Hope In the Mountains
Hope in the Mountains
What a FULL month this has been - ups, downs, ins, and outs - like a proverbial roller coaster!! Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us and supporting the work here in the Mountains!!
First, I just want to thank everyone for your support of our ministry. Leslie and I would not know how we would have survived without you and your faithful giving and prayer support. With all of the financial challenges of Covid-19 and the restrictions put into place, we were expecting a serious downturn in our support - and understandably so. But, your faithfulness has literally blown us away. We are so humbled by and grateful for your love and partnership!! Thank you seems like such a trite phrase, but we don’t have any other words to use. So, we pray that you fully understand just how much we mean it when we express our gratitude to y’all!!!
Second, we have been blessed at the church. Even with the local paper mill shutting down last year and the Covid-19 Pandemic and the subsequent closing of regular church services this year, as of the writing of this letter, we have been able to pay all of our bills and meet all of our mission commitments. We aren’t “rolling in the dough”, but the bill collectors aren’t knocking on our door either!! The bulk of this provision is NOT from outside of this area - well over 80% is directly from our church members, which is an incredible accomplishment for the ministry here. So, we are grateful for how God has provided for Leslie and myself through YOU and for how He has provided for BOC through our church’s members!! God is SO GOOD in the midst of our storms, isn’t He??
With all of that being said, we had a wonderful experience this month as we were able to start back to having regular worship services here at BOC. Though attendance has not been what I had hoped, it is understandable that a return to where we were before all of these restrictions will take a while. But, there has been a sweet spirit to our gatherings and it’s been SO GOOD to be together again.
NOTE: The above are praise reports after a couple of very difficult months!! So, I KNOW you and your family, as well as your church, have had YOUR difficulties as well. Before, I give further updates and prayer requests, I’d like for you to know that Leslie and I faithfully pray for you!! If you have any prayer requests or needs for which we can come alongside of you to help, please do not hesitate to let us know. You are our FAMILY and we would consider it an honor to be on our knees before the Lord on your behalf, as well as put “feet to our prayers” in any practical way that we can!! Leslie and I truly do love and appreciate you all!!!
On a personal level, Leslie and I want to let you all know that our daughter, JoJo, has officially accepted the call to become a House Parent at the Well House, a Christian ministry working towards the rescue and restoration of women from human trafficking near the Birmingham, AL area. She has had a real passion to work with women who have such needs and just this past week, she was offered a full-time position with them (seven days on / seven days off). After a few days of “shadowing” the house parents there, she has agreed to come on board and serve as a missionary in this capacity. We are so proud of her as she pursues her calling for the sake of the Kingdom of God. As a church, we are going to commission her in June as our first longer-term missionary that BOC is sending out with the hopes that she will be the “firstfruits” of SENDING missionaries to the field from Bruce Outreach Center. Please pray for her as she walks by faith and for Leslie and myself as we try to encourage her and go through this wonderful yet challenging time of transition for all of us!!
Though it’s been difficult to forge new partnerships and to build upon existing ones the last few months, we are grateful for friends who continue to pray for and to encourage us. We specifically want to thank Pastor Tim Byer from Faith Baptist Church in Glen Burnie, MD who recently helped us connect with their fellowship through an online interview - what an honor. Thank you, Pastor Tim, for that wonderful opportunity. Thank you also to Faith Baptist for your continued support during these difficult months and your generous donation towards our Cycle-Breaking Apartments ministry, which we hope to start again after stabilizing through this summer and handling the new roof needed on the auditorium and gymnasium!! I know it will be a worthwhile investment, so THANK YOU!!
Regarding partnerships, we have had several teams cancel / postpone mission trips through the months of May and June. These are all understandable and we support our partners wholeheartedly in their decisions. Please pray for our existing July and August teams who are considering their calendars, health concerns, and ministry priorities as well - that the Lord would give them wisdom and direction. Please also pray for our annual basketball camp as decisions are being made in those regards as well - for wisdom and creativity in bringing ministry to those in our community while also protecting everybody’s health and the testimony of our partners!! Please also pray for a church who has recently contacted us for the first time wanting to come later this summer to lend a hand to us. We will be sure to keep y’all posted and hope that we can regain momentum in mission partnerships in the months ahead as the Lord directs and enables.
One last thing to note is that due to the generosity of both the members of our church family and friends of our ministry from outside of the church (including a very generous donor in the last week or so), BOC will have the cash needed to purchase the trusses for the new roof mentioned in the paragraph at the top of this page. That is INCREDIBLE for our church - that means God has provided $30,000 in the last eight months so that we can start the project. Please pray as we continue to work towards the purchase of all of the other materials necessary. But, the trusses were the biggest part of this expense and the company requires cash. God is in control and we are grateful. Thank you to anyone and everyone who gave to this cause!! Please pray for us as we proceed with this project.
Well, I think that’s about it for this month, and what a month it was!! AGAIN, thank you for your continued and faithful support - without you it would be impossible to do what we do here in the Mountains of Northern Appalachia (Western Maryland / Northern West Virginia)!! And AGAIN, please let us know how WE can be praying for YOU, and YOUR family, and YOUR ministry!! Leslie and I take this partnership seriously and want you to know that we are honored to be doing this journey together for the Kingdom of God and Eternity!! God bless y’all!!!
Your Partners in the Harvest,
Steffan and Leslie Carr