Dear Friends, I will have to start by confessing to you that I have been somewhat distant over the last several months. I want to apologize for not giving you an update sooner and not reaching out to many of you as I try to do. I have been in a place of searching and have pretty much kept a lot of thoughts to myself. Last week I had the opportunity to leave for a few days by myself to get away and seek the Lord on some of the things that have been resting on my heart and am always grateful that He hears our cries. For that, this newsletter might be a little longer than usual.
Last year was a unique year for us. I feel like the church here at Sharps Corner was catching a stride that was super encouraging to watch while at the same time camp during the summer was at a place that we could look around and see things go without us. That is bittersweet, to say the least. My heart for ministry I believe echoes what the Bible teaches us in ministry, and that is to equip the saints to do the work. To work yourself out of a job is probably not the best advice you would hear in corporate America. I do not work for corporate America, and this instruction goes beyond what makes sense to us and is not limited to a good healthy year of sales or income but is instead a system that is held together by the one who holds all things together and the one who has an unlimited supply of resources. I have seen first hand so many times that I could not keep count, of how God utilizes the things I don’t understand to make things better than I could imagine, and how His timing is spot on when mine, I have learned, is always off. I am so grateful for God’s timing and grace even when my timing and attitude are so far off from His.
I began to pray through the summer letting the Lord know that I did not want to fall in to a place of just comfortability, kicked back and watching everything go smooth but rather wanting to see God continually move us into new places stretching our vision and creativity to better bring the gospel of peace to the region God has placed us in. There is no doubt God has moved in my heart in many ways over the last several months, even to the point of me letting the Lord know that I am not comfortable anymore. I pray the Lord gives me the opportunity to share some of these new ideas and vision with you soon, but for now, I ask you to pray. I want to encourage you to ask God what you can be doing to come alongside us in the days ahead. I believe God moves in the hearts of His people to establish His kingdom here. He doesn’t have to. He chooses to.
I look around, and I see great need everywhere I look. There is so much that needs to be done, so many fields that need to be harvested. I challenge you to ask God for a field to work in. Many times we pass by fields every day and never see the work that needs be done. I assure you it will make you uncomfortable if you start asking God to open your eyes to see the fields that need workers. Our friends Rob and Michelle McIntosh in Church Rock, NM are doing a great work there among the Navajo people and are in desperate need of help. I have been on the Joshuaproject.net website lately, and I am overwhelmed with all the people groups that need workers, people that are willing to say “I will go, send me Lord.”
Recently in our ladies ministry, we have had several of our elders begin seeing needs from a different perspective. Not from the standpoint of seeing a need and praying that God would send someone to take care of that need, but instead, seeing a need and asking the Lord how she could meet that need. One of our ladies wanted to start making meals for the dialysis patients at the center by the church, after moving forward in doing it just a couple of times someone had heard about it and sent a check to cover the food for an entire year. As she put steps to her faith at working the field God had showed her, He came alongside her, as he does, to equip and empower her to do the work. Now several ladies are doing this each week as well as serving in our local nursing home making quilts and pillows for the residents. Where is your field?
The lady that owns the property to the north of us here at Chanku Waste ranch has let us know that she would like to sell it and has given us the first option to purchase it. I am praying that God would move in a way that would allow us to be able to obtain it. It would allow us to grow into some of the vision the Lord has laid on our hearts. I ask you to come alongside of us in praying for God to move over these 66 acres or give us the wisdom to leave it alone. In my understanding it makes sense, but I have seen where my understanding has led me before.
The last few months have been exciting. Jacob has been busy. Christmas day he got a pocket knife opened it up about, and by 7:40 am we were in the car headed to the ER. He had tried opening up a package for his sister and sliced his fingers deep enough to require surgery to reattach two of his tendons. Thankfully he is a trooper and just got an all clear from the physical therapist but is still going to have to take it easy with that hand for a little while. He has also started doing civil air patrol at Ellsworth Air force base and is really enjoying that. He has voiced a lot of interest in joining the military when he is old enough, and the reality of that hit me when I realized that he could enlist in just six years.
Leah Is doing so well in school. She has a great gift of writing little stories, and I have been so impressed with her creativity in storytelling. I took her out one evening, and on our date, I took her to the Humane society in Rapid city, she about went crazy when she found out you can volunteer there and spend all that free time with the animals. She has not done that yet, but I believe with her love for animals she will probably back there one day just to spend time with all those fur balls.
Noah is tough to keep up with. He keeps all of us on our toes. His favorite things these days are boxes to make houses and garages out of and garbage trucks. I am not sure where the garbage truck enthusiasm comes from unless it is all the great many trips he has made with me to the dump. If you have ever been a part of camp, you will know that trash is a critical task and consumes a lot of time. I am grateful for some of you that have seen that need and have stepped in to make it easier and less work with dump trailers and dumpsters, God bless you.
Amanda has been working closely with the middle school girls at the church, and I can tell she enjoys it. Some of them are getting dropped off from the school bus on Wednesdays after school to be there, and I know they look forward to it as well. They have been engaging in some great conversation and quite frankly stumping both of us with many questions about what the bible says and more in-depth questions about God. Pray for continued wisdom as she continues to love and pour into these girls.
I (Matt) will be leaving the end of April to go on a mission trip to Turkey. The goal of the trip is to encourage the missionary there that we will be working with as well as be an encouragement to many of the new believers there. For the sake of the ministry there, and the danger that comes along with serving the Lord in that region, I cannot go into a lot of detail, but I ask you to pray for the preparation of the people there as well as in my own heart. I am humbled at the thought that God could use me in that area but also have some very real insecurities that are blanketed by the peace of God and I praise Him for that.
Each of you are such a blessing to us. Watching God work here and seeing the many believers that surround us makes me that much more excited for heaven when we are all in unison shouting praises to the Almighty. I am so grateful for your partnership with us as we make great the name of the Lord here on earth in this generation.
Learning to serve the Lord in all we do, The Haddens