Preaching to Possible Supporters
Author: Emma Carpenter
This past week, Brandon and I got the opportunity to attend a Sunday service at Maricopa Community Church. Joey Tartaglia was going to speak and give an update on Finisterre Vision and we were told that Brandon could have a portion of time to speak during the service! Maricopa Community Church supported Joey and Brooke Tartaglia since they first started working towards PNG and then into the formation of Finisterre Vision. Since we are a part of Finisterre Vision's progress, it was perfect to be at the church for the update on this week.
Brandon worked hard to prepare what he was going to speak. Every time that I told him he was going to do great, he shrugged it off and said, "It's God not me". We prayed all this last week that God would speak through Brandon and his message and that the hearts of the church members would be open. God sure answered our prayers!
When we arrived at the church, and Brandon woke me up from my car nap, we were excited to see the small church building. We arrived about thirty minutes before the service was set to start so we sat in on the last few minutes of Sunday school. It was so amazing to hear the wisdom and knowledge that these people had about the Bible. The church attendants leaned towards the older side, so everyone was excited to see new and young faces! We were instantly greeted with hugs and smiles and got to sit up front with the pastor's wife and Joey during the service.
The service opened with worship, prayers and praises, requests, and acknowledging the new attendants. Much to our, and the members of the church's, surprise, there were about ten new people! But as everyone introduced themselves, it became funny to explain that they were all our family members and friends here to support Brandon for this great opportunity.
The pastor, Steve Adamson, then took a few minutes to open the service and introduce Joey. At this point, the nerves were finally starting to hit Brandon! Joey gave an update on the current missionaries out in PNG, the new people in training, and the need for a new logistics team. He played a video that the current missionaries put together that details their experience of their first few years out in the field (button below). Joey then introduced Brandon as being in training and it was time for him to speak.
Brandon walked up to the podium and introduced himself and me (it was fun being Brandon's fiancé all morning). Embarrassingly enough for me, Brandon did all this and made eye contact with me the exact moment that I went to take a picture! (see first photo) The message that Brandon prepared to speak was on prayer. This seemed perfect for the occasion because it was clear that this was a church full of prayer-minded people! He spoke about the parable in Luke 11 of the persistent friend, which is in Jesus' teachings on prayer. Then, he followed that with the example in Exodus 32 where Moses pleads with God and changes his mind. Brandon related all of this with the overarching message that persistent prayer gets an answer from God. He then asked that the church would pray for us and our journey on this mission.
At the end of the service, Brandon and I, along with Joey, were asked to stand at the front of the building so that people could come say hi and meet us. We have never felt so much love and excitement from people that we had just met! Every face we met was full of smiles and congratulations about our coming marriage and career in missions! There is no doubt that we would be welcome back into that church at any time in the future. There is the potential for this church to become a supporting church for PNG, but all Brandon and I ask is for prayer. We know that the Lord will take care of the rest and we want people to partner with us until then.
After the service, we were welcomed into the home of the pastor and his wife and were able to eat lunch with them. It was fun to be able to talk theology and life with such wise people. Brandon and I hope that we get the opportunity to do all of this again in the future! As Brandon's first time delivering a message in a church, it went amazing! I can't wait to see how the Lord develops this skill in Brandon in preparation for PNG.
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