Hi Plaistow Friends,
WOW! After 4 airports, 3 countries, 2 hotels, 1 amazing reunion with our daughter Lily and ½ a world, I am writing to you after we just met 50 girls & boys that had been robbed of their childhood, dignity & liberty to the evil lies & trappings of sex slavery. I wont get into the details here but look forward to sharing the stories of saved lives and God’s healing power with you when we return. Pray for the safety & effectiveness of us, the world race team and a great organization called Wipe Every Tear ( www.wipeeverytear.org). They exists to bring freedom, hope and a future to precious & priceless children trafficked in the sex trade, whatever it takes or costs.
As for our own precious girl, Lily is doing great, fully healed from malaria and ready to go where God leads her next. We are excited and blessed at the awesome young woman she has become with the love, guidance & support of our great leaders and members of Rock Church Ministries. You may have heard it said “it takes a village” but we think “it takes the Church”. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-13 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” In these three versus, we can see Christ’s desire & our Rock core convictions: Everyone needs Jesus, Everyone is meant to grow, and Everyone is gifted to serve. You, our Rock Church Family, have encouraged us (the Howard's and hundred if not thousands of other families the last 30 years) in the faith, helped us mature and empowered us to serve. Rachel, my children and I simply want to say THANK YOU!!! We are privileged and grateful to be part of such a loving, determined and bold body of Christ seeking everyday to rescue, teach and equip the precious & priceless children of God.
Speaking of children, Pastor RacheI & I were able to attend an event last Saturday evening for a wonderful charity, The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill (www.haverhillbgc.org), which is celebrating 111 years of service to our kids & community. Executive Director and Rock Church Plaistow member Brian Therrien has asked the Pastor Steve to give the blessing at their annual fundraiser ever since I can remember being at the Rock. Luckily, he can’t always make it and either Pastors Frank, Rachel or I have got to do it! This year Jermaine Wiggins of 2001 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriot’s fame gave the keynote address sharing how the B&G Club of East Boston made him the successful athlete he was and the great man, father & friend he is today. Saying Grace among believers and not-yets can be awkward some times, but when the precious & priceless boys & girls shared their stories, everyone felt the love and touch of the Creator upon them and easily allowed the blessing to become a prayer for more love and transformation. The prayer began something like this “Lord God, we thank you for the Boys & Girls Club and it's members. we ask you to help us serve and bless ONE more child, ONE united Community and ONE another's great futures” and ended with many “Amens!” from those near and far from Jesus. God is Good, All the time…
Lastly, talking about God’s goodness… let’s take time to praise Him for our Texas mission team that was able to complete the very large building (3600 Sq Ft) they went to build in just a week. As equally important, many great connections and experiences were had by all as God always shows up for those who give of themselves and trust & love Him. These relationships & memories will forever be a blessing and the work of the Holy Spirit in them will be eternally precious & priceless!
See you in a week (literally and digitally :-),
Pastor Jon (PJ)