November 2021 - McCarty Ministry Minute
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
Greetings from the McCartys!
2021 is fast becoming a memory! As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, we want you to know that we are sincerely grateful for your prayers and financial support! Without your financial support, we could not focus on this work, and without your prayers, the work would bear no fruit! Praise the Lord for the partnership He has brought together! It is Romans 10:14-15 lived out! Please continue to lift our family and our teams throughout Africa up in prayer! God is doing great things! (Bonus Story from my recent work in Bogota, Colombia at the very end!)
[The WHOLE Family with the Praline Munching Squirrel @ Aunt Aggie De's in Sinton, TX]
Tracy is doing well and continuing to teach part time at Born2Be Therapeutic Equestrian Center. She is a true blessing to her fellow staff, as well as the riders and families they serve. In fact, Tracy coached three riders from Born2Be to World Champion status at the World Championship Appaloosa Show this past weekend! That's right, my wife is a WORLD CHAMPION coach! Tracy also keeps little Gideon twice a week while Gideon’s mom (Dakota) is at work and helps me lead a group of precious young married’s a few times a month (and so much more).
Gideon’s Dad & Mom (how I continue to refer to Cody & Dakota) are doing great! Gideon is healthy and active. He is almost walking and talking, so he keeps them both on their toes! [A major supply of Gideon photos will be at the end of the family section.] Of course, his 3 aunts dote on him constantly! It is surprising that his feet ever touch the floor!
Trinity continues with her studies at TWU and has begun work in her future field of Dietetics as a “Dietary Clerk” at Medical City Lewisville. She loves it!
Remington has blossomed in leadership and is currently the President of the Silver Saddle 4H Club and Co-Captain of DCA’s volleyball team. They just made the playoffs, so we are hoping for an appearance at State.
Sierra is doing great in school and has recently begun to take Judo with Trinity. We knew we had found the right place at Optimist Club Judo when, after opening with the pledge of allegiance and prayer, they warmed up and started holds and throws… every time Sierra and Trin would get up off the mat, they had huge smiles on their faces! (Photo of Sierra choking Trin below)
Maw's health has improved greatly after her bout with COVID pneumonia. She is energetic and keeps up with our crazy family’s hectic schedule and is slowly building her online ebay business, Mockingbird Corner. I don’t know what we would do without her! She is a true blessing to our family!
You can't escape more Gideon and kid/family photos!
The Ministry Update continues after these...
Azikiwe Lutufyo, our National Director of Tanzania, is STILL awaiting his Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar to get into proper ranges so his knee surgery may move forward. Between COVID and these other health issues, he has been waiting for almost a year for it to proceed. Please pray for him and this frustrating situation!
Multiplication With Updated/Revised Materials
My main focus for the past year has been working with a few others through a complete update and revision of our training materials - 11 full training manuals with all their side components and tools such as our Evangelism and Discipleship Tools. We have 1 more manual to update and 2 more to work through a full revision - but the materials which are complete are in the process of being translated into various languages around the world: Spanish, French, Kannada, Chichewa, Bemba, Swahili, Sesotho, and many others. (Swahili Leader Launch manual below) This is a painstaking process full of challenges… yet our teams are running with what has been completed and are not only bringing leaders in our current sites up to speed on the changes - they are expanding into new locations!
Frustrating News & Great News
Not all reports are encouraging… I just finished my weekly call with my Lesotho National Director. Henry and the Lesotho SI Team just returned from the mountain region, where they trained pastors from a variety of villages in both the Leader Launch intensive training and the "Journey" (officially the Lifelong Journey to Reach Your Lost World) process. That was GREAT expansion, but the frustration came when Henry followed up with the SI sites back in the capital of Maseru. These locations where we have worked hard have fallen dormant - little multiplication is happening beyond the work of our senior leaders. We are working toward consistent followup and coaching to insure we do not lose ground. Please pray that these locations awaken and begin to once more reach out with the Gospel in their communities!
The team in Zambia has multiplied, so there are now two training teams at work - and so you will get two stories! In just the last 3 weeks, these teams have trained leaders to multiply disciples, leaders, and churches in 6 distinct locations. Most of those leaders have begun the new ongoing small group training we have called the Journey which will lead them in continuing the process of multiplication and church planting as a part of their everyday life!
Story 1: In Kalwa, Zambia, under thatched roofs, Dennis Sitali and his team equipped 120 leaders and pastors through a Leader Launch intensive training. Those 120 went out into their community and won 208 souls to faith! The excitement of the churches was so great that they decided to hold a baptism in the nearby creek. Photos below. Praise the Lord for His harvest!
Story 2: One of the most shocking and beautiful occurrences took place in Kafue. As a part of our Leader Launch training, we teach through “The Essence of the Gospel” - that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone - not by works, but a gift from God to be received and appropriated by faith. Even though these leaders and pastors have been in church for years, to many, this is a great surprise! In Kafue, 21 people attending the Leader Launch came to faith IN THE TRAINING led by Sainet Phiri! They were then equipped to share the Gospel using our simple Evangelism Tool - and went into their own communities to proclaim Christ. (Video below. The language is Chichewa). Praise God for clarity in His word about the Good News!
By the grace of God, our teams have trained 4,486 pastors, who won 7,775 people to Christ, and planted 675 new churches as of the end of September 2021. Eternities are being changed for Christ - and it would not be happening without YOU! Praise the Lord for your partnership in the Gospel! Again, Romans 10:14-15 lived out - THANK YOU FOR SENDING!
Below are some additional photos of the continuing work in various nations of Africa!
BONUS STORY from BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
We encountered a significant challenge which had the greatest effect on our SI Latin America (SILA) team. This led two of us from our Executive Team traveled to Bogota, Colombia to help the senior SILA leaders with some loving counsel and helped them prayerfully strategize the way forward in Latin America.
On the last day, we met a fellow American I will call "Jerry." At first, we thought Jerry was a homosexual, because he was wearing flip flops and each of his toenails were painted a different, bright color - yellow, green, red, blue, etc. We greeted him and made a little small talk as he walked by our group. Later that evening, I was reading in the dining area of the hotel when Jerry sat at a nearby table. We struck up a conversation and found some common ground. Jerry lives in a small town of 400 people - I grew up in a small town of 2000 people. Jerry does roofing and handyman work for a living - I grew up working construction including roofing, and still do handyman stuff as the need arises. Jerry goes to a Baptist church (now) - I grew up in a Baptist church. This led to a conversation about Jesus. I asked him if the Gospel was openly shared in his church, and he confirmed it was. We clarified what the Gospel was, and he understood it. I asked if he had trusted Christ for salvation, and he confirmed that he had, but he struggled with the idea of the Trinity. We discussed that further... and the fact that it is extremely hard to fully understand because it is completely unique in all of existence, and how every illustration used to describe the Trinity falls short. He asked what I was doing in Bogota, so I told him. I asked Jerry the same question. This is where the conversation got REALLY interesting...
Jerry said that he comes to Colombia 3 to 4 times each year, as he can save up and make the trip. And he comes to Colombia for two purposes... He said his motivations used to be very pure - "100% pure" at first (his words). But now they were definitely less than pure. Those two purposes are: 1. To do humanitarian work. He told a story of befriending a Venezuelan refugee and her daughters, and how he was trying to help one of the daughters obtain a new prosthetic leg since she had outgrown the old one. He shared about buying meals for those in need and helping in other ways. Then he shared his 2nd reason for coming to Colombia... 2. To frequent a brothel he had discovered in a rural town. [In my head I heard the record scratch sound as the whole conversation came to a screeching halt!] Wait, what? That's right. He comes to Colombia to spend a week as a customer in a brothel and then seeks to help the women working there with food and other resources they need to survive. He said he knows this is wrong and impure, but hopes that his "good works" will offset what he is doing.
Friends, this is how deceptive sin can be. We know the Gospel - that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone! No works can earn God's gift of salvation! I keep a list written inside the back cover of my Bible that back up this fact: Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Romans 3:28-30; Galatians 2:16-21; 2 Timothy 1:9, 16; Romans 5:1, 9; John 3:16-17; Romans 4:3-16; Romans 10:4-13; Romans 11:6; Galatians 3:5-24; Philippians 3:9; Acts 15:8-9, 11; Acts 16:31; Hebrews 10:39; Luke 7:50; 1 John 5:4. Jerry knows this about the Gospel - in his head. Yet he has allowed sin to delude him to the point where his actions reveal his true belief: That the "good" he does outweighs the sin he pursues in this one specific area. I believe that Jerry is saved (though only God can know that fully), but I also believe he is seeking satisfaction and happiness where he will never find it, which will end in disappointment and suffering instead of joy and peace.
After Jerry and I talked further and he held onto his position, I was forced to prayerfully examine my life as well. Where am I doing the same thing? Yes, I understand the Gospel! Yes, I know I cannot earn God's gift of salvation! But is there somewhere in my head, heart, and actions that I seek to negotiate with God and try to cling to a worldly vice? My brothers and sisters in Christ, I encourage you to do the same. Do as the Psalmist did in Psalm 139:23-24 and cry out to God: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” It is only in Christ that we find salvation - but it is also only in the path of Jesus that we find true peace... peace that is eternal, and peace that is for today. I also ask you to pray for Jerry. May the Lord bring his heart near in joyful submission to our loving Father!
I pray this for you, as I close: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Many blessings to you and yours, and as we enter into the Thanksgiving season, may the Lord lead you to deep gratitude for salvation and for His many daily gifts He provides to you!
We could do NONE of this without YOU!
THANK YOU for YOUR partnership!
- The McCartys
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