It’s a phrase heard often at this time of year. Usually it evokes thoughts of the newest toys or gadgets that have been advertised in preparation for the holiday. Sometimes it brings thoughts of fun times laughing and making memories with friends and family. This year for Jessica and I it brought different thoughts.
When Jessica’s mom asked her what she would like for Christmas she didn’t know how to answer. In her heart the answer was “to be able to pay the bills” followed closely by “a family vacation”. I don’t share that as a form of guilt, but it does paint a picture of how our situation has been since returning from America this summer. Money has been so tight and time has been together but stressful. The blessed thing is that each and every time the challenge has come God has provided EXACTLY what we needed when we needed it. No more, no less. He is faithful AMEN?
Well as we were going through the story of the exiled Jews returning to rebuild Jerusalem in Ezra and Nehemiah for worship something spoke to me. We, like the Israelites, had stopped work on God’s temple when the situation became unfavorable. Almost everything in the F5 Center is finished except the church. It is a storage room. It is sitting forgotten. We will be starting weekly worship services beginning in the new year but we already planned another place to do it in because the church just isn’t ready. God really convicted me that we need to get it finished.
Then a friend wrote us and said, “You should come up with a Christmas wish list with approximate prices of each item and send it out and say if anyone wants to get us something for Christmas here is what we need/want.” It was a nice sounding idea but something that made me feel awkward. I dont like asking for things. He replied that he wants to support projects and believes others do too, but if no one knows there are needs then they don’t know where to give. Oh, how humorous that this was a big part of our long staff meeting I mentioned in our last newsletter. Only it was me telling my staff that same thing about their emotional and spiritual needs.
Long story not-so-long, we have made a list of some specific things that we would like or need. They will be listed in order of our idea of their priority for each catagory.
To Complete Church
- Church flooring $825 (The Woodward’s and I can install it ourselves)
- Chairs for Church $10/each (40-50)
- Curtains for echo reduction $500 (all concrete room echos terribly so these would dampen some of that)
- Projector screen for church $150 (we have a projector but no screen)
- Visa Extension $1,200 (due 12/19) (this is a one time per year expense)
- Washing Machine $330 (ours broke today)
- Family vacation $200 (Nice Airbnb near the national park for $45/night on 3 acres with a pool)
- Our flight tickets to the U.S. from last summer’s trip $940.96 still owed
- Water filter machine $120 (so I can stop hauling water for our home)
- Rent for F5 $1,100 (due 12/18) (and every other month if your church is looking for a project to sponsor)
- Climbing ropes $200/each (4 needed) (Our current ropes for outdoor trips should technically be retired for the amount of use on them.)
- Rental shoes $50/pair (20+ needed) (For the kids groups coming and also to replace some of our current fleet that are breaking down.)
- Spotlights $100/each (3 needed) (to help lighten the gym at night)
- Renovation supplies $3,000 (Modifications and repairs that need to be done)
- Plates for pizza $2/each (100 needed)
- F5 t-shirts $6/each (Our stock is gone and with our new logo it would be good to produce more.)
- Roof insulation $30/roll (7 rolls needed) (the gym is an oven in hot season with just the steel roof. Insulation would help that some.)
- Van $41,895 (new) or $29,715 (2013 model) (Not neccesarily a need but it is the highest expense to our climbing trips and also would provide a vehicle for our family to use as we currently fill the back of our truck with friends since our family alone fills the cab.)
Thank you for taking the time to look over this. We know that times are hard, we dont expect everyone to have the ability to help. But all of you can pray. Please keep these needs before the Lord who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and who owns the hills too. He purchased them with His own blood and there is nothing too hard for Him. Here is a great example of that below. This woman, Irene Hill, was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease 6 years ago but has chosen not to let that define her. She is so dedicated, encouraging and funny. On this day she decided to try climbing. I’ll leave it to her to share from here.
“…I dared to ask Brian if I could try climbing his wall. Parkinsons has slowly chipped away at my physical abilities: writing is difficult, chopping veggies is slow, hand dexterity is poor, walking is stiff, arm swing is minimal, posture is forward, feet shuffle, etc. etc. It’s enough to steal ones sense of adventure. The Lord gave me a desire to try climbing, Brian was willing and gave me a ten minute crash course (that was a poor choice of words!) Look what the Lord hath wrought! This old lady can learn new tricks!! It was exhilarating! I’ve felt really good since Wednesday. It may be the type of exercise, the problem-solving/mind involvement, the pushing yourself (when you’re six feet off the ground and your muscles quiver with the exertion you don’t step back and quit!) or a combination of them all. There are a dozen people with Parkinsons in Virginia that meet weekly to climb…and now researchers are studying the impacts of climbing on PD. Maybe I feel better because of the emotional thrill, the success, and the satisfaction that have all surely given me a surge of dopamine…that’s the neurotransmitter my brain lacks causing my diminished, slower movements. Don’t ever underestimate the power of the mind — positive hope increases dopamine and impacts my PD symptoms positively. Either way, it’s been a good week.. and yes, I will be climbing again!”
As you celebrate with friends and family this year, please make sure that you take time to think about the gifts that are truly important; a hug from a loved one, a smile from a child, a compassionate ear listening to your heartache, the ability to write with ease or chop veggies, the prayer of a Savior whose pain could not compare to His greatest desire of offering forgiveness to you and me, and the love of a Father that is willing to risk everything, even His kingdom, so that we can understand the truth of His character of unrelenting love. May your year end be filled with love, joy and peace. Enter into the new year full of grace and thankfulness as you remember what the Lord has done for you.
May God bless you and keep you until we meet again,
Brian, Jessica, Asher, Joseph & Prudence Atwell
- For our visa extension. We have been leaving the country every 90 days and that has been a huge burden. We are finally able to apply for a one year extension. Please pray it can be approved. (The initial 30 day extension has been approved while documents are reviewed. Please continue to pray for this. The first one is the major hurdle)
- That we can find the right workers with a heart to serve the Lord (We need to add at least 1 more for the gym and 2-4 additional once the cafe opens)
- For the resources we need, preferably through income sources, to cover our expenses. You can learn more below
- For extra protection over our marriage and family as the enemy seeks to discourage and destroy Christ’s work
- For us to be able to get some renovation work done while the staff is home for the holidays and the Center is closed
- For guidance for Josh and Chitlada (Directors of Jesus for Slum Kids project). They have been seeing many changes in their work and they could use an extra special outpouring of prayer. If you would like to find out more check out their website here http://jesus4slumkids.org/ or email the Project Director Joshua Bauder at Joshuabauder@hotmail.com. You can also view their project featured on the program MissionTREK here (Thank you to those that have been praying. God has been doing some amazing things and helping these kids see and understand the love that God has for them through the love Josh and Chitty are showing them.)