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Prayers and Praises May 2016

Serving at NCC

Chapel in North Canton Chapel in North Canton

GREETINGS in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It is a joy to have this opportunity to spend a few minutes updating you on the events since our last Prayers and Praises! As Karin and I continue to serve at the Chapel in North Canton we have been pleased to see God at work in bringing our family there as well. With the completion of the most recent 'new members' class, every one of our children and two of our grandchildren are now members of the Chapel! They have all been attending for several months and just recently the Lord's timing was right for them to all join the work here at the Chapel.

Speaking of serving at the Chapel, I began my service on the Deacon Board this January. Deacons serve for three years before rotating out. It is a wonderful group of twenty men. It is a great joy to serve on the Board with our dear brother, Bruce Bagley. Karin is also serving as well as singing in the choir; many weeks she is the on-call physician/medical response team member. Today was the first Sunday that there was NOT a need for an ambulance or other medical treatment during either service! That is a first... she was beginning to get a reputation as a trouble maker!

I have also been able to renew my Ohio Ministry License and Authority to Perform Marriages under the auspices of the North Canton Chapel. As a new adult pastor is being brought on staff, I am hoping to be able to begin work on a five-year program for mentoring men. I hope to be able to come alongside the counseling pastor at NCC there as I finish up a second certification through the American Association of Christian Counselors in advanced trauma counseling with a military focus. I hope that we will see the Lord continue to put Karin and I to work in whatever area of service He might choose.

Our Upcoming Ministry Focus

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We are so very thankful for our faithful supporters who have stuck with us through this difficult past year. At this time, the Lord has not opened any doors for additional support. We ask that you pray with us for His direction for our ministry. We are focusing the support we have had come in in the past months and what is anticipated over the summer to enable us to attend the Central and Eastern Europe and Mediterranean Regional Conference in Slovenia September 10th to the 17th. We hope to be able to visit with most of the team during that time and, by then, we expect that a final decision will be made as to the future of our work with the CEEMED team and with ABWE. This June we will have reached our 15-year anniversary with ABWE and we are thankful to God for all of what He has allowed us to be a part. We have said many times that God has allowed us the opportunity to be on the front row to see what He is doing. Whether we will continue to be with CEEMED, with some other part of ABWE or if the Lord should open doors for us to minister more through our True North Ministry counseling is yet to be seen. We just ask that you continue to pray for us in that regard.

Horses, Horsepower and the Power of Pets

Behla and Mystic 2 Ross on Behla

The amount of time one spends with his or her horse may be some of the most thought provoking time possible. Whether its a ride in the country, a good grooming and workout or just mucking stalls; there is something about being around horses that helps me understand the fragility, complexity and strength of relationships in this world. Some of those may sound like competing descriptives but there are few animals on this earth that can be so very strong and yet so responsive to the slightest heart sounds of the horse's human partner. I did not use the term owner or even rider; it must be a partnership and the complexity of that partnership is matched only by its simplicity. Everything one does with his horse must be built on a foundation of trust. If we, in Christian cricles, could develop that same kind of trust with those who are seeking; we would see the Holy Spirit move in ways we never dreamed possible. We have had over twenty baptisms in the past three weeks at NCC and so much of it is from the relationships that are being built by believers within our community.

Harley 2 R & K on their 1987 Harley ElectraGlide

I love time with Behla and Mystic; plus now we have added Carmella to the barn so poor Mystical is outnumbered two to one but, he seems to manage it okay, The time that Karin and I can now share on the open road is turning out to be a great deal of fun as well. I have always dreamed of owning a classic Harley and it worked out that we found a 1987 Harley ElectraGlide that had a very nice conversion done to it to make it into a trike. The owner had developed cancer and as his health diminished he continued to ride by converting it so it was easier for him to ride. Just this past month, we spoke with Tony Beckett and were making plans to be with him for the annual 'blessings of the bikes' at Appalachian Harley Davidson but, circumstances prevented our road trip that weekend. As Tony said, it may not be possible to bless a bike but it is possible to share the gospel with hundreds of Harley riders! We are looking forward to some ministry miles this summer and now with Daniel and his Sarah having their bike and Sarah and Mike having their bike, it will be fun for us to all travel together. Even though those of us in ministry give a lot of lip service to the importance of family, pastors and missionaries alike can be atrocious work-aholics and neglectful of the relationship that God has given us to nurture and grow. And, NO, this time you cannot make it be all about the kids! Now that Karin and I are empty-nesters, it has become almost more difficult to share time alone. As grandparents, we long to spend every possible moment with our grandchildren  and ‚Äčtheir parents! But take it from me, nurturing the relationship between you and your spouse is vital!

Every moment in life needs to be held closely. A few weeks ago, I sat and held my sister-in-law Elly's hand as she took her last breath on earth and her first breath in eternity. The stroke she had last spring had taken everything out of her. Rod, my brother who also had a stroke last spring, could just lay there in his bed in the same nursing home room and tearfully bid his wife of forty years goodbye. A year ago they had no idea how drastically their lives would change and that one of them would be left to carry on alone. Karin and I hope to make the most of our time together and we have found that as we do so, God gives us opportunities to minister along the way!

Gunner Gunner

Gunner, our 9-year-old black Lab, part Chow and a little bit of Shepherd is one amazing animal! I have had pets who seem to be aware of your feelings but, Gunner is so empathetic that he can sense someone, other than those in our family who are around him all the time, that is feeling ill, discouraged or just in need of a good chance to pet a dog! For about five years or so, Gunner and I have been part of the Mercy Hospital (Canton, OH) Pet Patrol. After specialized training, testing and certification, Gunner and I became eligible to round in the hospital and visit with patients. The joy that Gunner brings, not only to patients but especially to the nursing staff, is incredible! Gunner has become so adept at what he does that he is rated as "Complex" which means he can be trusted to be around the most serious of patients in the most difficult scenarios and still be trusted to do what is best. Just this past week, Gunner and I finished the next-to-last phase of a process to now also minister at the Akron Children's Hospital. One day each week we will be at either Mercy Hospital or Akron Childrens, rotating week to week which one we are at. Gunner is very conscientious about the work. When I bring out the harness or I say, "Let's go to work" he jumps up and is ready to go. Once we are there, he knows that we visit usually every room but sometimes infections or other issues restrict us from a room. He does not like it when we have to pass by a door.

We are usually assigned a specific floor, however, not long ago, as we were making our way through the hospital to the elevators, we passed by the central registration area. It consists of a large waiting area then small cubicles with a counter and a registrar on the other side. Each of these is sectioned off. Since it was later in the evening as we went by, only one lady was working at the distant counter and there was no one waiting to be processed. As I began to walk past the doorway, Gunner stopped abruptly and made it clear he wanted to go in. We did and he headed right for the clerk behind the counter. His nose was just high enough to reach the top of the counter as he peered over at her. She nearly began to weep as she reached across and petted Gunner's head. She said to me, "How did you know that I so very much needed this right now? I have so many things going on and I was really hurting." I assured her that it was Gunner that had felt the hurt and brought me in. We are all familiar with Balaam's donkey being the one who saw the angel and who re-directed his path. If the Spirit can work through a donkey, I suppose He can direct me through my dog!

You may remember that, a few years ago while Karin and I were in Bosnia, Gunner had disappeared after chasing a deer from our property. He was hit by a car or truck on the busy road near our home and left in a ditch for a couple of days. As you can see from the photo, he is all black and you cannot see him in the dark. Well, in response to much prayer, a trucker saw Gunner laying in the ditch off the road and in the dark of a November night. Using the number on Gunner's dog collar, the trucker called our home. Gunner's hip was broken. In surgery, the top of his femur was removed so the bone could move again in the socket. He recovered just fine and he runs like there was never an issue. My son said that when he went to Gunner and first held him, Daniel turned to thank the trucker and he was not there. To quote my dear friend from the Bosnia ministry... "Who knows?"

A Final Note

So many of you have been very faithful prayer warriors on our behalf. Thank you and may God pour out His blessings upon you for your ministry to us! When we began, Daniel was six years old and his sister Sarah was about 9. Now they are both married, Sarah and Mike have a daughter who is turning four and another who is about to be three. It is amazing to believe how fast these fifteen years have gone by. We have seen a multitude of changes in the faces and the work in CEEMed and in the leadership of ABWE.  We pray that we have honored God in what we have attempted to do, by following in what we believe His call for us has been. Will you help us to finish strong? We truly need financial support if we are to continue ministering for Him. Anything you might be able to share with us will be put to good use. If prayers are all that you can afford, we certainly understand and we long for your prayer support as well!. May God richly bless you for your prayerful and loving support of us.


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In Ephesians 6:19 Paul writes "Praying... and for me that I might open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel." That has been our prayer since we began with ABWE fifteen years ago. Now as we continue to build what God has provided us in a counseling ministry, we look toward Proverbs 3:5-6 which reads, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." 

And finally, may we leave you with this priestly prayer from the book of Numbers, one which God gave to Moses for him to instruct Aaron and his sons on how they should bless the children of Israel:

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’

In Him Alone,

Ross & Karin