Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Ministry is Expanding

Sometimes as Christians in the USA, we forget about the power of prayer and we get focused on doing what God has called us to do.  Sometimes we get so focused on doing that we even forget about Who it is that called us to do it.  I know as a person who tends to be goal driven, I have been guilty many times in my life of following God into a calling and then getting busy "doing" the ministry "for" God.  THAT IS NOT WHAT GOD WANTS!  God wants us to walk with him and trust him each step of the way as he guides us through each twist and turn.  Only through prayer and study of the word of God is that possible.  Unfortunately, it is human nature to handle things ourselves when things are going well and to rely on God when things are not.  I can tell you this.... there is nothing like a diagnosis of advanced cancer that will cause you to rely on God.  Today, I want to share with you one example that demonstrates that prayer is so much more powerful than actually physically doing the ministry......

One of the strategies that we have in Honduras is to engage the pastors of the local churches and to train them to properly understand and teach scripture.  Right before we got our diagnosis and returned to the USA for treatment, we were developing a deep relationship with the pastors in Mercedes, Lempira, Honduras.  Mercedes is the mountain village that is about 1 hour from Gracias that we tried to take our Board of Directors to in June, but couldn't get there because of the rain.  The 24 churches that their head pastor supervises are in the mountains up to 3 1/2 hours surrounding Mercedes -- very remote villages that are very difficult for us to get to.  We were working towards developing this relationship with a purpose of working through the church in Mercedes to train the pastors and leaders in these other 24 churches, but we had to leave the field before that happened.  BUT GOD was already at work in the lives of these pastors to bring about this plan!  I received a call from Russell Sowers while he was at Pastor Training the first week of July and Pastor German and Pastor Melvin from Mercedes had approached him about contacting me about helping them set up a first year pastor training in Mercedes for 30 pastors from their churches.  Pastor German and Pastor Melvin are two of our mentors in the regular pastor training that we are doing and are doing an excellent job of teaching and mentoring other pastors and they want to teach their pastors, with our help with oversight and accountability and helping with the provision of the study Bibles and dictionaries.  The format will be different, but the material will be the same.  While God was doing this in Honduras, He was also in Kingsland, Georgia working in the hearts of Pastor Brian and their church to partner with us in Mercedes.  Brian will be taking a team down in September to teach in the normal pastor training, possibly participate in the new training in Mercedes, and look at some possible construction related projects in Mercedes that the Sowers need some help with.  This is way more than I ever imagined would happen in such a short time.

So how do you know you are doing the will of God?  Well, there are a lot of factors and it doesn't always work out this way, but one way is when you start a spark through the leading of God and then you fan the flame of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the fire spreads, you will know it was the work of God and not your own.  This is especially true if you are fanning the flame from another country.

What is the most important takeaway from this message for you?  PRAYER IS POWERFUL!  Our ministry is expanding in Honduras when we are not even there right now and I believe with all my heart it is because there are so many people praying -- praying not only for Julie's healing but also for the advancement of our ministry and calling in Honduras.  This has already re-taught me what I already knew -- when we go back to Honduras we must keep prayer our priority over the day-to-day "getting by".  We must not allow the problems of the day to drag us down and keep us from the prayer time that is so powerful.

So as you pray for us and our ministry here are just a few things you can specifically pray for:
  • Full and divine healing of Julie's body
  • for the pastors we work with around Gracias
  • for the continued advancement of the partnership in Mercedes
  • for the Robinson family, who is taking care of our home, vehicles, and foster children
  • for "J" and "M" (our foster children in Honduras), who have been sick this week and running fevers
  • for Dr. Maria (our family doctor in Honduras), who is an amazing Christian lady and is praying about possible opportunities in her life.
  • for the other missionaries we partner with in Gracias (Hopkins family, Powell family, Sowers family) and all of the missionaries, interns, and teams that work with all of them
  • for the Slyker family, who will be moving to Gracias in August
  • for Legacy of Hope, who we partner with on foster care
  • for us to find (and have money to purchase) land in or near Gracias to begin our next phase of ministry.  It is our hope that when we go back we will have located land and purchased it and are ready to begin the building process.
  • For us to know when we should return to Honduras after Julie is cured.
We thank you from the bottom of our heart for all of your prayers, notes of encouragement, and financial donations.

We have been posting "real-time" information on Julie's personal blog at Godisuptosomething.blogspot.com and haven't been cross-posting information here, but I do want to give a brief summary of her status.  She is having chemo every Friday -- just completed her 3rd treatment.  So far, the only side effect has been fatigue and it is primarily concentrated on Sunday and Monday.  The blood counts that they track to watch her immunity have been good each week (they drop on Sunday and rebuild during the week).  The cancer marker has begun to drop.  This next week is a busy week with a new biopsy on Wednesday, port installation on Thursday, and Chemo on Friday.  The following week will be the PET scan on Tuesday then chemo on Friday then we should be pretty much back on just Friday treatments through September followed by a likely surgery to remove the tumors.

In Him and to His Glory,
Ben

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Standing in the Gap

It is amazing to see how God had already prepared the way for us to temporarily leave Honduras to take care of Julie's medical needs before we even knew there was a problem.  We shouldn't be amazed because knowing and taking care of every little detail is part of the character of God, but sometimes we forget what a mighty God we serve and we end up amazed.

One of the details that God took care of was to bring the Robinson family to Honduras at just the right time.  They completed language school at just the right time.  They moved to Santa Rosa de Copan at just the right time, but by the design of God were unable to find a home that was big enough for their family so they made do with a small 3BR/2BA house on a month-to-month contract while they looked for something more suitable.  The home that God provided for us to rent was big enough for them as well as the 2 children that were already in our care and we would need someone to live in and take care of the house for us as well as the children.  They needed a bigger vehicle -- God had already provided for us and we would need someone to maintain the vehicles for us.  Not only was the Robinson Family a good fit with the timing of their needs and ours, but they have an amazing heart for children who do not have a family.  I asked Dean and Tamara to provide some information about their family and heart for missions so we could introduce you to the amazing family that is standing in the gap in Honduras for us during this chapter of our lives.  The following is what Tamara provided to me and it came right out of their ministry vision document.  If you have followed us for any length of time you already know that Isaiah 58:6-12 is the scripture upon which our whole ministry is based upon -- it spoke volumes to me as I read their biography that they ended it with Isaiah 58:10.

Please join us in prayer for the Robinson family as they stand in the gap for us in Honduras and take care of the two precious children that are now in their care on our behalf.  Our ministry will continue to provide the finances for the care of these two children as well as the maintenance of the home and vehicles so please continue to support New Beginnings Honduras as well as our Bright Beginnings sponsorship for the children.  The Robinson family needs the support just as we needed the support when we were in Honduras and we plan to stand behind them in prayer and finances provided for this ministry.

On a completely different note -- if you would like to follow Julie and I and the story that God is writing as she fights cancer, please follow us at GodisUptoSomething.blogspot.com.  We will occasionally cross-post key information here, but on her personal blog we will share information (and real and raw feelings) as we get it.  Our personal blog is the best place to get detailed and up-to-date information on how you can best pray for us and support us personally.

Blessings!

Ben Agee


We are the Robinson Family:  Dean, Tamara, Blake, Tate, Brooklyn, Olivia, Reagan, Lauren, Hannah, Riley, Asher, Halle, Wyatt and Jubilee.  We are from the small town of Woodland, GA and now live in Honduras where we are partnering with Legacy of Hope Foundation to develop family-based solutions for orphan, abandoned, and at-risk children and their families in communities where there are limited resources to help children without families or families who are struggling to stay together.

Our ministry first began 16 years ago when God opened our eyes to the number of vulnerable children in our own community who were without the love and nurture of a family.   Since that time, God has allowed us to serve Him with our lives through foster care and adoption ministry.  These experiences have transformed our way of life as God has increasingly used our family to minister to children and families in need.  Drawing from spiritual, educational, professional, and personal experiences, our ministry has grown from foster parenting and adoption to providing individuals, families and organizations with professional consultation, education and training, compassionate insight, understanding, empathy, and support as they care for orphaned and at risk children.

As we continued to seek God’s leading in our lives, He has directed our steps into international ministry.  In May 2015, we attended the annual Summit of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. As we waited for the first session to begin, we prayed together and asked God to reveal to us how He could use our marriage and family to reach more children with hope and future through the gospel. As our time at the Summit unfolded, God began connecting us with others who share His heart for the orphaned child in Honduras, and we left the Summit filled with anticipation, recognizing the familiar sense of leading that filled our hearts.

We spent the next six months Skyping, emailing, and learning more about ways we could support those serving orphaned and at risk children and their families in Honduras.  Tamara wrote policies and procedures and answered questions about trauma and best practices. We prayed and worshiped and thanked God for His faithfulness and for the hope we have in Christ.  We visited Honduras in November and again in May to deliver training on Trauma Competent Care and left there both times more in love with the Honduran people and with an even stronger vision.

While there, we had the opportunity to witness God moving through the church in Honduras on behalf of the orphaned and at risk child. The Holy Spirit moved on our hearts as we heard pastors and children’s homes' staff share about the development of family-based care solutions for children in a country where children are traditionally cared for in institutions.  We shared time worshiping and praying with ministry leaders and spent hours dreaming big about permanency programs rooted in the church. We left Honduras knowing that God had plans for us to return and engage in the global movement to expand Christian action for children in need.

When we returned to the States we shared our vision with County Line Church, our families, and our friends.  God provided the opportunity for us to be sent and in January 2017 we arrived in Honduras to begin our work. God continues to reveal to us His love for the vulnerable child, and we are thankful for the privilege of being a voice for orphaned and at risk children in Honduras.

Spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (Isaiah 58:10)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Three Rivers Church Mission Team

Zane, Sabrina, Randy and Kim had a plan when we all headed to Honduras. Little did we know, God had additional plans for us. The team took medical supplies, clothes and toys for the children in foster care.

While there, Zane and Randy went with Ben and Austin help train Honduran pastors. Wha sweet fellowship was had with these precious believers. For the Agees, they also got the cistern cleaned and connected to the water supply. They also got the dryer wired, and connected. It’s hard to hang clothes on a line when it’s the rainy season! (The Honduran electric system is a different entity.)
Sabrina and Kim helped Julie and Taylor assemble cribs, and organize the nursery and the medical supplies.



Above all the jobs on our “checklist,” at the top of the list was to love on the two babies in the Agee’s foster care. They have a 2 year old boy and his 6 month old sister. Such sweet babies! We quickly found a little guy following our every move, trying to see what we were doing. If only we could’ve packed them up and brought them home…

In our medical supplies was a large portion of gauze. None of us knew what the Agees were ever going to do with all of it. However, that Monday, Julie was not feeling well. The doctor said she thought it was appendicitis and sent Julie to the hospital. Unfortunately, it was cancer they found instead. Just like God, the gauze was the exact size Julie would need to care for her incision, and couldn’t be found in Honduras.


What a blessing it was to able to minister and love on this precious family as they began this journey. We ask that you keep them in your prayers.

Matthew 6:25-33 says, “25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

What a mighty God we serve!

In Him,

Zane, Sabrina, Randy and Kim