NEWS FLASH! GREAT ETERNAL OPPORTUNITY AHEAD!
We are rapidly approaching the final quarter of 2019. As we head into these final months, we would like to give an update on the YEAR TO REMEMBER CAMPAIGN. This financial campaign is designed to be a celebration of ten years of ministry. There were many options discussed by the Stepstones Board of Directors of how to celebrate, but they felt led to focus time and energy on a specific goal. The end goal is of eternal proportion represented by a physical structure. This structure will facilitate an education in a loving and safe environment where students can hear and have opportunity to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The physical structure is a preschool addition to the school in Drouin, Haiti. The six room school has a present enrollment of 305 students with nine teachers employed to provide the instruction. The preschool addition will provide a unique place for educating preschoolers and provide relief of overcrowding in the present facility. The financial goal for this preschool addition is $110,000.00. At the present time $50,662.60 has been donated leaving a balance of $59,337.40. The last quarter of this year is important as we pray and work to complete the campaign and celebrate with the beginning of construction in January 2020.
Please join us in praying for, sharing this opportunity with others and giving! We have been challenged to raise a matching pool of donors to help meet this goal. The challenge is to gather a pool of investors that would commit resources to match funds up to $30,000.00. If this pool of investors can be gathered it would represent half the funds needed to exceed the outstanding balance of $59,337.40. The $30,000.00 pool of matching funds commitments need to be gathered by October 11, 2019 so the roll out of the final push toward the finish line can begin October 14th. Will you pray, will you share, will you commit an amount to the matching pool? A donor has committed to match donations to the Matching Pool at 50 cents on the dollar. With this commitment we only need to raise $20,000.00 for the matching pool of donors. Will you give so your donation can be matched thus increasing your contribution? Anyone desiring to commit to participate in the matching pool is asked to email their contact information and the amount to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone desiring more information can contact Mike Brister by email at email@example.com or by cell phone at 254-718-5040.
Sunday October 7, 2018 started early with a 4:30 a.m. alarm. The goal, traveling from Center, Texas to Damon, Texas to worship with New Shores Baptist Church in Sweeney, Texas as they launched a northern campus in Damon. Driving down Highway 288 God broke my heart in preparation for arriving in Damon to participate in this new adventure with New Shores. He broke my heart with a song I had never heard before, but was on a Spotify created list. The song, “It’s About the Cross”, by the Ball Brothers. It is highly advised to set aside about 15 minutes and listen to the song several times in succession while intently listening to the words. Arriving in Damon, worshiping with the church and driving through the community praying following the service it became apparent God was doing more than I understood that day.
Returning from Damon that Sunday afternoon, I kept praying and listening to what God was saying. This conversation with God continued into the new year. In January, a call was made to BJ McCurdy the pastor of New Shores Baptist Church. I shared what God had been speaking to me concerning Stepstones future involvement in Damon with the possibility of teams coming in the Summer of 2019. Teams would work on the church facilities, lead a Backyard Bible Club and host outreach events. BJ listened and said, “We as a staff have been praying Matthew 9:35-38 asking God to send workers into the field to harvest in Damon!” The answer to the offer is YES, YES, YES! How can we say no to God’s answer to prayer?
Making a major leap forward in time, prayer, preparation, phone calls, gathering churches to labor in the field of Damon, training events, sight based visits and gathering of materials, Summer finally arrives. There were two weeks scheduled for service in Damon, one in June and the other in July. There were five churches that God brought together to serve in unity as a larger expression of His Church. The first and most vital part of this task was provided through FBC Broaddus as they committed early in the year to provide Cook Teams and a Shower Trailer for both weeks. This group performed tirelessly planning a menu and serving amazing meals. They kept teams fueled and hydrated so laborers could continue serving with strength and energy. The second part of the equation was provided by the Youth Ministry of Summit Heights Church in Hawkins. This group of students and their leaders served in June to perform much needed preliminary work and lay a great foundation for the July team. The third part of the equation was provided by Believers Baptist Church in Emory, Texas and FBC Haslam, Texas. These teams arrived with adults with the exact skills needed to lead groups to replace fascia boards on the church, caulk, paint, mow, weed eat, power spray, share Bible Stories, lead songs, etc., etc. As the teams pulled out of Damon in July more was accomplished by the unified efforts of the four churches who traveled to Damon to serve with New Shores than had been initially scheduled.
On Wednesday afternoon of the July trip we were given the permission to walk across the street and serve Damon ISD. We offered to power spray a portion of their building and it opened the avenue to greater service and impact than we anticipated. Thursday morning a small portion of the team remained at the church to finish up final details, but the large portion went to work at the school mowing, weed eating, cleaning and reworking flower beds, trimming bushes, moving furniture and hauling off major amounts of grass by the truck load. By the end of the day most of the property had been mowed, a large portion weed eated and the whole front of the school had been power washed. The School Board met that evening and following the meeting they walked across the street and joined the teams for a great Fish Fry! The Superintendent of Damon ISD thanked the group for the amazing amount of work performed. He shared that he had been praying asking God how they would ever get caught up with all the maintenance needed before school started. Holding back tears, he said, “Each of you are literally an answer to pray!” An applause of worship erupted and we knew God had done something only He could do!
One take away from the experience was revealed as Pastor BJ and I stood under a tree observing the transformation of the church facility and the school. What transpired from October 7, 2018 until July 19, 2019 was a clear picture of what a church can accomplish by being obedient to make disciples, praying and responding to God’s voice, working with a clear vision and humbly serving together in the Field White Unto Harvest! There are a multitude of God events that can be shared of answered prayers, team members changed, amazing contacts in the community, provisions, new people joining the church in Damon, etc., etc., etc. Lastly, PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW! THANK YOU FATHER FOR CALLING AND SENDING!
The campaign continues to move forward and we Praise God for His faithfulness to provide the needed resources by touching hearts to contribute to the overall goal of $110,000.00 by the end of the year. Ever penny contributed will go toward adding a preschool building to the school in Haiti. Presently there are 305 students enrolled at the six room school. There are 9 educators employed to provide instruction. When this preschool is added it will provide much needed relief of over crowding. Today is May 31st and we have received 48,078.00 toward the goal. Six months into the campaign , which began December 1, 2018 we should be sitting at $60,000.00 come tomorrow. We trust in God as Jehovah-Jireh the provider and have seen Him provide the present resources in amazing testimonies from those who have contributed. We will continue to pray and ask for wisdom and for opportunities to share the vision of this celebration for ten years of ministry. We look forward to having a prayer celebration by the end of 2019. As you can see by the developing puzzle picture, we have completed the top row and only need $1922.00 to add the first piece of the second row. Will you join us in praying, sharing and giving?
We praise God for the work He has invited us to join Him in these past ten years. As we move through this tenth year of walking with the Father, the celebration goal of adding the preschool building onto the school in Haiti is an exciting faith adventure. As of May 1st we are only about $900.00 from completing the April goal. The completion of this goal will allow the addition of the final piece of the puzzle on the top row of our picture. At this point, in the YEAR TO REMEMBER CAMPAIGN, we should be at $50,000.00. On June 1st, we should be at $60,000.00. There are some pledges that have been made toward this campaign, but have not been received as of yet. Please join with us as we ask God to touch hearts to give toward the preschool building. In reality, the gift toward the building is an investment in the education of children in this remote village in Haiti for decades to come. As this investment is made, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being consistently shared in the classroom meaning the investment is in eternity for those children who surrender their lives to Jesus as Lord! Will you join us in praying and giving to make an eternal impact?
We had a great time with the firemen “Bomberos” in San Lucas Toliman during our April trip. This is a new fire department getting started from the efforts of one gentleman who has been diligently working to see this accomplished for ten years. We were able to spend two evenings with this group of 11. On Tuesday evening Bob Willingham a retired fireman from Irving, Texas who presently lives in Corsicanna, Texas did a training on how to “READ SMOKE”. The Bomberos were locked in and inquisitive. Following the “READ SMOKE” Training there was a lengthy question and answer time. Through the questions we are better prepared for what to share in future trips to help these dedicated individuals. On Thursday evening we spent several hours leading the Bomberos through team building activities and working through rescue scenarios. The evening started very lite hearted, but soon became very serious as they grasped the opportunity to look at every task as a true fire fighting scenario. The final activity of the evening was a race between four members of the U.S. Team and four of the Bomberos. The race was to see who could complete the task of all four team members putting on and taking off a set of Bunker Gear. This was a challenging feat especially for the U.S. Team. The U.S. Team thought they had won once the last member was suited up. The final Bomberos completed suiting up and saw the U.S. Team celebrating, but began taking off the gear. Once the Bomberos was out of the gear, I pronounced them the winners since they had completed the instructions of all four members needing to put on AND take off the Bunker Gear. Laughter was had by all and the U.S. Team was a little more humble. Once the laughter had subsided we presented the Bomberos with ten sets of Bunker Gear for their department. They were extremely excited since they had no gear. The final part of the evening was to present the Bomberos with a new Bible. Each Bomberos received a Bible and immediately opened to look. Three of them placed their faces between the pages and took a deep breathe. It was an amazing sight to see them receive with such humility and gratitude! I asked them if they would willingly leave a piece of the Bunker Gear behind if they were responding to a fire. They quickly acknowledge they would not willingly leave a piece of gear. I shared with them the Bible is the most important piece of equipment they could have in life, for through the words in the Bible they could come to know Jesus personally. The gentleman who has been faithfully working to develop this fire department asked if he could speak. He has been elected Fire Chief. He opened the Bible and read a passage over the Bomberos. In that moment, I knew God had raised up the right man to lead this group of Bomberos.
Praise God for His provision! We are right on target for meeting the goal for March. Three puzzle pieces of the overall Preschool Building have been provided! The next milestone is April 1st and another $10,000.00 is needed to stay on track for our January 2020 completion date for the preschool building in Haiti. Please pray for God to touch hearts in the coming weeks so we can complete one row of the overall puzzle. The puzzle is beginning to take shape, but we have a long way to go. For those who have given, we PRAISE GOD for your generous gift!
We just completed the second month of the YEAR TO REMEMBER CAMPAIGN. Thanks to all who gave toward the goal of adding a preschool addition to the school in Haiti. The goal for puzzle piece #2 was $10,000.00 and $5575.00 was received. The two month total is $17,315.00, leaving us just $2,685.00 short of the two month goal. Please join us in asking God to touch the hearts of people to give. The next puzzle piece goal is $10,000.00 and the faith goal to stay on track is $12,685.00. Piece #3 is due March 1st. As tax season is upon us and possible returns available, please consider making an investment in the lives of children in Haiti. Also, please consider sharing this opportunity with family, friends, coworkers, civic clubs and church members. Your gifts will help us complete the second and add the third piece of the puzzle as we continue to build the picture!
We are Praising God for His provision of the first puzzle piece toward completing the Preschool building in Drouin, Haiti. The goal of the first puzzle piece was $10,000.00 and God touched the hearts of people to contribute $11, 740.00. Thanks to everyone who gave toward this first piece! Please join us in praying for Puzzle Piece #2 of $10,000.00. The picture now looks like the following.
The YEAR TO REMEMBER CAMPAIGN BEGAN December 1, 2018. The goal is to raise $110,000.00 to build a Preschool Addition to the School in Drouin, Haiti. We are praying and we ask you to pray asking God to provide the financial resources to accomplish this task. As resources arrive we will post an update in the form of a piece of the puzzle until we reach the completion of the goal which is targeted for January 2020. On the first of each month for the first 9 months the financial puzzle piece needed is $10,000.00 each. The final 3 months we need puzzle pieces that represent $7,000.00, $7,000.00 and $6,000.00. On December 1, 2018 the picture we are praying to complete was a blank slate.