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"The seed grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air sheltered in its branches." (Lk. 13:19)

March through the Valley: Series Intro

Download audio version.

By Nick Holovaty

Brothers and sisters,

Greetings from Evansville!

When the apostles Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch after their first missionary trip, the Bible says they gathered the community together and told them all that God had done through them. Can you imagine what that meeting must have been like? Paul and Barnabas came in and there was a lot of excitement in the room to hear what God had done.

That same excitement was in the room at the Servant Branch community meeting on February 6. Several hundred people had come from many different branches to celebrate Justin Walters’s and Cathy Grill’s wedding the day before. The Servant Branch coordinators asked the missionaries to tell some stories from the front lines, and that’s what we did at the meeting. We told stories about what the Lord is doing through us, through the whole community, in the Mississippi Valley. That meeting was like coming back to Antioch.

It was a great meeting, and we wish everyone in the community could have been there. So, working with the People of Praise communications office, we want to send you those stories, one at a time, over the month of March. The stories will come to you every Tuesday and Thursday, beginning this Thursday, March 3. We’re calling it “March through the Valley.”

There are three things I want to ask you to listen for in these stories. First, listen for what’s new. The Lord has been doing something new in the Mississippi Valley over the past 10 years. He’s sending us out in new ways: door-knocking evangelism, missionary hitchhiking trips, empty-nesters moving to the ghetto. There’s something new going on. Can you see it?

Second, listen for what’s old, because it’s still us—it’s still the People of Praise. In the People of Praise, we’ve been helping our neighbors for 40 years. We’ve been going to college together for just as long. We’ve been moving across the country to join the Lord’s work since the very beginning. Those things aren’t new.

It’s good that the Lord is doing both new and old things with us. It reminds me of the parable where Jesus says that every scribe in the kingdom will be like the householder who brings forth from his treasure both new and old (Mt. 13:52). That’s us.

The third thing I’m asking you to listen for is the connections. More and more, the Lord is linking us together across the distances and branches within the People of Praise. He’s uniting us in some surprisingly concrete and nitty-gritty ways. I want to tell you a story to illustrate what I’m talking about.

We have a friend on the South Side of Indianapolis that I’ll call Jane. She’s been around us there for several years, and she knows us. She’s been in our houses. She’s come to our prayer meetings. We’ve prayed for her to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

About a year ago, Jane came up to David Zimmel, the mission coordinator on the South Side. “I’ve figured it out,” she said.

“What’d you figure out?,” asked David.

“I figured out how you missionaries can live together and get everything done that you get done.”

“How?”

Jane said, her eyebrows raised, “Trinity. You guys all went to the same high school.”

I don’t know how she figured that out, but she may have the gift of prophecy, because she’s right. Trinity is a huge factor in all our growth work. It’s a really important connection for us.

So, listen to what’s new, listen for what’s old and listen for the connections.

On behalf of the missionaries, and all of us in growth work, thanks for your prayers and support. We already take y’all with us in our hearts as we go out, and we’re really excited to take y’all with us as we march through the Mississippi Valley. God bless.

Responses

  1. Tom Shriver says:

    This sounds really exciting and I can't wait until the first story on Thursday! You guys (and gals)are doing amazing things to spread the Gospel. Listening to this is like reading Acts. God Bless you all as you build His kingdom.

  2. Mike mcFarland says:

    Very nice presentation of a fantastic reality: the work done by the missionaries and by the Most Real! He deserves praise forever and ever, and singing, dancing, smiling, and generally making a joyful noise! Hallelujah!

  3. Jim Schenkel says:

    I appreciate your efforts to spread the news of your work. Our people, all people, need to be built up by them. We need to take on an identity that says, "Those are MY brothers and sisters out there doing this." Thanks for helping make that possible.

  4. Chris Ubanski says:

    Nick and All,
    God bless you for stepping out in faith and advancing with the Lord, what courage, what inspiration, what faith! I am eager to hear the rest of the stories and will continue my prayers for all of you.There is another wedding in South Bend this summer, can you share here after that event?
    Chris Urbanski

  5. Carolyn Hornbuckle says:

    What an exciting lead in to the March through the Valley series. I am waiting to hear the rest of what is new, old and the connections. We are all blessed by the stories the Lord is doing through our brothers and sisters. Carolyn Hornbuckle

  6. Peter Hammer says:

    I have been listening to an audio bible as I make breakfast for my kids in the morning. It has been aweseome to experience the new way that these stories come to life as they are dramatized and I get to hear them and imagine the personality of each charector and the details of each scene. Thank you so much for finding new ways to bring our POP stories to life for more brothers and sisters, to touch our hearts more deeply and build stronger connections between us. Glory to God!

  7. Pat Flynn says:

    I am excited to have an opportunity to hear the stories once again. It was great the first time and I am sure it will be even better the second time through our work in the Mississippi Valley.

  8. Pam Seale says:

    Thank you Nick and the POP communications office for doing this work! We were sorry to miss the wedding and now will at least be able to be built up by remembering the goodness of the Lord through the many deeds he is doing through us. We heard you had a great branch meeting that weekend. Praise God!

  9. Terry Bomkamp says:

    Great work, wonderful way to share our life together
    GLORY!

  10. Gloria Murphy says:

    Ride on, King Jesus, and all His beloved disciples. These stories put flesh on our work in the Mississippi Valley. Keep walkin'.
    Gloria Murphy

  11. Bruce Wansart says:

    I notice, that when the missionaries meet a new person,to witness to,after that person is prayed with, there appears in many cases, to be more follow-through.In the begining when some people were prayed with a few attemps at staying in touch where made. It seems now,if the person prayed for is receptive we fined new ways to keep
    communications going, between the missionaries and that person.

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