Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Teamwork Creates Community

Today I saw some great things happen as we all worked together during this third week in AZ. The teams are doing an amazing job in the villages with Santa Rosa this week having the largest crowd. We have heard just tonight of five decisions for Christ in the villages and one on Danny Lopez's team last night after worship. God is at work here and we are rejoicing as He moves in us all.

The trusses began to go up today! We ended our three and one-half hour work day with five trusses up and a great day of teamwork. The joy is watching youth pastors from different states work together and build relationships while serving the body together. My heart was blessed today as I watched Greg Sankey set trusses with Tim and Randy, both O'odhams helping him and serving right alongside him every step of the way. The privilege to serve with some of the church members is a blessing we have longed for and now we are seeing it happen.

Tonight in worship our team led with awesome passion. Holly, Autumn, Robbie, Heather, and Alex did a great job of leading us in worship and sharing tonight. We had a great time singing reading scripture, praying all together. Karen is doing an amazing job in the kitchen keeping us well fed and under budget. It is a great joy to have Barry Coffee back out this week with us and Susie his daughter is a big help in the kitchen.

I am blessed to have such a great team around me these weeks. I am so thankful to the families who are allowing me to benefit from their young people this summer as we serve the King. I have seen so much growth in all of them and am very eager to see what the Father has in store for the remainder of the summer!

Our Biblical community is growing and I simply want to challenge you all who are reading this blog to pray with us for the Spirit to bring us together in community to experience real fellowship with each other and those around us!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hey Everybody, Holly speaking!!! We are in the beginning of the 3rd week out here in Sells, AZ. Even though we are tired and getting a little delirious now, we are still pushing hard. This week we are in 5 villages doing VBS in the mornings: San Pedro, Santa Rosa, Covered Wells, Guvo, and Pia Oik. The teams that are out here had an over all great response on the first day in the villages. When we did debriefing tonight many of the team members were were so excited to talk about their initial thoughts and feelings about the day and also how excited they were to be out here and working in the desert. Our initial plans were to do block parties every night this week. Our plans have changed and we're still going strong to continue to put up the ramada beside the basketball court at the church. This is our first priority to get done. If this happens, then possibly at the end of the week we might have a couple of block parties. That all depends on what God has in mind. The afternoons are hot, but God has given us the strength to keep going. The rains are also starting to come in and I believe there is most likely going to be a storm tonight. There is nothing like experiencing a cool rain in the desert!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hello all! Morgan here! As we welcome group three to the field today we find ourselves with a much smaller group of people than last week. The past week, week two, went tremendously well! We had VBS in the mornings in five villages; Choulic, Topawa, KaKa, Chui- Chu, and Gunsight. All five had wonderful outcomes and were highly successful. In the afternoons and evenings we spent time working on various tasks such as the new ramada and repairing fences. On Thursday the team split up to accomplish two tasks. The majority of us went to Topowa for a much welcomed block party. We had hamburgers and hotdogs, face painting, games, and fellowship. The other remaining few traveled with Pastor Jay Juan to Ajo to attend a candle light ceremony and wake for a young girl who was murdered unexpectedly the week before. As tragedies such as this one occur, it makes us truly thankful for all of those who are attending trips and being His hands and feet on the reservation. The three groups that were here (Grace Baptist, First Baptist of Fulton, and Bible Baptist) all had special places in our hearts. Bible Baptist being Heather's home church, Grace Baptist being Holly and Autumn's home church, and FBC Fulton being close friends of mine, we all had a terrific week serving with our friends!

This upcoming week is going to be just as great i just know! The team is eager to get out there and get VBS and block parties rolling. Every evening after VBS we will travel to specific villages and gather with the community for an evening of worship, fellowship, and fun. Block parties give us a great opportunity to build relationships in the villages!

I think that just about covers it all! I hope you all have a great week and ask that you would continue to pray for us here! Love you all :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 24 - This week

Wow! What a tiring day. We as well as the second group are physically drained by a hard day's work. We have begun to build a large ramada that the church has wanted to do for a long time. This ramada will allow the church to hold their Sunday services and larger functions outside on the church grounds. Please pray that God will provide the rest of the resources in order to complete the project. Today we ran a two-man auger, we actually used four people, to drill 14 holes 3 feet deep and boy was it difficult, like digging through concrete. While that was going on, some of the group repaired a section of fence in the back. The girls learned how to drive fencing staples as well as t-posts. And I think they showed up the boys. We will all sleep good this morning.

Since the normal crusades are not being held at this current time, we are holding nightly worship and prayer gatherings in which the Spirit of God is prodding. As the staff, we are striving and praying for God to show us some things that are becoming apparent here as well as with the lives of the teams we are working with. We are seeking to be obedient to what God wants us to do through the gathering of believers here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday, June 24 - Forgetfulness

Well it has been awhile since we last posted something and we apologize for failing to do so.

The first group left last Saturday after an amazing week of evangelism, spiritual growth, and witnessing the awesome hand of God. A majority of the first group had never been to Sells before so it was amazing to see what God was doing in their lives. Even though they were tired after Vacation Bible School in the morning and Sports Camp in the afternoon, each team was excited to get back on the road and grab more kids. It was a wonderful week and I am happy to report that more have been added to the kingdom.

As a staff we helped manage the teams and get them prepared for the day. Brittney, Holly, Autumn went with and helped team with Camps in the afternoons. Michael stayed backed and helped to prepare for the teams as they returned.

God has moved in awesome ways stretching us, pulling us, and allowing us to experience Him in our personal lives, in biblical community, and in the world around us. Praise God!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This is the Day...

Greeting From the Desert!
As JT promised we are each going to try to write a little today to share with you what we have been seeing and experiencing personally. We will try to make this less confusing by telling who is writing each paragraph.
Heather- As staff, we have been studying through Experiencing God as a team, as well as reading some other books. I cannot even begin to tell you the many ways this study has been challenging the way I view God. I am finally starting to understand how God reveals Himself and His purposes, but I have been challenged because some of the methods I have used in the past to understand when God was speaking to me were completely unbiblical. For example, I have made many decisions in the past by looking at open and closed doors. I have had the mentality that if a door is open then that must be what God wants and if I am about to do something He does not want, then he will close the door in my face. However, no where in the Bible does it say God will do this for us. We must not only look at our circumstances to discern what His will is, we must spend time in his Word, prayer and seeking counsel from the church. One final quote that has stuck with me from today's study. "Planning is a tool God may lead you to use, but it must never become a substitute for trusting Him." This hit me hard because I am a planner. I feel most comfortable when there is a plan in place and I will make a plan where there is none. Over the past few months God has been showing me that I have a lack of trust in Him. I now see that part of the reason I struggle with this area is because of the fact that I am a planner. So that's just a little from my heart, what God has been teaching me in our time out here. Please Pray that He would continue to reveal Himself to me and stretch me.

Michael -
Well I'm still alive and I refuse to bow to the southern accent. It has been fun though; God is stretching in ways that I thought were impossible. Never underestimate the Father. God is showing me areas in my life that need change; areas that if not corrected will not allow me to have a wonderful relationship with Him. Definitely being pushed out of my comfort zone. Each step that I take God shows me things that need to change, things that I need to do, and people that I should interact with. At the same time God is changing me, I am also becoming increasingly sensitive to the people around me. Yesterday, a little boy named Elijah, came up to one of the groups and they invited him to have some food. He sat there and ate and drank, but the entire time he looked like he was in another world. After the group had finished eating their lunch, I could see some emotional stress from the group about leaving the boy. The entire time they were packing up to head out, Elijah sat there in his spaced out world. It was at that moment that I realized what was wrong; the poor child was high. He lives close to the church in a known drug house. It made me feel so sad, but at the same time happy that I did not grow up it such a condition. We eventually brought him into the kitchen and he became fascinated with Karen washing the dishes. Soon enough he was up to his arms in suds scrubbing away our dirty dishes. It is a shock even though I knew that this type of thing happened frequently. God is defiantly moving and he is speaking to me everyday and I am responding. Is God speaking to you're family and friends? Can you truly hear his call?
Oh, they have a lot of weird sayings in the South.

Holly- God has been working in my life in ways so far this summer that I wouldn't have even imagined. I would have initially thought that He would have shown me something new that I didn't know about the reservation, which I have learned a lot but never would I have thought that He would have spoke this way. We've been going through Experiencing God as a group and sometimes we think that we should wait until we're sure about what God is telling us to do before we do it. I know now that WHEN God speaks is the time that we should respond. Saturday night at dinner I was sitting with Pastor Jay and J.T. and a few others. Pastor Jay was talking with J.T. and he asked Him if he had anybody lined up to lead worship for the Sunday morning worship service. J.T. immediately looked at me and I said, " Why are you looking at me?" He responded in a way that really made me think about what I had just said. He started asking me questions that made my heart just ache. He said, " Now what did you say you passion was and what did you say you wanted to do for the rest of you life?" We just started joking around but deep down my mind was just a turning because I knew that God was the one who was really speaking through Jay and J.T. God had spoke and I should have immediately responded to Him. Jesus said, "consider carefully how you listen. whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him. Luke 8:5-15
I have learned that if I hear God's word and don't apply it to produce fruit in my life, even what I think I have will be taken away. I have learned that I shouldn't keep from sharing my gifts and talents because I don't want to seem to prideful because that's being disobedient to God. Anyways... That Sunday morning and night Autumn and I led worship and it was the best time I have ever had singing. God did so much with my voice that I never even thought I could do. It was a defining moment for me and I know that's what God truly wants me to do. He was just waiting for me to do it.

Brittney- I'm so happy to be here in Arizona again. This week has been wonderful. Right now we are going through Experiencing God. It has shown me things about God that I never thought about. My favorite saying in it is " The moment God speaks to you is the time he wants you to respond to him." That really hit me hard because when God tells me to do something I feel don't comfortable doing I wait to the right time to do it. I really never put that to thought. I have totally gotten out of my comfort zone while I was here and it feels great. I'm opening up to people I don't more. I know God has a plan for me and I can't wait see what God has planned for me. Praise God for his wonderful works. Please keep praying that the kids will see God working through us.

Autumn - I have really enjoyed being in Arizona this past week and am looking forward to the weeks to come. There have been some joyful reunions with friends I haven't seen in a while, but who always remain very dear to my heart, and there have been new friendships being formed everyday. God has really been teaching me more about the way he works and how we are to respond to Him. As a staff we are going through Experiencing God together this Summer and it has really altered my perspective on many things. I have learned that there are things that I need to let go of, and that I need to stop trying to do things myself...I need to just allow God to have control because he is already already doing things and I just need to listen and follow His guidance. Probably the way I have been stretched the most and had to get out of my comfort zone so far is on Sunday when I played guitar while Holly led worship. I had never played in front of more than about 10 people at a time and that was just family and a few close friends. The thought of getting up in front of the church to play terrified me. Then God reminded me that when I first started learning guitar I said I wanted to do so to use it on the mission field. Now He is giving me that opportunity and I need to embrace it. Sheryl sent some words that she had read in her Bible study that morning in Experiencing God (she is farther in the book than I am) that were exactly what I needed to hear that day. God, through Sheryl, told me...When God purposes to do something through you, it will have God sized dimensions...if it is only something you can do then God wouldn't be doing. That really helped me to let go of some of the fear I was holding onto and just allow God to work in and through me, and when I did I found great joy in being able to use a gift God has given me for Him. He is so AMAZING and beyond what our minds could ever fathom! I look forward to seeing how God continues to work through all of us this Summer to accomplish His purposes. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Streams In The Desert

Today streams of living water ran across the desert floor here in Arizona. Five teams made their way across the warm sandy floor of the southern Arizona Sonoran Desert to be Jesus' hands and feet to children, teenagers and adults today. Five communities were touched today with the Hope of Glory and God has begun to stir in hearts already. Vamori, Choulic, Topawa, Cowlic and Little Tucson were visited today by teams with passion and love. Our day in the villages was a great success as we saw children laugh, run, kick balls, make fish and eat snacks in the midst of a Gospel being lived out before their very eyes!

I am so thankful for the teams the Lord has led to Sells this week. The crew from Columbia Heights in Columbia, LA has done an awesome job of dealing with the flexible schedule and pouring out love on children both in the village and the church communities. Joseph Duckett, youth pastor, has stepped in to lead our worship times the past two evenings and has really led us to the feet of Jesus. Tonight I simply wanted to sit for a while and worship. However, the late hour and long day motivated me to press on with debriefing.

The Brook Hills crews we have are such a blessing as usual as we see the growth that has taken place over the past years and teams arrive on the field prepared and focused on the reaching of the world and the teaching of the Word God has blessed us this week with some awesome teams and I anticipate the Lord moving in a mighty way by week's end!

I must share with all who will read this, my greatest joy so far though is the summer staff the Father has brought together. I am so blessed to have passionate, servant leaders with me here in the desert. I am so thankful for the job of leading, serving the teams, working together to wash dishes and cook meals. I could go on and on...Pray for the interns and staff as they are being great witnesses and wonderful servants. Thank you to all of the family members who have sacrificed the summer time for these to be on the field serving! They are a testimony of the obedience and love of God they have seen and learned at home.

I will have each of them blog tomorrow and share their thoughts with you all. We will upload some pics and share with you some highlights as well. Pray with us for these five villages experiencing VBS and the three villages (Pisinemo, Hickiwan, and Menegers) having sports camps in the afternoons.

In His Grip,


Thursday, June 11, 2009


Hello all! We have arrived in Arizona and are busy at work preparing our buildings for the groups. Wednesday was a lonnnng day, we left the Turner home at 4:30 am to arrive at the airport for a 6:30 am flight. After traveling all morning, we arrived in Tuscon around lunchtime and drove to Sells. We cleaned and arranged sleeping quarters into the evening. Some of the church members heard we were here and stopped by to say hello and give us hugs,we sooooo love them! This morning we got a little sleep and then started in on the rest of the preparations....cleaning bathrooms, sweeping & mopping, organizing, re-stocking paper plates, towels, cups, etc. We have readied the VBS materials, supplies, and recreation equipment to go out into the villages.There is much to do, but we are excited about our first groups arriving on Saturday. Today, one of our board members, Barry Coffey, arrived from Birmingham. He will be joining us off and on over the next 3 weeks; we are excited to have him here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Word About the Staff....

As many of you know, we have a house full of family, staff and summer interns right now. Tonight, there were 15 people here which included the Africa team. What a joy! It's such a privilege to work with them when we are preparing a meal.....

JT is the leader of the crew and he is truly a visionary. Of course, I'm married to him so I'm sure I'm a little biased. He is a man of God leading people around the world to impoverished, forgotten and desperate people groups.

Karen is our "distant" staff member who lives in Kentucky. We have known Karen for over 4 years, and she is truly one of my best friends. If you've ever seen "Anne of Green Gables," she is a kindred spirit. Karen does a great job as the liason between One Way Ministries and group leaders. We couldn't do ministry without her. Now, if she only lived closer......

Morgan is Karen's daughter, and despite the fact that she's an Auburn fan, we love her immensely. She is like another child to us, and we adore her. She is an energetic, passionate, and extremely loving young woman. I can't wait to see what God does in her life as she continues to grow in Him. Now, if SHE only lived closer too....

Heather is our administrative assistant, and she has lived with us for over a year now. She will be getting married this August to Michael Whitmire in Indiana. She has been a valuable addition to our staff and has taken quite a load off of me administratively for the past year.

Autumn Busby is from Grace Baptist Church in Oxford, and we have known her for years. She has gone to Arizona more than anyone else here with the exception of our family. She LOVES kids and they are naturally attracted to her. She has great patience and builds relationships that lasts for a lifetime.

Holly Busby is Autumn's younger sister who attends the University of Montevallo. Like Morgie, she is like another daughter to us. During the school year, she comes and eats with our family every week. She is very caring and loving. Holly has a gift for music and uses it to glorify God.

Michael DiGiacoma (pronounced Dee-gee-co-muh) is our resident Yankee who likes to make fun of our Southern accents. We love him anyway. Michael is an intelligent young man with a passion for the truth of God's Word. He has had us all in tears as well as laughter for the last 2 days.

Brittney Cleveland is our youngest intern but has a great maturity. She is also an awesome Wii bowler (just so you know). Brittney is very patient and has a heart for children. We trust her with our children, and we love her dearly.

We will be updating the blog as often as possible so that everyone will know what's going on with us all. Thank you all for your prayers!

Leadership Training Camp

In preparation for the mission field, we have been readying our hearts and minds before departing for Arizona. All of the interns and staff members have arrived safely at the Turner's home in Alabama. We are sharing in our study, 'Experiencing God', participating in team building activities, and discussing better ways to serve God and the teams that will begin to arrive on Saturday. Sunday night we spent time evaluating our spiritual gifts & personalities. Through this, we have learned how we can better serve God and the ministry. We are praying that God will move in great ways, not only in the T.O. nation, but also in the team members and the ministry staff. Columbia Heights Baptist Church and The Church of Brook Hills are the churches that will make up the first group on the ground in Sells, Arizona, please keep us all in your prayers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Guatemala Thoughts....

Over the past eight weeks, our small group has been re-studying Experiencing God. We are all at similar stages of life, and we are learning so much this time around. God is showing us Himself in ways that we have never seen. We are absolutely amazed.

Most of our small group was able to travel to Guatemala together. What a time of biblical community this was for us. We were joined by Susan, Brooke, Amanda, Leslie and Erica from Brook Hills. It was a beautiful time of fellowship for all of us. We laughed together, cried together (often) and learned together. What a true picture of the church.

My mind still does not comprehend all that we saw in the dump in Guatemala City. Houses with no floors, walls made up of old plastic banners, no running water, no electricity, hazards everywhere....to be honest, I wouldn't let a dog run around in there. It was unhealthy, unsafe and full of people dying to hear about Jesus.

I was brought to my knees by stories of children abused in ways that I cannot repeat. At one point, our group had to re-group. We were all in tears and could not go on. We were beyond the breaking point and literally couldn't take another step without God doing a work. He did it, and we continued. I am so thankful for His divine grace, love and comfort. He reminded me of the need for tears shed on behalf of innocent children. He reminded me of the need for tears in a place that needs Him.

There are many more lessons but it's difficult to verbalize them all. I am still in shock and humbled by His mercy.