What a wintry January it has been. We enjoyed a beautiful snow here in SC the week of the 10th, which turned into a snow week as schools were out the entire week. I hope and pray this email finds you and your loved ones well.
I had a great month of ministry, and treasure each opportunity the Lord allows me. I was privileged to minister at Waycross Baptist Church in Pelzer on the 8th, Cornerstone Community Church in North Augusta and Malvern Hill Baptist in Camden on the 9th and with the wonderful ladies at Church of the Apostles here in Columbia on the 22nd.
This past Saturday I flew to Kansas City, Missouri to head to the new headquarters of Urgent Records in Overland Park, Kansas. This was my first time in the state of Kansas, and this South Carolina girl thrilled at the sight of snow all over the ground. I was there to record 4 brand new songs for my upcoming spring 2011 Best-of CD entitled "This Far" which will include the most-loved/most-requested songs from my 1st 3 Urgent Records CD's "How Far", "Canopy", and "A Moment Alone." I wrote one of them entitled "Watching my Heart", and then Urgent Records' president/singer/songwriter/producer Phillip Sandifer wrote the other 3 entitled "Live More", "Weight of Your Glory" and "Open Windows." I can't wait for you to hear them! Because of the blizzard that is going on in Kansas and most of the middle section of our nation even as I write this, my trip was cut a day short so that I would get home safely before the storm hit. I got in late Monday evening after staying with the Sandifer family. It was like a family reunion, as the last time I had seen them was in 2003. As Phillip's wife, Rene and I were talking, we both felt it didn't even seem like we had been separated, because we literally just picked back up right where we left off years earlier. Phillip commented that though I came to town to record a new project, it felt more like a family reunion, and I had to agree. I have had the privilege of watching their 4 children grow into such wonderful people.They were all at home this weekend and we had such a blast. I think Rene and I about drove Phillip crazy with our non-stop laughing and talking!
It made me think of how heaven is going to be...I think it will be much like this weekend...we will just pick right back up where we left off with those that we have been separated from by death, and there will be lots of laughter, chatter, singing, worshiping, and catching up. There will be no more goodbyes, only a forever family reunion, where we will see our Father's face. Can you even imagine it? The scripture passage that comes to mind is Revelation 7:16-17 which says, "Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes." What an amazing thought!
Jennifer and I are learning to work with each other across the US and across time-zones. She is usually up around 5:00am to start work by 5:30 (7:30 my time) so that she is done by 8:00 and able to start homeschooling her girls or attend All-Community Worship/Family Breakfasts with the Timberline staff and students. Here's a brief update from her: "We're all doing well and enjoying the snow and breathtaking scenery all around us. In addition the wild life around us is amazing - we found moose-tracks going right by our living room window and Reid has watched two moose spar in the field in front of the Lodge. In spite of the cold (it is minus 30 this morning as I write this - not including the wind-chill factor), and in spite of missing our family and friends in the Carolinas, we are truly thankful to be here and have the opportunity to serve the Lord by serving and loving the students at Timberline Lodge. One matter of prayer - our landlord told us last week that the house we are renting did go under contract so we need to find a new place by the end of March. Having just moved across the country, the thought of packing up again is rather discouraging. But that is life here. We will probably need to find another place to rent/house sit that is on the market. As God brings us to mind, we would definitely appreciate your prayers. In addition, altitude sickness is a real thing and we're battling that in combination with a cold of some kind. But all this shall pass. Reid and I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to share our Faith Stories (testimonies) with the students and staff last week and are so thankful for the opportunities that the children are having to be surrounded by a group of godly staff and a fun bunch of students. They're having a blast on Timberline's tubing hill and learning to ski for free at the YMCA - the largest one in the US! In the midst of uncertainty we have much to be thankful for and are amazed at God's provision for us. Being able to continue to work for Dawn at a distance is a huge part of that provision. Now we just need to get her out to Colorado for a visit! :)"
This month I am looking forward to many ministry opportunities. I will be in Georgia at FBC Blackshear on the 4th and at Consolation Baptist in Baxley on the 6th. I'll be heading to North Carolina and Forest Hills Baptist Church on the 12th and 13th and then to Florida at FBC Macclenney on the 26th and 27th and back to Jesup, Georgia at Memorial Baptist Church on the evening of the 27th. The beginning of March takes me out to Oregon, so as you can tell I have a month of major traveling ahead of me. Right now we are making the final decision of the songs we will include on "This Far." If you have a favorite or several favorites, we would love to hear from you as you can cast your vote for the songs you would like to be included. As always, thanks so much for allowing me to come into your life each month. Your prayers are greatly appreciated as I head into this busy month of ministry. It is with great joy and gratitude that I am privileged to serve God and His people in this way. I hope to run into you along the way!