Archive for March, 2013

This week’s Secret Church conference deep in the interior bush of Kenya, was a setting surrounded by God’s creation from the plants, bushes, trees and flowers to the unique sounds of the birds.

This week’s Secret Church Conference

Yet, the greatest blessing was spending time with Gods people there.

People who have lived their entire life, toiling the soil for their daily bread.  Living day in and day out surrounded in this peaceful part of Gods world.

In the years I’ve been serving here, taking Gods Word to the remote areas, I’ve been told many times that I am the first missionary to come and stay overnight with the people in their villages. That other missionary’s come and will only stay during the day, and then they return to a hotel for the nighttime.

I did not set out to be different from other missionaries. In all reality, I didn’t know I should consider whether or not to stay in the bush. I thought that was why I came to Africa, to reach those yet not reached.

Its not easy or the most comfortable thing to stay in the bush in a hut for several nights. Yes, you sleep with lots of different things around you; chickens, snakes, rats and lizards. You most often sleep light because of what might decide to spend the night with you.

You don’t shower the whole time your there because showering means you have to go outside to do so. Outside with some sort of shoe that doesn’t matter if it gets wet, yet, will expose your feet to things like the parasites I just healed from (although the parasites I had that made their home in my feet came from a mattress not the ground).

You don’t have clean water, so you eat only what you’ve brought and drink only bottled water that you’ve brought.

You walk a very fine line in not offending, by not eating the food prepared for you, as hospitality is a great gift from the interior bush peoples.

For those days, there is no toilet, only a hand dug latrine. Believe me, I have become very creative in ways to have privacy when needing to relieve myself. I’ll spare you the details :)

Although as I’ve described it’s not easy, yet it has been one of the most rewarding things I have experienced as a missionary. You come to a much better understanding of the people you are serving when you sleep in their homes. The night hours before bedtime are wonderful as they sit around and share about their lives. Its the most personal time of the entire week.

I heard those same words once again this week…you’re the only one to come and stay with us. But this time there were some additional words.

Last year I stayed in this same village in the same home. I spent this week with the same people I spent time with last year. This is something we’ve been doing this entire year. Every Secret Church conference has been held back in the same area as it was last year. This was intentional on our part as our desire was to build on the foundation of the first teachings last year.

This was the story I was told on my last day there.

While there last year, the villagers hearts were more open to the Secret Church teachings simply because I became one of them while I was there. In times past, other missionary’s had come through and the villagers were polite and open to their messages, yet because they wouldn’t stay with them, they did not take seriously what was taught. In the past year after our time there, sound doctrine from Pastor Platt’s teaching had been taken very seriously; much spiritual growth had taken place.

The additional words that were added on this week were:  ”You were the first to come and stay with us, and now you are the first to return to stay with us. No one has ever come and taught us, then returned to teach us more.  The teachings from Pastor Platt that you have brought to us, changed our lives forever and will change the generations coming behind us.”

Friends, at this moment God wrapped His loving arms around me and I knew through His grace and His goodness I had accomplished what He sent me here to do.

For some time now I have known God was calling me back to the states to live, once I finished the scheduled for this year. I’ve not questioned His directions, although there have been times when I’ve second guessed myself, wondering if I have accomplished His plans and purposes.

You see, when you serve in a dark place spiritually like Africa, you are constantly aware of the spiritual needs around you. It’s overwhelming to think you can truly make a difference because the need is so great.

Hearing those words, that the generation we were blessed to bring the teachings to, committed to seeing the generations coming behind them be taught the truth, was important. Confirmation that my time here is coming to a close as there are hundreds of villagers now throughout Kenya coming behind our work here, continuing on.

Until just a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would finish our Secret Church conference schedule, then as previously planned, work with an unreached group for the remainder of my time here this year. Yet, the door of working with this unreached group has closed completely.

In just a month, I will finish our Secret Church conference schedule and leave Kenya to return home, where I will serve my family and the Lord wherever He tells me to serve.

In the weeks ahead I would ask you to pray for me as each week at every conference I have to say good-bye  to those I’ve grown to love here.

When you pray, please thank God for those who’ve made our work here possible. Pastor Platt and the entire Radical (Secret Church) team, as well as each one of you that have faithfully prayed and/or financially supported me these 3 ½ years.

Pray that I will have godly wisdom and discernment in hearing/seeing and knowing God’s next steps for me once I am stateside. This season of my life is ending, but God is by no means finished with me.

This won’t be my last update, however I wanted to be sure and let everyone know of the upcoming changes where you can be praying.

Also, I have a couple of other prayer request. Please be in prayer for my son Bryan, grandson Stephen and the Blackshear Place team leaving out on a mission trip later this week to Argentina. This will be my grandson’s first international mission trip.

Please pray for my lifelong friend that I grew up with, Deborah Mitchell Plott. She was diagnosed with breast cancer this week. As per her request please pray in agreement for complete healing; for there to be no cancer anywhere else in her body; for her blood pressure to regulate and for no anxiety.

Deborah is a precious friend, a godly woman that I’ve always loved. Please add her to your daily prayer list as well as your church/Sunday School prayer list.

As a reminder, don’t forget the Secret Church 13 simulcast is this Friday, March 29th. You are invited to participate at my home church, Blackshear Place as well as First Baptist Woodstock, or check the website radical.net for other locations and listings. Pastor Tom and his wife Beatrice will be spending the night with me as we watch live from Kenya. Of course for us it will be 2am – 8am with the time difference!

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

It’s an exciting time for my family. On Friday my son Bryan and his precious wife Kim discovered their sweet little one coming late July is a girl! Little Ruthie (her name chosen from the biblical Ruth) is being anxiously awaited for by her big brothers, Stephen and Michael and her sister, Sarah, as well as the rest of us.

2013 Everett Edition “Little Ruthie” coming in July

Our youngest grandchild is 6. It has been quite a while since we’ve had a baby to hold. Ruthie will make 3 granddaughters along with our 6 grandsons. Our family is truly blessed to have 9 in the generation coming behind us.

I always wanted to have lots of children, but after my 2 were born, the doctor said I couldn’t have anymore. So, now my 2 children are giving me what I couldn’t have….2 children have given me 9 grandchildren…incredible!

I’ve been secluded in my home for the past 2 weeks because of the national elections. We are thankful here that the violence was minimum; that each area where violence broke out was contained quickly and did not spread.

A great blessing in being secluded has been time to work on some of my Liberty University Home studies. In the past couple of weeks I’ve listened to 16 lectures. I’ve finished the Gospels and Acts, completed my exam on both and am part way through the Epistles.

I love all of the Word of God. Yet, sometimes according to where I’m currently studying, I get new favorites. My favorite the past 2 weeks has been the book of Acts. What a treasure of knowledge it contains for us.

This morning I leave out for the first of 5 continuous weeks traveling into the interior bush holding Secret Church conferences. I am happy, happy, happy to be able to leave the house today and get back to serving. We began our conferences this year with traveling to the farthest distances first, so in the weeks ahead there is not much long distance traveling.

Thank you so much for the prayers for my health. My stomach is finally well and my foot is completely healed with the exception of one small scabbed over area that is taking a long time to heal.  It’s been 5 weeks since I first contracted the parasites in my foot, 3 weeks since surgery.  It has definitely been an extended healing process, but praise the Lord, I am almost 100% healed.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

All of you who faithfully read my e-mail and blog updates know of my involvement with something called “Secret Church.” With a new simulcast coming up on March 29th, I thought it would be a good time to explain exactly what Secret Church is. How it has not only impacted my life, but also the lives of the people here in East Africa where I am blessed to serve.

First, some background information in how I became involved with Secret Church and why it is so important to me.

From December 2008 through March, 2009 God completed the last details in opening my eyes and heart to understand His calling for me to be a foreign missionary for the next season of my life.

It was not an easy journey, simply because I didn’t understand the whole of what God was doing. God only revealed parts of His plans along the way. I had to trust Him, even though He didn’t put all the parts together, until He knew I was ready to accept what His will was.

Prior to and during those months I experienced a time of feeling isolated. Not isolated due to not being around people, but a feeling of being isolated and alone, as I didn’t have anyone in my life that seemed to be walking the same pathway as I was. It was difficult to explain to others something I didn’t quite understand myself.

During those months I began to listen to Dr. David Platt’s podcast sermons from the church services where he pastors, The Church at Brookhills in Birmingham, Alabama.

From the very first sermon I listened to, I knew God had placed Dr. Platt’s sermons in my life. Since my struggles began with trying to understand what God was doing in my life, I now had a resource that was helping me.

Dr. Platt is a faithful servant of God in speaking truth about what a disciple of Christ is and every believer’s responsibility in fulfilling the Great Commission.

Secret Church is an event Dr. Platt holds on Good Friday each year at The Church at Brookhills. The evening event consist of 6 hours of in-depth bible study, including praying for persecuted believers in our world; with the prayer focus being a specific people group in a persecuted area.

On Good Friday in 2009 I made my first journey to participate in Secret Church in Birmingham. At this point I already understood God’s call to the mission field. Going to my first Secret Church event put that call into action.

As with each and every Secret Church event, there is a featured speaker mid-way. These individuals speak about their own involvement in serving in or near persecuted areas of our world.

At my first Secret Church, the speaker was the only evangelical pastor in the Gaza Strip. He spoke to us about life as a persecuted believer; as a pastor in an area where persecution is intense; about those in his congregation that became Martyrs for standing strong in their faith in Jesus Christ.

When this pastor finished speaking to us, he led us in prayer. A prayer that I will never forget, as that prayer time helped me to see the world I live in completely different than I’d ever seen it before.

While this pastor prayed my eyes were opened and into my heart came a deeper desire than I’d ever known to understand God and His ways the way this pastor did. I cried out to God, telling Him….God, I want in my relationship with You the depth this pastor has.

God very clearly spoke to my heart with His answer. He told me to attain the depth that this pastor had attained with Him, it would take my total surrender of all I am, given over to Him completely.

I had already surrendered to His call to go to the mission field before that night. However, that night I gave Him permission to take me wherever He needed to take me, in order for me to have this intimacy with Him as I had seen in this pastor.

4 years later now, there hasn’t been a single moment when I regretted my surrender. God knew what I needed in order to fulfill the desire of my heart to know Him more intimately than ever.

That night not only did I surrender All of me to Him, I made a commitment to become a true disciple maker. I committed to God to do my part. I understood that the Secret Church bible studies were not just for those who participate that night, but they were to be learned and then retaught. Fulfilling this commitment has been a wonderful journey for me since that night.

Once each Secret Church session is complete, the teachings in video, audio and print format are translated into other languages and sent into persecuted areas of our world.

Missionaries like myself and other organizations that serve among persecuted believers are provided with this material where we take it to those we serve.

In April 2011, Lifeway simulcast its first Secret Church event. The Secret Church events had reached a point where The Church at Brookhills could no longer accommodate the thousands of people desiring to attend.

Since that first simulcast, more than 50,000 people from all over the world have participated in each of the Secret Church events.

The next Secret Church simulcast is March 29th. Churches, host homes, etc., are geared up to host the simulcast. Dr. Platt’s bible study for this event is: Heaven, Hell and The End of The World.  The simulcast is scheduled for 6pm until midnight (CST).

Although I will be participating 9000 miles away here in Kenya, I would love to invite you to attend the simulcast at my home church, Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Information is available on our church website at: http://bpbc.com/aboutbpbc/events (Remember that the time will be 7pm until 1am as our church is in eastern standard time zone)

Also you would be welcomed to join the simulcast event at First Baptist Church, Woodstock Georgia. The information about this location can be found at: http://www.fbcw.org/secretchurch/

If you are not in the area of our church or First Baptist Woodstock, please check out the Secret Church website for more information on other areas hosting the simulcast: http://www.radical.net/secretchurch/gatherings/simulcast.html

Now, I know exactly what just came to your mind when you read the time for the simulcast. You thought…..oh there is no way I can attend a bible study until midnight! However, I want to encourage you to remember that this event is not about you. It’s about reaching out to and praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters in this world.

Your part is to attend, grow deeper in understanding the Word of God and learn about persecuted believers throughout our world. Have your eyes opened to the realities of what being a Christian is like in other countries. Then, stand in the gap praying along with those surrounding you for the persecuted believers you learn about.

Surely, you can commit 6 hours out of a year to learn, understand and pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who daily wonder if today will be their last day as they choose to serve God faithfully.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

Have you ever had someone in your life that you wait anxiously for some sign, some pivotal moment when the Christianity they profess to have within them comes out of hiding? When you look closely to see if they have started attending church, or reading their bible or speak of an intimate prayer life;  any actions whatsoever that would indicate they are a true follower of Jesus Christ?

In my life, I have family and friends who profess to be Christians, yet there is no evidence. I’ve tried many times to share how different our lives become when we truly surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and became a true follower. Yet, their hearts have not been receptive and I find myself still waiting, hoping and praying to hear of a change in their lives.

This is a subject close to my heart, because for many years, I was one of these people. I heard a sermon preached on hell one night when I was 11 years old. The preachers words freighted me and I didn’t want to go to hell. Not until 17 years later when I heard evangelist Bailey Smith preach a sermon on The Difference Between the Wheat and the Tare did I understand my lostness. If I had lost my life during those years, I would have spent eternity in hell because I thought since I prayed a prayer telling God I didn’t want to go to hell, that everything was okay and I would spend eternity in heaven.

In those 17 years I always answered yes I am Christian when someone asked me, yet, there was nothing…zilch…zero….evidence. I wasn’t in church, I never read my bible nor even thought of reading my bible and the only prayers I prayed were at night when I was tucking my children into bed….the now I lay me down to sleep prayer. I never talked about the Lord, never witnessed to others….my list could go on and on. Bottom line….I was deceived and headed straight for hell.

When I truly understood the reality of where I stood with God and made a decision to surrender my life to Him, to become a true follower of Jesus Christ, my life changed. I didn’t become perfect and still had a lot of growing to do, as I still do today, but there was a change in me as I now had an intense desire to never be the same again. That intense desire has never stopped….for 25 years this coming July I have continued to desire to grow, to be a better child of the King, to know more of the bible, to tell others about how my life has been changed, and ultimately learning to truly surrender all I am to Him.

Lsst Sunday, the Spirit of God spoke through Pastor Johnny Hunt, First Baptist Church Woodstock, preaching a sermon that spoke truth so needed in many church filled seats today. I want to encourage all of you to take an hour of your time and watch this message. If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, this message will burden your heart for those around you that you know are deceived and will spend eternity in hell unless there is a break through. If you are questioning if you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, this message will speak truth into your life. If you have never come to a place in your life where you’ve completely understood what a Christ follower is, this message will clear up your questions and give you clarity on what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.

I’m praying for break through’s for eternity.

The sermon is entitled, WHAT MAKES A DISCIPLE. Its the 9:30 am timeframe. The first 30 minutes are Worship, but you can fast forward to about the 30 minute mark and the sermon will begin.

http://www.fbcw.org/media/on-demand-media/

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove
Missionary-East Africa