It seems hard to believe that it's been over six months since I last posted on this site. And it seems even harder to believe that over three and a half months into 2021 things are still not radically changed in our world from that last post. Covid isn't over and our world hasn't bounced back from its effects quite like we might have thought. Here in California, we are cautiously returning to some aspects of our former life but the threat of another surge certainly looms out there despite vaccines and months of isolation. The strain can be seen on the faces of many people even though their faces are masked. But one great thing remains the same! The little book of Malachi in the Old Testament says, "For I AM the Lord, I change not...." (Malachi 3:6a) Isn't it good to know in the midst of all the confusion and theories and fear, that He, our Great God, does not change? I find such rest for my soul in that! He is our One Glorious Constant!
I am happy to report that, God willing, I will go on my first missions trip in less than one month. It was planned for and cancelled because of Covid last May and it looks as though I will actually be able to do it this year. I will be flying to Phoenix to meet Pastor Stan and Becky Tedrow and Pastors Conrad and Heidi will pick us up at the airport and take us to Puerto Penasco. Pastors Joe and Laurie Pacheco will meet us there for the conference at Penasco Christian Fellowship. We are all so excited to be gathering together again and trusting the Lord to bless his people through this time. With His grace, this will just be the first of many more trips to come.
One thing that has been such a blessing during this time of not being able to travel or even congregate has been the use of electronic means of communication. Leon and I had appreciated them significantly for quite a few years now, but never have I appreciated them as much as in this last year. It has been so good to stay in contact and to see the Lord continuing to move throughout this pandemic. In the church in Chennai, India, Hilda and Cynthia have done an amazing job of taking over the ministry as Pastor Alex passed on into glory and the church has actually grown considerably through this time because many of the large churches had to close for covid yet the smaller churches were able to keep functioning. But please do pray for them as covid cases are greatly increasing again in India and there is possibility of another major lockdown. Pray especially for their physical safety and also for their labors among the people there. Thanks to those who give so generously, we have been able to send them extra money for several months to help feed the hungry and meet needs of so many in their area who are suffering. They had many people coming to them asking for food. We hope to be able to continue to provide for this as long as they need it. As I have stayed in contact with various ministries and their needs have arisen because of similar situations, I have been thankful to be able to pass a portion of that which is given to IMS on to them to encourage both the leaders and the congregations.
As for me, I have spent quite a bit of time learning to do the books which Leon had always done and manage the funds for IMS. I hadn't done bookkeeping in a very long time and had never done it on computer, but each time I cried out to the Lord, He heard me and I finished the books for last year (and they balanced!) and I have this year's books up to date. It has been a challenge but it definitely kept me busy and I'm thankful to be able to continue the ministry that we established together and to have this channel for helping indigenous pastors and missionaries.
I'm not sure if it is my reward for the bookkeeping or strictly the goodness of God, but He has blessed our family with not one, but two new editions. On April 9th, our daughter, Leah, gave birth to twin boys, Ayden and Adryan! Woohoo! Both mom and babies are doing very well, daddy is very excited and big sister Layla is beyond thrilled with them . How great the gift of life is! We expect to have the three granddaughters and the two new boys together in June and this grandma is practically holding her breath for that wonderful time!!!!
Finally, we are still waiting to have Leon's memorial service. We were in lockdown here that prevented any such service having over ten people. Things are starting to loosen up and churches are open, but we want to make sure that we will not have another cancellation before we make plans. This has, as you might imagine, been very difficult to wait for, but our hearts are still set to do it and we will keep you posted.
Thank you all for your love, your prayers and your generosity. It is an honor to labor together. May the Lord bless you, guide you and draw you ever closer to Him.
The blog entries here will be written by Teresa but always with Leon and his heart for missions in mind.