Cherish the Cross!
Churches, you have my permission to use my video (above) for non-profit and God-glorifying use. Click here to download it.
I know wishing you a happy Easter (or Ressurection Sunday as I prefer to call it) is coming late and right after the month of April has passed; however, remembering the cross often is only good! For those reading (and even those not reading) this digital letter we thank you exuberantly for remembering us in prayer as we live each day full-time on God's mission!
Purpose of the Blog
The goal of this public e-letter is to update those who care about us and God's kingdom work. What does "God's kingdom work" mean to us? We understand it to be a myriad of biblical mandates such as the proclamation of the gospel, church planting, international missions work, evangelism, discipleship, and so on. Therefore, we wish it to be understood that through this website, social media, blogging, emails, and other venues, we strive to promote the name of Christ and His unstoppable mission of redemption, not our name. If our website presence would but only slightly advance the cause of Christ and God's glory, such efforts would not be in vain.
We strive not to promote our name but rather the name of Christ and His unstoppable mission of redemption.
All that said, I wish not to give excessive amounts of time to maintaining a blog per se. Rather the majority of our time will be spent on matters of greater importance which entail more direct gospel efforts such as arranging mission meetings at churches, church planting (once we arrive in Taiwan), preaching the gospel, and discipleship. I trust you understand my motive for time prioritization. How that looks is explained below.
The Road Ahead
Yes. That is a pun. 'Cause we are missionaries and drive a lot. Get it? Okay...moving on.
Moving forward, I plan to share a more detailed newsletter (such as this) bimonthly. For example, January through February, March through April, and so on. Therefore, the next comprehensive newsletter is scheduled for the end of June 2017. These particular bimonthly editions (and others sure to follow) will feature deputation progress, gospel work accomplished, family well-being, general news, missional thoughts, prayer requests, and other day-to-day experiences as missionaries.
Have you every heard the English idiom, "A picture is worth a thousand words?" Without going into detail, it is believed that the inspiration for this common saying apparently originated with Confucius. The translated Chinese proverb says something to the effect of, "Hearing something a hundred times isn't better than seeing it once." (For those Chinese readers out there: 百闻不如一见, and for my Chinese language learning friends: bǎi wén bù rú yī jiàn.)
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then videos and animated picture must be worth about a million! So you could say that you just read a million words today! (Don't believe me? Video typically records thirty frames per second so how many pictures are in the video above which is thirty-four seconds long? Yeah, over nine-hundred thousand!)
'Why is such information relevant to a missionary newsletter?" you ask.
"Because everyone loves pictures!" I state matter-of-factly and add, "Also because missionaries are expected to have excellent slideshows and movies, right?"
So the obvious conclusion is that I (being a missionary) ought to employ the use of images in all our updates. Yet to stay "in with the times" (and because I'm a millennial and also 'cause we like this kinda stuff), I plan to use a combination of email, blogging, and my very own custom GIFs to update all you fantastic internet readers! Apologies in advance to my wonderful ol'fashioned "paper-preferred" friends and family, GIFs only work if you are reading this online.
I trust you will enjoy my chosen method of communication. If you don't know what a GIF is, you are about to find out (see below). If you don't happen to like my methods, take it up with Confucius (and the rest of my fellow millennials).
Ministry Unifies Family
You've heard enough of my techy ramblings. Allow me to get to the important matters: what we have been doing since February.
To start, I will mention how we are doing as a family first. We learned as missionaries in Taiwan that taking heed to ourselves spiritually and physically both individually and as a family was vital. Whereas we do not wish the importance of family to become an idol or an excuse for being lazy in the Lord's work, our prayer and goal unto Christ is doing ministry together as a family.
One of our greatest joy as servants of Christ is to teach our son the value of being a servant to the King of Kings! The value is not religious euphoria but a total satisfaction in fulfilling the meaning of our existence as human beings - honoring God in all that we do. Whether that is feeding the poor or hunting for Easter eggs in the front yard with our son, we do all to the glory of God while delighting in His grace.
However, those statements are not to imply that we do not take moderate time for "the family ministry." As a couple and family, we find ourselves quite content and happy in the Lord during these precious "deputation days" as we call them.
8,000 Miles and 800 Churches
We officially started deputation full-time mid-February of 2017. We spend our days fervently and diligently working for God's kingdom. It is not unusual for me to spend over eight hours a day in calling, emailing, mass mailing, and doing whatever necessary to scheduling our missionary presentation at churches. No doubt I have contacted over eight-hundred churches from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and even Montana.
On most any given Sunday or Wednesday we are traveling to visit a new church and make new acquaintances. We have tracked about eight-thousand miles over the course of two-and-a-half months.
Results and Success
I'm the type of person who wears his heart on his sleeve so I would be lying to say that we have a full calendar of meetings by now. However, we are only a little over two months into it. So far we have been to numerous churches in Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. I'm sure we don't hold any records for support raising, but we find ourselves at 12% of the total monthly support needed for the Taiwan mission. (It should be noted that the majority of that percentage comes from our home church's contributions.)
Even so, our success is not determined by our human efforts alone. More accurately we can only boast in Christ! We strive to remember and live by 1 Corinthians 1:27-30. Isn't it amazing that God has chosen the lowly and insignificant to accomplish His will? We understand that it is God alone Who can and will accomplish His unstoppable mission. We are only His servants. God must ignite a passion for missions among His people to propel our gospel bearing ministry forward.
Not for our sake alone but also for the sake of the Kingdom do we ask for faithful prayers from God's people.
- Pray with us for God's unstoppable mission for His glory and the redemption plan to unfold in Taiwan.
- Pray with us that God would use us as His instruments of proclaiming the gospel.
- Pray with us that God would raise up more to enter into the labors of His harvest field. The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few.
- Pray with us that pastors and churches would receive a great urgency and desire from God to get the gospel of Jesus Christ to Taiwan.
- Pray with us for God to provide for our needs and our mission for Him to Taiwan.
- Online giving for our ministry is now an option. Not only is every transaction secured by 256-bit level encryption but they are also 100% tax-deductible! If you would like to learn more about online giving, you can visit our giving web page which answers many more frequent giving questions. Please note, if your church has already committed to supporting us financially, we request that you give through your local church instead.
- We invite you to subscribe to our God's Kingdom Work email list to receive periodic notifications by email for our missionary updates. If you would like to join, click here to visit the sign-up page and enter your info where prompted.
- If you like Facebook, visit our God's Kingdom Work Facebook page. Also, you can find me on Twitter.
- If you are a pastor and interested in our mission to Taiwan, I would love to connect with you and share our church planting strategy for reaching Taiwan with the gospel. Would you have a brief moment to talk? If so, will you please schedule a time to speak with me?
Next Murray Missionary Update: End of June 2017