Monday, June 4, 2018

June 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that you are well. This last month, we were able to take a much needed break from our travels and spend some time at our home church. We were able to spend a little time with family and friends. Jeremy spent some time working on a home that we will be basing out of for the rest of our time on furlough. He was also able to go on visitation with our home church. Jeremy was contacted by a church and asked to preach a Spanish family camp in Pennsylvania later this month. In most cases, we would not be able to do that. However, we will be very close to the area and it will be a good opportunity to both refresh our Spanish and minister to a Spanish congregation.

One issue that has been difficult for our family has been to keep up with everything going on in Nicaragua. Over the last 1-2 months, there have been deep divisions and massive protests throughout the country. There had been a "peace dialogue," but even that have been called off. More than 110 have been killed and nearly 1,000 people injured. The situation can not be summarized in a short prayer letter. Most major U.S. news networks are now covering the situation and articles are easily found online. According to the Washington Post, "Nicaragua is moving from national crisis to potential national catastrophe." We are praying daily for peace for the Nicaraguan people.

As for our family, we have had some sicknesses this last month. We have also been able to take care of some doctors appointments while we were in Jacksonville. Since we have moved into the "new" house, it has been good for our family to settle in a little bit before resuming travels. Our girls have really enjoyed getting to see her grandparents. It was a blessing for Michelle and I to see both of our mothers for Mother's day. Our baby, Elijah, is now crawling around and getting into everything!

This month, there is so much to pray for. Although, we are not in Nicaragua going through this, we cannot help but to share in the pain of the Nicaraguan people. Please pray:
1. That God help the people of Nicaragua to have peace and stability.
2. That God direct, guide, and comfort us as we travel and continue making future plans.
3. That God continue to bless his work and protect the churches in Nicaragua.
4. That God strengthen and bless the ministry of the churches during this difficult time.

In Christ,
Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that winter is finally over! Depending upon where we travel each day, we may encounter summer weather on one day and winter weather the next! Last month, we either presented our ministry or gave furlough reports in 6 churches in the states of FL, GA, and TN. Jeremy has learned to work wherever he is, even if it means setting up his "office" in the waiting room while getting his car maintenance done! During our meetings, Michelle has had opportunities to teach ladies and sing. Jeremy usually preaches and teaches children. We enjoy getting to see our supporting pastors and churches again. We have also been able to meet many new pastors. Although deputation and furlough travels can be very difficult at times, we are always amazed at the love and generosity of the churches that we visit.

In between meetings, we have been able to spend some time in the home of Michelle's grandparents. They have been very supporting of us and have been such a blessing during our time with them. While we are "on the road," we have few opportunities to slow down do things outdoors. Thankfully, we had the opportunity to do some fun things with the kids during our time there. Near the end of last month, we returned home to Jacksonville in order to take some time for our family to take a much needed rest. Baby Elijah is now almost ready to begin crawling. Lila now says that she wants to be a Sunday School teacher. Ellowyn is just happy to see her friends church again.

As we look forward to the next month, I ask that you will please pray for both our family and the people of Nicaragua. Beginning about 2 weeks ago, there have been massive protests throughout Nicaragua. We are seeking the Lord's will on many things, from guiding us on furlough to giving us direction on our plans for our next term. This month, please pray:

1. That God will strengthen us and our ministry on furlough.
2. That God will guide the people of Nicaragua during this time of difficulty.
3. That God will continue to use us to bring the Gospel to the lost, both here and in Nicaragua.

In Christ,
Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Thursday, April 5, 2018

April 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

Last month was a very busy month for us. We were privileged to be able to either present our ministry or give a furlough update in 8 churches in the states of FL, GA, SC, and TN. 2 of the meetings were for missions conferences. During the conferences, we also were able to preach in Christian School chapel. We also took a day to report back to the BIMI world missions center. We enjoyed getting to spend a little time with the directors and share what God has done on our first term. In between meetings, we drove over 2600 miles! We were pleased to find out that 2 new churches had voted to take us on for support! What an answer to prayer!

Although we stay super busy on the roads, life does not slow down or stop. Michelle stayed very busy with Lila and Ellowyn in their home schooling. Elijah is also coming along. He is now sitting up much better and should be crawling pretty soon. He also has grown his first tooth. It seems that everywhere we go, he always gets lots of attention! We took a little time to get things ready for doing our tax return, but ran into some problems. Although Elijah was born in Nicaragua, his social security card was mailed to the USA and was never delivered to our USA mailing address. We had to spend some extra time with the Social Security Administration to get his social security number so that we may file our taxes. Near the end of the month, we took a short trip up to GA to spend some time with Jeremy's family. We don't get to see them very often, so it was a blessing. We were also able to attend a special "Christ in the Passover" service at our home church. On Resurrection Sunday, we spent the day with Michelle's family. They all enjoyed getting to spend a little extra time with the kids.

We are so thankful for those who pray for us as we travel. This month, we will be in 9 churches, including 2 missions conferences. We will be traveling from South FL all the way up to KY, VA, and WV. This month, please pray...

1. That God keep us safe and healthy as we travel.
2. That God use us to bless the churches we visit and preach the Gospel to those who are lost.
3. That God continue to provide the remaining needed support before we return to Nicaragua in October.

In Christ,
Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

While January was a smooth transition into furlough travels, February was "full-steam ahead." We had scheduled meetings in 8 churches, including a missions conference, in the states of FL, GA, SC, and TN. During the conference, we enjoyed sharing our ministry with Christian school classes of all ages, as well as teaching Sunday school and children's church. In between meetings, we drove over 3,000 miles. We also received good news that 3 of our supporting churches increased our support level. In between meetings, Jeremy has called hundreds of new churches in the areas where we have openings on our calendar. Although our calendar is approaching "full," we were still able to book 6 more meetings to fill in some of the few remaining openings.

Early last month, we took a trip to southern GA. Jeremy was able to show our girls the church where his family attended when he was a child (Bible Baptist Church in Savannah) as well as the church where he attended when he surrendered to serve the Lord in Missions (Bethel Baptist Church in Richmond Hill). It was good to see them again, as well as meet many new people. Elijah is now 6 months old and the churches have loved to see him. Thankfully, we have been able to spend some of our time in between meetings with Michelle's parents in FL and her grandparents in TN. Michelle has also been very busy in homeschooling our girls. While it is difficult to teach them while traveling, there are also many great opportunities for educational "field trips" to museums and similar places. While we were in Columbus, GA, Grace Baptist Church brought us to the Infantry Museum. We really enjoyed spending time with them.

This month, we are scheduled to be in 8 more churches, including missions conferences, in the same 4 states. This month, please pray:

1. That God help us to raise the remaining support needed to be fully funded.
2. That God use us to encourage churches and to preach the Gospel to those who need to hear.
3. That God guide us as we continue to pray and plan our next term.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that you are doing well. Last month, we were in 8 scheduled meetings and 1 missions conference. We were also invited to attend one preachers meeting and a men's fellowship dinner. Jeremy was also able to book 7 new meetings. In one of the churches, a young girl had shared how she believed God was calling her to serve in missions. What an encouragement! When we had the opportunity, we were able to help visit with our home church. One Saturday, while visiting, we met a lady named Hilda. Hilda had attended church but had never rested her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. After sharing with her many Scriptures, she understood that salvation was only by grace through faith. She then placed her faith in Christ alone. Since being back in the states, we have seen some pictures of the church in Nicaragua. It was encouraging to see that the church is continuing to do well after we left. There was a report of 17 people receiving Christ recently. Praise God!

Life in the USA has been exciting for the girls. According to Ellowyn, every day we get to go to another new church! While it may not be "every" day, they have had to adjust to new places and new people on a regular basis. Elijah has been very happy to meet new people and get lots of special attention. Lila and Ellowyn have found their niche in giving out prayer cards to everyone they can. Some people may even receive 2 or 3 of them! All in all, it has been good for them. They are beginning to understand not just what we do as missionaries, but why we do it. What a privilege it is to bring the Gospel to those in need and report back on what God has done!

This month, there is only one Wednesday when we do not have a scheduled meeting. We will be very busy, yet we need God's blessing. This month, please pray:

1. That God will use us to share the gospel with the lost wherever we are.
2. That those who hear the Gospel will receive Christ by faith.
3. That God will use us to encourage churches in the Great Commission.
4. That God will provide a few new supporting churches during our furlough.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Friday, January 5, 2018

January 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that you had a wonderful time celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Last month was very busy for us. During our last few days in Nicaragua, we held a baptism service. Jeremy baptized a boy who had been in his Sunday School class for over two years as well as a man whom he taught in a 1 on 1 discipleship course. Our final service in Nicaragua was held in the new church building. Pastor Berner and the church held a special going away service for our family. They made us feel very special and missed. After that, we finished up our packing, sold many things, and stored the rest at the homes of a few friends. We took an all night flight and arrived back in the states on December 7th. Upon arrival, we had to buy a used van and set up our cell phones to get ready for furlough travels. Thankfully, we were able to spend a few weeks at our home church, as well as participate in some of the Christmas festivities. Jeremy was given the opportunity to preach in Reformers Unanimous ministry of our home church. He also took a little time to help out with church visitation. There were two men who placed their faith in Christ to be saved. Jeremy also went to work putting together a new video with lots of pictures to show on furlough. Near the end of the month, we gave a brief furlough report to one of our supporting churches in TN.

It was very special to spend Christmas time with our families. That is something special which we should not take for granted! Everyone loved seeing how the girls had grown as well as get to know the newest member of the Blanz family, baby Elijah! It took Lila and Ellowyn a little time to get used to life in the United States. Sometimes, on our way to a place, Lila would ask whether we would speak in Spanish or English. At first, it seemed strange to her that everyone spoke English! The girls were also surprised to feel how cold it was up in Tennessee and to see puddles and ponds that had frozen over. They even got to see a little bit of snow! They really enjoyed getting to spend a little time reconnecting with our families.

We are so thankful for all who pray for us. This next month, will you please pray:

1. That God continues to strengthen the San Marcos church in our absence.
2. That God will use us to be a blessing and encouragement to the churches we visit.
3. That God will enable us to raise a little additional support during our time on furlough.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz

Monday, November 27, 2017

December 2017 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are thankful that God has given us the privilege to serve Him here in Nicaragua. Though we are transitioning out of the ministry of our first church plant, Jeremy stayed very busy our month. He is working with several young people and one man in preparation for Baptism. Because there are so many denominations here which teach salvation by means of water baptism, we are sure to thoroughly teach both biblical salvation by grace through faith and believer's baptism to all baptismal candidates. As for the church building, it is now nearing completion. There is still a little work to be done on the floors and roof before finishing the last details. As for furlough preparation, Jeremy scheduled meetings in 13 more churches this last month. There was one setback. Despite conforming our furlough plans to the legal processes that affect our residency, we have had some problems getting our migratory status changed to permanent. At this point, we will simply have to trust God for everything to work out without any problems.

November was a very busy month for the family. Although Thanksgiving is an ordinary day here, we celebrated with some other missionary friends. Lila and Ellowyn both prepared special Spanish Christmas songs for their end of the school-year special event. They both have come a long way in their acquisition of the language. Here in Nicaragua, kindergarten has a graduation ceremony, so Lila was excited to "graduate." Elijah, of course, receives lots of special attention from all of the church ladies. As we prepare for furlough, it will be a big change for us. Lila and Ellie really don't remember much about the United States. Our families are looking forward to seeing the girls again and Elijah for the first time. We are now staying busy with final preparations such as packing, cleaning, and transporting our things to the places where they will be stored.

We are sending out this prayer letter a few days early because the days of our first term are coming to a close. This month, will you please pray:

1. That God will strengthen the church and guide it through this transition.
2. That God will guide our family through the transition of returning to the states for furlough.
3. That God will lead us as we continue making plans for furlough and our next term.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, Ellowyn, and Elijah Blanz