God is moving
I have seen God move and work numerous times in the life of Whitewater Crossing. Last weekend, I marveled yet again at how the Holy Spirit used Nic, JT, and our team to break (and speak to) hearts to Rescue people and set them free. Human trafficking is real and right around the corner. And it can happen to anyone.
And just like Whitewater folks do, gifts are pouring in for Weightless Anchor (a ministry of BLOC Ministries) as well as AIM. Our goal is to raise enough funds to free 20 girls this summer and we are well underway! Text 'whitewater' to 44321. You can also support AIM's work and those who have been freed by purchasing merchandise at the AIM table in The Landing. Thank you for helping us solve problems locally and globally!
This year, July 4th was a day we celebrated freedom in our country, in Christ, and for those held captive in our world. Even though we have numerous things broken in our wonderful country, it's still the best in the world! Our church here at Whitewater is not perfect either, but there is nothing like it when it's working right! Our Summer of Love will show us even more of that as the generosity of this church funds and fuels life change. And the double reward of giving is that we ourselves are blessed when we bless others. Stories of this come in regularly as part of our Generosity Challenge in this summer of love. Listen to one from Deb and Randy...
Several months ago, I had been contemplating canceling our church donation and support for other charities that we have a regular commitment to as our finances are stretched. Imagine Jon's message metaphor of four chains stretched. My favorite bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 - "He knows the plans he has for you, plans to prosper you and not cause harm." And I rely on this verse when I find life challenging.
So when the 90-day challenge was presented, I knew we had to rely on His promise. When my head said, "We are already donating more than we can afford", God planted on our hearts to continue our contributions, tithe on any new gifts, and volunteer time. And then He made a way when there seemed to be no way. In that first week, we committed to the 90-day challenge, my husband received a pay increase of $4 per hour. In 40 hours we had a way to donate an extra $16 and reduce debt by $100. Then we go to church and we are asked to pick up a backpack. I have to be honest and admit I wasn't sure I wouldn't have to put it on a charge card when my husband showed up with that blue backpack. But He made a way! Today the paycheck had overtime which created an additional $10 tithe, filled the backpack, and allowed for $200 in debt reduction!
Making this commitment was a leap of faith in our underwater condition. But the blessings received over the past few weeks are a testament to His faithfulness to prosper us and not cause harm. Our God is a waymaker!
A man named Josh Laxton said it well about church ministry coming out of COVID: "Mission won't be as microwavable, marketable, or meteoric as it has been in the past, so churches will need to receive a fresh perspective of a mission by seeing it as a long-term investment rather than a short-term turnaround." I agree. And JT, our staff, and elders are leading us to embrace this new reality.
Speaking of elders, I am pleased to share that Jason Wessel and Kyler Gray have completed the rigorous process of becoming an elder and are now humbly serving on this team. Mike Dusold has been serving faithfully as an elder and will be rolling off the team this month. What a contributor Mike has been (and will continue to be) with his wisdom and gifts. Whitewater Crossing has been blessed in so many ways and one of those is with the team who choose to serve as elders. Please thank God and pray for them.
Leadership is hard in any organization, but especially in a church the size and scope of Whitewater. As JT continues to lead and organize our staff for our next chapter of ministry, he wanted me to share a change relative to staff member, James Gray...
"After multiple conversations with James and Leti Gray, regarding fit and chemistry, we mutually agreed it is best to part ways professionally. That being said, I have asked for and accepted James' resignation. James and his family still plan to worship here at Whitewater. So, I am asking all of us to love them well with outstretched arms as they navigate their way forward. Please continue to pray for James, Leti, Shay, and James Jr as they seek God for healing, discernment, and wisdom. Staff transitions are never easy, even when they are necessary. We appreciate your prayers for all involved."
Thanks again for the support as we lead this blessed church. I will not be sending any Directs for the next few weeks as I disengage for my annual summer study break. Donna and I will be traveling most of that time, so we will be a part of our wonderful online community. (Hope you will, too, as you vacation and travel yourself this summer.) Thanks for your prayers for safety and insight into what the Father wants us to teach about in 2022. I will return the first week of August with new energy and new ideas. While I'm gone, we have lined up some awesome voices to teach that synch so well with our Solve7: Summer of Love series.
Also, this is a huge milestone week for the Vaughan family. Today, July 8, I turn 60, and Donna and I are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary this Sunday, July 11. (Happy anniversary, honey!) We are both looking forward to what God has next for us as well as for Whitewater. As I reflect on all our eyes have seen and experienced, one word comes to mind yet again - Blessed! Indeed.