Hard to believe but Summer is almost over and Fall is upon us. Below is a recap of things that have happened over the summer both in the church and in our personal lives and also a little look on some things to come. Thanks ahead of time for reading and praying, we are grateful for each of you!
CHURCH & MINISTRY …
CC KANDERTAL SUMMER HOMEGROUPS: During the summer CCK shrunk as many of our families were away either on vacation or traveling for ministry (Stateside & within Europe). This left our church smaller and not needing our regular church building for a time. We are thankful that families who were around opened their homes and hosted church meetings on Sundays. At one of these home meetings, we were able to enjoy a BBQ, games, and swimming after church. It was a blessing to see people in our fellowship step in to help in the Summer season of leanness.
WELCOMING A NEW INTERN/WORKER: God brought us a new intern named Jayme Lechman from the CCBC campus in California who just graduated last semester. The school announced our need for workers to graduating students during a chapel service that she was present at, something that they rarely do. When she heard about the opportunity it tugged on her heart. After taking time to pray she responded in faith (this is already a good sign). She arrived a couple weeks back and we already see an outgoing heart for the Lord and a willingness to serve in any way. Her focus will be the children’s ministry but it’s already wonderful to hear her heart for young people and serving wherever needed. We are already thankful for and blessed by her teachable and flexible heart. Please keep her in prayer for this next year that she has committed to being here and that God would show her and us if this is something He wants her to do long term.
CO-LABORERS NEEDED: Even though we have just been blessed with a new intern the need for workers is still great. As you know we’ve been praying for co-laborers for the last year. Because of where we live (next to a missionary boarding school and a diverse community) there is so much potential for outreach and ministry but we need the help. Within our church alone there is much need in, translation, children’s ministry, youth, worship, and just church ministry in general. The thing we do feel that God has shown us is that He will invite the right people as we share the needs. We desire those with hearts to serve Jesus here, who are teachable, spiritually mature, flexible, and a clear calling for long-term missions ministry. So that’s what we’re doing… praying, waiting, and making the needs known.
PARTNERING IN MINISTRY IN OUR COMMUNITY: In September we will be partnering with another ministry, Walking Together. Walking Together is a ministry that takes a relational based approach to discipleship and mentoring between women. One of the women in our church heads up this ministry and asked us if we’d like to take part and support. CCK will be hosting their kick-off event for women in our community on September 29 at our church facility and taking part to encourage and meet new people. Our heart in doing this is to encourage discipleship in our community.
OCTOBER OUTREACH TEAM: At the beginning of October a team from Springs
Lighthouse, a church in Colorado will be coming out to serve for 10 days. During their time with us we are planning a Musical Outreach in our city of Lorrach, our Cooking Club launch (teaching people how to make Mexican food), and an American picnic day after church on Sunday (an American cultural experience), joining our community in cleaning up our local forest and possibly ministering to the refugees in our area at one of the camps. We look forward to what God has planned and what He will do!
RETURNING & NEW MINISTRIES FOR CCK: In September we will be resuming our monthly Men’s prayer breakfast, church worship & prayer nights, as well as beginning a couple of new ministries for our church body and our community. The first is a men’s weekly Bible study. Frank and Jeff Gage, a brother in our church, had the heart to see this happen and are planning on moving forward with it. We are thankful for people from our church showing vision and initiative. The second thing we are hoping to begin is a monthly cooking club, which we will use as a platform to connect with people and build relationships.
GETTING THE WORD OUT ABOUT CC KANDERTAL: In August Frank was able to share at the new staff orientation for BFA (the international missionary/expat school). He was given a few minutes to share about CCK and give an opportunity for families to pray about making our church their church home. We are also beginning to make efforts to advertise the church in the various local towns by hanging fliers and posters. Although we are making this effort it is our hearts to reach the lost and for God to draw believers in need of a church who are likeminded, share the vision to reach and to minister to the international and German communities of our region, equally value the teaching of God’s word, and have a heart to be part of our church community by actively engaging through the use of their spiritual gifts.
GOD KEEPS THE CHURCH ON ITS TOES: A few Sundays ago we returned to our normal building as families in our church began to come back from their summer travels. But the thing we’ve noticed with our church is that we often get random and unexpected visitors who keep us on our toes, due to the nature of our area and the diversity of our community. One Sunday we were joined by a group from a church planting conference that met in the building we rent for our church services. These folks were from different areas of Germany. Their visit turned into a neat opportunity to let them see what a new church looks like as well as give us the opportunity to minister to them in their ventures of faith. After the service, many came up and shared how much they enjoyed the service and how appreciative they were. When one of them referred to Frank as “Reverend” (a first time experience) it made us both chuckle a bit inside. Also a Sunday this summer we were joined by a group of German high school kids from an English camp that was hosted by one of the local Christian ministries. After service, we had a picnic together with them and taught them how to play American flag football.
As a church our prayer is for opportunities like the examples above, to be a light to our community and express through action that we are a church that loves them. This is a good reminder to stay alert, faithful and working because you never know whom God might bring into your doors and church.
ENJOYING OUR SUMMER: We are thankful for how God blessed our summer. Most of the summer was unusually hot due to an intense heat wave that hit most of Europe. To beat the heat we sought refuge at our local pools with friends and their families as often as our schedules permitted. We also had several opportunities to fellowship with various people from our church who were still in town and enjoyed spending time between just the two of us by simply reading uplifting books together, praying and enjoying one another.
A LITTLE TIME AWAY: In July God blessed us with an affordable road trip vacation. We first drove to Siegen (central Germany) and spent time with our friends, Alex & Mandy Kruse (pastor of CC Siegen), Katja, and Thomas and Ute. We then headed to Dusseldorf (northern Germany) where we spent time with the Coronel family who pastors CC Dusseldorf. Frank also shared the word that Sunday. We then proceeded to Holland for a whole week and spent time with our dear friends Stan & Marnie Marinussen, and the DeHaan family. What a joy these people are to us. It’s been our little getaway place where we get built up and encouraged by these wonderful saints and had a lot of fun in the process. God gave us beautiful weather during this whole trip and we are so thankful to have family in Christ from all over opening their homes up to us. Its great to live in a place were can simply drive to see friends within a few hours.
CC REFRESH CONFERENCE: In August we attended the annual missions conference that was renamed, Refresh. Needless to say, this conference was indeed refreshing. Not only was the fellowship incredible as we connected with our fellow missionaries serving around Europe, but there was also an evident move of the Spirit among us and in the teaching of God’s word. We had some regular guest speakers, but this year God brought pastor Ed & Marie Taylor (CC Aurora) and his family and pastor Rob & Denise Salvato (CC Vista). We had never met these two pastors or their wives before but by the end of the conference, we had the pleasure of getting to know them and their families. They specifically made a point to be very personal and approachable to all of us. As a missionary, this spoke volumes to us about their hearts. An additional bonus to this year’s conference was that we were able to reconnect with our old teammates, the Wilk family, serving in Poland. We hadn’t seen these friends in ten years but had a sweet and long-needed reunion. God is good!
SPIRITUAL REFLECTION: At the mission’s conference we reflected back on the last 14 years of ministry that we’ve had since arriving in Europe. We considered all that God has taken us through, the things that we’ve learned and the things that we are continuing to learn. Throughout this time God has pruned us back in some significant and often painful ways, yet through it all we have had the blessings of seeing various fruit in the different places that He has led us, whether planting a church, ministering to Bible College students or simply discipling younger believers. Despite any of the challenges we’ve experienced over the years we wouldn’t take any of it back! We’ve also been enjoying reading books that were recommended to us that we think every, pastor, church planter and missionary should read. These books deal with everything from hurts from other believers to the refining process that needs to happen in each of our own lives. A quote that hit home for us both just the other day was:
“ I’ve discovered that I need to be wounded in order to offer true comfort to others who have been wounded too. Wounds hurt, but they also…deepen my compassion, strengthen my faith, refocus my perspective, enlarge my heart, broaden my understanding and increase my discernment.” –Ann Graham-Lotz
FINAL THOUGHT; THE LOCAL CHURCH GLOBALLY: Over the last couple of years I’ve had several conversations with pastors around Europe and the States who’ve all expressed concern about the consistent inconsistency of church attendees and the decreasing importance people are placing in plugging into a local church. Local meaning, one they feel God is leading them to that they get fed the Word and can serve. Sadly it’s become a global trend that many people will go to church only once per month and or church hop, which is just as spiritually unhealthy. Belonging to and being active in a local church has become less and less of a priority for many singles, couples and families alike. Please be praying for CCK and your local church wherever you are. Consider the spiritual importance of being involved and getting plugged in!!
May the Lord continue to show us His perspective and give us the continued strength to do His will and not our own. We thank the Lord for the way that He uses those of you who support us through your finances and prayers. Thank you again for faithfully taking the time to read our updates and for praying! To learn how to pray for us please take a few minutes to read our new prayer requests, just click on, PRAYER TIME
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 “SUPPORT” page or click HERE.
FRANK & SUZIE GONZALEZ