Update: (3/24/11) Missions Moment Videos are now ready for download!!!
Are you ready for the 2011 Big Apple Adventure Vacation Bible School? Hopefully we can help each other out! Watch the video to learn more…
Also, we want to help make your VBS the best it possibly can be by:
If you are interested in connecting your church’s VBS to a real live church planter and church plant in New York City please email us at freddy(at)gallerychurch(dot)com.
(Check back in mid-January to view samples of the “Missions Moment Videos” you can use during your VBS!)
Join the excitement of others in connecting your VBS to the Gallery Church in 2011!
It has been a long, long, but good day. We rose early this morning…and the last drink Jack could have was @ 7am. No food this morning was allowed. There is much I could share by way of details on the day, but really am too tired to type it all out. The waiting to go into surgery was tough. Had to be there @ 9, we got there a little early. Surgery was scheduled for 10:30, but Jack didn’t get in there till closer to 12:30. Long day of waiting. Jack did amazing, never asked for anything to drink or eat, until he saw the water fountain around Noon…and that was probably more him wanting to play with the water than to drink it. The surgery went very well. Dr Waner and his team are amazing; his maker far more. Jack has to wear these little arm braces to keep his hands away from his face so he doesn’t play with his stitches. Once we convinced him they were robot arms he was surprisingly okay with wearing them. Though his lip is and will be swollen for several days, his smile is remarkably beautiful. You can see all his teeth and there is no big bump popping out. I was so happy seeing that. They are running a biopsy on the legion they removed from under his lip. Thank you for praying with us through this. We have felt your prayers…and the fact that Jack was singing his songs tonight is the fruit of so many of your sweet prayers. Thank you!
Very early in little Jack’s life we noticed that his top lip had a little bump or growth of some kind on it. When he was a little over a year old upon our pediatrician’s recommendation in Tennessee, we took Jack to a doctor at Vanderbilt. He told us that the bump on Jack’s lip was a vascular malformation and recommended us to a doctor that was in New York City, Dr. Milton Waner. We were living in Clarksville, TN at the time and could not afford the flights or out of network surgery at the time. In God’s providence a year later, we find ourselves living in New York and were able to walk down the street to Dr. Waner’s office. Our understanding of the caliber doctor that Dr. Waner is has been growing ever since we heard of him and we are so grateful that he will be operating on Jack in the morning. After looking at Jack’s lip just for a moment, he turned to me and said that he didn’t know what it was, but that it needed to be removed, and that they’d take it to the lab and see what exactly it was. He said that it was probably either a cyst on a saliva gland or possibly a hemangioma. In short our time with Dr. Waner and his office has been amazing. They have been the most compassionate and seemingly competent physicians I have been around. Very comforting for a parent.
Jack’s surgery is in the morning @ 10:30am. Thank you for your prayers for him. Below are a few links of videos and articles about some of Dr. Waner’s work.
Dr. Waner video on the early show http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/02/26/earlyshow/series/main602359.shtml
New York Times article about Dr. Waner
Our God is amazing at how He gifts men and women like Dr. Waner!
You may or may not have heard by now that our Worship Pastor @ The Gallery Church, Paul Ramey recently resigned. I first met Paul and his wife Meredith when I was working on the Passion Tour back in 2001. We stayed in touch, saw each other a conferences, and actually got to lead some retreats and conferences together. It did not take much time with Paul and Mer before they become some of my very favorite people. Their love for life, people, and God is authentic and contagious. So, I was crazy stoked when they sensed God’s leadership to move to NYC to partner with us on mission @ The Gallery Church. Needless to say I was crazy sad when they recently decided to move back to Portland, OR after being in NYC for about nine months. Paul had immediate impact on the people @ The Gallery and in NYC. He is a very sensitive pastor and gifted musician. He will be tremendously missed by the Gallery family. Paul and Mer have three boys Noah (12), Evan (10), and Jonah (8). Paul’s decision to move back to Portland was primarily motivated by his love and care for his family. Without going into details, the city was very difficult for the boys and thus for Meredith. In a day when many pastor’s have sacrificed their family for the ministry, I am grateful for men like Paul who refuse to do so. I cherish the time we have had with the Ramey’s and consider it a gift from God to have gotten to do local church ministry and church planting at that, with Paul. We love the Ramey family and will miss them very much.
If you are reading this today, you are probably a good friend who cares about what God is doing with us in NYC. Thanks for trackin with us.
City Uprising registration is open for 2010. There are two weeks for NYC! Registration is only $99, but only through Sunday. I want to personally invite you to come and help us out as we seek to saturate NYC with the love of Jesus.
Please encourage your pastor(s) to bring a group…or just bring a group yourself!
Sign up today @ www.cityuprising.com
We’ve got much to be thankful for. First for you if you are reading this and praying for us, we thank God for you! I have experienced a bit of God’s jaw dropping provision the last week or so.
We’ve asked you to pray for our dear friends and partners in mission Corey and Leann Boyd and in particular for their house to sell. They moved to NYC with gutsy faith that their house would sell, without which, they probably could not remain in NYC for any significant length of time. God loves when His children trust Him. In the eleventh hour it was not looking real good for the sell of the house and the Boyd’s were wrestling with what that meant for them. Did I mention that Leann has been in Clarksville for the last three or four weeks with Ezra teaching school to maintain their health insurance and to have their baby Elias. Well, while we were thinking it was the 11th hour, the LORD was calmly orchestrating his sovereign will, knowing He His timing is always right. So, just over a week ago Corey told me that the school that he was teaching at offered him and Leann a studio apartment in the building for $300 a month. Absolutely jaw dropping! It is hard to even fathom that apartments like this exist. Everyone that lives in NY that has heard about this has had the same response…jaw dropped. Perhaps a bigger jaw drop is in order @ Leann’s willingness to live in the studio. Granted it has an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline (the school and the apartment are in Queens), but it will be urban living to the max. I typically read missionary biographies for inspiration, but here lately, I simply watch my brother and sister in Christ in action. Please pray for Corey and Leann as they continue to be away from one another for another couple of weeks and for the delivery of little Elias, and for their transition back into their studio apartment. Now you may be wondering, what about their house in TN, we’ve been praying for it to sell. Well, just today, Corey told me that they have an offer on their house that they are accepting! So not only do they have the cheapest (nice and clean) studio apartment in NYC, but now they have sold their house, which positions them for focused ministry here in NYC for some significant amount of time. All quite amazing. It has been such an awesome journey to watch Corey and Leann’s faith and their faithful Father’s provision, every step of the way, at just the right times. Our worship has been fueled! A few minutes after getting off the phone with Corey, the doctor’s office called and told me that they were able to negotiate with our insurance company and Jack’s surgery will be completely covered by insurance. I had to search back through the blog to see if we’ve even talked about that on here and to my surprise we had not. So I will be giving details on all of that very soon! I’ll also update in the next few days with an update about Paul Ramey and his family. Till then, revel in gratitude with us in God’s jaw dropping provision. I guess if our faith wasn’t so small, our jaws would not be so dropped. He is who He says He is.
There is a lot to report on and much to pray toward. Thanks for continuing to track with us!
Susan and I got to spend a few days in Charleston, SC participating in and celebrating the wedding of a great friend, Tom Duttweiler. We decided to make an early 5-year anniversary trip out of it (September 4th is the official day). A long time friend offered us great help on a hotel through a “friends and family” discount they have. My parents continued to demonstrate their heroic powers by coming to NYC and staying with our three kids for four nights. I think it wore them out. Susan and I were greatly refreshed. We needed the time together more than we realized. We enjoyed some of the first non-exhausted, undistracted conversation in a long time. We had good rest and were able to get refueled for a great fall.
Gallery Church Retreat.
The week after Charleston we held our first Gallery Church Wide retreat. God was gracious to us as over 50 adults and 9 kids retreated in the Poconos. That is over half of our average Sunday attendance! The pace of our retreat was exactly what New Yorkers needed as we took time to be still before God. Our teaching focused on God’s sovereignty in salvation, suffering, and our strengths. Challenging conversations were had by all. Fresh antisipation and faith was stirred as we considered how God has uniquely gifted all of us for service and all that He will do in our midst this fall.
Praying toward the Fall.
Please continue to pray with and for us. I believe God is positioning us for a fantastic fall for spiritual and numerical growth in the Gallery Church.
There are more specifics that I will continue to share with you in the days to come!
A new apartment?
Having never lived in Manhattan before (formerly we were in New Brunswick), Susan and I with the counsel of those living in NYC, charted a budget the best we could before we arrived last October. We wound that budget as tightly as possible. As we took our vision and budget before churches we met a lady in MO that I’ll never forget. She exclaimed “You’ll never make it with that grocery budget!” And though the grocery budget has worked out rather well, several other unforeseen expenses have required us to put a significant dent in our very modest savings. So, though things are very tight, we are not worried as God has met all of our needs during this amazing faith journey. We are however, excited about begin able to reduce our cost of living through a new apartment. Our current apartment has been a perfect grace from God and I could list a dozen reasons why. However, because the market dropped right after we moved in, and because we’ve had the opportunity to scout out the kinds of places that are available, we are confident that we can find cheaper rent that still meets our needs. Our greatest heartache will be moving off our floor away from several relationships we have been investing in. Though we can continue these relationships, it will not be quite as easy. Jack has two really good buddies on our floor. One of our neighbors died this week, while another had a baby this week. Please pray with us.
All reports are saying that this the best time to rent/buy/move in NYC in a decade. As crazy as it sounds, we will probably be able to find an apartment with an extra bedroom that is still significantly cheaper than our current rent. This is especially exciting because God has been burdening a good friend of ours to live the mission with us in NYC as our nanny/family helper. Thus, an extra bedroom would fulfill a critical piece. While in Charleston, Susan and I had the privilege of visiting with a couple who had served as missionaries to Africa for 19 years. We gained great insight and encouragement as we asked them lots of questions about their experiences of having people live with them in Africa. This is just one of the many ways God has been confirming this opportunity. Please pray for this process to be smooth and magnifying to Jesus in every way!
Thanks again for continuing to track with us! God is at work. We are humbled. We need your continued support!