Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Happy Thanksgiving from the McCartys! What a year 2020 has turned out to be! I pray that you and your family are well and have not succumbed to despair with the ongoing ‘stay at home’ practices, face coverings, and general concern about COVID and every other thing that is happening in the United States and around the world! I have been focusing on this passage for several months - and trust it will be of encouragement to you as well: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” - Romans 15:13. Though I had a bout with blood sugar issues recently, amazingly, no one in our immediate family nor in our Strategic Impact Africa team have contracted the virus! We are extremely grateful for that!
[Brief family day trip to the metropolis of Bowie, TX - Home of the "World's Largest Bowie Knife!"]
After a few months of closure, since nearly all of their clients are in the high risk category, Tracy has resumed teaching classes at Born2Be Therapeutic Equestrian Center. Their new location near Valley View, TX has proven to be a perfect fit and huge blessing to the organization!
Cody & Dakota are about to move from 2 to 3 with the arrival of their first child (our first grandchild), Gideon Gerald Chidester! In fact, by the time you receive this, Gideon will most likely have arrived! Look to Facebook for a barrage of photos!
Trinity (seen here working in our yard this summer) started her Sophomore year at TWU with some classes on campus and others online. She is taking 16 hours, but it is comprised of 6 different classes! Trin is struggling well under the pressure and growing in endurance and maturity. We are extremely proud of her!
Remington (seen here jumping for a kill) is almost through volleyball season, and only had one injury severe enough to sideline her. She is learning more and more about leadership and how to bring out the best in others. She is a blessing!
Sierra (seen here competing in a 4H Fun Day event) is doing great in school and has a part in Denton Calvary’s upcoming production of, “Dark Road!” She continues to have insights and compassion beyond her 12 years!
Maw has all her energy back and is living life to the fullest! It is amazing how strong her health is after last year’s prolonged struggles. We are continually thankful for God’s grace upon her and our family!
Trinity, Remington, and Sierra have begun to sing with our worship team at Denton Community Church. As a proud dad, I thought you might want to hear a taste of one of their practices:
What has been going on?
I have not traveled again since returning from Tanzania in March (team photo above from then). I gratefully arrived home a few days after the initial travel ban went into effect. In January, I will re-assess with my team in Africa to see what is wise and what will be my most effective involvement. You might be wondering, “What does a missionary do when he cannot travel?” (or more specifically, “What in the world has Dustin been doing all this time???”) The answer is: Working hard! We have chosen to take this time to do a major overhaul of all of our training materials. We have developed these materials over the past 16 years as needs have been identified. (When we started, I still had hair!) We are now conducting more than just an update - it is a complete revision and shift to a more inductive approach. Our initial tests in India with the first prototype training manual have proven positive. Same core, Biblical content - but a simpler, clearer, more engaging method of training. I am REALLY excited, but I also know that change is hard! I would appreciate your prayers as we roll this out across all the locations in Africa - especially that there would be buy-in among our teams and quick understanding of the improvements.
What ELSE has been going on?
COVID restrictions vary in severity in each nation of Africa. In the strictest lock-down situations, our teams put together Relief Packets to provide much needed basic supplies for the most vulnerable in their communities. As restrictions relaxed, our teams began further training, multiplication, and even opened up a few new locations! Here are a few glimpses:
In Burkina Faso, trainings and evangelism are back up and running. Victor Ouedraogo opened up a new village to SI. He won a Muslim household to faith and the head of the house said, “Now that I am a Christian, I would like a church to meet in my home.” As there was no church nearby, one of the newly trained leaders has now planted a new church in this man’s home - and they are reaching out to the neighbors with the gospel.
In one village in Ghana, some SI leaders trained by Stephen Aputara planted two new churches which meet under some trees. They meet when it is not raining. There are now 58 new believers attending between the two outdoor churches! According to those leaders, most of the new believers coming would never feel comfortable in the formality of a church building. The photo is of Stephen’s truck stuck in the mud due to flooding in the area. He was returning from visiting some of our teams in northern Ghana.
Israel Wandamba and some of our Tanzania teams have expanded into 4 new areas in the south and 2 new villages in the north! This has resulted in 773 new leaders trained, 970 new souls won, and 48 churches planted since JULY! This does not even take into account the souls won to Christ by Israel's local church. They have trained their church members from young to old in how to share the gospel using their testimony and the Strategic Impact Evangelism tool. (Photos above)
Zambia has distributed Relief Packets in various areas around the nation. In Bauleni alone, teams have brought hundreds of packets containing cooking oil, charcoal, chicken, rice, seasoning, cornmeal, and greens to some of the most vulnerable families in their communities along with the gospel! Some of the ladies from the teams even gave away pairs of dress shoes as an added expression of love. You can hear from Sainet, himself and see more photos in the video below:
Praises and Prayer
PRAISE: Our teams have been protected thus far from COVID, and have wisely continued in the work.
PRAISE: People continue to receive the gospel and the practical demonstrations of God’s love.
PRAY: I have no idea when I will be able to return and work in person with our teams. We speak weekly, but there is no substitute for physical presence. With major changes in our training materials, I need to be there.
PRAY: Our personal financial support has taken a hit from the effects of COVID. We also know many are struggling across our nation and the world. Please pray for wisdom in how we should proceed. If you can help us with an end of year gift we would be most grateful! You can make a gift here: https://strategicimpact.givingfuel.com/dustin-l-mccarty
We could do NONE of this without YOU!
THANK YOU for YOUR partnership!
- The McCartys
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