Current Update


It’s a strange feeling, knowing this is my last post from East Africa. In wondering how I would capture this incredible journey over the years, I realized that all the posts I’ve written before has told the story.

Having traveled 11 out of the last 13 weeks has been a joy; with the exception of the parasites in my foot and in my stomach! Since the 3rd week of January I’ve covered from the Western border of Kenya all way across the country to the Eastern Coast of Mombasa.

In these weeks, we’ve (Pastor Tom and I) participated in 1200 pastors and leaders going through the Secret Church training for this year. This brings a total number of pastors and leaders from the past two years to 2250, all trained in 6 different Secret Church teachings.

God is so good and saved the last conference, which I just finished this evening, as the mountain top experience of all the conferences. Each conference was amazing and changed lives, yet, the one this week, ultimately reached the people we started out a long time ago with a desire to reach.

Even though I’ve left the conference and have arrived at the airport for my flight home to Georgia, I still must be careful in what I write about the conference, in order to protect those I’ve been with this week. Pictures would tell so much of the story, yet, no pictures could be taken.

What I can share is that 5 countries were represented, in which all participants were persecuted believers, or work among the persecuted.

At the end of our first day, plans were already being made for the Secret Church teachings to be carried into the unreached areas. I’ve prayed for so long for God to open doors to reach those we know need the gospel in those areas. How incredible it’s been for the last leg of my journey as a missionary to East Africa, to be with these very people.

The most difficult part of leaving was saying goodbye to my African sons, Tom and Sezi.  It was really difficult to leave them behind. I am so thankful for the promise of eternity in heaven together. That makes the not knowing if we’ll see one another here on this earth again, somehow easier.

I’m excited to see what God has planned for my next journey with Him. Whatever it might be, I know it will exactly what He has had planned for me all along.

From the depths of my heart I am so thankful for each one of you who have supported me through prayer and/or financially over the years. It has been a privilege to represent you here in East Africa.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

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

A first occurred this week while holding a Secret Church conference. A vehicle pulled into the churchyard and into the church walked 2 American missionaries from Kentucky who are also serving full-time in Kenya.

These are my new missionary friends, Sheri and Greg Howard.

Sweet new missionary friends…Sheri and Greg Howard…..

They began their fulltime missionary journey here in August of last year, serving in various ways; orphans, street children ministry, teaching, etc. http://actionstruth.com

It was great to discover their awareness of Dr. Platt’s teachings, as his book Radical had been instrumental in their own journey coming to the mission field. What a joy to watch them experience Secret Church…. bush style!

It’s hard to express the deep joy that came with the time God gave us to share. Not only in the Secret Church teachings, but also sharing our journey of walking with the Lord here in Africa.

On Monday as I headed out for this weeks conference I was blessed to receive in the mail a wonderful package from my good friend Deb Brewer from my church back home. She has been such a blessing to me as I’ve served over the years.

She sent lots of Answers in Genesis material to help here. Pastor Tom was so excited when we unpacked the box!

A happy Pastor Tom with all the new materials from Answers in Genesis

He will be using part of the material in the orphan school he oversees and the other materials will help the pastors.

Because I had picked up this package on our way out on Monday, I had it with me during this weeks conference. Gods timing is always so good as I was able to share some of the material with my new friends Sheri and Greg.

Not only share materials they can use in the areas they serve, but also share the good edible yummies Deb packed along with the material.

I’ve been in the states since the Howards have. I know what its like to be gone for so long and not have a lot that taste good as things back home do, so I wanted to share.

What was really sweet was, when I handed them the bag with the materials and yummies, they in turn handed me a bag. Sheri had prepared me a bag with yummies they were sharing that had been left for them with a recent team visiting. Not just goodies from the states, but more importantly home made no bake cookies that Sheri had found the ingredients to make here!

The conference was very good….the church was packed daily and we ran out of Secret Church study guides.

My home for the week…

Pastors filling in their Secret Church study guides…

Secret Church in session

This weeks Secret Church participants

In the last 3 weeks of conferences I have surveyed the pastors who attended our conference last year. The survey questions were questions to help me gather information on how well the material is being received. More importantly, if the material is being used after the conferences as it is intended to be used.

21 pastors over the last 3 weeks are returning pastors. Those 21 pastors have used their Secret Church materials from last year to disciple 427 Christians. From the information the pastors have gathered, out of the 427 newly disciple believers, have come another 86 more whom these disciples discipled.

We were first in these areas in September of last year. So, in the last 5 months there are 513 newly discipled believers that we know of. There are another 60 to 70 pastors from this area of Kenya who attended last year but were not able to travel to attend this year due to the locations being further away. I can only imagine what the real number of newly discipled believers would be if we had information from all who attended.

Now that we are blessed to also deliver the new Multiply books to the church leaders, we know that in the months and years ahead, this tool along with the Secret Church materials will advance the kingdom of God in powerful ways.

Church leaders receiving their copies of Multiply

As a matter of prayer, I’d like to ask all of you to be praying for the country of Kenya in the weeks ahead. Presidential and general elections are scheduled for March 4th and we are praying for peaceful times.

The last elections brought violence and destruction across the country. Even today 4 years later there is evidence of the destruction from that time. Families are still displaced from the violence along with infrastructure damage with roads and various other things.

There is a strong Christ centered presence among the people who are truly seeking a peaceful election time. Please join us as we pray with our brothers and sisters in Christ across this nation.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

The first of 12 weeks of Secret Church conferences has been completed here in Kenya. Beautiful countryside last week during our travels.

Beautiful….

Beautiful…..

The pastors who attended this first conference are part of 400 pastors/church leaders who will receive this new training with Dr. David Platt’s Secret Church teachings: Exploring the Holy Spirit, Who Is God and Angels, Demons and Spiritual Warfare.

What a joy to be the delivery person…

Pastors this week gaining wisdom and knowledge…

I am also excited to be delivering the new “Multiply” discipleship book from Francis Chan to the senior pastors. I’m delivering 130 of these new books for the Kenya pastors to use as tools for discipleship. For those of you who might not be familiar with Multiply, you can access the material free at multiplymovement.com

7 firm committments to use Multiply to make disciples who will make disciples….

A special word of thanks to Angelia Stewart and the Radical/Secret Church team for ALL they do for us here. Without their encouragement and faithful support these conferences could not take place. Radical provides not only the shipping cost of getting the materials here from the states; they also provide transportation for Pastor Tom (my translator) and for myself. They provide food for all the conferences for these many days the pastors participate. They provide fuel for our generator, blankets and mats for the pastors so sleep on…. the list goes on and on of their provisions.

So thankful for the passion they have to make disciples of all nations. Please be praying for Dr. Platt and the entire Radical team as they prepare for the Secret Church live simulcast on March 29th with the teaching: Heaven, Hell and End of the World. Also, prayerfully consider hosting a group in your home or church for the simulcast. Information about Secret Church and the simulcast can be found at radical.net

Last Sunday I was blessed to spend the afternoon with part of my African family who came over from Uganda to Kenya to visit with me.

Part of my Africa family….

Most of you remember my always writing home about Geoffrey the best guard I ever had. You might remember that just a few months before I first arrived in Africa; Geoffrey’s wife had drowned, leaving behind two toddler boys. Last year he remarried to sweet Lillian and three weeks ago on January 5th their precious son was born.

Geoffrey, Lillian and sweet little James….

They waited for me to arrive back in Africa before naming him and gave me the blessing of choosing his name.

I gave him the name James after James who was the brother of Jesus and a leader of the Jerusalem church; as well as the writer of one of my favorite books in the bible. James is sometimes referred to as The Proverbs of the New Testament and I challenged Geoffrey and Lillian to teach James this book as he is growing up as it reminds Christians how to live out their faith.

Getting in some good practice for our new arrival in July…

While holding him I realized I was getting in some practice for my new grandbaby coming in late July. I have to admit getting the news of a new grandbaby for Christmas was AWESOME! For Christmas, Bryan and Kim gave the grandparents these sets of pictures of a fun family outing they had.

What a Christmas gift! News of a new GrandBaby~

Then they watched our faces as we realized that the photo in the last section was a sonogram.  We had thought the last of the grandchildren had been born…

Excited to be adding GrandBaby #9 to this group of treasures

however, we are rejoicing with inexpressible joy to learn God is blessing us with another one.

As a matter of prayer, there is one of us grandparents that need your prayers. Just a week or so after the news of the new grandbaby, my daughter-in-love’s step-dad or Pappaw to the grandchildren was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Jeff

His hearts desire is to hold this new grandbaby. He has accepted that unless God performs a miracle, his time here on this earth is limited and has a wonderful attitude and understanding of the joy of going home to heaven. Please be praying for him and the entire family in the months ahead. His name is Jeff Bassett.

As I wrote in my end of the year newsletter, my initial plans were to stay in Kenya throughout this year without making my usual mid-year trip home. However…..God had other plans….wonderful plans…..so I will be home late July to be there for this new precious baby God is blessing us with. Please pray for Kim and the baby over the months ahead.

On my way home in July, I am stopping over in Germany and meeting up with a mission team from Blackshear Place. We will be serving with our other Blackshear Place missionaries, Sharon & John Summers and Rick and Christie Krueger who are serving with Teach Beyond.

If some of you haven’t made a decision about which mission trip to be part of this year, I encourage you to prayerfully consider joining the team coming to Germany. I am excited to have the opportunity of serving with our missionaries there along with a mission team from Blackshear Place. You can contact Pastor Dave Channell who will be leading the Blackshear Place team at 770-534-7058 for more information.

As always I am so thankful for each and every one of you who faithfully keep me covered in prayers and those who financially support me. It continues to be an honor to represent you here on the foreign mission fields of Africa.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

From my first computer, my first cell phone, my first iPod, etc. I have always enjoyed technology. I enjoy the challenge of new software and new devices. I think if this type of technology had been around when I was young, I would have dreamed of being in this field instead of dreaming of being a CPA. Of course since I never attained that CPA dream and am too old to pursue it, its good that I can still have lots of fun and enjoyment with technology.

Being back here in Kenya, I am starting for the first time in my adult life to live without a paper day planner. Now….I’ve been using electronic planners for a long time, but I always kept a paper planner too. First thing my daughter Dana is going to say when she reads this update is…..that’s your OCD kicking in Momma… and she’d be right!

The problem in the last couple of years though is that I’ve tried to balance both….yet, I can’t sync my paper planner with my electronic one. I was missing important things like birthdays and anniversaries, which had always been very important to me to keep up with. I had to make a decision…I had to pick one.

As I’m shifting to not only an electronic planner only for everything, I am thoroughly enjoying some new bible apps that go everywhere with me and offer access to resources when I’m studying Gods Word. No matter if I’m in the bush or at home, I have access to dig deep in Gods Word. However, my paper bible is never far away and that is something that will never change.

As much as I enjoy and am thankful for the biblical technology we have access to today, I never want to be without a tangible copy of Gods Word.

Since becoming a Christian and developing an intense hunger to know Gods Word, I have always cherished my bibles. Yes, bibles plural because I wear them out. I used to think that something I’d like to leave behind once God calls me home to heaven would be a worn out, well read bible for each of my children and grandchildren. However, that changed when I came to Africa and realized how many people didn’t have one bible, much less several they were holding onto for sentimental reasons. So, now I give them away….and I’ve learned such a valuable lesson in doing so.

I’m a writer when it comes to studying Gods Word. I write all over the pages of my bible with sermon notes and thoughts from the Holy Spirit when He helps me understand a verse or a chapter. What I’ve learned in giving my used bibles away, is most often, the notes that are handwritten help whoever takes new ownership. And that is something we can never leave behind for anyone else if we only use electronic bibles.

I cherish God’s Word and I consider it the greatest material possession I have. I love my country and I love our American flag. As a small child I was taught the importance of our flag and to never let it touch the ground. Yet, I always want to give more honor and respect to my bible….I never lay my bible on the floor or on the ground, simply because its more important to me than the flag of my country.

I remember something my children learned in their youth group when they were in high school. Their youth pastor told them they should consider placing their bible in between themselves and the person they were dating when they were out together. It gave my children a visual of how Gods physical Word could protect them from sexual impurities.

Another time in my life when the importance of the physical Word of God was made known to me was 10 years ago. I had moved into the Gainesville area and was living in a new gated community apartment complex. At that point in my life it was the most secure place I had ever lived.

I came home from work one evening and after punching in my code for the gate, began to drive toward my building. Up ahead of me I could see a woman walking in the middle of drive. The closer I got to her the more I realized she wasn’t moving out of the way.

When I came near her, I let my window down and ask if something was wrong. Because it was a gated community and I had always felt safe, I never question that this could be a person out to bring harm. Before I knew clearly what was happening, she came around to the other side of my vehicle and opened the door, coming in after me. But in the passenger seat lay my bible as I always took it back and forth to work with me.

Even though this woman was in a drug induced rage, she had no physical issues that would keep her from climbing over the seat to reach me to stab me. Yet, as hard as she tried there was what seemed to be an invisible wall that kept her from reaching me. It was literally like watching a movie in slow motion.

Without any doubt in my mind all these years later, I still believe my bible the physical Word of God was what kept evil away. The demonic forces within her could not cross over Gods Word.

As I discover more and more uses with my electronic devices, I want to think of my them as open tabletops. Tabletops like most of have in our homes where we lay our bibles. Because the device is holding the Word of God I never want there to be anything ungodly stored alongside it.

For example, I could never lay pornographic material on a table with my physical bible. No matter how strong or how weak my relationship with God was, its something that I would know would just not be right. They don’t belong together in any setting.

I wonder about our young people today who are much more tech savvy than myself and way ahead of me with technology. If all they use is an electronic bible, are they truly learning the importance and the treasure we have in the gift of His book. Or, is their bible app just one of many other things stored on their devices.

I wonder if when Christians today lose their electronic device or it gets stolen, if the first thing they think is “Oh no…I’ve lost my bible”. I think the answer to that would be no that’s not what is missed.

Its great to be able to take our electronic devices with us to church, for our pastors to use their devices to preach from…all of these things are good as long as we never forget the value and treasure the Word of God is. As long as it doesn’t become just a part of everything else we access.

I encourage you to embrace what technology has for us as Christians, in our personal spiritual growth, as well as the endless opportunities to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Yet, cherish the Word no matter where you keep it…remember it is Holy.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

Time is sure flying by since I returned to the states for a visit. I have been blessed abundantly with the days I’ve had here.

My trip home was refreshing as I experienced a new flight pattern flying out of Kenya.  A great change was flying out early in the morning instead of almost midnight. Flying during daylight hours and over different countries than when I flew out of Uganda. This new flight is great as it makes a real difference in the jetlag. Jetlag this time was almost non-existent as I fell right into the time zone here easier than ever before.

The flight pattern took us over Sudan and Egypt. For many hours the plane flew over barren desert lands, something I had never seen before. What a delight to see the contrast between those barren desert lands and the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.  This is a picture although not very clear, but it shows the contrast.

My first few days were filled with hours and hours with my family. Of course that has continued, but the first few days I am home I can’t seem to get enough hugs and kisses! I guess we do a good job of making up for all the months we are apart!

Every time I come home, my family has changed. My grandchildren of course have gotten older, but most often not only are they older, they are usually taller! Sometimes by several inches as was the case this time for my grandson Eli.

Not only is Eli several inches taller than he was when I last saw him, he is now driving. What fun it was to go to school to pick him up, then swap places and let him drive us back home.

My grandson Eli driving us home from school….

The seasons of my life are sure changing.  I am driving my grandson Stephen’s truck while I am home and have been added as driver to my son’s insurance policy. We have laughed a lot about how weird this is…..seems just like yesterday that my children were learning to drive and I was adding them to my insurance policy!

But oh how thankful I am for changes in life. Changes mean we are moving on and going through the aging process just as God intended for us too. It’s an exciting time to see my grandchildren grow up and become more and more independent.

Not only do the seasons of my grandchildren’s lives change while I am away but also my children.  I love coming home and hearing/seeing how God is working in their lives. While I am away, I know they are serving the Lord faithfully; yet, it is a wonderful thing to come home and see them in the midst of the work they are doing for Him.  Parenting, teaching, mentoring and serving God with their daily lives.

 

Precious time with my son Bryan and his family Thanksgiving Day….

My beautiful daughter Dana and her family yesterday…..

Also since I’ve been here in the states, I had the incredible opportunity to spend some time with Dr. David Platt and the Radical team. What a joy to be interviewed by Dr. Platt and share how God is working through his Secret Church materials in Africa.

It is a great honor to be partnering with Radical again in 2013, taking the next series of Secret Church teachings to the pastors in Kenya. Our Secret Church conferences will once again go throughout Kenya and the teachings for 2013 will be: Who Is God, Exploring the Holy Spirit and Angels, Demons and Spiritual Warfare.

All of these teachings as well as all previous Secret Church teachings are free online. I encourage all of you to prayerfully seek out how you can be a part of the upcoming simulcast Secret Church teaching on March 29th. Dr. Platt will be teaching on: Heaven, Hell and The End of The World. This would be a great time for you to experience the teachings God is using around the world. Many churches all over the country will be hosting the simulcast, so check and see if there is one near you. Or, you may want to host the simulcast in your home with a group of friends. You can find out more information about the simulcast at: http://www.radical.net/secretchurch/gatherings/simulcast

While I was in Birmingham, I was also blessed to attend the Multiply Gathering with Dr. Platt and Pastor Francis Chan. I along with people in more than 100 countries watching via simulcast was challenged and encouraged to take disciple making to a deeper level. The new Multiply discipleship material is also part of the work I will be doing in Kenya in 2013, alongside the Secret Church conferences. Please visit http://www.multiplymovement.com to learn more about the new Multiply discipleship material.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now all around I see the Christmas season coming. Still lots more joys and wonders to enjoy before I head back to Kenya the first week of January.  Pray for my family as God gives us this wonderful season together.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

Saturday I made my last journey into the country of Uganda. I traveled there to complete graduation ceremonies for the BSI pastors down on Lake Victoria. As I crossed the border and had my passport stamped one last time, I felt the sweet presence and joy of the Lord. I know when we get to heaven; we look forward to hearing, “Well done”, yet for me, in only the way my sweet Lord can speak, He spoke to me these words as I crossed the border. Please understand, He was not speaking the words “well done” for anything I have done. He was speaking of our journey these past 3 years in Uganda, in which He completed His plans and purposes for my part of His eternal kingdom work there.

As I’ve traveled into Uganda for the past two Saturdays to complete my work as facilitator for the BSI pastors classes, and participate in their graduations,

BSI Graduates Busia

BSI Graduates Lake Victoria

I have realized how the hand of God transformed the lives of so many of these men of God. Out of the 11 pastors in Busia and the 16 pastors at Lake Victoria, who have now graduated, I could tell you stories of each of them.  Yet, I want to write my last post about Uganda, highlighting two pastors that I know without a doubt will hear the words of our Lord, “Well done”. Many of these pastors have stories that would encourage and touch your hearts, yet without a doubt, out of all of the pastors, these two men overcame the most difficult circumstances to graduate.

These is Pastor Francis Wafula.

Pastor Francis Wafula

You can’t tell in the picture, but Pastor Francis’ glasses are extremely thick. His eyesight is very limited for reading. Yet, this sweet man of God persevered and accomplished what most thought would be impossible. Without a doubt Pastor Francis spent twice as much time as any other student completing his homework assignments, which were 100% reading and writing assignments. What a joy for me each week as he handed in his homework and I got to see the hand of God at work.

Not only was Pastor Francis struggling with his eyesight, he also struggled as he was the only pastor in class without a godly wife encouraging him. Pastor Francis is married, but his wife refuses to have anything to do with God or the church. Yet, these circumstances did not keep him from accomplishing his goal of graduating. I think it is an accurate statement to say, that in all the classes with Pastor Francis, he never spoke more than 100 words. He exemplified true humility and Christ likeness.  I learned so much from his silence.

This is Pastor John Mina.

Pastor John Mina

Pastor John has had special place in my heart since I first came to Africa. I met him at the very first conference I participated in when I first arrived. Pastor John as you can see does not have legs that work. He has spent his life in this condition, yet, it has not detoured him from becoming who God created him to be. Pastor John lives 45 minutes by car away from the BSI class, which is 1 1/2 hours by bicycle, or for Pastor John several hours walking. Pastor John walks with his arms, he even wears shoes on his hands when he is walking. In the two years Pastor John has been taking the BSI classes, he has never had a car bring him to class, only another pastor who travels from his home to Pastor John’s home and brings him to class by bicycle.

Pastor John is a dedicated pastor, husband and father. I visited with him and his family just before I moved to Kenya.

Pastor John and his sweet family...

There is no furniture in their home other than some small stick type chairs. He and his family would be considered the poorest of the poor by the world’s standards. Yet, he is one of the richest men I know as God has showered him with a beautiful family, a loving church family to shepherd and now a diploma which is more valuable to him than any material possession could ever be. The value is not in the diploma, the value for Pastor John is in the knowledge of Gods Word he received along the way.

Pastor John and Pastor Francis are two of my hero’s of the faith. I want to be there watching when we get to heaven; when Pastor Francis eyes will be healed and he can see the face of our sweet Lord clearly, and Pastor John can bow on two good legs before our Lord. What a day that will be……

I can’t help but wonder what that day is going to be like for all who had good eyesight, good legs, and no hindrances to keep them from doing great and mighty things for God while on this earth.

Recently, I had a good conversation with my son, Bryan. He and his wife serve faithfully in our home church middle school ministry. We had been praying for workers to serve and it was wonderful to hear that all but one of the positions needed had been filled.

As we were talking, I shared how I struggle with not understanding the sit and soak mentality of Christians. I told him that I just didn’t get it…I don’t understand why most churches are struggling with not enough workers. I don’t understand the concept of spending your whole Christian life sitting in a pew or a Sunday School chair and soaking up what’s given out, but never taking what is received and pouring it back out into the lives of others.

I will be forever grateful to Pastors Larry Wynn, Billy Britt and Steve Parr, who were my first spiritual leaders when I was saved 24 years ago. From the first day I was saved I was taught that serving was part of Christian life. You read your bible every day, you pray every day and you serve in your church. These men of God taught us these lessons by example.

My first place of service was in the middle school department. I was a brand new Christian and didn’t know much about anything, but Steve Parr encouraged me to be a part and through that open door, I met Judy Clay, Glenda Montgomery, Marge Hilling, Verba Brown and others who loved and accepted me with open arms. Through this first act of service as a new believer, God surrounded me with godly women who impacted my life forever.

All I did in my first act of service as a new believer was pour drinks and hand out snacks. Yet, in this simple task I was entrusted with, I learned a life lesson that is still just as important to me today.

So, I want to ask all of you reading this update…are you serving in your church, or are you sitting and soaking? If you are serving, then I want to say thank you for impacting the lives of others. If you are not serving, then I beg you to not delay in finding a place to serve.

Think about those like Pastor Francis and Pastor John who could easily say they have an excuse for not serving, yet, serve faithfully. Let the stories of two of my hero’s be the encouragement you need to be obedient to what we’re all called to do.

Spending 3 years in Uganda serving these pastors has transformed my life, just as serving drinks and snacks to middle school kids did 24 years ago. When I crossed back over the border, making my last journey from Uganda, I knew God was pleased .….and that my friends is the greatest joy that comes with serving.

On Sunday I fly out to another part of Kenya to serve with an unreached people group before heading home to Georgia to see my family. Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to serve where He opens doors.

I’ll be home in the states throughout November and December and will return to my new home in Kenya the first week of January to began our 2013 Secret Church conference schedule here.

As always I am so thankful for each one of you who faithfully pray for me, and support the work God has called me to do.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa

 

 

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