Monthly Archives: April 2018

From The Hills Of Cherokee

Category : Cherokee

Greetings on a beautiful, but cool spring morning here in Cherokee, NC.

We trust you all are doing well and prospering in the Lord. We want to thank you for your faithful support our ministry to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. God is doing an amazing work here and we are excited to be a part of it.

Grace Community Church of Cherokee: As you know, one of the purposes of our coming to Cherokee was to seek God’s blessing on planting a PCA Church on the Qualla Boundary. That vision began to take shape early in 2016 and we held our first worship service on June 5, 2016. We knew planting a church would not be a quick process, but, after much prayer, we believed God was leading us to move in that direction. Attendance was low for many months, but we remained faithful to the task. At the end of the summer of 2016 we moved our worship services from the dining hall to a small building that was originally set up as a craft room. For many months we had only a few families attending, some Sundays only two families or one family and another individual. Over the past several months, however, God has been doing an amazing work. He has been bringing folks in and we have been averaging 30-35 in attendance each week. The majority of those who are attending have no church background and are hungry to hear the Word of God proclaimed and are interested in learning. This is exciting, but it has also presented us with a new challenge. We only have 40 chairs in our current building, so we are maxed out! Pray for us as we make plans to expand our current building and increase our seating capacity to approximately 90. We will need to purchase additional chairs or perhaps new chairs if we are not able to match up what we currently have. We would like to upgrade the building with a sound system if possible. If any of you has knowledge and experience in sound equipment and would like to help us determine what we need, we would be most appreciative. Just let me know.

Children’s Church Program: We recently began a Children’s Church program for young children in the church. One of the issues we were facing was that parents were being distracted by young children during the sermon. Remember, these are adults with no church background, so the children have no church background. We made the decision to keep the children in the service through the second song and then send them out with two teachers, so they could begin to learn basic Bible truths and the parents could focus on the sermon. This has worked well, but again, we are facing new challenges. The number of children is growing, so we need to figure out how to divide them up and where we will find the room for two separate classes. Please pray for the teachers, the children, and the logistical issues we are facing as God grows His Church.

Youth Group: On February 7, 2018 we began to hold Youth Group meeting each Wednesday evening. Norman and Julie Beck have been faithful to plan and lead the meetings each week. Growth in this ministry is slow, but we believe their faithfulness will pay off. Norman is also serving as a volunteer assistant coach with the girls’ soccer team at the Cherokee Central Schools. Pray with us that God would open doors for opportunities to invite these girls to the youth group and that God would grow this ministry as well.

Wednesday Evening Prayer Meeting: We believe that one of the greatest responsibilities we have as we minister here in Cherokee is to be faithful in prayer. A few months ago, we began holding a mid-week prayer meeting. While attendance fluctuates, we have been encouraged with those who have been attending and with the openness to pray. Pray with us that God would bless our commitment to prayer and that we would continue to see His hand at work in our lives and in the life of Grace Community Church of Cherokee.

Life Recovery Group: As many of you know, Norman Beck, Tammy Jackson, and Scott Hill have been involved with a Life Recovery Group, which is a scripturally based addiction recovery program. We have seen God at work in the lives of several of the individuals who have been attending the Tuesday afternoon class and it has been encouraging to us. God is allowing us to speak scriptural truth into the lives of these individuals and to disciple them in His word each week. Hearts are opening up toward the gospel as they are beginning to realize that true freedom comes, not from a program, but only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Pray for us as we meet each Tuesday from 3:00-4:00pm.

Family Happenings: The Hill family is doing well as we are all at our various stages of life. Scott keeps busy with Grace Community Church and as the Chaplain for Tsali Care Nursing Home here in Cherokee. Pray for him as he plans his days and works to help coordinate summer teams and the ministries they will be involved in.

Ruth stays busy with her involvement with the Cherokee Cancer Support Group, teaching Children’s Church, and serving alongside Scott in many ways. Pray her as she juggles the responsibilities of home and ministry.

Bethany is currently living with us and working at Foggy Mountain Vet Services in Clyde, NC. We are thankful for this position that God has provided for her and for the ways He has been stretching and growing her. She loves animals and we would have a small farm here if she had her way! Pray for God to continue to grow her and stretch her in many ways.

Scott, Jr. and Bekah are doing well in Greenville as Scott works for Sherwin-Williams and Bekah continues to teach 3rd grade. They are adjusting well to married life as they will celebrate their 1st anniversary in July. Pray for God to continue to grow them as a couple.

Johnathan is doing well. He is finishing up his final year of high school, serving as a volunteer fire fighter in Cherokee, and trying to make plans for the future. Pray for him as he seeks God’s leading and direction for life after high school.

Katie is keeping busy with her dual enrollment classes at Southwestern Community College. She has maintained an A average through her first two semesters. Pray that she would finish strong. Katie will also be heading to Canada in May to serve on a mission team with John and Elizabeth Sexton. She and Johnathan will both participate in a week mission trip with NEXT (Formerly MTW’s Global Youth and Family ministry) as the NEXT team leads a trip for MK’s from the Americas Region to La Ceiba, Honduras.

We have one final prayer request to share. 2018 has been the first year that we have seen a decline in giving to our ministry. We have lost some significant financial support this year and we need to raise additional funds. Would you pray with us that God would provide the funds needed to carry out this ministry.

As a reminder, the address for donations to MTW has recently changed. The new address is: PO Box 744165, Atlanta, GA 30374-4165.

Thank you for your prayers for our ministry and our family.
Scott, Ruth, Johnathan, and Katie Hill


Stodghill April 2018 Bahamas Update

Category : Bahamas

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
The Covenant Life Presbyterian Incorporation Papers are completed and in hand Friday April 13, 2018!!!  Praise to God who is never ceasing in His Grace and Mercy! Lord, as the song says: please “guide us to Your good pleasure. Lord, bind us to You, and seal us with Your good pleasure!”
 
Since last update, we have seen Covenant Life Presbyterian Church grow both in numbers and interest.  We are averaging about 25 on Sunday mornings and continue to have mid week prayer time along with two Bible studies per week.  We have several neighbors that have visited Covenant Life Presbyterian Church (CLPC).
 
Life has been full since our last update.  
Many of you know God opened an unexpected door for us to be the key note speakers March 15 for a marriage and dating seminar.  Over 70 people attended and the reception and feedback was wonderfully encouraging. 
 
Feb 25- March 4  We had the opportunity to attend a missions conference in North Alabama. While there we were given many opportunities to present the ministry in the Bahamas with the congregation, as well as throughout the community.  It was a privilege to see, first hand, the priority this church has for impacting their community and world through mission work. This church also had a very talented young lady make a cake in honor of the work here in the Bahamas! While in Alabama, we were able to meet with two of our 5 teams that plan to come down this summer. A special thank you to our host family! It was wonderful to see you again, even through the busyness of the week!!
 
 
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We were blessed to have two student teams come down on their spring break and work with us at the school and one team worked with a ministry partner of ours called the Adventure Learning Center.   At the ALC we worked a Monday Funday event where some 2000 people came and we shared with in family fun and the presentation of the Gospel at this event, as well as with each class individually in CW Sawyer Primary school.
 
 
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The Lord has opened our time at CW Sawyer Primary wide open two days per week, as well as mentoring with the 6th grade boys.  We have been encouraged by new volunteers and the school’s asking us to volunteer our time to substitute teach for a four day stretch in March.  When this class found out it was Karen’s birthday – the teacher had them sing Happy Birthday, Bahamian style to her.
 
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John has been asked to volunteer his time to teach medical classes at the local hospital and now is allowed to volunteer whenever he wants on the local government ambulance.  He has been asked to bring training to the island at a higher level than just basic EMT service.  Pray for wisdom in how best to facilitate this desire.  We continue to be asked regularly to help with Bahamas’ Red Cross and MTW’s disaster response ministry.
 
Let us share briefly a few stories of special moments of discipleship through relationship:
·        “Mr. D” is an 80 something year old friend that was angry with God for taking his daughter after a 2 month battle with brain cancer. God allowed many times for conversation, and sharing, and prayer. We are so excited to let you know that “Mr. D” has recognized his need for a Savior, and he is thankful his daughter knew this same Savior. He has since professed faith in Jesus as his Savior.
 
·        “Mr. B” is another 80 year old man. He is one we are still talking to, and praying for.  He believes the Bible is a great story that has many inconsistencies. He agreed to read Lee Stroble’s, A Case for Christ. He said this book did nothing for him.  He also has agreed to read CS Lewis, Mere Christianity. Please pray with us and his wife for his salvation, and need of a Savior.
 
·        A child at CW Sawyer, I will call him “Dee”. He was telling Karen that he recently learned that Christ died so we can live forever with Him. Karen let him know that was correct yet there is more…. God is relational, and we have a problem that affects that relationship. I am sinful, and so are you.  The cross fixed that problem. At this point “Dee” said he had never heard of sin. Do pray that our paths will cross again, and for the soil of “Dee’s” heart as God is tilling it. 
 
·        We recently went to our corner fruit stand by our home. “Mrs. M” is this sweet woman that works there. We wanted to buy some bananas from her. As we were paying for them, she looked at them and noticed they were Dole brand. She apologized as she remembered Chiquita Bananas are our preferred brand. This just shows that she remembered something specific about us. This is a reminder to us that we are to remember specific things about others, especially if we want our relationship to grow. This works with humans, as well as with God. 
 
Prayer:
Abstinence education- We have a wonderful friend and supporter sending us a nationally recognized abstinence educator the week of May 14-18.  Please pray God opens the door wide  for this lady to not only talk to 6th grade children at CW Sawyer, but to have opportunities to have workshops for many counselors in the government education system.
 
Whit Monday – This is a Bahamas national holiday, May 21. Our church, Covenant Life Presbyterian Church is planning to host a fun day on the park in Yellow Elder.  We plan to sign children up for the summer reading program, share the gospel, live music, games and feed people free of charge. This will be open to as many as 2,000 residents of Yellow Elder. As this is a very big endeavor for such a small group, we welcome your prayers for this event to bring Glory to God.
 
Our Son’s Wedding- May 28 we will be flying with our younger twin son to our oldest twin son’s wedding in Africa. We will be off island for one week. Please pray for this significant event in our family’s life and for traveling mercies.
 
We end this update with the song that we began with: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  We thank the Lord for His mighty blessings of answered prayers for you our supporters. It is because of you that we are here. Thank you for your sacrificial and committed giving to see the gospel go out into the entire world.  As God blesses each of us, may we all be ambassadors to pass those on.  Thank you God for those you have blessed and so blessed us with through prayers, and life experiences, and all types of support!! 
 
Love in Christ,
      John and Karen Stodghill
US home number (803)795-4722 (number to use to call us while we are in the Bahamas)
Stodghill -Bahamas – MTW account #17065
Donations address: Mission to the World
PO Box 744165
Atlanta, GA 30374
OR
Online:   mtw.org
US mailing address:  702 Wren St., Sumter, SC 29150
Bahamas mailing address:  PO Box N4534, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas