January 2024: The Kingdom of God will last Forever
Most women in my generation, when they were young, dreamed of growing up and being courted, then married to a handsome prince, much like King Arthur’s Camelot. They hoped for a magical “happily ever after” – a life of love, family, and fulfillment. And it is my prayer that every woman finds that one man who treasures her and counts her as his princess. I think the hardest thing we go through in life is losing the love of our life, the one person we adore most. I know if I were to lose Vicky, it would be devastating for me, but I would have to go on. She is the love of my life, my partner, and co-laborer in all of God’s works we do through Far Reaching Ministries (FRM). I recently met a Christian brother, who told me his nephew, Tyler, was preparing to go home to be with the Lord. Tyler is only in his early 30s, but cancer has consumed most of his body. He was diagnosed in September and as of late November, he is in hospice. He is leaving behind a wife, Spenser, and three small children–from two to five years old. My friend described Tyler as a young man who found his career and recently settled into a good job with opportunities for growth and advancement. He says Tyler and Spenser joined a vibrant evangelical church in their city and were growing in their faith. Tyler’s family has rallied around the couple yet sadly medically all options, including alternative treatments, were unsuccessful. Spenser’s mother died of cancer about four years ago, and her father is not in the picture, limiting the support system for this young mother. The extended family have come together to replace money for the wages that Tyler is not able to earn right now, but this is only a temporary solution. James 1:27 exhorts us, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” FRM has agreed to pay their rent of $2,390 for the next six months. But I sense the Lord leading me to ask all of you to help FRM create a way to help vulnerable families in their distresses. I have shared with all of you, this is the heart of our Potatoes for Grandmothers program in Eastern Europe. We reach out to the vulnerable: the elderly, the widows and their children, orphans, those sick and alone, or any who are left with no way to help themselves. We, as the Body of Christ, reach out with love, practical help, and messages of eternal hope from the Scriptures. I believe the Lord wants us to start this program here by helping Tyler’s family to survive. We want to offer Spenser support until her children can all start school, so she can get a full-time job. Most of us do not have enough extra to support a young family, but when we all put our gifts together, we can make a difference. The Apostle Paul often spoke to the church about giving as an extension of the hands of Jesus, and he reminds us every gift will bear rewards for the giver. Vicky and I are going to personally sign up for monthly support for this new ministry and it is my prayer that you will consider joining us. We can accept gifts of any size, from $10 (the amount of a subscription to an app or movie content provider) or whatever you can afford to give. As a pastor, I have seen many men pass away and leave their wives without life insurance or even the ability to pay the next month’s mortgage or rent.
I encourage all of you that do not have life insurance, please make it a priority, and get it. As men who lead and protect our homes, we must look at this situation as if this were our wife and children, and we were dying and leaving them in dire straits. Nothing should be more troubling than our wife and children’s survival if we are not there to care for them. With many of the widows I have met, their husbands were godly men who loved their families, yet just never thought about getting life insurance. The last thing a grieving widow needs is to face financial hardship as she struggles to rebuild her whole life. I was speaking with a pastor friend and telling him how Vicky and I are praying for this young man to be restored. I have seen some, but not many, supernatural miracles like this. He responded, “Wes, the fact that you do not even know this woman and want to care for her is a miracle.” I am not sharing this to boast but to show that we can be the vessel God uses to help someone in tremendous pain. I was talking to another pastor today about how Jesus said you will be my witness into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the world. While many churches have the first two down but completely miss the other two–Samaria and the ends of the world, missing half of the Great Commission. We must not overlook widows and just care for orphans, missing a key command in God’s plan for our lives. I feel FRM is doing well in supporting orphans, the elderly, and we have started supporting four new orphanages in the last couple of years. We feed many elderly people and children, but we need to put more focus on widows, and I sense it is time to help even here in our own Jerusalem.
Please remember to pray for Spenser, if God does not intervene, she is likely to lose her husband before Christmas. I do not want her to have to worry about ushering in the new year with stress on how to keep a roof over her and her children’s heads. Instead, I want her to know that the Body of Christ does show God’s love tangibly. You can give a one-time gift or sign up for monthly donations of $10, $50, $75 or $100 and we will make sure that it all goes to the family. The Bible says, in as much as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me. I pray God uses this new program to enable those reeling from the pain and shock of loss to feel God’s love through His church. It is terrible to lose the dream of a “happily ever after”. Even when we do not understand, we can trust that God is just and loving. He says the righteous are taken away and no one understands, but it is to save them from evil days. God told King Jeroboam’s wife that her son would die because He saw something good in the child. Meaning God did not want this child to grow up under his wicked father. These are hard times to trust, but we must know that God will use this trial in ways we cannot see. Camelot is just a fiction story, but God’s kingdom will be forever.
Far Reaching Ministries
In other news, our chaplains in Ukraine are with the soldiers at the front and leading many to Christ. The winter conditions make fighting very difficult, and they need prayer. I have not kept up with how many lives they have saved, but it is well over 500 and probably closer to 1,000. One of the needs is fuel for vehicles to carry out rescue operations. Currently, $20,000 is needed to purchase about 4,000 gallons of fuel and this will help get them through the winter. Our chaplains at the front lines with the troops.