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Our Montana mission team has had a fantastic week of serving the local community of Hungry Horse with our secret agent D3 VBS ministry this week, despite more than our fair share of challenges. Part of our team had two blowouts on the same church van on the way to the airport, missed their first flight and arrived in Montana after 28 hours of travel. About 10 members of our team have suffered a vicious viral bug that caused the loss of any food recently consumed and a couple of days of discomfort. One young team member needed to go to the emergency room as his temperature soared to 104 degrees. Despite these challenges, everyone kept their focus on our mission to love the local kids. And love always wins when it is the love of Jesus! The stories of these kids will break your heart. There is an overwhelming number of stories of alcoholism and drugs in many families, along with other difficult issues. One young man shared how he feels invisible in his home but feels love when he comes to VBS. Today we shared the Good News of Jesus and invited each child to sign their name on a poster board that represented the Book of Life. We invited the children to put a cross by their name if today they were praying for the first time to know Jesus or if they felt they had grown significantly closer to Jesus this week. We had 47 crosses by the end of this worship time!!! Our local ministry partners will follow up with each child to help them understand their decision. Usually about half of these decisions will be 1st time decisions for Jesus. What a great encouragement to see God using us to share His love with these precious children! Thank you for praying that God would use our church to take His love to those with great needs!

Our team has arrived safely in Hungry Horse, Montana. We had a wonderful Spirit filled worship service this morning as Pastor Lee shared from Philippians 2 the call on our lives to serve others in the name of Jesus. This afternoon we set up much of the same VBS decorations we just finished using at PCBC for the 400 plus kids. It is awesome to consider how God will use these decorations again, and more importantly, the 46 people who have traveled here to serve children and their families this week. Thank you for your prayers for this special ministry week!

Sharing is usually a good thing. I have found that most spouses want their other halves to at least be willing to share everything they have. Sometimes my wife suggests I should do a better job sharing. But I quickly remind her that it is not so simple to determine what should be shared and what should not be shared. For example, sometimes I share my opinions too quickly on how we might do a better job managing our home expenses or how my wife might use her time differently. I usually discover I shared too much or maybe I shared my opinion at the wrong time. Then last week I shared my sore throat with my wife. I had tried really hard to not do this. I faced a different direction when we slept at night so I would not breathe germs in her direction. We did not kiss for an entire week…huge sacrifice! And we were so careful to use different cups to drink from. But despite my best efforts, I shared my illness with Vio. She was not happy with me. I believe she made the mistake of drinking out of my cup on one occasion. But on this occasion at least, I will not share my opinion on how she got sick because I am learning that my wife truly does not want me to share everything.

I may not be able to help you determine how to perfectly share everything in your marriage. But I will encourage you to consider how you can make positive steps with sharing in your marriage or in other close relationships this week. One area of sharing that will not cost you anything but will gain you much is words of affirmation. Consider how to share positive words of encouragement this week to bless your spouse or others. This is one area of sharing in which our spouses truly do desire to receive everything we are willing to give them out of the love God has placed in our hearts.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

In September, the congregation will vote on four new elder candidates to fill the vacancies left by three elders rotating off the team and one who is moving out of state. The deadline for submitting elder nominations is June 30. Nomination forms and submission drop boxes are located at the Lobby Desk and the mid-week Reception Desk. Forms are also available here, but must be submitted in person since they must be signed. Please address questions to Vance Garrison (770.840.9297) or Tom Rice (770.447.9646).

My 3 year old daughter Audrey usually trusts me with anything. But when I tried to take her out into deeper water in the ocean this week, she yelled at me to stop. I was carrying her on my shoulder so she was well above the waves. But she got nervous as the waves rose as high as my shoulders. I asked Audrey “don’t you trust me?” She quickly responded “no, daddy, I do not trust you with this.” As much faith as my daughter has in me, I learned she does have limits to her faith.

The widow at Zarephath also had limits to her faith (1 Kings 17 ). She and her son were close to starving when God sent His prophet Elijah to her. In faith, she gave him the last of her food. Her faith was rewarded by God’s ongoing provision of food. But then her son died. This was too much for this mother of faith. She took out her anger on Elijah by blaming him for her son’s death. Elijah responded by demonstrating his faith. He asked God to raise the boy back to life. God did it. I expect both the faith of Elijah and the mother grew exponentially as a result of this incredible miracle.

We all have moments in life where we face high waves that test our faith. With my daughter Audrey, I had to keep carrying her into the higher waves, despite her protests,until she trusted me even with this. Sometimes we may need a friend like Elijah so we may lean on their faith. Sometimes we may need to show faith like Elijah to help a friend who is struggling. Through it all, no matter how high the waves get, may we never lose sight of our great God who desires to grow our faith through everything He allows us to face in life.

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