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It’s overwhelming to consider all our family has been through in the past year, but God has sustained us. In just twelve months, Natalie has endured her third pregnancy, three UTIs, a kidney infection, 15 weeks of early contractions, child birth, severe postpartum bleeding, two DNCs, two blood transfusions, chest pains, emergency gallbladder surgery, internal bleeding, and a second exploratory laparoscopy.

In addition, Dylan was rushed to the ER with a head injury in December, I went to the ER with chest pains in May, and Abigail was diagnosed with hydronephrosis (fluid on her right kidney) while still in the womb. Abby also went in to the hospital for several days this summer for unusual skin color and a possible heart defect which was eventually ruled out. On September 26, Abby will have surgery for her hydronephrosis, which we hope will fix her right kidney and allow it to drain properly. This procedure has a very high success rate, but we know she is ultimately in God’s hands. We have done our best to honor God through all these trials and have certainly learned to depend more fully upon Him. If it pleases Him, we hope this next year will be less eventful. Thanks again for your prayers, your patience, and your support!

In our Sunday morning worship service, we’re taking a break from our exposition of 1 Corinthians to get better equipped in evangelism. The series is based loosely on the “Share Jesus Without Fear” material by William Fay & Ralph Hodge (Lifeway Publishing). I pray the Lord will use this study to help every member be trained, confident, and actively sharing their faith.

During 9:15 Life Groups, I often lead training sessions with our newer attenders. I just concluded a Baptism Class and will be starting another Membership class on Sunday, Oct. 2. It was a thrill to have three new members join us Sunday, and several more on the way.

On Wednesday nights, we’re continuing our series on Spiritual Warfare and have had some great participation. Our new Bible Study & Prayer format is really working well. Come check it out. If you don’t live in town, try getting involved in one of the other home-based Bible studies we offer across the Basin like our Morongo Valley Bible Study or 29 Palms Bible Study (details TBD).

The past few months, after heeding some good advice from a friend, I’ve begun to focus more on discipleship and training men for ministry. I continue to teach servant leadership training (SaLT) once a month, plus am now meeting each week with different men for one-on-one mentoring. Please pray that God will raise up future leaders in our church, and that we will give them opportunities to grow and serve.

Lastly, please pray for me as I teach on Tuesdays down at California Baptist University in Riverside. I’ve been asked to teach the junior and senior Applied Theology students about pastoral ministry, and to help organize their church internship program. Because of this new commitment, I’ve discontinued my Tuesday Greek class and my weekly involvement in the Copper Mtn. Christian Club. It’s an honor to serve as Adjunct Faculty at the university and to help mentor the next generation of pastors. But you can rest assured that serving as pastor at First Southern Baptist is still my primary calling and delight.

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