Dear Co-laborers in Christ,
It has been 5 years since God, in His great mercy, allowed Jan and me to become affiliated with To Every Tribe (TET) in Los Fresnos, TX. What an adventure it has been! We have had the privilege of working alongside some of the most amazing Christians that we have ever known. We have had the privilege of meeting many of our missionary heroes as well as some of the greatest pastors and educators living. We have been blessed to travel (primarily to Mexico but I also got to spend almost a month in Papua New Guinea) and rub shoulders with TET field missionaries. These are men and women who are willing to sacrifice all, including their very lives, for the gospel. To them, Jesus is worth it!

Most importantly, I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of training young men and women for the mission field. We got to mentor and love these young missionaries in training as they prepared for a life of missionary service. I had the blessing to lead them into “under-reached” areas of Northern Mexico where they were involved in hands-on church planting efforts. Many of these are presently on the field, preaching the saving gospel of Christ to people who have had little or no access to it.

Also, I was able to go into Mexico almost every Sunday for three years and preach to believers in two villages where there was no one to preach to them. This was one of my greatest joys. A couple of the TET staff members and several missionary trainees are continuing to serve these dear Mexican saints.
We have had a few struggles. We are older so, health has often been an issue. Sometimes we struggled financially but our Lord, through faithful saints like you, supplied every need. Sometimes we were face-to-face with some very dangerous, heavily armed guys in Mexico but, again, our Lord protected us. All in all, these 5 years have been fulfilling and joyous.

However, we have come to the place where we believe that we will need to resign from our present work. There are a number of reasons for this but these are the main things: Jan is no longer able to travel with me into Mexico for extended periods of time. This would make it difficult for both of us. I really don’t do very well traveling alone and it would not be right for me to leave her alone for extended periods. Also, I am uncomfortable being active in mission one month three to four times a year while receiving a salary every month made up of financial gifts from saints who are sacrificing to give.

Therefore, as of the end of July, we will resign from full time ministry. We are not breaking our ministry connection with To Every Tribe. I (Garry) will be teaching from time to time at the Center for Pioneer Church Planting and will be on campus for other events. Words could never express the gratitude we feel toward all of you who have prayed and given so generously to us. Please know that we have tried to be faithful to preach the gospel and help prepare others to preach it over these five years. Your love, prayers and generosity have made this possible. Your prayers and gifts were not wasted. There will be souls in heaven as a result of your sacrifice.

Again, I want to emphasize the fact that we are not quitting! However we would ask that you channel your financial gifts to other To Every Tribe missionaries (all TET missionaries and staff must raise their own financial support). As of the end of July, my full time employment with TET will end. Then at the end of August, I will receive a final disbursement of any donations left in my TET account.From that time on, To Every Tribe will no longer receive donations designated for us. Please keep this in mind as you plan your continued mission giving.

As for Jan and me, we will be actively involved in Faith Reformed Baptist Church in Titusville, FL. Also, I plan to continue to be involved in missions. I am trusting that the Lord will open other doors of ministry for us as well. Please keep us in your prayers as we will be praying for you until we meet at Jesus’ feet.

Love,
Garry and Jan

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Click the link below to view the update letter we are sending to our prayer and financial support partners.

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CPCP SPRING TRIPS-SERVING WHILE TRAINING

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Yesterday, several hours before dawn, the first wave of Missionary Trainees flew out to minister alongside To Every Tribe (TET) Field-based Missionaries for their annual Spring Trip. Yesterday’s group will serve with TET missionaries in Southeast Asia. At differing times during the next few days, three other teams of trainees will leave for fields in Southern Mexico, First Nations in Canada, and Papua New Guinea. Each team will be on the field for about a month.

On these annual Spring Trips, Missionary Trainees embark on an extended cross-cultural ministry project. This is part of the on-the-field training they receive at TET’s Center for Pioneer Church Planting (CPCP). During these trips, the trainees visit and work alongside TET field-based Missionaries to help them advance their vision for the people among whom they are serving. These Spring Trips benefit both the Field-based Missionaries and Missionary Trainees in many ways, such as:

  • Trainees have the opportunity to meet and get acquainted with To Every Tribe missionary families and their ministry.
  • Trainees are exposed to the work that is being done as well as the work that still needs to be done on fields that are presently being served by To Every Tribe missionaries.
  • Trainees benefit from receiving yet another level of hands-on, cross-cultural ministry experience.
  • Trainees are evaluated, advised, and coached by To Every Tribe missionaries and staff in order to increase their level of preparedness and suitability for missionary service.
  • Trainees have the privilege of serving, blessing, and encouraging the missionaries.
  • Trainees often sense God’s leading during these trips, as He clarifies His will for their long-term field of missionary service.

Each team has spent long hours praying, preparing, and setting goals for their trips. Please join us in prayer for the safety and success of these teams as they seek to serve a world that is increasingly hostile to the gospel of Christ. Jesus warned His disciples that the world would hate them just as it hated Him (John 15:18-25). The world has not become any safer for the follower of Christ in these modern times, so for the safety of our missionary teams, they will often be a little vague about names and exact locations when reporting on their work. In some cases, there will be few, if any, photos. However, through your fervent prayers, you can join them as they go to the nations.

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A Thought on Veteran’s Day

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I am thankful that I live in the United States of Ameria, a land of prosperity and freedom. I am fully aware that the freedoms we enjoy here have come at an extremely high price. That price is the life-blood of many soldiers who, in various wars and conflicts, have carried the battle to the enemy in order to keep us safe here.

Veteran’s Day is a time that we have set aside to remember with grateful hearts those who have given all to preserve and protect our freedom. We are also mindful of those whose lives are daily on the line as they track down the enemy elsewhere so the enemy can’t come here. The words ‘thank you’ seem terribly insufficient, but it’s all I have so, thank you.

However, there is another group of freedom fighters that is often overlooked.Inline image 1They are missionaries. The missionary is one who takes the great commission seriously and personally. He hears his Master’s call and readily obeys. He immediately begins to downsize and make preparations to leave. He says goodbye to loved ones and friends. He packs his bags, and together with his wife and kids, leaves behind the comfortable familiarity of his homeland to go to an unfamiliar place where they have not asked for him and possibly may be hostile to him.

These faithful soldiers of the cross boldly enter territory where Satan has for centuries maintained a death grip on the souls of sin-hardened men. They land behind enemy lines with no protection but the providence of God. They fear nothing but failure to declare the message of their King. They carry no offensive weapon but the gospel of Christ; knowing that the gospel is the only weapon that has the power to bring real and eternal peace.

Many missionaries are currently working in hostile environments where their lives are in constant jeopardy. Many of them have died in faraway lands where their bodies lie in unmarked graves. Some of them have been attacked and killed by the very ones to whom they were ministering. Others have succumbed to diseases or other dangers that are inherent to the harsh environment in which they lived and worked. They are like those of whom the writer of Hebrews says “…the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38).

While the value and success of a military veteran can be more or less easily assessed, the contribution of these largely unsung missionary heroes cannot be calculated by human reasoning. Only in eternity will the value and fruit of the missionary’s service become evident: “…and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13).

In the eternal state we shall hear the story of the potentially successful terrorist who, through the preaching of a missionary, surrendered to Christ. We shall rejoice with the one-time political rebel who was transformed by the faithful gospel witness of a missionary, and through the teaching of that missionary, began to preach the good news too. In eternity we will fellowship with many who would have been our enemies, but because of a missionary, they are our brothers in Christ.

As we remember the awesome contribution of those who have served in the armed forces of the United States of America, let’s not forget the soldiers of the cross. When we get to Heaven, we might learn that they contributed more to the preservation of our freedom than all the wars ever fought, without firing a shot.

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THE NEW REALITIES OF CPCP TRAINING

As a new season of missionary training begins here at To Every Tribe’s Center for Pioneer Church Planting (CPCP), the staff is excited to see the sacrificial heart already evident in this new group of Missionary Trainees.

These young men and women have already abandoned the so-called “American Dream” in order to prepare to reach the hardest places and people groups  on earth with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. As they arrive at the CPCP campus in Los Fresnos, TX, they are quickly confronted with several new realities.

First of all, they find that they are now missionaries. They must come to grips immediately with the fact that they are now responsible to play an active role on a church planting team in Mexico. They will be instructed in the classroom by CPCP staff members, veteran missionaries, pastors, and professors from some of America’s leading seminaries. This classroom training includes both theological courses as well as missiological instruction. However, the preparation trainees receive involves much more than sitting in a classroom. They will each leave the classroom setting and carry their newly acquired knowledge along with their Bible-driven passion for God’s glory into a Mexican village where these classroom principles can be put to the test in real mission endeavors. They are missionaries while they are training to be missionaries!

Not only do they discover that they are now missionaries, they also have become linguists. The first order of business upon being accepted to the CPCP is to begin learning Spanish. Since they are missionaries in Mexico for at least the next two years, it is essential that they learn to minister in the local language. For most of them, this is just the beginning of language study. If they go long-term to a country where a language other than Spanish is spoken, they will have to learn the trade language of the people. After that, they very likely will have to learn another indigenous language (possibly a language that has never been written) in order to evangelize an unreached people group. Even if Mexico is their long-term field of service, the unreached tribal groups generally speak their own dialect which will require more language study.

These things bring them face to face with another startling revelation: The task before them is too great, just as the task of training them is too great for CPCP staff members. It’s always  a good thing for each of us when we realize how utterly dependent we are on the Lord. It puts us face-down seeking help from the only Source that can enable us for these challenges. CPCP Missionary Trainees join a group of spiritually helpless and needy people who are constantly crying out for the wisdom, direction and power of the Holy Spirit to use us as tools in His hands and allowing us to enter into works that, in reality, only He can accomplish. In this way, Christ, the only One who is worthy of praise, gets the glory that belongs to Him.

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HOW I SEE CHACHALACA BEND

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As I behold the breath taking beauty and tranquility of what, until recently, was a Bed & Breakfast and a bird watcher’s paradise, this is what I see in the futue of Chachalaca Bend since the Lord has entrusted it to To Every Tribe:

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It is no longer just a B&B! No longer a bird sanctuary (although we don’t plan anything to make the birds less welcome)! This place is now a God place! A God sanctuary! It is a sanctuary in the same sense in which a church meeting house is called a sanctuary. God will be worshiped on these grounds!

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Every room will be a prayer chamber. Every floor and every bedside will be an altar where, hearts will burn with a holy zeal for Christ and bodies will be offered afresh as living sacrifices for the Master’s use.

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These forest paths and flagstone walkways will be tread by Center for Pioneer Church Planting (CPCP) Missionary Trainees who will very soon walk into the place of their own martyrdom.

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Every alcove and hideaway will become a chapel. The plants, trees and shrubs will be watered by the tears of soon-to-be martyr missionaries as they weep for the nations.

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Every possible space will become a classroom and the whole place a launching pad from which gospel firebrands will be flung to “every tribe and language and people and nation.”

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This place was built just as it is by divine appointment. When the previous owners were planning and dreaming of this oasis, they may have been unaware that their dreams were from the very throne room of heaven. As they sought out the craftsmen for the construction and as those craftsmen fitted every joint just so; they may have been unaware of the unseen hand of a greater Carpenter. They may not have realized that, as they were doing their very best work; they were doing it for Jesus and for the nations.

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Chachalaca Bend is now a God place. It is a sanctuary, a classroom, a training ground, and a battle ground where the spirit of antichrist will be met and overcome with the mighty weapons of truth, conviction that we are obeying the Lord’s command, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Having said all that, I must say that, to me, it is something more. It is a foretaste. A foretaste of that paradise of rest that God has prepared for His chosen ones, for if God would entrust something this amazing to unworthy men on a sin cursed earth…How beautiful heaven must be.

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FIRST WE BECAME A TEAM

Since returning from our recent Center for Pioneer Church Planting (CPCP) trip to an indigenous people group located deep  in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, I have had a little time to reflect on and rejoice in the goodness of God in allowing me to participate in the most amazing manifestations of His grace that I have ever experienced.

A few weeks before we left Los Fresnos, Texas, we began to pray and plan for our time of travel as well as our time in the village of SJQ.

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We had some preliminary goals for our stay in the village but as we prayed and planned, our goals began to evolve, mature and take on a more definite form and focus. These are some of the goals that began to take shape as we sought direction from the Throne of Grace:

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1. To serve the people of SJQ through the means of a medical and dental clinic showing the compassion of Christ in ministering to physical suffering.

2. To seek the anointing and unity of the Holy Spirit to enable us to work together as one body  in order to accomplish ministry to physical needs as well as to seize every opportunity to share the gospel.

3. To broadcast audio recordings of the Zapateco Q New Testament in the hearing of all who came to the clinic. (This was the first time they had ever heard any Scripture in their own indigenous language.)

4. To seek to build gospel relationships with the people of SJQ so that they will know that our ministry among them is based on the gospel and we are not merely social workers.

5. To spend time with Brother “A” and Sister “H”, the only known believers in Village Q (the main village of this people group), in order to encourage them, disciple them and show our “oneness” with them in the Body of Christ.

6. To seek an opportunity for CPCP Trainees who were not involved in the clinics to share Old Testament Bible stories with “A” and “H” (they have only the NT in their language) so that they might be able to see the OT and NT as one big story.

7. To serve To Every Tribe’s field based missionaries well while we were with them. To be a blessing to them and not a burden since we were such a large group. To help advance their vision for people group “Q” and not hinder.

8. To go with joy.

Before we had gotten very far in the planning process, we became acutely aware of some very real obstacles before us. These hurdles would have to be overcome even before we could effectively prepare for our journey. These were some of the obstacles that drove us to our heavenly Father in desperate prayer:

1. Due to the a very hectic schedule in the weeks leading up to our Spring trips, we were unable to begin serious team meetings as early as we had last year. We felt that we needed much more time than we had to bathe our goals in prayer.

2. Some of our Oaxaca team members were physically and spiritually worn out from the load of classroom instruction as well as stuggles in their northern Mexico village ministry and found it hard to focus.

3. Many of our Oaxaca team members were 2nd year missionary trainees who were not headed to Mexico as their field of long term service. With the stress of things mentioned above and graduation fast approaching, it seemed hard for them to feel personally invested in the Oaxaca trip.

Before we would be able to realize one of our primary goals- the goal of team unity- we were going to need a move of God among us. That’s when our Father began to show us that He was going to do mighty things in us and that He would do His will in spite of us! Scott Allen, a 2nd year Missionary Trainee, had the job of  shepherding the team through teaching and preaching the Word. On Tuesday of the week before we were to leave, God gave him a very powerful message on our unity in Christ. While he preached, I sensed the Holy Spirit melting away exhaustion, apathy and doubt as He bound us together with one heart and one goal. From that moment, there was a palpable difference. We became Team Oaxaca!

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Stay tuned for more about this amazing time of Center for Pioneer Church Planting ministry in an upcoming post.

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