Prayer and Support Card

Here is our prayer and support card. We’d greatly appreciate it if you’d print this off and hang/post it somewhere that you often look. By the coffee pot, on your fridge, in your Bible or journal, on your desk at work or in your car. And each time you see it, please offer up a prayer – for us, for the people in the D.R. and Haiti we will be serving, for your involvement in what we’re doing, for our family and for all of us to be filled with His spirit to overflowing abundance.
Please print off our prayer card and pray for us when you see it. THANK YOU!

http://www.respondinternational.org/PrayerCardRespond.pdf

If you’d like to support us as well, please visit our donate page and use our account number – 4127.

Video – Sharing Our Vision


This is the video taken on Sunday, November 7th, 2010 when we shared our mission and ministry vision at our home/sending church – Calvary Chapel Chattanooga. We were the first in a series of seven consecutive weeks called Missions Month where various families at CalvaryChatt shared about their decision to pursue full time missions internationally. After our brief presentation, our missions pastor, Erik Dine, taught on the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the aspect that all followers of Christ are called to obey and respond, but in different ways. May this be an encouraging message for you.

Photo Shoot

We are just about to send out our first e-newsletters and before we do so we wanted to get a few new family photos to use for them.  We were blessed to have Rich Smith (www.richsmithphotography.com), a friend of ours from Calvary Chapel and a professional photographer, take some for us to use and I thought we’d share. The cool part is that he did these for us FOR FREE.

In his words…”You all are selling everything you own to go someplace and help people. The least I can do is to give you guys some photos.”

Thanks Rich. Please be sure to consider Rich for any event or special occasion that you need a photographer.

The photos…click each photo to see a larger version.

Team Photo - The Miles and The Waters

The Waters Family

The Miles Family

Be on the lookout for our June newsletters coming VERY soon!

Reality Sets In

The Miles are sent out from Calvary Chapel Chattanooga. They serve in the Dominican Republic. The Miles's missionary account number is 4127.

Well it has set in. When you see your photo and names listed on the missions agency website, then you know you are fully committed.  Both of our families are now listed on the missionaries list at www.shepsstaff.org, the web home of Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators, our support agency, and they have announced us officially on their page on Facebook.  It’s exciting for sure, but it also brings a level of seriousness and accountability. While we expected this, it still feels like we’ve been doused in the face with cold water.  Things are now going to be different.  Before, it has been lots of prayer and talk. Now, it’s time for action, and the action will need to come not just from our two families as we prepare ourselves for the field. It will also have to be the action of others who wish to walk aside us in prayerful and financial support.

We have deliberately set up enough time before heading out to build up our foundation of support (see our timeline post).  It’s important, as our “Respond” team doesn’t just consist of those of us committed to living in the D.R. The true team is the family of Christians who will walk alongside us to hold us accountable, offer encouragement, strengthen our commitment, relay news, pray and intercede on our behalf, share our vision with others, motivate us when or if we begin to face challenges, provide provisions for us to utilize on the field, and visit when we return on furlough. We also want to have enough time to prepare our families for the change that is to come.

The Waters's missionary account number is 4128.

We have committed to sending out an email newsletter at least once a quarter (if not monthly) that will help you keep up with the major happenings related to our plans.  Please be sure to sign up for the newsletter by adding your email in the “Join Our Mailing List” box in the upper right hand corner of the blog.  We will also use this list to send out specific prayer requests when needed.

We want to encourage you to also consider committing  financially.  I know this is hard for many. Most of the people I know live, by American standards, very simple lives and don’t have much in their bank accounts each month to offer others.  It’s important to us that you maintain your tithing commitment to your home church first who feeds you spiritually week in and week out. That’s a commitment designed by the Lord on purpose.  Yet, doesn’t He also call us to do more when we’re able?  And able doesn’t mean comfortable. Sometimes…often times…He draws us out of our comfortable lifestyles in order to sacrifice a little in order to assist in the greater work He has designed through His church locally and globally. And your sacrificial “little” adds up when combined by the sum total of many.  It has taken me a while to realize that this is designed by the Lord. After all, the money in our bank accounts, although earned by us through hard work, is still not truly our own. Really it is the Lord’s money that we are just simply borrowing.  And it will take His money to help His Church do His work.

Your financial commitments will contribute not just to our simple living arrangements, but they will also contribute to the hands-on support of your Christian Dominican and Haitian brothers and sisters.  We don’t plan on passing out pesos to them, but we plan on using the money to build up avenues to strengthen the indigenous churches so their pastors can do more to disciple and shepherd the people in their care.

Please pray about it. Maybe just reading this the Lord will plant another ministry in your heart in which you feel called to support. That would make us equally happy as we want you to place your support in the areas where the Lord is directing you.  But if that happens to partially be toward our efforts, well God is to get that glory.

Click here to learn about giving through Shepherd's Staff, our support agency.

Shepherd's Staff will work with you on any method you choose to contribute.

If this is something you feel committed to doing, please again, sign up for our newsletter and then contribute to our family accounts set up through Shepherd’s Staff. You can send in a one time gift, or you can commit to a monthly contribution that can be withdrawn directly from your bank account or credit card or you can always send it in through our sending and home church, Calvary Chapel Chattanooga (but please be sure to not put our names on a check, just put a note in with it).  You can learn more about how to give through Shepherd’s Staff by clicking here.

This is an exciting time for our families, but we hope it is also an exciting time for you, as we truly feel that this is not just our mission, but the mission for our Church family as a whole.  We look forward to sharing all the amazing stories that the Lord will walk us through in this journey of faith and obedience.

Not to Us Be the Glory

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
But to Your Name give the glory
Because of Your loving kindness, because of Your truth,
Why should the nations say,
‘Where now is their God?’
But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.”
~ Psalm 115:1-3 (NASB)

The verse is fitting as we submit our lives to His divine will for His glory.  We have sent off our applications to Shepherd’s Staff Missions Facilitators and now we prayerfully wait for the Lord to set in motion the next steps of our pre-mission field preparation. As we humbly wait for final confirmation and acceptance from the agency with whom we hope to partner with regarding some of our on-the-field logistics (support and ministry accounts, tax, insurance etc.), we turn our eyes upon our Lord in full humility knowing that He’s in control.

It’s an exciting time of course. We have been praying about the mission field for several years  and with our applications mailed, we have taken the huge leap of faith in laying down our lives to “do whatever He pleases” with them.  In due time, we shall see if He indeed has us faithfully following Him to the Dominican Republic.

Join us in prayer that our lives meet up with His will for His purpose, and that we are content and joyful for whatever path that might be.

Our Timeline to the Field

Shepherd's Staff Missions FacilitationNow that the word has gotten out about us going on the mission field, people have been asking us about our timeline. Well…we are just about to send off our applications to the missions facilitation agency we hope to work with/through called Shepherd’s Staff. Similar to traditional “missions sending boards” Shepherd’s Staff helps with the logistics and training of missionaries, including offering cross cultural training, insurance plans, tax assistance and financial support management assistance. Unlike the other organizations, though, they fully believe in supporting the local church’s effort at sending out the missionaries, and so they do no step in and try to develop a set ministry for their missionaries. They believe that should come directly from the pastoral leaders and missionaries as they see fit by the leading of the Holy Spirit.  This is above and beyond the reason we chose Shepherd’s Staff, after talking with many many agencies (all of which are great).

So, pending our application status we wait a bit. Once “approved” and confirmed, they will agree to set up a financial account in which donations can be sent to support us (and one that we will use for ministry purposes as well). And this is the biggest aspect to influence our timeline.  In order for us to go on the field, we feel that we need to have a full year’s worth of financial support in place. In addition, we are doing what we can to prepare to sell our house by pairing down and selling our “stuff” and making any repairs/facelifts to get the house ready for the market.

So as soon as we are officially on board with Shepherd’s Staff, we will embark on our support campaign and then let the Lord do what He wills in His time. We hear it takes approximately 13-18 months to raise a full year of support. So that is the rough timeline of when we would leave.

In essence, here’s the outlined version of a timeline pending the support and the sell of our house…

  • May 2010 – Approval from Shepherd’s Staff, begin raising support
  • October 2010 – Scouting trip to the D.R.
  • Yard sales and giveaways of our “stuff” throughout the year
  • March 2011 – Goal to sell our house
  • March/April 2011 – Scouting trip to the D.R.
  • June/July 2011 – Attend a 3-week cross cultural training program in Mexico
  • September 2011 – HEAD OFF to COSTA RICA (or possibly Nicaragua) for one year of intensive Spanish language immersion and training
  • May or August of 2012 – Arrive in the Dominican Republic

Now it is clear that the Lord can make this go much quicker, and so we are trying to prepare ourselves for that possibility and for the possibility of it also taking longer (which we pray won’t happen).

So, please join us in praying that the Lord prepares us for this year and opens the heart of others who wish to see their money not going to us, but the Lord’s money going to His service.

Becoming a First Responder

The term “first responder” makes me think of those undergoing a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training. Those who undergo this course are trained to be a certified outdoor medical provider when leading outdoor adventure trips.  The training and information learned from this course is very challenging and intense mainly because the trainers want their participants to be fully prepared when faced  with potential medical challenges on the field, which quite literally could mean thousands of miles away from the nearest medical facility.

Well, likewise, we at Respond are also in training to become a first responder. But we’re undergoing our SFR – Spiritual First Responder certification. Really, all Christians are called to participate in this course, as outlined in James 1:19-21 (NIV translation below).

19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you.

The Lord calls us to His training ground to be a pupil of His Word, which when studied diligently and passionately under the conviction and guidance of His Holy Spirit, will help us prepare to face the challenges and trials in a world that is abundant with evil.  But just like in a WFR course, the training ground isn’t to be held inside a classroom, it’s to be experienced on the field of action. That’s why in WFR courses they take you out to the field for the training, so one can experience and learn about the correct methods to use on rough terrain and with limited resources available.

Similarly, short term missions trips and missions and discipleship training programs – such as the F.I.T. training program offered by Shepherd’s Staff or the intensive 6-month course offered to young people at Patmos, a program of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale – are the perfect training ground to prepare for a life of service for the Lord.  These avenues can help us to truly experience what it is like to be the Lord’s servant in an unfamiliar and risky environment.  And for those who seek to live in that environment full time, they need to have solid preparation and training to face the challenges throughout their ministry.

Most students in a WFR course enter the course with a desire to learn because they want to make the most of their experience in the field. As we progress through our SFR course, we too need to enter the course with the mentality that we will soon act upon our training and not just sit back.  The training is groundwork for action, for a response.  James 1-22-27

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Right now, our families are involved in some elements of our SFR training as related to the field in which we feel the Lord has called us.  Our “training” involves a deep study of His Word, meeting together for prayer, worship and reflection, future involvement in a cross-cultural training program and a language immersion program and preparing for the elements of a ministry for the field.

We enter into these training courses because we know that we must develop the essential principles and skills needed to manage and respond appropriately to the Lord’s will for our lives.  This season of training (which may last up to two years) is going to be intense, hard and hands-on. But at the end we hope to be ready to offer our lives as fully prepared, yet humble servants for His work.  And that makes me even more excited!

Calvary Chapel Response in Haiti

Check out this video about initial steps that Calvary Chapel (the overall movement) is taking to respond to the ongoing struggles in Haiti.  We are praying that our future ministry in the D.R. will have an outstretched hand in some of this, especially with our connection to Haiti already.

Calvary Chapel’s Response to Haiti earthquake from Tim Wylie on Vimeo.

To learn more about their initiative, please visit calvarychapelhaitiinitiative.org/.

My Day Without Shoes

So today I am participating in Toms Shoes One Day Without Shoes initiative to draw attention to the fact that there are so many people (especially children) around the world that have to live their normal lives without the luxury, safety and comfort of wearing shoes.  I know this from first hand experience of seeing children throughout Haiti and the Dominican Republic live amongst the rubble, trash, dirt and sewage without having proper footwear to protect them from cuts, infection and blisters.

So today, I joined the legion of people going barefoot.  Below is my “journal” approach to my day.  In light of this, I’ve also donated a few pair of shoes to charity.  You don’t need an initiative to make an impact like this, but I really enjoy creative responses to the challenges of this world and so I encourage you to be creative and respond in a unique way to other challenges people in this world face on a daily basis…

Read More…