Update: Hi Everyone, so apparently in our original email we put the wrong link down in our support update section. If you had clicked on it, it took you to a non-existent page. Sorry about that! This version of the email has the corrected link in it. thanks!
Malawi Short Term Team Recap
Thank you all for your prayer for our Short Term Team that served in Malawi. We had a wonderful time in country serving alongside our brothers and sisters there.
We had two main objectives on our trip:
Serve at the Central African Preaching Academy library. Prior to our arrival, the library was inside of a metal shipping container (like the ones you see on the back of semi trucks or cargo ships). It was cramped and HOT! They were in the final stages of finishing a new building for the library. We had the privilege of moving all the shelves and books into the new library, organizing them, and adding hundreds of additional books to the shelves. We spent three days working on the library. The team did a wonderful job of working together day in and day out. It was very exciting to see the difference that just a few days made. The students at CAPA were very excited about the new library facilities...and it is truly one of best theological libraries in the country. Also, the library improvements were part of the requirements needed for CAPA's accreditation with the federal government. Without accreditation the school could be shut down, so were were glad to get to assist in the process.
Serve at International Bible Fellowship Church's annual family camp. This was the 5th year that Faith Bible Church (Orange County) has sent a team to serve at camp. Our team ran an awesome children's ministry with Bible lessons, crafts, and great games! I had the privilege of preaching out of the book of Colossians. What a joy to preach to such a humble group of saints who are hungry for the word of God! We also got to provide s'mores for everyone on Sunday night...for many it was their first time...and we all had a blast.
In addition to these two main ministries we also had the privilege of preaching the gospel at a local prison, attending the Nyenyezi outreach to children in Chinsapo village, and helping the Floreens host a party (with around 100 guests in their home!) for a missionary family who was heading back to their home country.
Personally, I also had the privilege of teaching two sessions to the Masters of Divinity students at CAPA. I taught overviews of the books of Song of Solomon and Lamentations. These men are joyful, diligent, faithful students of God's word who are hungry for the Biblical training they are receiving at CAPA. These lessons were just a sweet foretaste of what is to come in the years ahead...and I can't wait!
We had a great team composed of a number of "veteran" members who had been to Malawi before. Our "rookies" (including Jacob, who turned 10 in Malawi!) did an amazing job.
Here are some of the highlights of the trip:
Worshiping with the body at IBF church (the Sunday before Easter) was incredibly sweet knowing that this will be our future church family.
Jacob loved singing worship songs and reading about the resurrection at a sunrise service on Easter morning.
Seeing the growth in maturity of the saints at IBF and their ever-increasing love for one another was great joy.
Seeing Jacob serve until he fell asleep (pretty much literally), fall in love with Malawi, and make new friends was a joy for me as a father.
I know that trips like this are dependent upon the faithful prayers of all of you, our partners...and for that, on behalf of our team, I want to thank you. I believe that God received glory by answering your prayers for health, safety, and effective ministry. To Him alone to all praise and honor!!!
Update on Our Financial Support
By the Grace of God, we are now at about 72% of our needed monthly support. The Lord has graciously provided a number of new partners in recent weeks and for that we give Him thanks. Thank you to all of you who so faithfully and sacrificially support us...our hearts are grateful. And thank you to all of you who are supporting us in prayer as well...I know this is an update on financial support, but I would be remiss if we minimized the utter necessity of prayer. Financially, though, we still need a little over 25% so if you or anyone you know would be interested in partnering with us, we would love to connect with them and give them more information. Some people have asked when they should start contributing monthly support. For all who are able, now is the best time to start. In order for us to move, we need to have the equivalent of 4 months of support in our account, as well as additional money for moving and other one time expenses. Our hope had been to have 100% of our support in place in March allowing us to build up 4 months of support for a July departure. Because don't yet have 100%, we will need to raise additional one time support to make up the difference...because we are still hoping to leave in July. For those who are interested, here is the link of the page for our financial support: www.gracechurch.org/kopp
If you have any questions about finances or support, please feel free to contact us.
Update on Our Move
One of the questions we frequently get is: when are you moving? Our hope and plan is to leave for Malawi at the end of July or very beginning of August (CAPA starts up again in August). The exact timing will depend on having our finances set, so we are trusting the Lord for His perfect timing. Meanwhile, we are working hard to get ready. Before we get on a plane (in fact, months before) we need to ship all of our household goods off in a container. Lord willing, this will happen early next month so we are busy in the packing process. We are also busy in the purchasing process, acquiring the things we will need for the next couple of years before we return to the States (It feels like we are buying our own little Target to take with us...after all, how many tubes of toothpaste and deodorants do you need for 2 years???). Once we ship our container, we will be living out of 2 suitcases plus a carry on for each person in our family for a couple of months. At some point, we will move out of our rental house and stay with friends and family (including a trip to see our Spokane friends and family!) until we leave for Malawi, but we don't have a set time table for that yet.
Update on Life & Ministry
Everything is moving ahead quickly toward our departure. In the mean time, life and ministry here continues. This week our kids joined the cast of Alice in Wonderland Junior and are very excited to be a part of this musical with a performance in June. The girls are continuing to practice for their ballet recital in June. Josiah is preparing for his dance recital (also in June). Jacob, Andrew, and Zoe are all working hard to get ready for their piano recital in June. I have the privilege of speaking in June at a family camp in Michigan for a dear church that we are looking forward to partnering with for our ministry in Malawi.
Jacob moving books out of the old CAPA library.
The new library: before
The new library: during
The new library: after
The team up at family camp
Children at the Nyenyezi outreach
CAPA Masters of Divinity students (and no, I am not the one doing the bunny ears in the back)
Sunrise Service on Easter Morning
Visitors by our chalet
Jacob (in red) is introduced to badminton by some of his new friends at camp
First time in Lake Malawi
Looking forward to the years ahead together in Malawi!
Packing, packing, packing...
For the many answered prayers for the short term team's recent trip to Malawi
For the additional prayer and financial partners that the Lord has provided
For our hearts to rejoice in Christ each day
For diligent preparations for the move and wisdom as we pack
For additional prayer and financial partners
For Matt's time in Michigan in June
For our hearts as we "wrap up" life in Orange County - that we would trust the Lord when we feel sad
For Andrew's kidney to be functioning well and for clarity if there are additional procedures necessary for his healing process
Wisdom in shepherding our kids through this transition phase
The salvation of our children!
Well as you can see, there is a lot going on right now! We are so thankful for you all and for your faithful prayers. I've included a re-cap of some specific prayers in the box on the right. We love you all thank God for you! As always, we would love to hear from you (truly, we would!). Please let us know if there are specific ways that we can be praying for you.
Thanks again for your love, prayers, and suppport,