Sunday, August 28, 2016

I am not ready...but I am


I can’t believe we only have 11 more days until Austin and I move to Honduras. WOW!! Where has the time gone? Ever since we purchased our plane tickets the time has just flown by, and here we are 11 days before we leave and I feel like I am not yet ready.

I am not quite ready to leave my family, friends, church, culture, and comfort. I’m not ready for the cultural shock or learning Spanish. I'm not ready to leave the comforts of the states where I can go enjoy Chick-fil-a or run to Walmart for ANYTHING. I am just not ready, and honestly I don’t think I will ever be ready. I have been spoiled to the comforts and things of America. But, you know what 1 John 2: 15-17 says?

 “15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

That is not saying that we can’t enjoy the things of this world. God wants us to enjoy the things he has blessed us with. In Genesis God gave Adam and Eve dominion over the things of the earth. It is when those things start to hinder our relationship with God that they become a problem. When those comforts and things prevent or stop us from taking the path God has put before us.

Ready or not I will be leaving for Honduras September 8th. I am not going to let the comforts that I have become accustomed to keep me from doing God’s will. They all mean nothing anyway apart from God. Yes, I will miss the conveniences, but sometimes God’s path isn’t always convenient. God can and will interrupt our lives, stretch us, challenge us, and move us out of our comforts. When we surrender we will see God work in unimaginable ways.

What I am ready for is to see God work in unimaginable ways, to make new friendships and connections with the missionaries on the ground and the Hondurans, to see the smiles on the faces of the people we are going to help, to be able to fluently speak and understand Spanish, to be able to drive in Honduras, to be God’s hands and feet, to make a difference in the life of a Honduran child, and to see the changed lives of those Hondurans that will receive Christ.

God is doing a work in me that only he can do. He is preparing me for the new life that I will be living away from friends, family, and comforts. He is growing me to fully rely on him, and I am willing to be grown.

***********
Update from this week...

We had our gender reveal and we are having a GIRL!!!! Ms. Emma Caitlyn Agee.







Also I just want to praise God for how he has provided for us and Emma. 

In him,
Taylor


Sunday, August 21, 2016

"Chase the Lion"

I'm reading a short devotion by the author Mark Batterson.  It's called, "Chase the Lion- If your dream doesn't scare you, it's too small."



Here's my favorite part from today:

"In every dream journey, there comes a moment when you have to quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.  You have to go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.

You have to go big or go home.

You have to take the road less traveled or settle for status quo.

You have to bite the bullet or turn your back on your dreams.

If you find yourself in a pit with a lion on a snowy day, you've got a decision to make. A decision that will determine your destiny.  You can run away from what you are afraid of, but you'll be running the rest of your life.  Or you can face your fears, taking a flying leap of faith, and chase the lion!

What is your lion?  What are you going to do with it?"

The scripture for this devotion is based on 2 Samuel 23:20.  One of King David's Mighty Men of Valor found himself in a pit on a snowy day--with a lion.  He had to make a choice, to fight or to be eaten by the lion.  As you can guess, he killed the lion.  He chased after this mighty enemy and won.  

My initial thoughts were--He obviously was a man of great strength and courage. The Bible doesn't  give us much information about Benaiah, but it does say that he did heroic deeds, he killed two champions of Moab, and he killed an Egyptian by taking the Egyptian's spear and killing him with it. In between his list of accomplishments, it says he chased a lion into the pit and killed it.

These verses made me think about our move to Honduras and all of the obstacles we are likely to face.  One such obstacle reared it's head this week.  We received word that the people in charge of foster care are making changes to the system again.  We really don't know what the exact changes will be, but we know that it doesn't change our call to help Honduran orphans.  

God will have to overcome these obstacles for us. And he can!  We just have to give him time to work it out behind the scenes.  

We just have to chase the God-sized dream, and allow God to direct it's course.  

AND  when the time comes--be ready to chase the lion! 

In Him,

Julie


Sunday, August 14, 2016

WOW! Go God!

Want to see how quick God can work sometimes?  Just 2 1/2 hours after posting the message this afternoon about the $1,000 matching grant for this week and we have already exceeded the grant level!  Thanks to our very generous financial partners, those that helped get the word out and last but not least our prayer team!

Please continue to pray that the $500/month that we need to complete Austin and Taylor's needs be committed soon.

If you would like to offer up a matching grant of any size please contact us and let us know.

Ben

Another Matching Grant!



Just this week we had a board meeting and as I was reviewing the financials with the board, I realized that when we had our last meeting just two months ago we had under $100/month committed.  God has been awesome in how He has provided for this ministry is such a short time!

I know some of you had planned to give during the last matching grant but we maxed out the use of the grant before you were able to get your gift to us.  Well, you have another chance!

The last matching grant was so effective at raising funds that we had another donor ask to do a matching grant.  This one is for $1,000 so every new $1 given between 8/14/2016 and 8/21/2016 will become $2 up to a total of $1,000.  As before, the matching is limited to new money, so if you are already giving monthly/quarterly/annually, any one-time gifts you make above your commitment or any increase in your commitment counts towards the grant.  Also, anyone who has never given before counts.  The rule is, if you give in person or online, the donation must be RECEIVED between 8/14/2016 and 8/21/2016.  If you mail in your donation, it must be POSTMARKED between those two dates.  If you make a monthly/quarterly/annual commitment and your first donation is received between 8/14 and 8/21, the ENTIRE YEAR of commitments will be matched up to the limit of the grant.

When giving online, you can automatically schedule your donation monthly, but we are aware that you can only select the 1st or 16th of each month as your donation date.  If you set up an automated donation online between 8/14 and 8/21, the entire year of your subscription will count even if the first donation isn't until 9/1.  However, subscriptions allow you to specify the number of months so if you specify less than 12 months only that many months will be counted for the matching grant.

Please help us get the word out about this new matching grant as it is another $1,000 that will only be donated if others cumulatively donate $1,000!

In other news, Austin and Taylor now leave for Honduras in 25 days.  They still need somewhere around $500/month to complete their budget.  Please consider this need as you make decisions about how you can help us with the matching grant.

Blessings,
Ben Agee

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Meet the Board (Zane Ownes)

We interrupt this week's regularly scheduled message to share an important update concerning the matching grant.  We had an overwhelming response and have already exceeded the $5,000 grant.  We are grateful to each person who participated in this but even more important than that is that we praise God for His faithfulness.  If you planned to give but didn't get to participate in the matching grant, your gifts will still be appreciated.  We now have enough up-front funds to put Austin and Taylor through language school and only need a few hundred more dollars per month to keep them on the field and then we will begin working on Ben and Julie's funding.  If anyone else is interested in providing another matching grant please let us know.

Now back to the regularly scheduled message from Pastor Zane, another member of our Board of Directors.....


Hi, I’m Zane Owens and I have the privilege of serving on the board of directors for New Beginnings. I’ve served with Ben and Julie in ministry for seven years now, was Austin and Taylor’s youth pastor through their high school years, and I am currently blessed to serve this wonderful family as their pastor. It’s because I know this family so well, their heart for God and their passion to make Him known to all nations that I have no reservations of being a part of this ministry and I was humbled, as well as honored, when asked to be on the board.

I am so excited about what God is doing, and going to do, in the Agees’ lives and ministry. But, if I am to be completely honest with you, I must admit, that this is a bitter-sweet occasion for me. On one hand I’m thrilled about this opportunity, this ministry, and I can hardly wait to see what God is going to do. But, on the other hand, I will miss them greatly once they are on the field. This family has become precious friends of ours and we love them dearly, so this is an exciting time (spiritually speaking) yet a gloomy time (humanly speaking) for me.  Am I the only one who has an inner struggle between the spirit and the flesh?  Does anyone else have to constantly be on guard to not let their own desires and preferences take the leading role? Man, this is a battle that I regularly fight. How about you?   Why don’t we pause for a minute and pray for each other as we try to navigate through these troubled waters of humanity?  Go ahead, I’ll wait………

Ok, so “New Beginnings”… I love this name. There is no better, or more important, thing that we can do than to offer the people of this fallen world a new beginning in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  This is the ultimate goal of New Beginnings, to share the good news of Jesus Christ and make disciples. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gave His followers our final orders before He ascended into heaven.  He said, And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."  At New Beginnings, we believe that Jesus meant what He said and so we are committed to accomplishing the Great Commission and make disciples of all nations.  Salvation of the lost, this is the driving passion of this ministry.  So some questions and answers:

Q – How do we bring salvation to the lost?
A – Romans 10:13-17 For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”   We take the Word of God to them.

Q – How do we get them to listen to our message?
A – This is where the orphan ministry finds its foundation.  It has been often said that people do not care what you know until they know that you care. This is so true; a homeless man probably won’t pay much attention to your speech about the Bread of Life or the Living Water when they’re physically hungry and thirsty. But, if you will first meet their physical need, showing them that you care, this will open up doors of opportunity to share the Gospel.  This is the principle that New Beginnings operates on with orphans. Before we can share the good news of a loving heavenly Father to children who are fatherless we must first be a father (and/or mother) to them and meet their physical and emotional needs. It’s then that we are afforded the opportunity to share with them the love of THE FATHER.

That’s the purpose and desire of this ministry, to provide a safe, stable, nurturing environment for at risk children, so that we can offer to them a New Beginning in Christ!  I will never forget, and will forever be thankful, for the first time I was blessed to go to Honduras and meet the precious children in the orphanage. It forever changed my life. When I returned the following year, the love and passion in my heart for these little ones just grew even more and so, I was thrilled when the Agee family told me that they had heard God’s call to orphan ministry on a full time basis. I pray for and look forward to many trips in the future. 
Please prayerfully consider being a partner to this ministry.  If you are able to give financially, what a blessing that would be. Like everything else in this world, this ministry takes money to operate, so would you pray about it?   Maybe you hear God speaking to you to go to Honduras and see firsthand the work that God is doing there.  Now we’re not ready for short term missionaries just yet, but you can be praying and preparing (learning Spanish will be a great help to you) so that when we are ready, you can be one of the very first to come and be a part of this amazing work.  If you’re not able to do either of these, would you commit to being an intentional, routine prayer partner with us?  You cannot overestimate the importance of having a team of believers behind you, holding you up through the power of prayer.  Would you commit to this? 
I am so excited to be part of this ministry and I eagerly wait to see what God is going to do in and through it!  
Until He Returns,
Pastor Z

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and
widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

James 1:27