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May 2013
Dear Friends in Christ,
For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. [Jeremiah 29:11-12]
We are excited once again to have the opportunity to share what the Lord is doing with our family and OSM this month. It often seems we have just written a newsletter when it is time to begin a new one. The Lord continues to work out His plans for us and it is often not what we expected.
This month marks the 13th anniversary of the John 3:16 Church. In May of 2000, the Lord put together an amazing group of people to help build the Church. Over the course of 12 days, numerous people came and left, contributing their services for various amounts of time. Many of them had never met, but the Lord did amazing things through these people and brought everything together. Our family and some of you had the privilege to be a part of the construction of this precious church. At the time, we did not realize how much the Lord would use this small church in our lives. Over the years, we have met numerous people there. Pastor Santos and Sister Fini have ministered faithfully to countless families. Some of these families are still there and many have moved to other areas. The members of the church are painting the building this month as they celebrate the beginning of God's work through the John 3:16 Church. We know it's not about the building, but about the hearts and lives of the people. It is about God and what He is doing to reach the lost in the colonia. It's about the children who attend and hear the Word preached and then carry the Truths they learn into their adult lives. It is about the love of Christ shared in many different ways. We have watched the Lord touch many lives through the ministry there. We feel so very blessed to be a part of this church.
Another plan that you may have walked through with our family was the most painful and life changing for Debbi and me. Our first born child, our dear and beloved Shelby Kay, went Home to Jesus, 8 years ago this 31st of May. Many of you had the privilege to know Shelby. She touched many lives here, in Mexico, in Haiti, and wherever she was. She was the reason we began feeding the children at Pastors Peti Noel and Marc's schools. She served on many teams to Mexico, Haiti, and even one in Africa. For years Shelby led paint crews for building teams, planned, organized, and prepared meals for large groups and served them. Additionally, she cleaned up after crews, held and loved many adoring children. She improvised when necessary, usually with a smile and always without complaint, as our family ministered. She left us on May 31, 2005, and is now with her best Friend and her loving Savior, Jesus Christ. For those of you who did not know Shelby personally, she is another wonderful reason to look forward to Heaven. It is still hard for us to understand this part of God's plan, but we are still learning to accept and know in Whom we trust. When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be, when we all see Jesus. We'll sing and shout the victory!
We are so grateful for those of you who are touched by the need for drinking water in Anse Rouge, Haiti, and are faithfully raising money to aid. The money that is raised will be used to help Pastor John Baptiste and his church minister to the people in Anse Rouge with drinking water, as they minister to their souls with God's living Water. What a blessing to see how the Lord is working in this way to bless and help our Brothers and Sisters in Christ there. If you would like to join with this project, please let us know.
Kenny is back in Haiti with John. They are working in the Merci Village. We will share the news about this trip in our next newsletter. Please keep him and his safety in your prayers. Also, if you would like to help support Kenny, his full support has not been reached. We are moving on faith that the Lord will provide this need for OSM. Please pray with us.
Each month holds its own special memories and events, but May is full of them for our family. None of us knows our futures, but only see what's here in the present. How hard it is to remember that not only is it all laid out before God, but He planned each step of the way! We are well acquainted with trying to change God's plans, but even through our mistakes He works and brings us back again. We pray this remembrance is an encouragement in understanding that God has a plan for each of our lives. And unlike most of the world, we have a hope for a wonderful future in our Savior, Jesus Christ. He has a Home ready and waiting for us and there will be no more worries and struggles. We will rest in and with Him.
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
[Philippians 3: 13-14 & 20]