With baby Simeon taking much of our time, our updates on Facebook have taken priority. I fear that I have neglected my posts here; partly because we had some issues when the domain renewed, and partly because, as I said, our Facebook page took precedent. To catch up those who do not use Facebook (believe me, I envy you), our son was born August 31, 2020, happy and healthy (mostly). We have been able to keep most of our meetings through the fall, and God has brought us to now have 17 supporting churches and just under 35%. We were not able to go on our survey trip in December due to coronavirus, but we are praising the Lord for time we had to spend with family. We are in Texas at the moment, visiting some churches down here. We were not able to get anything scheduled for January, and since our next meeting in February is in Texas, we decided to head south to drop in on a couple of churches down here. Already God has blessed our time with sweet reunions; Lena seems to know people everywhere, and we met a Russian lady who got to talk with her. God has also granted us some additional meetings, and we praise the Lord and thank the churches for last minute scheduling. Our car is having some issues that we will need to get looked at. Pray that it would be an easy/cheap fix. I can do most small things myself, but I don’t know enough about cars to try anything major, and it sounds like this isn’t something I can do myself. Simeon is doing well, he is a happy and joyful baby, but he is having some minor health issues. Pray that they would resolve themselves; we are praising the Lord that the insurance has already approved treatment should treatment be needed. I am working on updating the website, but I am not web-savvy. Mostly it is just updating information and uploading new things, but when something goes wrong, I’m not very knowledgeable to fix it. All that to say we are trying to get our updated presentation on the website, and I’m hitting a few snags. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see Simeon in it for a while. As always, thank you for your prayers! We are hoping to be at 25 supporting churches and 50% by winter’s end. It will take a work of God, but we know nothing is impossible with Him!
Baby watch is official here! In only a couple more days, our son will be born! We are excited and nervous. Pray that God would give us calmness during this time, because there is a lot on our minds regarding the birth. So far, all reports seem positive, and there doesn’t seem to be any concern from the doctors. We praise the Lord for that! Thank you all for your prayers; I firmly believe that God has kept mother and baby safe because of them. July saw things slow down a little, as we were only able to schedule two meetings: Lighthouse Baptist Church in Dover, PA and Berean Baptist Church in Newville, PA. We had a great time of fellowship with each of them, but particularly with Pastor Bob, as he was the pastor of Simferopol Baptist Church, where my wife went to church in Crimea. It was good to get to know them, and Lena had a great time catching up on everything. We are so thankful for their continued service to the Lord in Newville. Our schedule for August was intentionally left empty because of the birth. There were a lot of worries early on about what complications there could be, but, as I said, praise God none of them have been realized so far. While we don’t have any meetings for this month, it does give me lots of time to contact churches old and new to plan for 2021. Pray that God would give us a full calendar next year. September and October picks things up again, with meetings in PA, MD, and NY. We have had a few cancellations, but so far our schedule looks like it will stay intact. There are still concerns about the coronavirus, and traveling with a newborn will make life quite exciting as well. Pray that God would keep the doors open so that we can keep out schedule and stay safe and healthy as well. We are still planning our survey trip for December, but with traveling restrictions, we aren’t sure if that is going to work out. First, Germany is not currently open to travelers from the US, and second, we need to obtain a passport for our son. These are the difficulties, but we serve a mighty God, and we trust that He will open the doors for us, as he has always done. Pray with us that God would allow us to travel in December if it is His will. We have had another church vote to take us on for support! We are excited to represent Open Door Bible Baptist Church of Astoria, NY! We are getting very close to the 25% support milestone. We have been praying that we would reach 25% and 12 supporting churches by the end of summer, and ask that you would pray with us. We trust God to answer in His time, but it is something that we would like to see God do! The next update should include some baby pictures, so stay posted!
It was good to get back out on the streets and talk to people about Jesus again! With this last round of churches, I had the opportunity to go out on visitation with some of the pastors. It is still a marvel to me that people, even when they see the truth and have no arguments against it, how they fight against and deny God! All the more reason to sow the seed and reach the lost, for their ears are growing dim, but there are still those that will here. Pray, pray for those lost souls in Germany, and for the lost souls in Indianapolis, Shelbyville, IN, and Council Bluff, Iowa. May they have another chance to hear the gospel before it is too late. Our meetings this month have been with churches of small number, but God is good! I enjoyed getting to minister to the churches of Fountain Square Baptist Church (Indianapolis), Eastern Hills Baptist Church (Council Bluff), and Victorious Life Baptist Church (Shelbyville). The people were very friendly, and it is with God to work through the many or the few. God supplies for us, and He can do so with a church of few just and He can with a church of many. My travels have been uneventful; thank you so much for your prayers. I am ready to get back home to see my Beloved! We have been apart now for nearly three weeks, but my heart aches to see her again. Thank you for praying for us; without the comfort of the Lord during this time, it would have been unbearable. We have one more meeting in Michagan before I can get back to her, though. Please pray that God would use us at First Baptist Church in Westland this Sunday. Lena is doing well, but she is feeling the pregnancy now. She is now into the third trimester; just a little more to go before the baby is here! However, her energy goes quickly, and it is hard for her because she is used to doing a lot. Pray that she would have the energy she needs to do the things she wants. Thank you for your continued prayers for her and the baby; so far, none of the complications that the doctors have been worried about have happened, but please continue to pray. We can see God’s hand of protection keeping us. That is all I have for the moment. Keep praying the Lord of the Harvest to send forth laborers!
Traveling keeps you busy! I have been many miles, but the meetings we have had have been good. Thank you for all of your prayers; I know God has worked through them! We have presented digitally at First Baptist Bible Church in AZ and Landmark Baptist Church in NM. We received good feedback and were able to join them via livestream chat, and look forward to visiting them when we are in the area next year. Our in person meetings kicked off at New Heights Baptist Church in TX, which was their second Sunday back together. The spirit of rejoicing at being together in God’s house made me think of Psalm 122:1: I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Even though people were wearing masks (Thank you, Miss Andrea, for the mask) and sitting separated, there was still a great feeling of fellowship! This would be a testament repeated in each church I visited. Next was Tabernacle Baptist Church (TX), which was their second service back, if I remember correctly, and such a sweet spirit was there! From there, it was off to Arizona and Old Pueblo Baptist Church. During the trip, I met lots of people who know Lena from college (She says “Hello” to all of you), but Old Pueblo was home to an college friend of mine, and I enjoyed seeing him again. Back east to Texas, with Harvest Baptist Church for a Wednesday night. They were reopening the coming Sunday, but I was able to livestream with them. My last stop was Central Baptist Church, which was their first Sunday back. They were also a blessing to me with their fellowship and provision for a place to stay for a little. Thank you again for the gift basket and everything; the room was splendid. We did experience a number of technological gremlins, which was unfortunate. But, as one pastor said, it just proves that we’re doing something right, because the devil is fighting against us. Pray for us; we are in a spiritual battle, and our enemy likes to target the small things to annoy us, distract us, get our eyes off of our marvelous Savior and start looking at the problems. Pray that he would not have occasion, and that we would not be distracted by his efforts. I am now back in Maryland with the best woman in the whole world! Our last two meetings ended up being postponed, so I was able to take the week and come back to see my wife. It was much needed, as we were missing one another dearly; I don’t think I realized just how much until I got to see her again. This week will probably not last long enough before I have to be on the road again. Please pray for my next set of travels, as Lena will again not be able to travel with me. Pray for safety in travel, comfort and grace for both of us as we are apart, and power and blessing on our meetings for June! As always, thank you for praying! God is working because of your prayers!
As the United States begins to open up, our schedule looks like it will be resuming this week. We are extremely thankful to Odenton Baptist Church (our sending church) for taking such great care of us during these weeks of shutdown. Your generosity to us humbles us, and we know that it honors Christ! We pray that He will bless you bountifully for your love and kindness to us while we have been here, and for your prayers and support while we are out on deputation. While it is exciting to be back to traveling and meetings, it isn’t all good news, unfortunately. The doctors working with Lena’s pregnancy have all but forbidden her to travel. There are some concerns, but nothing serious; thank you for your prayers. Both mother and baby are fine; in fact, we just had an anatomy scan today and, apart from being a little on the heavy side, Baby Stover is completely healthy. However, they are concerned about what long travel could do, and are worried about her being far away if more complications arise. We have consulted with them, consulted with men of faith, and prayed to our loving Father. We believe it is His will for her to remain in Odenton while I continue to hold our meetings. We have full faith that God will take care of us all, but it is the first time we have been apart, and to be apart for nearly two months will not be easy for us. We have God’s peace in the matter, but pray that God would comfort our hearts as we part for a brief time. That said, the road ahead leads to Texas and Arizona, so Lena gets to avoid the heat of the south during the hot months. We have a full schedule for May and most of June. There are two Wednesdays in June we could fill, pray that we could fill them. We would like to say a special thanks to First Baptist Bible Church (Glendale, AZ) and Landmark Baptist Church (Carlsbad, NM) for allowing us to present via video. We were able to interact some with First Baptist via chat, and we look forward to being with Landmark in the same capacity on Wednesday! We look forward to being able to be with them in person! As always, thank you for your prayers! We appreciate having so many of you lift us before the throne of grace every day, and we know that God hears and provides because of you! We constantly pray that God would bless all of you! We will leave you this week with a photo of us!
Praise the Lord for the risen Savior! Even with all of the uncertainty of the hour, Christ’s resurrection is certain. To summarize the new developments, Maryland is now under stay-at-home orders, all of our April meetings have cancelled, and we are holding out for May to see if they will have to cancel or if things start to reopen by then. Fortunately, we had some local meetings and were at our home church when all of the lockdowns were starting. Praise the Lord that we weren’t halfway across the country! God has been using us here as well. Since we are under stay-at-home orders, and our “home” is on the church property, we are able to help Pastor with some aspects of the church service (and were even able to put together a children’s message for Resurrection Sunday). I am personally thankful for that; being involved in the ministry has helped me to keep some semblance of sanity during this craziness. Beyond the stir-crazies, we have been doing well. God has been meeting all of our needs, and we are blessed beyond measure. Both Lena and baby are doing well; thank you for your prayers for them. Continue to pray for a healthy pregnancy. Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to share. Since most churches are operating remotely, and with all of the uncertainty of when governors will actually let people back to church, many churches are not even keeping regular office hours, let alone scheduling new meetings. We are glad that most of our calendar is filled, but we are hoping to get a few local meetings for July. Pray that God would give us the opportunity to schedule them. One more special announcements, though! Thank you to all of you who are praying for Lena’s residency application. Last week we received her advance parole document! Now we can schedule our survey trip, or at least we can once everything starts to settle down! Still, it is an answer to prayer. Please continue to pray for the remainder of the process, as this is only the first step (but a very positive one).
It is blessed to serve the King of kings! We know who holds tomorrow, and nothing comes as a surprise to Him.
We had good meetings the past several weeks with old friends and new friends. It was good to reconnect with Luke Bowman from college, being able to present at Pastor Reeves’s church was a blessing. We were also blessed to get to know the people of Black Creek Baptist Church, and we really connected with the Zimmermans at Community Baptist Church. Truly, our Lord is a good Lord.
The coronavirus has brought some uncertainty to our schedule. We have had several churches postpone our meetings. We praise the Lord that all of them are interested in rescheduling with us, but with our schedule being tight this year already, fitting them in will be a difficult matter. Pray that we would be able to reschedule as God sees fit. We will follow where He leads us, and I know He will lead us aright!
Many of you have already heard the announcement, but for those of you who haven’t, we are expecting! The third Stover to Germany is due to arrive in September. There are several concerns that the doctors have raised, but we know the Great Physician. We are not worried, but we do ask you lift up mother and child in prayer.
Our next trip out is currently scheduled in Texas. The pastor isn’t planning on canceling, but the decision of our government officials could change that. Pray for things to normalize so that our schedule doesn’t see any more interruptions.
Since our last update, we had three more churches vote to take us on for support! We welcome Emmanuel Baptist Temple, Sun and Shield Baptist Church, and Philadelphia SD Baptist Church (my dad’s church). Thank you for your care for the souls in Germany, and we pray the Lord greatly bless you for your service to Him!
Thank you again for all your prayers! Let us labor on our knees before the throne of grace to walk in wisdom with both God and men.
Thank you so much for your prayers! We made it back safely to Maryland Friday, Feb 8th, after a long, sometimes relaxing, sometimes perilous, journey from Arizona. We are local-ish for the next month or so, and we are trying to get back into a semblance of schedule. We are happy to be back among friends, but I miss the more temperate climate of the south. It’s back to heavy coats, hats and gloves, and boots for us, but God was gracious enough to allow us to miss some of winter at least!
God has been greatly blessing us, though. We received news that another church has taken us on for support! We thank the Lord for allowing First Baptist Church in Deale, MD to partner with us! We had several friends in that church before we presented, and it is encouraging to know that we will have the opportunity to lay up treasures to their account.
Thanks to a very generous anonymous love offering, we are also blessed that God is allowing us to pay off our vehicle. Neither Lena nor I like debt, so it will be a great burden off of our shoulders to pay of the loan on our car. We praise the Lord for providing for this need! He is greater than all we could hope or imagine, and He will always meet our needs.
We have already had two good meetings this month; the first at Bayview Baptist Church in Deleware/Maryland, and the second at Greater York Baptist Church in Pennsylvania. It was a blessing to hear and see what God is doing in different parts of our country. God is at work, and in the fullness of time, we shall reap, if we faint not!
Our next three Sundays take us to New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. We are still trying to fill some of our Wednesday nights; pray for us, that God would direct our steps to the churches that He has planned for us. We also had a cancellation for March 22nd; pray that God grant us a meeting for that Sunday. He has everything planned, we simply must be faithful until He reveals it to us!
Arizona! Land of cacti, deserts, mountains, snow (yes, snow), javelinas, and for a while us! We have greatly enjoyed our time out here, avoiding the January weather of the north. The brothers and sisters in Christ that we met were a great encouragement and blessing to us, and we pray we were to them also. It was good to visit with some old friends and some new ones. I was able to reconnect with a college friend of mine, Lena got to meet up with one of her college suitemates, we got to spend some time with Pastor Shafer, and we were able to visit with the Richards while they were out here. God is truly good! It was also amazing to see how many people knew people that Lena knew. The connections in our world are small, especially in the family of God! Our church visits went very well. We presented at six churches, and visited another two. Our prayer is that God will continue to bless those ministering for Christ in Arizona. Each one was a blessing to us, and thank you to all of you, but I would like to say a particular word of thanks to Bethel Baptist Church, which allowed us to use their trailer connections for the entire month. You all were such a blessing to us, beyond just the use of your property, and we pray that God will continue to lead you in the New year. Of course, work continues while we are out here. More phone calls, more emails, and God blesses. We scheduled a couple of meetings for the this year, filling out some of our gaps; however, the summer is still relatively open. Please pray that we would be able to fill those gaps and have a more complete year. Also, our Wednesday nights are still on the slim side; please pray that we would be able to schedule more of them as well. More good news: we had two churches take us on for support! We would like to welcome Forest Area Baptist Church of Marienville, PA and Calvary Baptist Church of Glen Burnie, MD to our supporters! Thank you so much for your concern for the need in Germany, and we pray God will bless you for your care to us. We began the long travel back to our home base in Maryland today. The trip out was rough on Lena, so we are trying to take our time a little more on the way back. Pray that it would be less taxing on us both, and that God would protect us on our way. We expect to be able to give a good answer to that prayer shortly. I suppose that is everything. I will post some pictures of our time out west this weekend.
The first big trip is finally here! We’re headed out to Arizona for the month of January! This will be the first cross-country trip with the trailer. I’m still nervous towing it, but each trip helps me feel, if not more comfortable, at least more accustomed.
On top of that, it seems like every time we get ready to go on a trip, the check engine light decides it needs to turn on. However, after a quick check and some free advice (thank you, Autozone), we were able to get it taken care of (for now).
We made a few more contacts in December, but we would like to fill up the rest of our calendar. We don’t have a meeting Feb. 2nd and would like to fill that as soon as possible. We are also trying to get meetings for the Wednesdays that we are out in Arizona. We know that it is in God’s hands; without Him we can do nothing.
Some prayer requests:
For God to provide us the meetings that He desires
For safety as we go, and that the engine light would stay off!
For steadiness and peace of mind while I tow the trailer
For good traveling time
For God to raise our support quickly
We wish you all a happy New Year! May God bless you and yours with great success, and may all be done to glorify Christ!