children of Grace, the main sponsor of the shelter, to help make a video to raise awareness and support. I would have to say they were the driving force behind making the trip altogether, and thank God they did! Both of them had visited Uganda in their teens. One had received the call to go to Bible College on that trip, the other, the call to life involvement with missionary work. Seven or eight years later, they were back in Uganda as seniors in Bible College fulfilling their final practicums.

The shelter in Mityana is located on a large plot of farm land in which they grow all sorts of produce, fish and livestock in efforts to be self sustaining. They also run a Christian school on the land. The conditions are raw, with no running water or electricity, deep in what we call in Africa, "the bush". About five years back, we had trained Annette, the matriarch of the shelter, in our women's discipleship classes, placed her in our women's dorm as she attended Bible College, and trained her in basic first aid so that she would not be defenseless against the inevitable illnesses that the children faced. We also set her up with a relationship with a registered nurse so that whenever she was in need, she could call the nurse and receive medication and treatment for the kids. It was amazing to see her fully in action five years later, having finished her Bible College courses and operating in the medical training that she had received.

Annette relayed that their biggest needs these days are in relation to the Christian School and finding committed Christian teachers. Just for some general education and statistics, the numbers vary, but the conservative estimate is that 55% of Uganda's population is below the age of 18 and 70% is below the age of 30. Furthermore, teenage drinking and sexual promiscuity (and inevitably, teenage pregnancies) run rampant throughout the country. It is our hope to encourage some of the ladies that we work with to get trained as teachers. This would provide both an outlet of ministry as well as a means of support as we give our five loaves and two fish towards the unbelievably large adolescent population in Uganda.

On another note, as we were meeting with ladies that we had not seen in five or more years at the conference, one of the ladies that used to come to the women's discipleship classes greeted us. She had been battling severe health issues for four years after the birth of her two children. She has been unable to work, and finally found out this past week that she was clear from uterine cancer. Praise God, but what a dread to have hanging over your head! As La Tascha comforted her in the suffering that she had experienced, we learned that even just the day before, she had been crying out to God, because in the small shop that her and her husband ran, she had not even made what was equivalent to $1USD the whole day. As a certified nurse's aid and child trauma counselor, she had been searching for new employment opportunities, but to date had not found any. For us, it seemed like a divine appointment. We had just been discussing the need to further medical treatment for the children's shelter as well as praying for a qualified counselor to help meet with the children on a regular basis. Now, we are paying for her to travel to the shelter twice a month to provide medical attention as well as meet with each one of the children on a monthly basis. This provides the financial support she needs to continue, and gives the children the additional medical and counseling attention that they need.

A Report On The Jesus Film:

Thanks to all those who gave towards the portable projector, projector screen and speaker. The Jesus Film was a tremendous hit, and the equipment could not have been more perfect for the environment. The speakers were loud enough for the open air conditions we were often in, the projector bright enough for the daylight showings, and all were compact enough to fit in a simple piece of luggage.

The movie was successful in two ways. One, it was amazing to share the gospel with all of these Ugandans in their local language. Remember, that not only is their English sparse, broken, or non-existent, but also, many are illiterate. So reading the Bible is a privilege that is not so easy for the common masses. This film shared the gospel message from soup to nuts in their local dialect. Very cool. Secondly, imagine being a Ugandan, with no electricity and no running water, now staring at this amazingly clear picture of a movie on a large scale. It was enough to make the churches that we were showing it in famous. So, it was quite a draw for those who may not have otherwise cared to hear the gospel or show up to a regular church service. Young and old were captivated and therefore exposed to the gospel message.


A few other neat anecdotes. While we were in Uganda, we got an email from one of our friends back home, Allison, who said that they had a contact with someone from Burundi who was now living in Uganda. We emailed her the details of the conference and the directions to pass on, but did not have very high expectations that he would come. On the first night of the conference, out of the darkness, a man in broken English slides up in front of La Tascha and says, "Hi, I am Desire." (Desire is pictured on the left.) La Tascha stared at him blankly. Finally, he gets out, "Allison". She couldn't believe it. The man had traveled 30 minutes in the pouring down rain up this mountain with roads that had been flooded out to make it to the conference, and found her. His story is incredible. He became an orphan at the age of 9, and watched his parents get slaughtered before his eyes due to tribal fightings. He had been living from camp to camp since 1998 and had just come to Uganda to find a new resting place 8 months ago. Allison had met him in Burundi on a missions trip several years ago while working with orphans. His faith in God was fresh, and impressive. In the little English that he knew, he explained that he was born again in 2009 and his whole life changed. All bitterness of the past had been washed away and his life with God had become his new hope. He did admit that he was starting to feel like his future was getting very bleak because living from day to day had become very hard. But, he tried not to think about it too much, because he knew God would provide. Upon meeting us, the clouds in the sky seemed to break a bit. We connected him with P. Sam, the head pastor of the church, who set up some future meetings to talk about moving him up on the hill to help lodge him as he attended Bible College. Please pray for him and for God's will to be done. It would be our joy to come back in the next months and years and see him thriving with God.

Some Closing Thoughts:

These are just some of the examples of what God did on the trip, not to mention the deep work in our own hearts as we lived each day not knowing what it would bring us. Jane and Jovia, the orphans that we support are growing up and doing well, some of the ladies we had trained years ago graduated this past weekend from Bible College, fresh blood is coming up through the ranks, and neighboring villages and countries were hungry for additional visits. We don't know what God has in store for the future, or what role we will play, we just know that it is the will of God for it to be on our radar, and it is our responsibility (and privilege) to make a point to care.

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