Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Brinkley, Our New Puppy

So, Angie and I got a new puppy. His name is Brinkley and he's a Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie. We want to put up photos of Brinkley online, but rather than inundate this blog, we've made a new blog that is all about him. Check it out if you want to see our new little buddy. Follow the link below...


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Matt Preaching

Matt Preaching
On Sunday, March 22, I will be preaching at Sandusky Christian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you desire feel free to join us, the service starts at 10:00 AM. It is on 11th street between Yale and Harvard. I will be preaching on Biblical Leadership – Italian Style. I’ll be sharing some examples from Italian culture and history that illuminate the kind of leadership that God calls us to in the church. Maybe we’ll see you there!!

Where Things Stand

Where Things Stand
So where does the recent support increase leave us standing? There were two main areas of support raising that we were focused on. The first area was in one time support. We originally had a goal of $38,521 which included $10,000 towards future facility which, as we reported, decided to postpone since we didn’t need it until the majority of our team is out of language school. That left $28,521. God brought in $27,471, leaving only $1050. That is amazing and we are incredibly grateful to all of you who partnered with us in that or that prayed for it to be. Pray for that last $1050 to come in!

The second area of support raising was towards monthly funds. Our monthly budget sits at $6,976 (based on $1.47 per 1 euro). Of that God has provided monthly committed partners in the amount of $6460, which is 93% of our total monthly budget! That is incredible and we are very grateful for the prayers, commitments and sacrifice that goes along with that. Of course, even from the field we will have some focus on that last 7% of support raising. Please pray for monthly commitments to cover the remaining $516 per month!

New Prayer Topics

New Prayer Topics
You’ll start seeing some new prayer topics filtering through our prayer updates. Just write us if you would like to receive our prayer updates, which normally are sent twice per month. Some things you can begin praying about is our visas, apartment search in Verona, team separation and travel.
· Visas – we have to apply for religious worker visas from the Italian consulate in Houston. In order to apply, we have to meet all the requirements that the Italian government has for that particular visa and then compile all the documents that prove so. Then we must present those documents in person in Houston and wait once more while they pour over the application. It is a process that can take as little 7-10 days and as long as three months.
· Apartment Search – Starting next week, I will be contacting our real estate agent in Verona to begin putting together options for us to look at (and pray over). Hopefully, they will be able to send us photos via email so we can better imagine the situation and evaluate each apartments merits’. We plan on making our choice upon arrival in Italy during our first weeklong stay in Verona. Please be praying about this. We want to be where God wants us to be, not just down to the country or city, but the neighborhood, building and specific apartment. We believe that God has just the place in mind for us to do His work and help us to not get in the way of His plans!
· Team Separation – It is one thing to be in separate states within the same country, it is quite another to be a team separated by an ocean with differing roles and functions. Please pray for all of our remaining team members, as they continue advancing during this time of preparation and support building. Pray for us and April upon arrival to not feel lonely without the rest of our team in Verona.
· Travel – During the remaining three months, we have much travel planned. This includes travel to Houston for visa procurement, Louisville, Joplin, Kansas City and other potential sites. We would love to provide a final visit with each of our supporting churches, pray for there to be time and finances enough to allow that.

Pre-Departure Stage Has Begun!

Pre-departure Stage Has Begun
This week we received confirmation from a church that is supplying $4,000 out of the last $5000 that we needed in one time support. Since that is 96% of what were raising in one time support we are moving forward into our pre-departure phase. We are currently shopping for tickets around June 7-10th. That gives almost three months to do everything we need to do before heading back. Several tasks had to wait until we had confirmation, so now we can begin those tasks and in fact have already begun some. Thanks for your prayers, your gifts, your sacrifice and your support as we have gone through this very flexible period of preparation, training and support building. The time has not been wasted and we have been grateful for the extra time with family, friends and an America that we love.
April Houk, who is also ready, will be joining us in Italy about three weeks after we arrive there. Arriving prior to any team members will allow us to set up a more stable environment as they arrive and experience the culture, Italian style. It also allows us to take care of some of our specific legal and logistical tasks and then be allowed to put more focus on April and all subsequent team members that follow.