Dear Family, Friends, Prayer Warriors, and Partners in Ministry,
I used to laugh when people would say that time moves faster the older you get. Not anymore! Time seems to fly by. Where has 2017 gone?!? “Christmas already again in just a few short days!” And it’s been almost a year since we moved into our home in Lewisburg-a move which many of you helped make possible. We still feel like we’re just settling in and beginning to network and establish relationships for our outreach/church planting/counseling ministry. Praise the Lord, Roberta is finally counseling with a local practice and working towards the three-thousand hours she needs to be a Licensed Practical Counselor in the state of Tennessee! We are continuing, with Pastor David Carrera, to pray towards a partnership with Beth Sar Shalom, the reformed Hispanic congregation in Shelbyville, to plant an English-speaking congregation off of the Hispanic church. Many of you know that even before seminary, we dreamed of having a non-profit corporation that could serve as an umbrella over the various facets of ministry to which we felt the Lord was calling us. Whether it be church planting, outreach to the nations in Middle Tennessee, or a counseling ministry aimed at folks in full time ministry, we desired all these to be rooted and founded upon the pure grace of the gospel. We even dreamed of ultimately having a retreat center for couples and families in ministry-a haven of grace-and hence the name we dreamed of-“GRACEHAVEN MINISTRIES International.” Since returning from seminary five and a half years ago (I told you time is flying by!), and beginning to explore church planting and outreach with the Nashville Presbytery of the PCA, many of our mentors and pastors have been advising us to form such a non-profit. That it would be best for our ministry to be portable and independent of a particular denomination, for support raising purposes, and because we’re kind of crazy and don’t fit any particular mold! We dream of having a comprehensive ministry that makes much of Jesus, is safe, encouraging, transparent, cultivates a vulnerable community, and is dedicated to “Leading with a Limp” (to steal the title of Dan Allender’s book)-a “Gracehaven” that is a hospital for the weak and wounded and recognizes the magnitude of all of our own sin, and yet the enormity of the cross, and the grace of our Abba. Well, the time has come for “Gracehaven Ministries International” to be formed! Since we are currently not pursuing licensure and ordination with the Nashville Presbytery, MNA and N2N will no longer process our current support. This means we presently have no way of receiving tax-deductible gifts. However, forming Gracehaven, as a 501 (c)(3), we soon will again! We have several folks from around the country that have agreed to be Board-Members of “Gracehaven,” to help us refine our vision and dreams, and hold us accountable to our goals and support raising. The major obstacle to registering the non-profit legally is the upfront fee of $995.00- which we are praying the Lord will provide before the end of the year (Yikes! Only three weeks away!). Then we could have non-profit status and be able to receive tax deductible gifts within seven to ten days. We are including a draft of our Mission Statement with this letter or e-mail. We want to thank all of you who have been so faithful for low these many years in supporting us through MNA and N2N (and the many gifts that simply came to us personally). We desperately covet your prayers for our immediate financial situation, and the growth of our ministry under “Gracehaven Ministries INT.” We ask that you pray about partnering with us in the up-front fee of registering Gracehaven, though we cannot offer a tax deduction for doing so. We also covet your prayers for strength and health. I am currently working a supplemental part-time job at Home Depot(20+hours a week) in addition to my work at Leadec/GM, to help catch us up from my back issues and missed work over the summer, and from the loss of Roberta’s tutoring income after our move. We still very much feel called to full time vocational ministry. We pray that Gracehaven might be the avenue through which the Lord brings that to pass.
Desperately and Constantly in Need of and Flabbergasted by His Grace,
Matt & Roberta
(Please feel free to call us with any questions you might have. We would love to hear from you! Matt: (615) 483-3724; Roberta (615) 483-3723)