Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"Celebrating '11th Wedding Anniversary' in Africa"

Dear Friends and Family,
Laura and I just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary in beautiful South Africa where we actually spent our honeymoon. Truly, the “lines have fallen for us in pleasant places; indeed, we have a beautiful inheritance” (Psalm 16:6).
Looking back reminds us of the words of a dear Pastor who while introducing us to his church said, “The Stoms’ greatest accomplishment is their three daughters, Clara, Katherine and Lauren.” Truer words have not been spoken and they remind us of God’s unmerited ‘super-abounding grace’ to us. 

I once endured a lecture on the 20 (maybe 10 but it seemed like 20) things churches expect from their missionaries. I felt like a failure until I was reminded of all the people who have been endeared to us through our three daughters. Clara had an entropic eyelid that had to be sown and Katherine was born with a growth that had to be removed surgically. Those were trying times, but through them so many people were united to us in prayer. I don’t recommend this as a marketing strategy, but it’s a continual reminder that God’s “ways and thoughts are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9).”
Our first story group!
I recently preached a sermon on how God taught Peter His ‘True Grace’ (1 Peter 5:12) at Christ Church Stellenbosch. In it I told the story of Peter denying Christ three times and explained how God used ‘trials and failure’ in Peter’s life. Over and over again, in various circumstances, we have found God teaching us our need to ‘trust and pray’. Having said this, we are asking that you pray as we launch both a ‘story group’ in Kayamandi (informal settlement) and hold a series of ‘brown bag lunches’ with international students where we plan to story through the ‘Life of Jesus’.   

Thanks (Zikomo),
Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms

Prayer Requests:
1) For Laura as she home-schools our girls.
2) That our girls make new friends here in South Africa.
3) For the 'International Students Ministry' at Christ Church Stellenbosch. 
4) That we can organize a 'School of Storying' in Malawi for June/July 2015.
5) Pray that we can pick up three new partnering churches.

6) For a 'good deal' as we seek to purchase a vehicle.

7) For longer term accommodations for our family  in Stellenbosch.
8) That we successfully  launch a 'story group' in Kayamandi.
9) About possibly going to South Sudan for two weeks to train Anglican Pastors.

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