Dear Friends and Supporters,
You might have received this from us already, but just in case you haven’t and for the folks for whom we don’t have addresses, we are sending it as an email as well.
Merry Christmas! We hope you have had a great year. I (James) am writing this letter to share with you a little about how we are doing and what sorts of activities we have been involved with as a family and in the ministry.
It is super-cool to watch our kids growing up in both stature and maturity. Ben is 11 now and follows in his father’s footsteps from that age of loving to play with Lego. He also loves to run around outside with friends from our complex, as well as visit our neighbour (and 3’rd grandma) Mrs. Friesen.
Julia is our little book-worm. She is 9 now and loves to read. I’m sure her library card gets more of a work-out than the rest of ours put together. She also loves to create crafts, projects and gifts from glue, paper, popsicle sticks, rocks and assorted other craft supplies that Carolanne keeps stocked in the house.
As part of their homeschooling, both kids go ice-skating every week with a group of other homeschoolers and have been loving it. Julia also has been going to piano lessons and is getting better every year.
We also had some sad events this year. Our dog Cookie passed away due to an illness. She got something quite suddenly and within a very short while was gone. Then we ended up rescuing a ferret that needed to be re-homed. Though it seemed to recover well initially (it had had a hard life) it too suddenly took a turn for the worse and died shortly after. Julia ended up taking both of these events quite hard and still does not like to talk about either of them. She loved both animals dearly. Now we have only a hamster and the gecko that I got Carolanne near the beginning of our marriage.
Speaking of marriage, Carolanne and I are celebrating our 15’th anniversary this year. It’s hard to believe we have already had that much time together. I am convinced that the Lord knew what He was doing when He brought us together. It feels like just a little while ago we were flirting and I was wondering whether she felt the same way I did.
Speaking of anniversaries, this coming year I will reach 20 years working for Power to Change. (previously called Campus Crusade for Christ) That time too has seemed to pass so very quickly. Over the years my job title has changed from time-to-time, and my team has changed, grown, shrunk, and changed again.
My heart however has always been to make an eternal difference in people’s lives. I remain at Power to Change working with The Life Project because I am convinced that we are doing that very effectively every day. In my current role, I have the privilege of using my skills with computers and Internet to help our team reach thousands of people around the world with the life saving message of the gospel.
In writing this letter, I went on a hunt for recent encouraging stories to share from the ministry. Traditional “over-seas” missionaries (for whom I have great respect) have the benefit of being able to share pictures of churches built, children fed, and new pastors taught in local on-the-ground churches. As an Internet missionary, I have no such pictures. Instead, I have stories, shared by our team members, volunteers and mentors, that I must somehow adapt to protect the privacy of those involved, and yet to engage the reader in understanding how amazing and effective this ministry really is.
As I hunted for these stories, I was struck again by the vast number of hurting people we hear from every day. Folks dealing with relationship troubles; guys and gals battling porn; women struggling with abuse; people looking (sometimes successfully) to just end it all. There is tragedy, heart-ache, suffering, addiction, loneliness. And yet, sprinkled in those stories are glimpses of hope, courage, faithfulness, and trust in God’s goodness.
There are stories of pastors connecting with our mentors, having almost nothing, but continuing to shepherd their small flock of believers. There are atheists finding life empty and coming to us asking about truth. There are people young and old coming back to Christ through the mentoring after wandering far from him. And there are suicidal people who come to Christ through their mentor’s encouragement instead of following through on the alternative.
Amanda* is a young believer (not in age, but in the Lord). She has moved from atheism to a belief in Jesus and has made that all important step to be baptized. She has now been going to a small Baptist church in her area and is part of a cell Bible study. It is wonderful to see Amanda grow in the Lord. How do I know that she is filled with the Spirit? Because of a life that is changed! Once she was filled with anxiety, depression, obsessiveness and longed for peace – fearful of death. Now she is calmer, happier and she says even her husband is happier these days. She has been sharing her new found faith with a friend who has only months to live.
– A mentor with TMM.IO
* Names have been changed to protect those involved.
These are the stories that encourage me in this work. Though I don’t preach in new churches in Asia or Africa, I get to learn of new pastors in the same lands connecting with mentors that we train and empower for encouragement and support. Though I don’t have pictures of children being fed in missions overseas, I have stories of young men and women conquering their additions to porn and being held before the Lord in prayer by their mentors.
This year, we have partnered with pastors and missions on the ground in India, Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines. We are beginning to see many messages come in from people in those countries and in fact have a desperate need for more mentors to join our ministry. This past fiscal year, over 67,000 messages came in to our mentoring system from people around the world asking for mentoring help. In some cases we had to limit the amount of promotion we were doing simply due to not having enough mentors to answer everything.
Please continue to pray for this ministry as we grow and develop. Pray that God will use us in mighty ways to reach people around the world with the Gospel. Pray also for funding. We have not yet raised all our personal support. The Life Project as a ministry also needs funds, as running an Internet based organization like this can be quite costly. Finally, please pray for our mentors. They are truly the front-line of this ministry and we need many more to volunteer.
Thank you so much for your prayer and support of us. We wish you the best this Christmas season.
James & Carolanne
Benjamin & Julia