Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Our first few nights in Mexico

Wow! What a ride this has been! After packing most of our belongings 14 months ago our family has finally arrived in Puebla, Mexico!

Huge thanks are in order. First, and most importantly, we thank God. We are here to serve Him. We are here because He called us. We are here because Christ died for us. God has blessed us with wonderful friends and family who have come together to support the Lord's work through us in Mexico. Thank you to everyone who has given, prayed, and encouraged along the way. God blessed us with incredible friends in the Bult family. Kevin, Andrea, and their kids (Emma, Ethan, and Lillly) have worked incredibly hard to help us find and setup a new home from before we even arrived. Thank you Lord! Thank you friends!

It's a week before Christmas and we would love to find some of our decorations among the piles of boxes. The bed people are supposed to deliver our mattress today!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Thanks Franconia Baptist Preschool

We are so blessed by all the people who have come together to support the Lord's work in Mexico and our family. One special relationship is with the Franconia Baptist Preschool. We have the honor of being the preschools missionaries. In order to help the kids learn about missions we are putting together videos from time to time to send back to them.

Here's our first video for the Franconia Baptist preschool kids.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Have you gone "all in" for God?

It's been just over four weeks since Carrie and I decided that we were going "all in" for God regarding missions in Mexico.  One of the hardest decisions we had to make was for Carrie to leave her beloved special education teaching position.  She has taught children with special needs for the better part of the last eighteen years and in many ways it is part of her calling in life.

Still, we wanted to make sure that we were not sending mixed signals by continuing to have her work until we got to 100% of our financial support. I remember in one conversation we talked about the idea "isn't it evidence enough of our faith that we're going to quit our jobs and move to Mexico?" In the end we concluded that, yes this would glorify God but we weren't looking for the minimal amount of glory for God. We wanted to see God get the maximum glory possible.

24 hours after we decided to trust that God would some how provide for all our needs He opened the flood gates.  I got a call from a dear friend the next night telling us that his church would be adding us to their supported missionaries. Then one after another friends, family, and ministry partners signed up to help. In 30 days our support went from 35% of our monthly need to 80%. The message was loud and clear. Trust me! God said.

Since then Carrie and I have had some great conversations with our kids about the rich young ruler who was called to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow Christ. They weren't so sure that they could, but they have. In their own way our kids have let us know that they to are all in for Jesus Christ.

Why am I sharing all of this with you. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus called His disciples to be salt and light "before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."  We're not anything special. We've struggled to make these difficult decisions. We only hope and pray that our humble attempt to be "all in" will bring glory to God and encourage you to do the same however the Lord calls you to do so.

- Aaron

Friday, June 12, 2015

Thank you Redeeming Grace!

Carrie and I want to say thank you very much to our latest supporting church, Redeeming Grace of Goodyear Arizona.  You are an incredible encouragement to us!

Our relationship with this church began in one of those "only God" kind of ways.  Five years ago the leaders at Franconia Baptist could see that I was struggling after a particularly difficult season at the church. Without asking they bought me a plane ticket and paid my registration (out of their own pockets) to go to the Shepherds Conferences at Grace Community Church in LA. Standing in line for a Haagen Daz bar (don't judge) I started a conversation with the brother in front of me, pastor John Filkey.

John was familiar with the work of 9 Marks at Capital Hill Baptist Church so we dreamed up the idea of having his church's elders and their families stay with us while they went to a 9 Marks weekender (worth attending BTW). Sometime later I got a call from John to tell me that they were interested in really doing it. The year after that I came to Phoenix for the SBC convention. John and Lorna graciously loaned me their PT Crusier. Over the years we've talked often for encouragement and advice.

So when I called John and told him that we were moving to Mexico it didn't surprise me at all when John said "come on out to Arizona, stay with Lorna and me, and get to know the family at Redeeming Grace." What a wonderful congregation! John and Justin took me out into the desert for an education in firearms (not something as common in Virginia). I met some of the most committed believers, faithful to God's word, and the advance of the Gospel.  Carrie and I are so excited to partner with Redeeming Grace and to be an extension of their ministry in Puebla, Mexico.  If you happen to be in the Phoenix area I highly recommend you check them out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Repairing your spiritual foundations

Several Sundays ago I preached a sermon from Philippians 2:12-18 called "Basic Instructions for the Christian Life." One of the illustrations that I shared in the sermon was the idea of trying to build a foundation under and existing building. It can be done. You can carefully jack up the building and then crawl underneath it and dig out the space needed for the foundation that should have been built in the first place.  The problem is that its gonna take significantly more time and effort to do it this way.  That's why its important for us to make sure we understand the foundational principles of the Christian life from the very beginning.

Imagine my surprise when I drove down to the district a couple of days later and spotted a building jacked up just like I imagined in my sermon illustration.  There was no one around but I really wanted to ask someone how long it took and how much it cost.

The good news is that even if your Christian life is built on a rather shaky foundation it is absolutely possible to pick it up and set it down on the bedrock principles found in the Word of God.  To do this you need to find a healthy church that preaches and teaches Scripture not based on what pleases people but on what God revealed.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

New friends and fellow missionaries to Puebla!

A few weeks ago I got a call from Augusto Aniano letting me know that he and his family would be rolling through the DC area in April and would I like to get together when they came through? I new about the Anianos because they had served with our mutual friends Brad and Lindsay Bridges for several years ago in Uruguay.

Augusto and Vale and really the whole family are a musically talented bunch.  So Augusto volunteered to serve Franconia by leading worship while they were in town. I'm so glad I said yes! Not just because they are gifted musicians but also because of their story which they shared with Carrie and me.

You see, Augusto and Vale move to Puebla Mexico years before they became believers. They followed their family's business and through some personal struggles brought them to a church meeting at Puebla Bible Seminary. Not only did they both become Christians, Augusto would go on to become a student at the Seminary where they trained for a life committed to the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I couldn't believe it.  Here was this wonderful couple serving our church who were themselves fruit of the ministry we plan to serve in Mexico! They are now preparing to return as missionaries to Puebla where we will, Lord willing, have the opportunity to continue our friendship and serve with them.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Franconia Baptist elects their new pastor

I am so excited to announce the election of Nick Roark to be the next pastor at Franconia Baptist Church. Nick comes to Franconia from the staff at Capital Hill Baptist Church and previously Providence Baptist in Raleigh, NC. He is an excellent expositor of God's word and has a heart for God's people. This of course is part of the transition process so that Carrie, the kids and I can prepare to leave for Mexico, Lord willing this summer. Nick will begin at Franconia on June 1 and I will formally step down as pastor by the 1st of July. This was a bittersweet moment because we have come to love Franconia and always will. At the same time it was very sweet to see the unity of our congregation in what looks to be a very healthy transition. Praise God for all He has done at Franconia Baptist Church and we are excited to see what He will do through our family in Mexico.

Shepherds' Conference - Inerrancy Summit

Every year for the last few years I have had the opportunity to attend the Shepherds' Conference hosted by Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, CA. My first trip came when after a very challenging year in ministry the deacons of Franconia Baptist, unbeknownst to me, purchased an airline ticket and paid my conference fees. They did not ask so much as put me on the plane :) I'm so blessed that they did. The conference has been a constant refreshment to my soul. The church members at GCC are amazing. Around 1,000 of them volunteer to serve the thousands of pastors and church leaders in attendance at the conference each year, many of whom are a little roughed up when they first arrive.

This year's conference was titled "The Inerrancy Summit." John MacArthur called for the addition of a fourth day to allow for as many pastors and theologians as possible to speak on biblical inerrancy. With several decades having passed since the creation of the ICBI (International Council on Biblical Inerrancy) and their Chicago Statement which attempts to define inerrancy MacArthur felt that it was time to refresh the conversation. Speakers included well known pastors such as Alister Begg, Mark Dever, and Steve Lawson as well as theologians such as Al Mohler, G.K. Beale, Carl Trueman, and R.C. Sproul. The case was made and remade for the importance of holding to the inerrant Word of God. I would highly recommend you listen to some of the messages freely available at www.shepherdsconference.org.

The Shepherds' Conference has also turned into an annual opportunity to spend time with my dear friend and ministry partner Kevin Bult. One of the first times I went to the conference I turned around and was shocked to see Kevin standing in line for something. One of his supporting churches wanted to bless him and neither of us knew that the other would be there. Since Kevin and I will be serving together at Puebla Bible Seminary you can imagine how a conference like this gives us a good opportunity to think about the spiritual needs of PBS. Over the last couple of years we have had the chance to talk with a number of the faculty and administration at the Master's Seminary who have all been very encouraging of our work in Mexico. We look forward to seeing what God may one day do with these newfound relationships as we seek to train pastors and ministry leaders in Mexico to faithfully handle the Word of God and make disciples for Jesus Christ.