Friday, November 29, 2013

The Stivers' Thanksgiving Newsletter

Vigilant in Prayer with Thanksgiving
We have so very much to be thankful for this season. Out of devotional times in Paul’s letters lately, we came upon a verse in Colossians where Paul encourages the church to “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (4:2). This scripture speaks so clearly to where we are right now.

A couple months ago, we had so much ground to make up in our fundraising efforts with our plan to return to Tanzania in January. Early on it was really discouraging. We got to our friend’s house in Huntington late on October 1st and parked in front of her house. With money from my final paycheck at the church, we went to get groceries the next morning. Placed on our windshield the first day of our full-time fundraising, was a parking ticket. We were starting our fundraising $44 in the hole. That afternoon and several others like it were very difficult, but God was at work where we couldn’t see.

As our pastor in Long Beach spoke that next Sunday, we realized that sin and our fallen tendencies begin with ingratitude. Just as Adam and Eve weren’t grateful for all that God had done for them and given them, they set their eyes on that one fruit that He had forbidden. They crossed into the territory of sin and disobedience and it all started with ingratitude. Not unlike our most ancient of forefathers, we had come to realize how ungrateful and pessimistic we had become. Before God could get us back to Tanzania, He had to deal with our sin of ingratitude. Confession and repentance are a profoundly necessary part of the Christian experience. Thank the Lord for His forgiveness.

Over the last couple months, we’ve had moments where we just stop whatever we’re doing or talking about and decide to just pray; to continue earnestly in prayer as the scripture says. No matter what we’re going through, whether it’s a hard day or an easier day, we give thanks to God during our prayers. Sometimes it wars against our human desire to complain and be ungrateful, but that is where the vigilance comes in. And God is answering those prayers.

We continue to plan for our January return. We have seen and benefitted from the sacrificial and generous gifts of others. Some of whom we recognized in a previous post. Know that we are so very grateful for you. You are our blessing and a reason for our thanksgiving. We can’t pursue our calling and God’s desire for the nation of Tanzania without you. Thank you for being a part of our team. We have our eyes on some particular tickets for late January and as we pray, we realize that we likely will be out of California in under two months and it’s all because of God’s grace and the partners that have joined us.

We’ve had hiccups along the way (like Brandon realizing he put the wrong zip code on all of our support letters and the website for a time) and we haven’t reached all our goals yet but we’re on our way. We’d love for you to join our team. Both one-time gifts and monthly supporters are helpful. Please pray about joining our team and use the information below for any financial support.

God is gracious and we give Him thanks. We are grateful for opportunities to serve him here in California. We’ve been partnering and sharing with different groups at First Baptist Church of Paso Robles which is a supporting church of ours. We also spent two Sundays at Cayucos Community Church where we led worship and Brandon preached. We’ve gotten to connect with our supporting church First Baptist Church of Los Osos as well and are looking forward to a time this Sunday at Paso Robles Community Church.

In December, we are planning a road trip north to see ministry partners in Sonora and Redding, then, Lord-willing, will visit a supporting church of ours in Oregon, a Calvary Chapel plant called Nexus Portland. We then will spend Christmas and New Year’s with Melissa’s family in Los Osos. Keep us in your prayers as we’re here and as we return to Tanzania shortly.

Recognizing Our New Ministry Partners
As we’ve done in a past newsletter, we want to recognize new supporters that have given to our ministry in Tanzania. As we said previously, our ministry doesn’t work without you behind us. God is gracious and shows His hand through your giving. Thank you for partnering with us. Some of these have given one-time gifts, some have become monthly supporters, some have done both, whatever it’s been we thank you!

Bob Hager
First Baptist Church of Los Osos
John and Shelbi Rucker
Mike and Ashley Williams
Newport-Mesa Church
Nexus Portland

If you want to join our team, we’d love to have you. We are making progress, but are still needing more supporters. Our initial goal to return is $12,000 which would cover airfare, fixing our 4Runner which remained in Tanzania, paying our rent for several months in advance and setting up our new home and ministry in Moshi. For our monthly supporters, we are around 70% of our monthly need. If you’ve taken down our giving info before (or if you received the support letter with the typo) check it again by comparing it to the address below. Thanks for your support!

Make checks payable to ‘Global-Effect’ and write ‘BMS’ on the memo line. Send to...

PO Box 992856
Redding, CA 96099

Or you can give online through this website. Under program click “BMS (Stiver).” You can also set up a recurring gift there.

For any and all questions regarding giving, please contact us through email, Facebook or phone. Thanks for everything, you are a blessing to us.


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