VOB News Feb 2022 “Stand strong and build”

 I must confess:  I love the Old Testament.  I love the history, and the chain of events and how the Lord worked thru the nation of Israel to bring light to the nations of the earth, and, eventually, the Messiah, Himself.  I especially love the history of the Temple of GOD in Jerusalem.  King Solomon, David’s son, built the temple.  When Solomon’s son took over as king, the nation experienced a civil war and split into 2 kingdoms, Israel and Judah.  Israel worshiped wrongly and in different ways, but Judah continued to worship the Lord in the temple in Jerusalem.  Through the decades, Judah had a series of kings leading the nation.  Every time Judah had a righteous king, the nation would follow GOD, worship at the temple, and be blessed. Every time Judah had an unrighteousness king, the temple would fall into disrepair, and the nation would go its own way.  Eventually, this led to the Babylonian invasion, the destruction of the temple, and the deportation of the nation of Judah to Babylon, today’s Iraq (Israel had long since been deported to Assyria).  After some time had passed, the kingdom of Persia, (today’s Iran), conquered Babylon, and the Persian king Darius, allowed the Jewish people to return to their land, and rebuild their temple.  

What does this have to do with me, today?  I’ve been reading the minor prophets in the Bible, and have been ‘stuck’ on the book of Haggai.  When the Hebrew remnant went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, and reestablish their land, they found the land full of hardships and peril.  Difficulty and struggle were around every corner.  As time went on, the people gave up on building the temple, and began focusing on their own lives and homes.  GOD sent Haggai (and Zechariah), to speak to the people, encouraging and exhorting them to continue building the temple. His glory, in the form of the Messiah, would one day enter that temple.  It was critical for them to continue to build His place, so that the fulfillment of His Kingdom could come. If you know the story, you know that the people did, in fact, rebuild the temple. They carried on with worshiping the Lord there, albeit with many ups and downs, until Jesus arrived on the scene.  

I’ve been thinking about this, lately.  How true is it that we, as GOD’s people, have gotten discouraged, exhausted, and just plain worn out, and decided to focus more on building our own ‘houses’ and ‘kingdoms’?  How focused has the church become on building our own little projects, that, in the end, have little to do with building the Kingdom of GOD? These are questions I am asking myself these days, and I would like to humbly challenge you to ask yourself (and the Lord!), the same question.  Are you focused on building GOD’s kingdom; on glorifying Jesus in your daily life; on making sure others know and experience His love and presence in different ways?  Just as the Hebrew nation’s sole purpose in the earth, was to glorify and carry the presence of GOD, so it is now our sole purpose to do the same.  As believers, we are ‘grafted’ into the holy nation, and it becomes our goal and responsibility, to honor the Lord in every facet of our life. This is not an easy task, in a world full of sin, corruption and anger, not to mention the things we see on the news every day.  Nevertheless, that is our calling. That is what we were created for.  I encourage you today, to rededicate yourself to that calling, and to bring this to the Lord in prayer.  Ask Him how you can best honor and glorify Him in your life.  It’s an important thing for us all to do.  Remember, you are a temple of the Holy Spirit!  He lives in you now, if you know Jesus.  Be strong and courageous, and ‘rebuild’. Even though our nation, and many others, are in upheaval, our GOD is not.  He lives in you. Stand strong and build!  

Update:  We (along with our three amigos) made the long drive across the country, mid-February. We are back from taking a partial leave of absence, to serve my parents, during my dad’s illness and passing.  As painful as this time has been, it has also been deeply precious, and we are so thankful that we were able to do this.  At this moment, we are processing our ‘reentry’ back into ‘normal’ life here in San Diego.  Please pray for us, as we move back into our work, and please continue to pray for my mom, as she adjusts to this new normal. 

Wayne & Carol, Winston, Salem & Moravia.

 

VOB News January 2022 “Reflections & Gratitude”

From the desk of VOB…

Dear Friends;

Hope you have had a blessed new year so far. This time of year is always a good time to reflect our past year and think upon the year to come. We always wrap up the holidays by also celebrating our wedding anniversary on January 3rd (29 years this go-round). This month also completed 25 years of full time ministry. Many of you have tracked with us through these two decades and a half filled with adventures in the Lord in one way or another. Long before social media and the internet as we we now know it, we didn’t even have a computer much less a website or an email. We did have a Brother Word Processor (remember those?) that we used for writing papers in Bible College.  Through all the progression this is our 243rd newsletter!! (I’m a date and numbers guy – ha!)  When we left North Carolina in January 1996, to embark upon full time ministry, we would never have known that the roles we play would change a number of times through the years. But we always knew we would be serving whether by demonstrating or communicating the Gospel in one way or another. It became clear that our supporter base, support who we are and trust what we commit our lives to doing. 

These past few months, while serving Carol’s family through their greatest health crisis yet experienced, have been no different. We were beyond humbled and grateful to our VOB board of directors who agreed on our indefinite break from work in San Diego, as we remained in Virginia helping with family. And there is no less gratefulness and humility, than for the ongoing and faithfully consistent support from our team. YOU.  Even before these recent months, throughout this pandemic, we have never once lacked the resources needed to carry out the work we have been entrusted to do. After preparing tax receipts this month, we are reminded that this season in our ministry has been no exception. The Lord, and your faithfulness completely astounds us.

Liberty Plaza Capital Building Atlanta Georgia

All this to say THANK YOU! We truly thank the Lord for you, and the honor to serve together with you, just as Paul, speaking to the Phillipian church, ascribed he and Timothy’s sentiment; 

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good    work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”  [Philippians 1:3-6]

We could have never known we would have taken this unofficial sabbatical, nor known how faithful our supporters would remain, how consistent our team in San Diego/Tijuana would continue, and how the Lord would open new doors for connecting with Native Americans during this time. Faithful support afforded provision to our partners in Tijuana to ensure that food was distributed; one of VOB’s fully sponsored college students graduated from nursing school; an entire house was built (we can’t wait to return and visit the family in); Opportunities to link with Native American leaders in Georgia and Pennsylvania – and plans to connect more perhaps along the drive back west very soon. 

As we start to close our suitcases, that we have been living out of, and pack up the truck, we go with a father’s blessing. Carol’s dad told each of us he was proud along with a very intentional blessing before he passed. Later, Wayne had somewhat of a visitation time with the Lord where the Lord gave him a personal connection, or revelation if you will, that our Heavenly Father really does watch over us. Somehow knowing that Carol’s father is there with Him now, made that real in the most profound way! Our Father says well done to each of us!  Love Wayne & Carol