As we finish up our first month of the New Year (woohoo for 2018!) I can't believe the whirlwind the last 7 months have been. The Ross Family has gone through an amazing change in life and ministry, been blessed by support in both prayer and financial support, and we have been able to see God's working hand and constant presence in our lives in Bethlehem. For everyone who has been a part of God's great work in the ministry here, whether through prayer, financial support, and/or commitment to serving on a trip this year, I want to say thank you! Thank you so much. This ministry would not be present without your constant obedience to God.
In this month's update, I wanted to give you all an idea of where Star City is financially, what ministry we are looking forward to this year, and how you can be praying for us in 2018.
When Grace and I entered the life of being missionaries with NAMB, we entered knowing that God would provide us support and finances although we were unsure of what that would look like. Our first partner in this mission was our sending church, Lakeview Baptist Church, where I had served as Youth Pastor for a little under 5 years. In the following months I was able to build a relationship with many churches in Hartsville, SC. Following our official move to Bethlehem, God gave us individual partners from the area we are serving as well as ministry partners throughout South Carolina and Georgia! In the first 7 months, our partnership with NAMB combined with some of our first partners gave Star City Church a monthly financial partnership of around $1300. Since then, with the blessings of our support trip in building partnerships with churches, individuals, and one-time gifts, Star City Church's monthly financial support now totals at around $2950. This means we have more than doubled our operational budget! Praise God!
So what is the financial support for?
Through this support, we are able to open up our lives and our ministry more and more. In the year 2018, thanks to the support Star City Church has been blessed with, we will have an increase of outreach in the community and will begin to shape our presence in the city of Bethlehem as a church partnering with non-profits and small businesses. This will be done through our Home Group involvement and our Servant Teams who will visit and join our ministry throughout the year.
Speaking of Servant Teams, I want all of our partners to know that I am so excited about our upcoming teams! So far in the year we will be hosting Lakeview Baptist Church (The Well: College & Young Adult Ministry), The Centennial Baptist Association, and Kelleytown Baptist Church. There are also a few other churches who are also considering serving with us this year, and I cannot wait to let you know about upcoming teams, but for now, please be praying for these churches as they enter a time of administration, prayer, and sacrifice as going on the mission field in the short-term can be challenging.
The Ross Family Update
We have been very blessed with financial partnerships and also with God's guiding hand for our bi-vocational jobs. Grace has been extended as a longer-term seasonal cast member (their word for "employee") at the Disney Store and she enjoys every magical moment of it! Please continue to pray that God will open up a door for her to become a permanent/regular cast member as this has been a huge blessing to Grace and a new way of ministry for us.
I will enter this next year continuing to balance being bi-vocational at Starbucks and as a church planter. Through our supporters we have been able to make some new steps to settling in our space as residents in Bethlehem, making the space Grace's parents generously let us use more and more functional/homey. I want to thank you for your continual prayer for us in this area, and for the foreseeable future we will continue to live with Grace's parents. God challenged us to increase our financial giving as we follow his call obediently, but we see that God is also moving us in a direction where fundraising is also going to help us stabilize our ministry and prepare for a permanent home in the future. This means instead of trying to rent an apartment in 2018, we are praying about the possibility to become homeowners perhaps by 2019. We are unsure of what that looks like, but we are trusting in the Lord and his guidance as we prepare, save, and remain open to ministry.
I will ask that you continue to pray for us and pray for more financial supporters as we start to explore and consider how a church service will look in the Bethlehem context. We are not rushing beyond the steps God is showing us, but we are excitedly anxious in anticipating what He has in store!
Thank you for praying on our behalf!
Please thank Him with us that:
we have seen so much blessing in support during our first year on the mission field
that our monthly support has doubled over such a short time
Grace's seasonal job is extended
we are able to settle in to Grace's parents' house more and more
we have servant teams coming to serve alongside us this year
we continue to grow and receive emotional and spiritual support as missionaries on the field
Please ask our Father:
to lead us in partnership and relationship with our local community
for continued guidance on what needs we must communicate both as a church and as a family
discernment and wisdom in the decisions and opportunities we will face
for Grace to become a regular employee at the Disney Store
for our work schedules to line up a little more, as we are often scheduled opposite hours and do not often get quality time together
"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"
If you feel lead to give, please visit our NAMB profile.
If you would rather send a check, you can send it to our host church.
Make it out to:
Riverbend Community Church
Travis Ross/Star City Church
Riverbend Community Church
795 Roble Rd. Suite B
Allentown, PA 18109