21 IN 21 Update!

21 in 21

Great News Friends!  We are excited to report that the Lord has been moving on people’s hearts in majorly visible ways lately.  We’ve been receiving support gifts from people and as of now our Start-Up account has more than doubled this month.   We are now at 45% of our needed Start-Up Funds and last month we were at 22% – PRAISE the LORD for the radical obedience of his people and their willingness to partner with us!

Current as of 12/28/2012
Current as of 12/28/2012

Our On-Going account is still at 25% but we are still hopeful that it could change with the coming of January.  The Lord may yet bring up 21 people who will commit to $100/monthly or $1200 annually (Or some equivalent combination) for this coming year.  If that happens we would still be eligible to launch this summer. If you’re interested in being one of the supporters we are hoping for between now and mid-January, then just click here or on the tab above.

Regardless of what God does, we are committed to Him, trusting that He has a plan and his way and timing are always better.  It’s so exciting to see how some whom we have spoken with have responded and even some whom we’ve not spoken with for years have stepped up! Only God could be responsible for this kind of movement. There is still a lot we don’t know or understand, such as when and how things will transpire from here, but when we don’t get what God is up to then we remember what Peter said to Jesus in John 6:68-69 when he was unsure.

“68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

IN other words,  We’re leaving what we don’t know with the Lord and we’re staying put based on what we do know.  Because we know who Jesus is and that’s enough for us.  We know that following Him is as good as it gets here on earth so we are following Jesus no matter what!

1 Purpose

There is only one mission and it’s God’s. The mission is not ours; its His.   We just get to join Him. He has been on this mission for thousands of years already. We need not pick a new mission, a different one or a more unique one, for none exists. We need only to come together to maximize the speed of the spread of the Gospel (John 17:20-21) and fortify the building up of Christ’s church all over the world (Ephesians 4:16) according to his Will (Matt. 28:16-20) and for His glory.  There is only one mission. There is only one purpose.  The only question left for each to ask is what is my part in this?

ONE LAST PRAYER THIS YEAR!

21 in 21

      21 People IN 21 Days!  In 2012 our family has seen God do some pretty remarkable things and we have much to praise Him for as we close out this year BUT we have one last prayer request that we’re lifting up before it’s all over!  We are praying for God to raise up 21 people in the next 21 days who will each commit to supporting us with $100 monthly.   

Library Baptist has added our family to their annual mission's donation called "Birthday Gift For Jesus".  This church is the one Jon grew up in and Bianca and Jon both got Baptized at in 1997.  It is also the 2nd Church to officially commit support to us!  Praise God for their partnership!
Library Baptist has added our family to their annual mission’s donation called “Birthday Gift For Jesus”. This church is the one Jon grew up in and Bianca and Jon both got Baptized at in 1997. It is also the 2nd Church to officially commit support to us! Praise God for their partnership!

If this takes place then by God’s grace, we’ll reach the 50% of our needed monthly commitments by the first half of January 2013 and still be eligible to leave for Costa Rica this summer.  If you feel the Lord leading you to be one of our financial supporters, regardless of the amount, then we would love to know.  Please email us at followingthefowlers@gmail.com or visit us at www.followingthefowlers.com.  We wish you all a Merry Christmas and many more blessings in 2013!

2 Minute Drills…AGAIN!

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When I played football growing up, it was normal for our Coach to put us through “2 Minute Drills” at the end of every Thursday practice.  The goal for us was to practice putting points on the board with crisp, polished precision as we raced against the 2 minute practice-clock but for Coach, the goal was developing our ability to perform under intense pressure in preparation for the game.   Sometimes I think God does that with us too and right now, I suspect one of those moments is coming …AGAIN.

One of the most critical junctures of our support raising process is fast approaching.  We’ve been informed by our agency that if we would like to leave this summer 2013, then our support and commitments must be at or around the 50% mark by the beginning part of January.  If we don’t then the next launch date isn’t schedule until a year from now. That means the pressure is on and the clock is ticking because at the moment we are at 27%.  Yeah, I know what you are thinking… “That means they have to almost double what they have!” and that’s true.  It’s also true that we have only about 3 weeks or so to do this in BUT… the difference is always in God.  I know that to us these things are hard but to Him, those same things are nothing.

Practically speaking, right now 1 church and a whole bunch of awesome people of faith have committed over ¼ of what we need to go to the mission field.   In dollars, that means we have received $10K for our Start-Up Fund and $1,943 in monthly commitments—and that’s huge.   However, if we hope to leave this summer, then we need to pray for a major push and fast. If you really are standing with us, then now is a critical moment.  We need you to pray for God’s will to be done but all for His glory.   If you’re intending to support us financially then we would also like to know – if possible.  There are 3 ways we can envision hitting the 50% mark.

1) The rest of our “Start-Up” costs ($40,000) could be covered. – This would do it in one motion.

2) Receiving additional “Monthly Commitments” in amounts totaling ($2,120)

3) A combination of the first two options equaling the (23%) of our total support needed.

If you feel led to support us, you can contact us with the address info below.  If you will pray, then lift up the current conversations developing with several churches in the Pittsburgh area. It’s unlikely that we will hear a decision from any of them before the beginning of January but they could be very capable of helping with the rest of our needed support if the Lord led them that way.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.  We are more than happy to talk or get together.

In the mean time, praise God with us for all He has done and keeps doing because we know that our ETERNAL COACH is also just developing us through moments like these! (Phil. 1:3-4)

In Christ, the Fowler Family

CONTACT INFO:  3617 Ridge Rd., Aliquippa PA, 15001 / followingthefowlers@gmail.com

ONLINE GIVING is available  HERE – PLEASE Designate to “FOWLER-1664”

Pittsburgh and Panama go WAY BACK!

I am a lover of all things historic and I would much rather watch a movie based on a true story than a sci-fi flick anytime. I think that’s why it’s so exciting to me that Pittsburgh and Panama have a true historic relationship?  The story is wrapped up with the most significant landmark in the entire country of Panama – the Canal.   

 You can Google the long version but the short one is basically this…

The construction of the canal began in 1880 by the French but it was the American’s that finished the job in 1914.   The project was one that needed to be rescued and because he saw the great potential, Teddy Roosevelt decided he was just the US President to tackle that job.  

            There were many challenges to overcome in building this intercontinental, water-highway but one of the last and largest obstacles standing in their way was how to construct the giant gates needed for the locks that would neither warp nor wear out with long term use in water.  This is when they turned to the experts of their day in steel construction.  The Pittsburgh Company of Blaw Steel was awarded the opportunity to construct the largest gates to ever swing.  They used an astronomical 53,000 tons of structural steel, castings, plates and other material to do the job.  In the end Pittsburgh successfully delivered the giant gates by 1909 for canal installation.   Because they took on the challenge of this global project they played a critical role in this country’s history, identity and value to the world economy even to today!   Without their contribution, huge sea vessels would still be traveling 8000 miles or more around Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America to get around the America’s.

            This brings me to a thought. What part would Pittsburgh people have to play if God had a heavenly project of global significance underway in the country of Panama today?  I wonder because I think it’s actually happening.  I see the Gospel exploding in that country and the surrounding regions and I see the church and its leaders in desperate need of fortification. What if believers in Pittsburgh or other areas of the world were asked to play a part?  Right now there is a call out for a significant challenge that the church there is facing. They are trying to put some final pieces in place so the success of the Great Commission can continue to flow and that is leadership development and healthy, biblical church planting!  It is a giant job but we don’t have a history of shrinking back from giant jobs.

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Waiting Well!

Psalm 27 has been one of my favorite Psalms for a long time.   The whole chapter is full of powerful verses but the way it ends in verse 14 has held even more significance lately.  This verse speaks of a kind of strength that many people perhaps might not even call a “strength” any more – the ability to wait!  This idea keeps coming up again and again with our family.  Though within the lesson here, is another lesson I think and that is that while we wait we have many choices of what to do and how to be as Christians.  For example, recently the Lord convicted me of grumbling about my circumstances and led me to 1 Cor. 10.  It reminded me that if you have to wait, do it in a way that honors the Lord and remember that you are not the first to do this or anything for that matter.   And while you wait, if you keep your eyes open, you may even see God work through the waiting.  Thursday night was an example of this to me.

            I had the joy of speaking at Hillside Christian Community in Carnegie PA for their young adults meeting led by my long time friend Mike Short.  To make things even more exciting, while I got to speak for the evening, the guy leading the worship music was another old friend of mine, Dave Yeck.  For those that don’t know the background here, I will share why this was so important to me.  This was a very personal occasion for me because Mike Short was someone that the Lord allowed me to come alongside as a big brother in Christ many years before as kids back at West Allegheny High School.  Not long before that happened though, a Youth For Christ leader named Dave Yeck had come alongside me as a big brother in my faith.  And it had been a long time since I had seen either of them, let alone together.  So all three generations of Christ followers were having an unplanned reunion.  It was a true joy to be together again in one place with them, serving with them and to know that they are still following fervently after the Lord.  This was a lesson that the Lord hit me with while I have been grumbling about my circumstances while waiting.  It reminded me of the need to toughen up and stop complaining, because God has been at work for a long time and he isn’t finished with Jon, Bianca or the Fowler family yet.  So if we have to wait, we want to do it right and have no regrets when we get to that next place. 

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Vision Trip 10 for 10

As many of you know, we just returned from our ten day “Vision Trip” to Panama and Costa Rica. This is a required step in the process of becoming Reach Global Missionaries. We are still processing all that took place but we wanted to share at least 10 things that we will take away from this 10 day trip specifically.

  1. We got to know the ReachGlobal Director for Latin America (Our future boss)Image
  2. We got to introduce our future director to our friends & networks in PanamaImage
  3. We made more connections in Panama for possible future partnershipsImage
  4. We watched our boys begin to mix in with the culture and practice SpanishImageImage
  5. We gave our boys a reference for what life could be like once we move.Image
  6. We got to envision some possible housing scenariosImage
  7. We got to meet some ReachGlobal Staff in Costa RicaImage
  8. We got to tour the school our family will attend for one year in Costa RicaImage
  9. We got to see some interesting wildlifeImage
  10. We made some new friends during our last 3 days in Costa RicaImage

* BONUS – We remembered that our boys love monkeys!Image

The End of our first Full Day

Well it has been a full first day here in Panama. Our ReachGlobal director showed up today before lunch time. There was lots of good conversations and introductions that took place. We look forward to seeing where this can lead. We also look forward to our first visit to Costa Rica on Wednesday. One thing that blessed us so far was watching our boys play with the neighborhood kids at the park a block from Mirko and Traci’s home. Yesterday they were invited to play Soccer and they did. Ezra actually stole the ball from an 18 year old who underestimated him and both of our boys were practicing Spanish with the kids, even if only a few words. I was impressed. Tonight we went back to that park and they met kids closer to their age and it was even better. As we were leaving they even said “See you later my friends!” In Spanish!!! It is awesome to watch God preparing them because it reminds me that He is the only one that could love those 3 boys more than us.

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Less than 12 Hours til we leave!!!

Well Everyone, we are heading to Panama and Costa Rica tomorrow with the boys…but this is just a 10 day visit.

We wish this was the real move but we are still a long ways away from that.  We can’t actually move until we have received 100% of our support or support commitments and so far we are at 17% of our Monthly Support and 11% of our Start-Up costs, which is a blessing but I will admit that it can’t come too quick for  us because a short trip doesn’t compare to really moving to Central America to finally do ministry.

This trip still has an important purpose for us though. In fact this is referred to by ReachGlobal as our “Vision Trip“.   Normally  the goal is to meet the team that exists in the place you will be serving and get to know them and the surroundings a little better before you go. However in our case, things are slightly different because in Panama there is NO ReachGlobal staff …yet. This means that we have different goals for this Vision Trip and these are what we would ask you to pray about together with us:

  • Introduce the Latin America Director for RG to our friends, networks and ministry in Panama.
  • See the  Language School in San Jose, Costa Rica our Director wants us to attend before Panama
  • See the Language School that our kids will attend while we are in Costa Rica
  • Learn about possible living arrangements while in Costa Rica
  • Meet the ReachGlobal Team that does exist in Costa Rica and learn about their current ministry’s
  • Help our boys begin to get excited about moving to the Mission Field

In addition to all of these we are praying for safety, to,  from and during our trip especially with our “3 Little Bears” and most of all that we would be able to hear the Lord speak plainly to us.  Stay tuned because we will post pics and updates as we can and we look forward to giving a full update to all when we return with our 3rd Official E-Newsletter. If you have not received our E-Newsletter yet please just email us back and let us know you desire to do so and we will get you on the list.  You may also check your Spam filter if you think it could have gotten mislabeled by your computer somehow.  For now that is everything, God Bless!

Everything is in Three’s with our little boys!