I can’t believe it is already Christmas Eve! It is a little easier to believe now that we are in Iowa with a high today of 29 F and snow showers expected for the next two days! We are very excited about the prospects of a white Christmas for our last Christmas in the States for several years. December has been a crazy month and so I am running a little behind on sending out November’s update. As a result this letter will cover November but it will also bring you up-to-date for the first half of December. After we arrive in Mexico I will send out another update letter for the second half of December including our trip down to Mexico.
November was a very busy month for us! We had new churches throughout Missouri for the first three Sundays and then we finished the month of at West Normandy Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. I was blessed to be able to take a few days and go deer hunting with my dad in Missouri during mid-November which will probably be the last time that happens since my parents are in the process of moving to Florida. After presenting at South Creek Church in Springfield, MO on November 21 we headed down to Florida for Thanksgiving with my family and our meeting the following Sunday.
We started out the month of December at our home church Turning Point at Calvary in St. Augustine, FL. Since this was the last time we would be in Florida they held a formal commissioning service sending us to the field and an ordination service. Turning Point has been so instrumental in allowing and aiding us in following the Lord’s call on our lives to take the Gospel to Oaxaca. We are so thankful for the leadership there under Pastor Mark and the amazing body of believers that composes the church family who have been so supportive and helpful not only in financial support but prayer support and Godly advice and counsel as well. Following the commission & ordination service my wonderful wife and some helpers prepared an authentic Mexican meal for those in attendance (I think they prepared enough for 250!). It was delicious and the time of fellowship with our church family was a great blessing. It was truly an encouragement to see how many people were committed to praying for the missions work in Oaxaca. While we were in Florida Julie and Johnny Dennison graciously opened up their home to us and allowed us to stay with them throughout our trip. Their hospitality was amazing and we are very thankful for their willingness to have us. During this time we also found out that Mary is having another boy! So far everything is going well. She is due on May 25th and we are planning on having him in Mexico so that he will be a dual citizen. We finally settled on a name as well, Jack Alistair Stanley.
The following Sunday we presented at the Bible Baptist Church in Gulfport, MS. We had a wonderful time sharing the vision the Lord has given us to see His name glorified in Oaxaca and we had a great time fellowshipping with our fellow believers there who has such a passion for missions. On Wednesday of that week we were able to attend the Christmas dinner and service at Bayou View Baptist Church where Mary’s sister attends. We have presented there previously and it is always a blessing to come back and see everyone. Many there pray for the ministry and their words of encouragement and financial support are a blessing to the work. After services that evening we drove overnight to San Antonio, TX to meet Mary’s parents and drop off a load of our things for them to take back to Mexico. This freed up room for us to pick up our remaining belongings up north.
After leaving Texas we drove overnight and stayed at my Grandparent’s house in Missouri on our way to our meeting the next day at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Lawson, MO. You may remember we visited there earlier in the year but the Pastor asked us to come back and speak on our way to Mexico so that they could purchase Bibles, literature, tracks, etc. in Spanish for us to use. We are so thankful that the Lord, in His providence, led Cornerstone to allow us to come initially. They have been such a blessing and encouragement to us all year. While we were there they gave us items they has collected items from our “wish list” to use in the ministry in, books in English for me and books and tracks in Spanish, and they provided us with more than enough funds for a new laptop and projector! I cannot even express what a blessing this church is to us.
We are now in Iowa spending our last Christmas in the states for a while with Mary’s family. We had been planning on leaving for Mexico around the 29th of December and arriving on the 1st of January. However, when Mary’s parents crossed the border the Saturday before Christmas they had to wait over ten hours in line due to holiday traffic! As a result we are planning on crossing the border the Monday after the holiday weekend which will be the 4th of January. It is so hard to believe that this period of our ministry is drawing to a close. We are so thankful for everyone who has prayed for us, supported us, encouraged us, and helped us along the way. We would ask that you remember that the work is just now beginning! We are not sure exactly where we are in our financial support levels. We have had many churches and individual make commitments that will start in January and so we will know more when we receive that deposit on February 1st. The month of January will be that hardest since we will be on the field but much of our support will not come in until February 1st. If you have been considering starting to support the ministry either monthly or with a one-time or periodic gift we would encourage you to pray about it. This week as we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the Christ, the Savior of the world, let our minds turn to those who have never heard the Good News brought about by this birth. We have received the ultimate gift from God in Christ. How can we rest while we know that there are men, women, and children around the world who have never heard the Good News of Christ? Who live and die in darkness without the light of Christ. Thanks again for your prayers and support!
P.S. Our field address is:
C. Nardos #8
Jerez, Zacatecas 99390