Dear Prayer Partners,
Thanks for your continued support and prayers! Below are some highlights from our life and recent changes in our ministry. You’ll notice that several segments are followed by a “PRAYER” section in order to be more concise. Thank you ahead of time for taking the time to read & pray! Also, please be sure to enjoy the slideshow at the very end…. of course after reading everything before it… 🙂
STATESIDE VISIT: Our time in the States was indeed a restful and fruitful one. It was a mix of conferences with really good teaching, reconnections with supporting people and churches, new connections, catching up with many friends and family and select opportunities to share about our ministry. All in all, to keep it short, it was amazing and God spoke to us about many things. We are grateful how He provided for much of what we needed to get while we were there and trust He will provide the rest of our needs as we wait on His timing for them. We made it back to Germany without a hitch and are easing back into things as August was winding down.
CC REFRESH CONFERENCE: Soon after landing in Germany we headed off to the annual Refresh Conference in Austria. Before we got there however our car broke down and we ended up renting a car to make the trip. We could tell God had something for us and the enemy was at work trying to keep us from it, and we were right. We were blessed to see many ministry workers from all over Europe come together to feed on God’s word and enjoy a week of rich fellowship. This year prophetic prayer was personally given over many of the attendees. As we were personally prayed over, God spoke and confirmed things we had been privately praying about throughout the summer. If we had not come because of our car breaking down, we would have missed out on what God desired us to hear. It was awesome to see His Spirit move and for His people to use their gifts in perfect order as God intended! We are grateful to have ended our furlough by attending this conference, as it summed it all up nicely! God is and has been so good to us.
PRAYER: Please ask the Lord to help us process all that He did and showed us over the summer, that He would bless our relationships with those we have had for many years and new ones that were formed and lastly please pray for the Lord to provide for the funds to repair our car as it will be well over $1000.00 to fix it.
CC KANDERTAL –STEPPING INTO A NEW SEASON
DISCERNING THE LORD’S WILL: One of our main reasons for taking a break over the summer was to get away to seek the Lord on the direction of our church and the future of our ministry. While doing so we also sought and received some helpful counsel and prayer. As we wrote in our last update our church has gone through significant shrinkage over the last several months that has led us to ask the Lord for His purpose in it. Currently, we are down to under ten people after being at about 60 members for the better part of our church’s two and a half year history. It’s easy to speculate why this has happened but we’ve come to rest in the fact that although there will always be an element of spiritual warfare and human free will, ultimately it’s God’s church and He is in control of what He either allows or causes. He has allowed things to become what they are for a reason. Our duty is to simply follow Him in faith and obedience, faithfully fulfilling His calling and trusting Him with the results.
CHURCH LOCATION CHANGE: As of Sunday, August 25th we stepped out in faith to begin meeting in a new location in the nearby city of Lorrach, only about 10 miles from our last location. The reasons for doing this are simple. Ultimately as missionary church planters, our vision is to reach the lost of all nations, make disciples of new believers and equip God’s people to step into the callings He has placed on their lives. I believe that our ability to do so in our former location was limited and that staying there would have led to our church’s continued decline and eventual closure. However, replanting our church in the more diverse urban environment of Lorrach will naturally lend itself to our role in fulfilling the Great Commission. After taking time to seek the Lord on this we are taking this simple step of faith to see what He will do and to test the waters. This isn’t an attempt to “stick it out” but is our effort to be faithful and obedient to take one more step forward no matter what the results.
PRAYER: Please pray as we begin to meet in this new location, for favor with our new community of people and for like-mindedness with those that call our church their home.
SAME VISION, NEW CITY… Our overall vision has not changed, our heart is still to have a bi-lingual (English/German) Bible-teaching church that reaches the lost, makes disciples and equips men and women for ministry. We believe this move could help facilitate this vision with God’s grace. The city of Lorrach is directly on the Swiss border and very diverse in its ethnic and economic demographic. For example, the city is home to many German and European transplants working across the border in Basel’s pharmaceutical & business industries. There is also a large group of foreign immigrants from both Africa and the Middle East as well as many youth & young adults from various places either in high schools or trade schools. All together this creates a much greater and more diverse field to pursue our church vision in.
…NEW NAME: For obvious reasons we will be changing the name of our church from Calvary Chapel Kandertal (which means Kandern valley) to Calvary Chapel Lorrach, shortening it to CCL on a logo. This is a purely practical decision and makes sense.
PRAYER: Pray that God would use our church and the vision He has given us, give us favor in its new location in the city of Lorrach, that we would shine for Jesus, reach the lost, be bold witnesses for Him, and as a church we pray to be an example in our community as well as examples in our individual communities we live in throughout the valley.
OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME: By changing location our church is faced with several obstacles that God will need to overcome. One of the first was a new place to meet either for very cheap or free. For our first Sunday in Lorrach, we met in the park, had a simple devotion, talked about the new move and then prayed in different areas of the city. That Sunday I shared with the church about the only place that I had in mind to meet is the language school, COM.IN, that is near the walking street. Suzie and I began to build a relationship with the owner, Elke, a couple of years back. She and her business partner Dirk are both believers, have always been very friendly with us and the school location is prime. Last week Suzie and I stopped by the school to meet with them and share our heart. They were extremely welcoming and completely supportive. Not only were they willing to let us use a room or two but will do so for free for a time in order to see what God does with the church. This is a major answer to prayer as now we have a place to meet in the city, near the walking street… for free! This first and huge answer to prayer is just the first step of many as we test the waters and see what God will do. One thing we’ve been blessed by since CC Kandertal’s beginning is that it’s always been financially self-sustaining from day one because of our members’ tithing. To see that pattern continue we needed God to provide a location that would fit into our decreased budget, and He did!
PRAYER: Please pray that God would remove every obstacle that we face if this is His will, that He would give us grace as we continue to take steps of faith and that He meets every practical, physical, and financial need the church has. We praise the Lord for a new place to meet for free!
SIMPLIFYING FOR A SEASON: For a season the church will pause our Sunday morning services for a Sunday night service at 5:00 P.M. instead. Our reason for the time change is that people attending an evening service are less likely to expect all of the standard amenities that a morning church service would normally provide that we are unable to at this moment. Our services will be mainly in English and consist of a time of fellowship, Bible teaching, and prayer. As God grows our fellowship, provides and leads people to participate in areas of need, we will begin to add back things like German translation, children’s ministry, and worship music. Our heart is to eventually return to meeting for worship on Sunday mornings but until we have the hands and feet to help, this will simplify much and not put any undue stress on any one person.
PRAYER: As we meet at a new time and place please pray for our church to be unified with one heart, That God would bring new people both that don’t know Him and those that may be looking for a new church, Pray that those that are called to step into specific ministry roles within our church would do so with boldness and that God would meet every ministry need we have. Lastly, pray for specific practical things like a new worship leader and those willing to serve our kids when it becomes a need.
TRAINING & EQUIPPING: As a pastor, it is my calling to build up the body of Christ and teach them to reach and minister to others. One passion and gift I believe God has given me and has allowed me to use in times past is to train future pastors, leaders and ministry workers to teach God’s word and ultimately train men for pastoral ministry and exhort them to future church plants and I pray to be able to begin doing this again both here and abroad in the future. This was something the Lord brought back to me over the summer as we’ve been praying through things and trust He will begin to open the doors that He wants me to walk through.
PRAYER: Please pray for God to guide, provide opportunities to train and equip future pastors and leaders and disciple those He puts in front of us!
RETURN OF A FOUNDING FAMILY: Another piece of good news to share is that Tino and Pat DeGenaro are returning from the U.S. They were one of our founding families (Swiss & German) from back in 2017 but have been in the States for the last year. Their family normally lives across the border near Basel but also have a heart for Lorrach, where Tino is originally from. They are very excited by and supportive of the new direction and look forward to getting back. This family is a natural bridge between the two urban areas of Basel, Switzerland and Lorrach, Germany where we hope to do ministry as a church. Currently Tino & Pat plan to return sometime between the end of November this year and February 2020.
PRAYER: Pray for God to remove any obstacles that the enemy will use to prevent or delay their return. Also, pray for complete provision for their reentry into their home country.
PERSONAL TAKEAWAYS: God has given us peace regarding the changes that our church has gone through and this new step that we’ve taken, no matter how things might turn out. We hold no resentment over the past, and see it as continual training for whatever the Lord has next for us as God has given us valuable experience that we can pass down to others as they go through similar situations. We also see the past two years as a season of blessing and have been privileged to pour into the many lives that attended our church regularly or simply passed through. Though tired at times, we are not discouraged. God has given us new strength and hearts to trust Him as we seek Him for each step. God has given us gifts that we can use anywhere, but for the time being He has us here and we are trusting Him with this next step into this new season. We have no delusions of grandeur but are simply casting our nets on the other side of the boat, with mustard seed faith, to see what may come of it. With that, we know that we cannot go wrong.
PRAYER: Please pray for our continued personal provision, our health and for the Lord to sustain us through this all. We also pray for God’s grace as we branch out into the city of Lorrach more and for God to build new relationships and new friendships for us.
SUPPORT INFORMATION: If you are a church or an individual and would like to learn about partnering with us financially with either a one-time gift or regular monthly support you can visit our “PARTNERING” page at https://gonzogazette.net/becoming-a-sender/ .
Blessings and thank you again for reading and praying! We appreciate you standing in the gap with us!
Grace & Peace
F & S