(Note: you can view more photos at bottom of this post)
Dearest Ministry Support Family:
Greetings from the Coopers in snowy, frigid Indianapolis (still). We praise God for who He is and what He is doing to make His name great among the nations (including USA)! We are so thankful and excited to be serving Him on His mission to multiply disciples and churches among unreached communities. While waiting for our home in Indiana to sell we have experienced a busy season of training among pastors, business leaders, churches, schools and other organizations. We have observed that non-Christians are open to hearing the gospel and very interested in studying the Bible. We have also observed that many Christians (especially leaders) are desperate to be equipped in a disciple-making process. Praise God!!
We are so thankful for YOU…our ministry support family. We praise God for your love, encouragement, prayers and support. We have a number of exiting items to update you on and inform your prayers (be sure to see the last one). Feel free to share this with others. We are desperate for prayer:
–Baby Due in September: Yes, that is correct, we have baby #6 coming early September. We are very excited that the Lord is continuing to grow our little family. Among the many blessings of a new baby, this opens many gospel opportunities for Rachel as they want to see the baby.
–Austin Mid-Level Training (December): We had the privilege of attending a T4T Mid-Level training in Austin, TX with movement leaders from around the world including Steve + Laura Smith, Ying + Grace Kai, Jared Houk, Bill Smith, Jeff + Angie Sundell (our team leaders) and many other godly gifted leaders. It was amazing to meet other fruitful leaders from across the USA and learn what God is doing. God is multiplying disciples and churches in over 30 cities in the US!! We were humbled to serve as facilitators with the opportunity to speak into the ministry of numerous groups. Additionally we invited people to speak into our life and ministry to help sharpen our vision for South Florida. God has provided us with a gifted community of practitioners whom we are learning alongside and sharpening one another with. We also gained clarity on our vision and entry strategy for South Florida. We both left Austin thankful that our house had not yet sold because we are glad we learned what we learned and met the people we met before beginning in Stuart, FL. (God always knows best, right?)
–Family Update: In addition to the baby news (woo hoo!) we have been blessed during this season of transition to have some valuable time with our Indianapolis family members. Mayah, Malachi & Isaiah have enjoyed learning and spending time with their friends at Promise Road Elementary School in Noblesville (this normalcy was good for them). We had a very special Christmas and New Year together including a beautiful candlelight New Year’s Eve Eve service at Onward Church (Malachi prayed for candlelight service & got one). The kids have all become Pacers and Colts fans (an answer to Troy’s prayers) and enjoyed watching games with friends. Thanks to “Pup-Pup” (Steve Cooper), we’ve been able to attend a few Pacers games! Mayah has loved being a “Junior Mints” (5th grade girls) as part of the Onward Youth Group (yes, she is almost in middle school). She also displayed some hidden talents and shocked us all when she sang “Daddy’s Girl” by One Girl Nation at her school talent show (it was a tear jerker). Malachi played a Japanese tune on the melodica. Malachi & Isaiah enjoyed playing soccer last Fall. We love kicking the ball around, shooting baskets and throwing the football (will be nice in warm FL weather). Tessa & Lucy enjoy being at home with Rachel though Tessa is really longing for friends and looks forward to pre-school in Florida. They are both big fans of Doc McStuffins and Sophia the First (Disney cartoons) and love playing with dolls and assembling puzzles. Rachel has continued to work out at the YMCA and pursue time with her friends each week. I (Troy) am continually amazed at how bold she is to share the gospel with others. Being a mom of 5 (soon 6) provides plenty of opportunities to share with other moms. I am encouraging her to start a blog (Mommy on Mission) to share her stories. We praise God for healthy kids who are on mission. Mayah, Malachi & Isaiah love to do Bible studies together and regularly share their faith with classmates at school. It is amazing to see God using them in their school! We enjoyed a season of birthdays with Malachi (Nov 23, 9), Tessa (Dec 10, 5) and Isaiah (Dec 14, 7). Troy’s is in a few days (Jan 8, 39). Rachel (Mar 14, 37) and Mayah (May 22, 11) are in the Spring with Lucy (Jul 31, 4) next Summer. We have enjoyed regular family prayer time together. It was prompted by praying for the sale of our home but has been incredible to hear the kids’ hearts displayed in their prayers as they ask God for friends, pray for their new home/school and pray for their new mission field in South Florida. We are continually learning from their child-like faith. We have loved being a part of the Onward Church family and are thankful for the friendship and shepherding of our pastor, Gary Stump. Additionally we have enjoyed deep fellowship with our home “Great Commission” group led by Kim & Chris Rickelman. We praise God for several church families (Harvest North Indy, The Chapel Indy) who have loved us, experienced the training and provided much-needed sharpening fellowship. It gets us excited to join our church family on mission in Stuart, FL! It is amazing to be a part of the body of Christ!!
–Ministry Update: We continue to share the gospel among the unreached and are seeing people come to faith in Indianapolis. Additionally we have focused most of our attention on training Christians. We are seeing pastors and lay leaders respond to the training with rapid obedience to make disciples! Praise God! We are especially encouraged by a group of business leaders who have vision to multiply the training among other business leaders in Indianapolis! We are also encouraged by a group of “Super Spreaders” (people who passionately share the gospel everywhere with everyone) who are getting a vision to multiply disciples using T4T process. One of our major takeaways from Austin Mid-Level was to lead 2-day Basic Trainings. We are leading one in Indianapolis Jan 10-11 and in Stuart, FL Jan 17-18. Registration is still open for both if you or anyone else is interested in attending. We were also blessed to spend time with two of our three partnering foreign missionary teams: Cervenkas (Tokyo, Japan) and McGaugheys (St Kitts Island) and host a home vision meeting for each of them where they were able to share about their ministry and invite people to support them. Our vision is to lead short-term trips to their locations to train people in disciple-making process, help our missionaries find persons of peace (spiritually interested people who respond to the gospel and them God uses them to reach others in the community) and raise up long-term workers (missionaries). We praise God for the ministry fruit that was yielded in 2013 and cannot wait to join people on mission among 96% unchurched of South Florida!! If you would like Troy and/or Rachel to come speak or train in your community, church or organization, please let us know! We will be starting up an online training group once we get settled in Florida (early March).
–South Florida Team Members: We are excited that 3 of our team members are already down in Stuart, FL awaiting our arrival. Along with Braden Olsen, Stephen Long + Katie Walser have left their families in Indianapolis and West Chicago to join us on mission among the 96% unchurched in South Florida. Pray for them as they settle into life, ministry and new jobs in a new setting (Stuart, FL). Click here to read more.
–Southeast Asia Mission Trip (Feb 1-11, 2014) We are excited to join a team from Harvest Bible Chapel North Indy on a short term mission trip to 2 unreached countries in SE Asia February 1-11. We have helped equip the team in disciple-making process (T4T). Additionally, the missionaries we are serving with in SE Asia (unnamed for security purposes) are our long-time mentors whom we have a long-term partnership with to raise up long-term workers for. Their vision is to see 200,000 new disciples among the unreached in 20 years. We are still raising prayer and financial support for this trip. Click here for more details.
–Support Update: We are currently at 50% of our monthly financial support need ($6500/mo) and at 70% of our need for the year with special gifts. This is excellent progress after 5 months of support raising (praise Jehovah Jireh!). We have been blessed to have some of our supports host a home vision meeting where they invited friends to come hear the vision of our ministry. Let us know if you would like to host a home vision meeting! Here are some practical ways you can support our ministry:
There are 4 key ways people/families can partner with us:
1. Pray: commit to be a daily, weekly or monthly prayer partner
2. Participate: get equipped to make disciples, participate in one of our trainings and/or short term mission trips (South Florida, Thailand, Tokyo or St Kitts)
3. Promote: tell other Christians about our ministry and see if they are interested in partnering with us. We would be happy to meet and share our vision.
4. Provide: monthly support is the most critical financial need (though we are thankful for and appreciate special gifts). Click Here to submit financial support.
We are very thankful for the support God has provided through many individuals, families and organizations. As you look ahead to 2014, which ways would you like to continue or expand your partnership with us? If you are already supporting us through prayer and/or finances, can you think of some other people who would be interested in partnering with us? We are thankful to the Lord for you and appreciate your sacrifice for the Kingdom on our behalf.
–We are moving to Florida February 17: After 5 months of laboring in the Midwest while we await the sale of our home, we are nailing a stake in the ground with plans to move to Stuart, FL the week of February 17. We have sought wise counsel from our leadership and they unanimously agree this is a wise decision to make the move and join people on mission among the 96% unchurched of South Florida even though our home has not yet sold. There are a number of reasons including: Rachel’s pregnancy (its time to go), our team members are already there, our partnering church has patiently waited 5 months (they are hungry). We will seek rental options while we wait on our home in Noblesville to sell and are trusting the Lord to provide our needs. We will keep you posted on any plans for packing, loading, etc as well as any farewell gatherings.