In the process of our move, many of you asked questions about our new city and ministry in your comments, both public and via email, so I thought I'd take a minute to answer you out here on the blog rather than buried in the comments.
Does this change of your location affect your deputation next year at all? Yes, it does! One of the things I was looking forward to most of this year was taking a furlough next year and getting to meet some of my blogging friends. One of the reasons for a missionary to take a furlough is to raise more support for the ministry. The church here is able to partially support us, which lessens that need of furlough. While I'm disappointed that we won't get to travel and visit our supporting churches and meet new friends, I know in the depths of my heart that we are in God's perfect will at this new church.
Will you still be on missionary support? Yes, we are still on missionary support, which we appreciate very much. Wes has asked our supporting pastors to continue supporting us until such time as the church here can support us full time. We'll let our supporters know as soon as that happens, so that they can use the support they send us to help another ministry.
Where are you located now? We now live in Kelowna, BC, which is located about 4 1/2 hours northeast of Vancouver in the Okanagan Valley, farther into the interior of BC. Before we moved here, we had heard of Kelowna and had driven through the city on the way to a missions conference several years ago, but we hadn't been all that impressed with it! LOL We loved Vancouver, and Kelowna is much smaller and has a much different climate and landscape than Vancouver. We still love Vancouver, but the Lord has opened our eyes and hearts to the people and beauty of Kelowna.
The name of our church is Peoples Baptist Church. It was started 18 years ago by Pastor Claude Madle, who resigned this summer to pursue God's will for himself and his family. The church runs around 75 on Sunday mornings, and there's a bus ministry that brings in about 20 children from the community at this point. This group of people has welcomed us wholeheartedly into their fellowship and hearts, and we feel right at home with them. They're excited about the future of our church and ready to head in new directions and grow.
What will happen to Lions Gate Baptist Church? The wonderful people of Lions Gate Baptist Church have placed themselves under the umbrella of Greater Vancouver Baptist Church and Pastor Gordon Conner. He is sending men over each week to preach for them, and they are operating as an extension of GVBC. Wes had originally suggested, after much counsel with other pastors and prayer, that they merge with another independent, fundamental Baptist church in the area, but they opted to continue on and will hopefully call a new pastor in the future. We haven't forgotten them, by any means, and we'll continue to pray for them as they seek God's will for their church. In fact, we have been in touch with several people from there since our move, and we were so pleased to learn that one of the men who had been attending our services with his wife and daughter accepted the Lord as his Savior last week! We had been praying for him as a church, so we are thrilled to hear this news!
Will this affect your monthly grocery trips to the US? Possibly. We are about 3 hours away from the nearest Wal-Mart Supercenter in the US. We can still make that trip, but we are considering making it less often because of the extra hour it will take. We've also considered not going at all. We'll just have to see how the Lord leads in that area as we go. We have an opportunity to be in a missions conference near the end of November in a church that is closer to the border, and if we go, we'll just take an extra day away and go down to shop.
Those are the most common questions we've had. If you have one that wasn't answered here, feel free to ask and I'll answer it if I can. Again, thank you so much for your prayers and kind comments as we've moved and gotten settled into our new home. Later this week, I plan to share with you some of the differences between the cities of Vancouver and Kelowna. They're totally different!