On the home front Aurora turned 10 and I turned 33; Stacy is about to have a birthday, but her age is not for me to tell...LOL. We continue to work slowly on our house and yard dreaming of what it can become and how God might use it for Kingdom purposes. However, since I am pretty new to gardening and construction the progress is slow. I have no doubt that Jesus gave us this house though and believe he wants to turn it into a tool for the Kingdom, one step at a time, in His time. Please continue to pray for this dream that God has given us. Besides a the house, a prayer request on the family front is we continue to struggle with Aurora in many areas and ask for your prayers as we try to parent and love her well.
On the job frontier things at Arby's were deteriorating seemingly day to day. I did not much care for my job, it's location, or my boss. I continued to work faithfully, but the truth was I was miserable where I worked. I longed for the season to end, but determined in my heart that I would not throw in the towel before God provided a way out. Through a friend, I found out that Starbucks was looking for store managers and was hired on officially August 18. Starbucks is a company that I have history with and I really enjoyed working for from 06-09 and I am so grateful for this opportunity. It has been an answer to prayer and a huge burden lifted. It is truly a miracle for our family.
We have also seen God do some other miracles this summer. Through both preaching and counseling ministry we have seen four people give their lives to Christ. To God be the glory. We are also seeing chains of addiction broken, marriages strengthened, restoration of relationships, and so much more. It never ceases to amaze me how Jesus works and I believe this is just the beginning of what Jesus is going to do here in Oshkosh and beyond. This summer we also saw a relationship healed that I did not think had any hope of reconciliation. I do not want to go into details, but a relationship with a man who was very key in our family coming to WI was broken and it was very hard for me. This man, who has a significant position of authority amongst churches in our state, came to me and asked for restored relationship as a brother in Christ and we rejoice in the healing that Jesus brought to my heart and his. Jesus loves the unity of his Church so much that he spent his final prayers praying for it. I know it made Him very glad to see peace made.
As most of you know all of our ministry has been done under the umbrella of New City Church as we continue to be very involved in the planting of New City. We our so grateful for all that God has allowed for us to be a part of there as they have ministered to us as much as we have to them. I continue to preach there on a regular basis and God is bringing me men to mentor and invest in through the church. He has also been bringing me people to love through counseling, which is both rewarding, yet a heavy load to carry, but I know He will sustain me. Recently, I was asked if I would become the director of connections at New City and Stacy and I have prayfully decided to take over this vital ministry. Most people will decide whether or not they will visit a church again before the sermon even starts, within their first interactions and minutes of a service they are making their decision. Please pray that we can recruit people to help us transform this ministry and take ownership of this part of the Church. There is some great stuff on this truth here... http://joshuareich.org/2013/06/19/the-most-important-minutes-to-a-guest-on-a-sunday-morning/?utm_content=bufferd5dab&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
The truth is, "saved people serve people" and this is the vision that we are casting. I dream so much for New City I could go on and on, but the Spirit is moving in a special way and I ask your continued prayers for New City and the transformation of Oshkosh.
There is more that could be said but I want to end this letter by saying thank you to those who have given to us both financially and through prayer. The truth is that without you we would have never made it to WI. Without you we would not have had a roof over our heads those first few weeks and months we lived here. Without you four people mostly likely would still be heading towards an eternity separated from Christ. Without you those who are finding freedom from addiction might still be suffering. Jesus has honored and multiplied your prayers and gifts. Although we deeply appreciate everyone for all you have invested into us, we want to especially thank Hopewell Presbyterian Church. Your prayers, love, and support have been such Godsends to us. All that you have invested is seeing return in the Kingdom and we love you so very much. From the very bottom of our hearts we give you our deepest love and gratitude. We pray God would bless you for being a blessing. Know that we love and miss you all.
As I come to a close, I am reminded of how this church planting journey has not been what any of us thought it would be, but Jesus is at work and I have learned His ways our so much better than mine. Although I dream of what could be next in this Church planting journey, I am also so humbled to be where I am now, Still amazed of all that Jesus has redeemed in me. I know Jesus has placed us right where we are, in these very times. Even though some circumstances don't seem to make sense, like our assessment with Acts 29 has been delayed yet again, I know that Jesus is at work in even this and I take so much comfort in knowing that he is in control. Thank you again for all of your prayers and I look forward to updating you again soon, Jeremiah McDuffie