Prayer Update May 18, 2018
Sandi and I had several opportunities to share a message of hope, healing, and strength to married couples since last fall. We had 8 different events, workshops, retreats, or seminars since October. Also, we have created a new one-day format for churches that begins on Sunday morning and wraps up that evening. The response has been very positive with registrations higher than ever.
“Tom and Sandi present an engaging and entertaining look at the daily realities of married life… It is well worth your time to experience their unique, from the heart, ministry to married couples. – Rev. William L. Lepley
Megan graduated from Central Michigan University on May 5th! We are so proud of her! She already has a full-time job and lives in Michigan. Emily completed her sophomore year at Palm Beach Atlantic University (West Palm Beach, Florida) where she served as an RA. Grant completed his freshman year at Wofford College (Spartanburg, South Carolina) as a Biology major. Grant will study global healthcare in South Africa, India, and Brazil this fall. We are adjusting to empty nest and happy to have two of the kids back home for the summer.
1. Wisdom to grow on:
We believe God wants to grow the scope and influence of Marriage on Mission Ministries. We will work over the summer to revamp content, develop small group resources, launch a leadership coaching track for couples, and get the word out more effectively. We need WISDOM!
2. Open doors:
Jesus tells us to ask, seek, and knock. Sandi and I are specifically asking that God will open new doors for his message of truth and grace to be broadcast through the story of our burnout, breakdown, and redemption. His healing transforms our mess into his message and our pain into his passion. As we watch marriages of Christian leaders crumble our hearts break. Pray for new OPPORTUNITY!
3. Grace for a new season:
With all three kids out of the house (mostly) we find ourselves with more time and energy to invest outside of our home. Sandi is pouring into high school students and mentoring relationships, and Tom continues to disciple 4 guys in 12th grade. Jesus calls us to live UP (toward the Father), IN (toward his church), and OUT (toward a hurting world). We ask seeking NEW GRACE for this new season as we follow in Jesus’ footsteps!
Prayer Update August 26, 2017
Dear Prayer Partners, Today is packing day for Grant! We take him to Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC tomorrow morning. Wow, hard to believe this day has actually come. After 22 years, 251 days of actively parenting three children (who’s counting, right?) we stand upon the threshold of a return to our B.C. Era (Life Before Children).
As we share this ministry and prayer update we are reminded that life is full of transitions. The only true constant is change! And, in this moment we are grateful for the truth that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We are also grateful for you – our friends and ministry partners who have stood by our side for years (decades in some cases). We count on your prayer, friendship, and support for the security and stability needed to stay strong and focused in the midst of change and challenge. Thank you!
Other than updating you on our family, we wanted to let you know about a few ministry developments that we are excited about:
1. We are in the process of completing our Marriage on Mission 2.0 retreat and workshop training material! With a deeper emphasis on helping couples grow in their self-awareness and understanding and appreciation of one other’s personalities we are taking the training to the next level.
2. Tom completed a 1-year youth ministry interim role in July. It was a great year of investing in students and families. We are grateful for the time we had with these young adults and are happy to report that our church has hired a full-time Student Ministries Pastor who is doing a phenomenal job!
3. As our focus shifted from youth ministry Tom took a position as a Senior Associate with GiANT Worldwide, a consulting firm built upon the values of Love (fighting for the highest possible good of another), Heroic Goals, Ingenuity, and Self-Awareness. Our mission is to become leaders worth following, to build leaders worth following, and to empower those leaders to grow companies people want to work for. To learn more go to www.giantworldwide.com.
2017 ministry highlights so far:
January 26 – 28: Marriage on Mission Retreat at Camp Michindoh in Michigan
February 2 – 4: Pastor and Spouse Retreat in Ohio
February 19: Tom spoke at a church in South Carolina
March 8 – 10: GiANT Worldwide Associates’ Training in Atlanta
April 3 – 8: Hosted ministry couple from Michigan
April 23: Tom spoke at church in Florida
May 7: We spoke at church in Georgia
June 12 – 13: We received “Marriage Intensive” training in Minnesota
June 14 – 16: GiANT Worldwide Associates’ Training in Atlanta
June 22: Tom led leadership training day for “5 Voices” in South Carolina
June 22 – 24: Hosted ministry couple from Ohio
July 13: We spoke at national leadership gathering in Indiana
July 13: We led two Marriage on Mission workshops in Indiana
July 24: We took a ministry couple through a Marriage Intensive
August 5: Tom trained churches in Atlanta on “5 Voices”
August 18 – 20: We led a Marriage on Mission Retreat in Atlanta
August 24: Tom led leadership training day for “5 Voices” in South Carolina
Upcoming ministry opportunities:
August 31: We will take another ministry couple through a Marriage Intensive
September 9: Tom will train part 2 of “5 Voices” in Atlanta
October 7: We will lead a Marriage on Mission retreat in Michigan
October 8: We will speak at a church in Michigan
November 2 – 4: We will host a Marriage on Mission Retreat in Pawleys Island
Back in December of 2016 we asked you to pray about the following:
• Prayer for Grant – College decision and provision
God answered this request big time! Grant will be attending Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC and plans to study medicine. About 80% of his tuition (including room and board) is covered by scholarships. Wofford is a great college and Grant has already connected with ministry leaders on campus.
• Revamped Marriage on Mission training
We are very happy to say that Marriage on Mission 2.0 is under development! We are incorporating some of what we are learning through GiANT Worldwide (especially the Marriage Intensives) into our training. Our first roll out of the new material took place last weekend and was received very well.
• Next steps for our ministry and a possible move
We began 2017 praying for direction. Tom completed his youth ministry interim role in July and Grant heads off to college TOMORROW! We believe God wants us to stay in Pawleys Island for now – we have no imminent plans to move. The door God opened through GiANT Worldwide has resulted in many opportunities in the southeast. We are content to stay in South Carolina and will continue to remain open to what God has for us and where he wants us.
Prayer requests for the fall of 2017
1. Please pray for our three college students: Megan is a senior at Central Michigan University, Emily is a sophomore at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and Grant is a freshman at Wofford College. Also, pray for Megan as she continues to heal from a broken femur (she broke it wake boarding in late May).
2. Pray for us as we transition into an extended second honeymoon (doesn’t that sound better than “empty nest”?). We have big adjustments to make and are asking for the grace to fully embrace all God has for us in this next season.
3. Pray for God’s blessing and provision for Tom’s new job with GiANT Worldwide. We are excited about how his consulting and coaching work with GiANT could bring his coaching with churches and our ministry through Marriage on Mission to a new level of effectiveness and fruitfulness. (We also see opportunities for deeper partnership as Sandi has now engaged with GiANT training.)
Your Partners in the Gospel,
Tom and Sandi
Prayer Update May 3, 2016
Friends and partners in the Gospel, thank you again for bringing our requests to our good and great heavenly Father. Knowing that you stand with us as we venture into uncharted waters emboldens our faith.
- We requested prayer for Sandi’s part time job – and I am happy to say not only was she called back to her Waccamaw Heating and Cooling job, but she was offered another part time job at Tidelands Health! She will cover people who are on vacation, etc. and travel from office to office. As I understand it her primary role will be to process patients as they come into the office (insurance, paper work, etc.). The good news is that this job will give her a lot of people contact and it could open the door to a permanent part time position at Tidelands Health. She is very encouraged right now and we are grateful for the opportunity.
- On April 10 Sandi and I spoke at a church in Ohio. We felt like there was a lot of grace and the church is interested in bringing us back for a retreat. We also spoke at 2 churches in Michigan and led a retreat in mid April. Every time we speak at a church or lead a retreat we learn something new. God is growing our confidence and competencies as we get more experience. We have also scheduled additional speaking engagements and retreats for the summer and fall over the past month.
- Sandi took Emily on a cruise for her Senior Trip! They joined some friends from Michigan and had a great time.
- I was on the road 13 nights in April In Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and Florida twice (Sandi joined me for about half of these trips). I am thankful to have little travel in May and to eat dinner with my own family most nights! I came home very tired from the last trip and still feel like I am getting my legs back under me.
- Our efforts to pull together an Advisory Team got sidelined due to the heavy travel schedule. We will revisit this goal in the fall.
- We will release the audio version of Marriage on Mission any day now. We did release it two weeks ago but had to pull it to do some additional editing. We fixed the mistakes and when it shows up again on Audible.com it should be good to go. Pray for God’s grace – specifically that the audio version reaches the non-readers out there and that couples would listen to it together as they travel in the car. The audio book is only 4 hours long and the quality of the recording is good.
- Sandi and I are volunteer leaders in the youth ministry of our church. God has been opening up doors for discipling relationships among the students (very encouraging). Our youth pastor announced his resignation last week and will move to California in late June. Pray for wisdom and the needed leadership as we continue to reach out to these students during the upcoming transition.
- I am in the early stages of collaborating with one of the Christian counselors we worked with during my ministry burn out on a new book. The working title of the book is Why Ministry is Killing Your Marriage. I have written about 50% of my part and he will be writing on the subject from his 30 years of experience counseling clergy couples. We hope to give this book away for free as an ebook by the end of this summer. Pray for God’s clear direction as we write and edit.
- Sandi and I speak at our local church in Pawleys Island this Sunday. Our Mother’s Day message is entitled, “Motherhood on Mission”. With Sandi starting her new job at Tidelands this week the timing is rather challenging (we also have our daughter from Michigan visiting with us this weekend). Pray for grace as Sandi and I prepare for the message and that God would encourage and challenge the church through what we share.
Prayer Update March 9, 2016
Hello friends, thank you once again for supporting us in prayer as we invest in ministry-minded marriages and coach leaders. The goal is simple: To equip Christians to model, make, and multiply disciples. This can happen through vocational ministry, in the marketplace, in families, and neighborhoods. But it will never happen if God doesn’t heal and strengthen our marriages! We must shift from marriage survival to marriage on mission.
- I took Emily to visit Liberty University in Virginia last month. We both liked it, but she has confirmed her decision to attend Palm Beach Atlantic this August. She is competing for an additional scholarship and we are asking for God’s favor and provision as we wait to hear back.
- I spoke at Sturgis Missionary Church on 3/21 and they have asked us to come back this fall and lead a Marriage on Mission Retreat. Sandi and I are excited to partner with Bob Renner and the church leadership.
- Grant’s baseball season began with the #2 in the state Waccamaw Warriors. He has worked very hard to prepare himself for the season and we are looking forward to watching the boys compete.
- Emily’s track season began – she has her first regular meet tonight. She will compete in hurdles and sprints. So much fun to watch her run.
- Sandi and I led a Marriage on Mission Retreat for Centerpoint Church in Danville, KY in late February. 35 couples participated and we had a great time together. We really sensed the Lord moving and speaking to hearts.
- Sandi’s former employer, Waccamaw Heating and Cooling, has asked her to come back part time. This is an answer to prayer as she was seeking part time employment. They are still working out the details, but we are encouraged and grateful for God’s provision.
- God blessed our book release in so many ways – another answer to prayer! We have already sold around 400 copies of the book and the response has been very positive thus far. We even cracked the top 10 best seller list on Amazon at one point in our category!
- Our good friends from Michigan, Ken and Ruth Gee, are in the process of building a home next door to us. They have been down for the past few weeks and yesterday we began a Tuesday morning prayer gathering in our home that we intend to invite our neighbors to. We are hopeful that as we team up for mission God will bring people our way who are hungry for community and Jesus.
- Pray for wisdom and provision for Sandi’s part time job. She is walking a tightrope with any part time job as I need her to help me during the week and travel on weekends. The job has to be very flexible but still pay enough to make it worthwhile. We are hopeful the current opportunity will provide enough income while giving the flexibility she needs.
- We have booked several weekend events in recent days. The doors are opening and we are very grateful. However, we still have two children at home and want to finish this season of parenting well. Pray for wisdom as we discern healthy boundaries for travel, work, and family time. We do not want to sacrifice covenant faithfulness for ministry fruitfulness (knowing that in the end we would lose both).
- We are in the early stages of forming an Advisory Team for Marriage on Mission Ministries – pray that God will lead us to the right people to invite onto this team and for receptive hearts.