Our “Pit Crew”

29 11 2011

If you’re a fan of NASCAR, you’ll know the name – Jeff Gordon.  Since he began racing back in 1992, Gordon has won an amazing 85 NASCAR races, including 13 races in 1998. He’s a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 (NASCAR’s most prestigious race), and is also a four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

But even with all of his amazing driving skills, Gordon wouldn’t have been able to win any of those races without the help of his pit crew. In a sport where seconds really matter, the pit crews can change a complete set of four tires in thirteen seconds, and they do so much more than change a tire.  The driver has the name everyone knows – but the driver knows he’s nothing without his pit crew!

There are unsung heroes whose support is the key to finishing the race. And not just at a speedway. For every one of us, at one time or another, it’s our “pit crew” that has made the difference in helping us finish our race.

When we first came overseas 22 years ago, there were a lot of questions facing us:  “Could we learn Chinese?” “Could we adapt to a new and much warmer climate?” “Would we be able to handle being separated from parents and family members for long periods of time?”

But thankfully, we had a great ‘pit crew’ supporting us all these years.  We’ve received countless letters, cards and emails with words of encouragement and support. As we shared our family and ministry-related prayer requests, they stood together with us in prayer, no matter what the need was.  When it came to supporting our ministry financially over the years – whether it be church-related projects or our personal support – it has made all the difference to us.

A wise man once wrote, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 3:10, 12)

To all of you who have ministered to us over the years as part of our “pit crew” – thank you for making a difference in our lives, and helping to make it possible for us to live and minister in Asia these past 22 years.  We couldn’t do it without you.

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie

PS – As self-funded international workers with the C&MA, financial support can be directed to us through the Marketplace Ministries Office:
Marketplace Ministries
PO Box 35000,
Colorado Springs, CO 80935-3500

Checks should be made payable to “The C&MA”, with the designation “CHUTE/Marketplace Ministries” in the memo section of the check.

Churches in China are in the final stages of planning for their outreach services leading up to Christmas.  PRAY that many would respond to the Gospel message as it is presented in these services over the coming weeks.

PRAISE God for a good first meeting with the 8th grade girl’s discipleship group.  The girls are very open and excited to grow together in their walk of faith.  PRAY for the middle school boy’s groups, which have been a little slower in gaining interested students.


We’re Thankful

24 11 2011

When it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving – we strongly support equal opportunity!  So whether it’s celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in October or American Thanksgiving in November, we try to take advantage of each opportunity to not only enjoy a good meal with others, but to have a grateful heart for all that God has given to us.

Did you know:
The first North American Thanksgiving is traced back to 1578 when the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a formal ceremony in what is now called Newfoundland. I don’t think they baked a turkey that day, but there was indeed a great party to give thanks for surviving the long journey across the Atlantic.

Forty years later, and also after crossing the ocean, French settlers led by Samuel de Champlain in Nova Scotia would hold huge feasts of thanks. They got a little more organized, and formed “The Order of Good Cheer” and shared their food with neighboring native Indians.

About the same time, such feasts were also held by English colonists and Abnaki Indians at Maine’s Kennebec River (1607), and in Jamestown, Virginia (1610), when the arrival of a food-laden ship ended a brutal famine.

In the United States, days of thanksgiving were celebrated throughout the colonies after fall harvests. All thirteen colonies did not, however, celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time until October 1777. George Washington was the first president to declare the holiday, in 1789.

By the mid–1800s, many states observed a Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile, the poet and editor Sarah J. Hale had begun lobbying for a national Thanksgiving holiday. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, looking for ways to unite the nation, discussed the subject with Hale. In November 1863, four months after delivering the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring the last Thursday in November a day of thanksgiving.

In 1879 the Canadian Parliament declared November 6th as a day of Thanksgiving and also a national holiday.  Subsequently over the years many dates were used for Canadian Thanksgiving, the most popular, the 3rd Monday in October.

After World War I, Armistice Day and Canadian Thanksgiving were both celebrated on the Monday of the week where November 11th fell.  Ten years later Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.

In 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November. Controversy followed, and Congress passed a joint resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains.

On January 31st, 1957 the Parliament of Canada declared:  A day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed…to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.

So whether you’re celebrating ‘American’ Thanksgiving this week, or have already celebrated ‘Canadian’ Thanksgiving one month ago, may we all remember that thanksgiving is a word of action (Col. 3:15b).

He who thanks but with the lips,
thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
comes from the heart.
~J.A. Shedd

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie
A training class for 30 new lay church workers will take place this weekend in southern China.  PRAY with us that the information these workers learn during these four days will be an encouragement to them and ultimately strengthen the ministry in each of their local churches.

Teaching Is …

15 11 2011

Teaching is sharing yourself with students …

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Until next week,

Joel & Debbie

Pray for the group of 8th grade girls that has expressed interest in meeting as a discipleship group.  Debbie will lead the group, but the objective is for the girls to support and learn from each other, as well as to be accountable to one another.
Pray that the group would come up with a meeting schedule that can accommodate everyone who needs to be part of this group at this particular time (not an easy thing with the frantic pace of activity in Hong Kong).