After a long day in the sun harvesting beans by hand with five of his friends and helpers, this farmer begins the task of separating the beans from the chaff using an electric fan. Then he and his crew take turns hand digging a new well. (The top of the well is below the beams and a man is 12′ below shoveling dirt into a pail). It was just two years ago that churches (and individuals) were permitted to own farms.
In a country where the average salary is $25 per month, monthly food budgets run out in a week. But church farms now provide needed basic food – beens, rice, yucca and some pork – to feed many people in the church, jobs for some and help to the most materially poor through ministries to street kids and the elderly.
By stepping in and helping the poor, church leaders demonstrate great faith and cause skeptical government officials to ask why. We would consider them poor! And many of them do not know where next weeks’ groceries are going to come from, but they share anyway.
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Newlyweds at Westminster Presbyterian, Atlanta on June 27, 1987
My bride Elizabeth and I celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary today.
I am deeply grateful for her. She is my best friend, a most excellent mother to our children and a godly woman who points me and many to Jesus through her music, teaching, serving and example.
Much has changed in this short time and will continue to change. Children, weddings, gospel maturity, pain, poverty, wealth, homes, churches planted, new vocations, languages, technologies and new friends. Amazing how the events of these last two weeks underscore how the world changes quickly and slowly at the same time. But one thing has only increased.
I want her more than ever before.
Being married to Elizabeth is an increasingly beautiful foreshadowing of The Wedding of Eternity for which Christ is preparing His Bride (Revelation 19:6-9). Truth and Grace prepare the Bride of Christ for Final Judgment that ushers in the New Heavens and the New Earth where His people are WITH Him. This is the greatest good. We live in such gratitude that He would chose us for each other and for Himself. It is so good it is hard to imagine. That He would grant us a joy for which we were made, redeemed and celebrate daily? It is a Joy that we could never earn. Intimacy and love that proves His worth and glory. Being married to you Elizabeth as followers of Jesus is an honor. Anticipating eternity.
Happy Anniversary my love. Living with you is like heaven on earth.
Jake and Cat
Cat (Catherine) is truly an answer to prayer. She’s from a great and godly family. She’s just finishing up her sixth year at UGA with a Masters of Social Work and plans to serve and counsel families in crisis. She and Jake met at a campus ministry where they had lots of common friends. She told me she fell in love observing him at several mutual friends’ weddings. Apparently my son is a good dancer. Who knew?
Jake graduated with a BBA in Finance from the Terry School of Business at UGA and works doing something his father doesn’t understand but is very glad people pay him to do it. He’s vibrant young man, full of ideas, plans and energy. I couldn’t be more proud.
The bride and groom will live in Atlanta near a bunch of friends and attend Atlanta Westside Presbyterian Church. It’s a sweet joy to us that they’ve chosen to follow Jesus as husband and wife. And it’s a special joy that they’d go to AWPC. Pastor Walter is the first church planter who ever asked me to coach him.
They will be married at First Pres in Macon where her dad is an elder and her mom is super involved. I think they know everyone in the county because her dad is a pediatrician. I’ll be co-officiating, Erica and Elysia are bridesmaids and Elizabeth will be joyfully crying in the front row. Most are betting I won’t make it through without choking up. We’ll see…
All of Jake’s grandparents, three of his great-grandparents and dozens of aunts, uncles and cousins will be attending along with Cat’s large extended south Georgia family and most of Macon. It’ll be quite the celebration. There’s even a live 8-piece band at the reception. Going to be a great party! Cat’s parents have been so gracious about this being a preview of the Heavenly Marriage Feast all believers will experience with our Bridegroom King Jesus! Something special!!
Prayer Requests and Thanks
I don’t usually ask for prayer on my blog, but I feel like it’s a good idea. Would you please pray for this new part of the Moon family? Jake is our only son and he’s named after me – James Ray Moon III – and with all my heart I want him and Cat to love Christ and faithfully serve Him long after I’m gone.
Since this blog is mostly about things I’ve learned in ministry, I want to point out how this ties in with CMM, church planting and gospel coaching.
My church planter coach Tom Wood, Wesley Horne and my supervisor Bob Cargo at Perimeter Church all reminded me during the intensity of the battle to keep focused on my kids and my wife, made me spend money on two-week vacations and asked me about taking Sabbath days and family days. Without their input, I would have done far less with my family, run myself and them into a ditch by working too much and not trusting God enough to rest.
If you are a planter, know a planter or supervise a planter, I can’t recommend enough that they get a skilled, certified gospel coach for their journey.
This is my personal favorite of the happy couple.
I’m a Gospel Coach for Church Planters, Pastors and Ministry Leaders asking Jesus to multiply more Gospel Coaches to reach the lost in North and South America.
We planted a transcultural, bi-lingual church in the Atlanta area and pray for God to give us opportunity to help reproduce in other churches, networks and denominations. I’m a recovering work-aholic. Without the help of a Gospel Coach and a Church Planter Network, I would have flamed out in ministry and sacrificed my family in the process.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes but I’m learning to be Holy Spirit-dependent, Christ-centered and to live in gospel-saturated community.
My wife Elizabeth and I have three grown children and are overjoyed that they love Jesus and serve in other church planting churches despite growing up as church planters’ kids. That ought to be the new normal.