We have EXCITING NEWS to share. Today, we are launching our new ministry…Equip to Engage. We have been working towards this day for moths. Tomorrow, NTS’ Preacher’s Conference will be our first official gathering to participate in as Equip to Engage. We will have a booth, so if you are at the conference, stop by or if you know someone who will be at the conference, tell them to stop by and see us.
What is Equip to Engage you are asking? It is the formal name for the lived out call Trey and Candice Brooks have. Equip to Engage seeks to inspire children’s leaders through quality, affordable, local leadership development. This is accomplished with retreats, weekend events and specialized programs.
We would encourage you to take a look around our website and “like” our Facebook page, Equip to Engage. And tell all your friends about it!!
Also, on the website, SPARK registration is available. Just find the SPARK in your area and register. We are excited about SPARK 2016 and that it keeps spreading. SPARK is a great opportunity for districts to work together for their children’s leaders. This year, we are adding an event in Georgia and moving one to Oklahoma (to be more central). SPARK::Indiana – Indianapolis, Northeast Indiana, Northwest Indiana and Southwest Indiana Districts; SPARK::South Central – North Arkansas, South Arkansas, Northeast Oklahoma, Oklahoma and Dallas Districts; SPARK::Southeast – MidSouth District. There are a few more districts who we anticipate will be joining us. We have some great on-site coordinators who are hard at work preparing for this year’s SPARK.
The words of Richard Carpenter and Karen Carpenter seem to describe our life and ministry very well. As we continue to walk into the unknowns! Karen sings, “Before the risin’ sun, we fly, So many roads to choose, We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run, And yes, we’ve just begun…” We truly believe that we’ve only just begun in the fulfillment of this call of God on our lives. We still have unanswered questions, but are trusting God (and trying to do our part) for the future.
As I was driving to work, I had a CD in the car and it was on the very last track, “His Eye is On The Sparrow.” As I reflected on the words of this song, I couldn’t help but to rejoice. God provides, sustains and cares for the sparrow and God provides, sustains and cares for Trey, Candice, Sophia, Levi and Noelle.
I am overwhelmed by God! I am overwhelmed by God’s people! We have been incredibly blessed by God’s people as they have provided lodging, opportunities to share, technology support, financial support and prayer support. God’s people are supporting our call. They believe in our call. That is so overwhelming! God has provided details for us to be covered when we weren’t sure how it would work out – every – single – time. God continues to send us affirmation. God is so good and we trust in Him!
As you may remember, a couple of months ago we had an opportunity before us to purchase a Motor Coach. We presented the need before all of you and asked for financial help. Many of you generously gave and we did raise some money, but not nearly enough to purchase it. We are not disheartened! We are not discouraged! We are confident that God has a plan. So, we do want to say a big “THANK YOU!” for your support. We will be saving and designating this money for the “something” we believe God will provide for us in HIS time.
In the mean time, we are back in Kansas City as I finish up my privilege to serve on staff at Central and as I attend a Nazarene Theological Seminary class called Ministerial Entrepreneurship. It has just begun, but I can already tell that this class is incredibly crucial for kick-starting our ministry! God’s timing is perfect! Candice and Sophia are falling easily into the homeschooling swing of things as Sophia embarks on her First Grade year. Levi is about to turn 4 and loves the toy room in our borrowed living space. Noelle is walking around like a champion and is turning 1 in a couple of days!
We know this road may be and probably won’t be easy. We don’t know yet where we will be living starting mid-December. We appreciate your prayers for our family and for His continued provision as we live into His calling on our lives. However, we can look back at what God and God’s people have already done and we are compelled to continue walking without seeing – knowing and trusting that “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He’s watching me.”
It’s different for us. Candice and I have either been teaching Sunday School or preparing for Elementary Worship every week for about 12 years (longer than we’ve been married). These past 9 Sundays we haven’t prepared in the same way. June 7 – we were traveling to a District Assembly; June 14 – we attended church with my childhood Children’s Church leader; June 21 – we were at Central leading a Baby Dedication Class; June 28 – we made a visit to Grace Point in between two events; July 6 – we attended Central and Noelle was baptized; July 12 – we shared our story at Glenwood First; July 19 – we shared our story at Sunshine Community; July 26 – we shared our story at Cornerstone; August 2 – we shared our story at Grace Point; and August 9 – we will attend service as a regular church going family.
It’s different for us. Our kids have been in different classes each Sunday with people they don’t know. We have worshiped in many different settings with different styles of worship.
It’s different for us. We’ve stayed in a travel trailer, someone’s basement, campground hotel room, someone’s home, hotel, someone else’s home, campground guest cabin, Candice’s grandma’s home, another hotel, and a campground cottage. And when we return to Kansas City, we will be living in someone’s basement for a few months.
It’s different for us. We have had the opportunity to meet great leaders from across the Midwest and South (and next week Canada). We’ve been able to listen and share our story. We have opportunities before us that we had never thought of before we started this journey 9 weeks ago.
It’s different for us. We have been together almost 24/7 since we left our home June 7. You might think this would get old or we would need a break. It hasn’t always been easy. It hasn’t always been perfect. But, it’s actually been amazing how this has drawn all of us closer and we have had a great time. We’ve played Gaga Ball, gone swimming (a lot), visited Silver Dollar City, eaten at some local food joints in different cities, spent time with extended family, gone to the Fort Wayne Zoo, played baseball (mostly Levi and me), watched Sophia as she makes friendship bracelets for everyone we see, eaten meals made in a microwave and toaster oven, survived massive red wasps (without even one sting), lived with no TV, watched movies (on our computer) together, drove about 6,000 miles, and that’s just the beginning of the list.
It’s different for us. We have the opportunity to own an RV, but not the funds to purchase it. So, we’ve asked for help (which is a bit of an uncomfortable thing to do) and have raised right at $10,000 that could be used towards it. Only $45,000 to go! 🙂 To help us financially, please feel free to click here. The person selling the RV has extended our time to raise the money until early September.
It’s different for us. But even with almost everything in our lives being different, we know we are doing what we believe and feel God is asking us to do. There’s no where else we’d rather be.
This week we have had the privilege to stay at Heath Valley Campgrounds in Mena, AR. This is a special place to us: very near and dear to our hearts. Many memories flood our minds as we look over the beautiful grassy fields, the pond, the open-air tabernacle, and the cabins surrounded by lush green woods.
It is a holy place. Trey accepted Jesus as his Savior at the age of 6 here. He also accepted his call into full-time ministry at an altar here in the open-air tabernacle. I also had opportunities to kneel at the same altars as a teen to pray for herself and her friends.
This is the place where the story of our relationship begins! This is where we met! We were age 14 my family came to the South Arkansas District and I began attending district functions including Teen Camp. We were not “friends” at that point, but we were “aware” of each other. We can tell the rest of that story at another time. But 6 years later, in the grassy area not too far from the pond is where Trey popped the question and I said, “Yes!”
Next week will begin our 5th opportunity to speak in the same open-air tabernacle to the kids of South Arkansas at camp. Our prayer is that God will work and move in the lives of these kids in this beautiful place just like He has in our lives and the lives of many others.
As we are here in this wonderful campground surrounded by God’s beautiful creation, we are reminded again of God at work in the lives his people. This place for us – maybe even more than others – marks a place that God meets us and moves us towards his will. God continues to provide for us and even go above and beyond what we expect. Last week, we shared with you in our previous post called Counting on God the greatest need up to this point on this new journey: purchasing a motor coach. It was awesome to watch it spread on Facebook, and we had almost 800 hits on our blog in 24 hours! We want to keep you updated on where we stand with the money needed to reach our goal of $55,000. To this point (1 week), a little over $700 has come in. We only have $54,300 to go! If this motor coach is for us, humanly we have a long way to go. However, we serve a big God! If you have prayed about this and are planning to give, it’s not too late! If this is the first time you have heard about it, please click here to view our previous blog. Will you prayerfully consider joining us in our journey to encourage, support, and train local church leaders? Will you prayerfully consider helping us get this motor coach so we can travel more cost effectively around the country? Thank you for the outpouring of love and support through kind words, blog reposts, prayers, financial support, and other tangible expressions.
Sitting here in this campground that signifies heart-change and life-change in our lives, we can’t help but feel encouraged. God is still here. God is still working. God is still calling. We are still following – no matter what. Do you believe in miracles? We do! Please join us as we are embarking on Mission Motor Coach!