January 2014 Partner Update Letter
Hands for the Harvest Ministries
Dr. Ray and Michelle Pearson
January 31, 2014
Dear friends and family,
We are so blessed to be walking through this life with you!
Due to some unexpected happenings in January, we are a few days delayed in getting out our annual letter and your contributions receipts for 2013. We apologize to you. Thankfully, the "happenings" turned into healing miracles and we are now able to come to you with great rejoicing! So, let’s get to it!
If you have received our year-end partner report before, you may know it can be a bit lengthy to report the whole year’s harvest! Like Paul, the apostle, who said, "that ye also may know my affairs and how I do", we invite you to join us for a few minutes, pausing from other activities, to give God some hearty, boisterous praise and recount His magnificent works!
First and foremost, we thank God for you and for the gift of knowing you. Our spirits are lightened with joy whenever we pray for you (and we do often) because you have partnered with us to spread the gospel, many of you since our earliest years in ministry.
Since we became partners in this great work of grace, you have never failed to stand with us as we have stepped out for the service of the gospel. You are rare treasures indeed. Before God we want you to know how much we love you.
We have good news, brothers and sisters; and we want to share it. Believe it or not, every challenge, every change, every test of our faith, and even every trial and tragedy we have all overcome in these past few years, has actually helped spread the good news to new places and populations. We are thankful that, although God did not author the trials and tragedies, He is able to work them all together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!
Yes, we do know how every progressive step has stretched you, as it has us. But now, more than ever, all our lives are about the Anointed One, about loving and reaching those for whom He won. Our journeys and yours, shared intimately together as a family of faith, have instilled courage in so many brothers and sisters worldwide, even global TV networks, so much so that they trust God more and more, sharing the good news without fear, being encouraged to stay the course and not be moved.
Do you know what we tell abroad as we take the Gospel? We tell of your stories, without names of course, of valor, of great faith, and of victory! In fact, this past year, your triumphs in Christ were shared to inspire and encourage people from Africa, Ireland, Australia, and England. We tell your powerful testimonies of how, that even in difficult times, you remained faithful because the kingdom and the message of the Anointed One are more important than any challenge or any one messenger.
We have a knowing that for many of you and for us, January has been a test of our faith. As the month closes and as His path leads us further into this New Year, what ultimately matters is that we have come through in great victory, again and again. Therefore, we rejoice because through your encouragement and prayers and through the help of the Holy Spirit, together, As One, we prevail!
And His Kingdom advances.
Our 2013 began with our annual cherished time at the KCM Minister’s conference with precious friends and co-laborers hearing strong Word from many elders in the Body. We enjoyed sharing for several weeks at Grace Christian Center, Harrison, Arkansas. The Spirit was sweet and the people so loving as we shared the Word on health and healing.
In February, some of our kids blessed us with an all expense paid trip to the Greater Faith Conference in Sarasota, Florida. While there, favor also provided Doc the grand tour and a visit with the President at the corporate facilities for Lumina Health, makers of the Cellfood you always hear him teaching on.
In May, we were blessed to begin our 20th year of marriage and celebrate the completion of our 15th year in ministry. Glory to God! We spent some precious time together at Prayer Mountain of the Ozarks, reflecting on how His great Love has always brought us through! Much like Moses or Abraham, at now ages 70 and 50, we have such a powerful sense that we are only just beginning to step into the fuller part of our great adventure ~ in Him, as Him, that others may know Him.
Sensing a great drawing from the Lord, with no internet, no cell phone, no TV, and no distractions, we set our hearts to pray and seek the Lord for the days and years ahead of us, giving thanks and glory to God for redeeming us, calling us, and choosing us to serve ~ as He has also done for you.
One such great adventure was the epic Mt Kilimanjaro climb in March 22 – April 3. It was powerfully prophetic, majestic, and beautiful beyond description. Oh, and it was brutal, simply brutal. You will surely want to read the wonderful story of the summit night and watch the must see the video on our websites! We had over 1000 pictures, but we narrowed it down for you. Here are just a few of our journal entries:
The team came together from all parts of the globe. Michelle was the only American. The night before we began our ascent, it was a great honor to sit across the table from Rory Alec, founder of God.TV and dine with several of the network’s Regional Directors.
During the lovely Tanzanian-style buffet dinner, Mr. Alec graciously inquired of every hiker, "Why are you here to climb Kilimanjaro?" And, although expressed in different stories or words, the ultimate reason each of us were there to climb Mt Kilimanjaro was the same:
Because Love asked.
Out of the hundreds initially expected to go, ten set out on the journey of a lifetime. And oh! What God was able to do with a raggedy band of passionate Believers!
From the moments we left our homes all across the globe to gather in Tanzania, things had begun to change. With a summit goal of 3/31/13, Resurrection Sunday morning at sunrise, our team of ten climbers set out to mount the heights of the world’s tallest free-standing mountain peak, empowered by His Grace, to accomplish whatever the Lord would desire.
As our team pressed toward the summit, the US State Department issued a traveler’s warning that Christians had been targeted for terrorism acts in Tanzania, the home of Mt Kilimanjaro. In fact, we didn’t know until later, but our hotel was taken over by the government just an hour or so after we departed for the airport! All across Africa the shift had begun, governments were toppling and doors for the Gospel were opening.
At home in the states, thankfully, our partner churches in Arkansas, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana, along with individual partners, were praying that very morning for our safety. What the terrorists didn’t consider was that we would be on the mountain top declaring a much larger victory than they could imagine! As a result of the Spirit’s power in the faithful lives of many…
Africa is now in a great sweeping awakening. China is opening doors to satellite broadcast of the Gospel! Even the global Christian network we hiked with is experiencing growth and heart transformations at every level from the head down.
We believe that which was declared by faith is now turning to sight; is it that the great awakening, the revealing of Christ beginning all across the globe? God alone knows the time when that will occur. What we know for sure is that it has begun in us, those who said, "Yes! I will, Lord."
For each person, that "yes" was unique, but nonetheless a test of faith. Love asked Ray to be without Michelle for the longest period of time apart in our nearly twenty years now, trusting God as he sent her off alone (except for Jesus) on 22-hours of connecting flights to the other side of the world.
Love asked many of you to be big senders and you obeyed. We know the widow’s mite parable came into action on many occasion as you stretched out your hands in faith. (And just like that widow, Jesus saw you. God will honor that. He will.) Love asked others to faithfully pray at all hours of night and day. (Yes, you carried her pack and her shoes in many an hour of prayer and Jesus saw that too.) Yes! In every love-filled opportunity, He asked us all to make a declaration that we do not yet see; He asked us all to believe we receive what we say when we first hear and obey.
We could go on and on of how, in the testing of our faith, Love asked many people to do many seemingly difficult if not impossible things. Who could have known all that He had in mind in His Master Plan? But as we walk out every "yes", it becomes more evident that there has indeed been a shift.
There is a sound rising. We have to wonder… is it the sound our fore-fathers in the faith prophesied?
A growing number of Believers are, one-by-one, declaring His Kingdom reigns in our lives. And as we do, and as we join together in unity of Spirit, He is building His Church and His Kingdom is advancing.
Some did nothing. Not everyone sees it; not everyone was led to be involved; not everyone hears nor has faith that obeys. But many did. MANY prayed, gave, and served, deeply connecting with faith and resources. Ten were sent. ONE was glorified: Jesus.
Because Love Asked.
Interesting to us, one of the profound lessons we learned on our Mt Kilimanjaro trek is that it is humility, not pride, to reach that place In Him that you willingly receive the path you are called to ~ not considering what others may judge of it.
It takes much more faith to submit to Love
than it does to summit for Him.
That moment when you are fully persuaded of the finished work of Grace, that He who began a good work in you HAS finished it, that moment when you have nothing to prove to people and everything to offer in surrender to God’s will, sweet companions, is the moment you realize that you have become the Chosen.
And that, dear ones, profoundly changes you.
After such an epic mission, it can often leave you wondering, "What is next?" How do you top that in life? Can you indeed ever return to "normal" life? (To which the answer is a well established, "No.") One begins to question where, then, are the open doors? When will opportunities present themselves? And other, frankly, foolish things! (Do you ever have that conversation in your head?)
While seeking God after returning home, we heard these words on our hearts and feel they are for many of you as well:
"I AM not the hold up. Your faith in the finished work is."
His grace has been shed abroad in our hearts to see it done. We clearly see that reaching the lost and ministering freedom is HIS vision, not something we dreamed up on our own. It is with great reverence that we serve at His request and move forward in faith.
With no apologies, we have a great desire to see His message heard and received in the lives of many more people globally. Our prevailing passion is not first of all revival, although we do desire revival. Our passion is the revealing of Christ in His Body ~ a revelation of identity ~ which brings revival ~ NEW LIFE ~ to those who do not yet know Him.
As for the rest of our 2013 ministry year, we continued to serve members of the five-fold ministry, caring for them physically, advising them nutritionally. We are praying for a great increase in this area of ministry as God opens doors to serve. If you are a partner with us, you can rejoice and know that your gifts to Hands for Harvest enable us to continue to provide this care and you too will share in the harvest of all they accomplish to His Glory in the Kingdom!
In October, Michelle had a joy-filled time teaching and ministering to the ladies and guests of UMC Theodosia, MO. The UMW group was great fun for our presenting of "Healthy Hearts and Healthy Homes."
Additionally in 2013, God allowed us to reach out online to more than 475,000 people on a weekly basis; in combined reach of our two blogs, our web presence has been as high as among the top 60,000 sites in the United States; and the mailing list for our online newsletter has doubled in readers. Glory to God!
Why do we make a deal of these numbers? Because these "numbers" are lives plugging in, perhaps households of lives, reached with the Gospel. It is not without cost for us to do that, but, again through our partner’s gifts, God has supplied the abounding ability every month to make it free to whosoever desires to hear the Good News and be made whole!
And we were able to help others reach out as well. We had the great delight to build twelve new websites, sown at no charge to those Kingdom businesses and ministries. You can see some of the websites you help to provide from links found on the media page of our HFH website.
Candidly, we do realize there are some who do not count those we reach on the internet as "real ministry". But here is the truth as to why God has us involved in both travel and technology:
We can only be physically in so many places per year via travel. Technology takes the seed of our travel ministry and multiplies that seed exponentially across the globe in just seconds and for just pennies! And when we facilitate others doing that as well, the multiplication is even greater.
Folks, the blessing of God is in the multiplication of The Seed. These numbers are only important because they indicate REACH. Our heart’s desire is to reach the people with the Good News, healing the sick, raising the dead (if and when He directs J ), and setting the captives free.
With that in our hearts, we took a long look at what God would have this part of His ministry do in the coming seasons. What is our mission, or more appropriately, what is our commission?
We were drawn to examine Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV):
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Isn’t it thought provoking that this is entirely consistent with God’s first command in the garden, before sin entered in, to ‘Go, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth’? Selah. We stopped to think on that. God’s desire and our commission, the "great commission", have never changed!
The definition of the word "commission" – (noun) is an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people; with synonyms of assignment, undertaking, marching orders. It includes the authority to perform a task or certain duties. It also means… a group of people officially charged with a particular function with the authority to perform a task or certain duties. And through the Gospel of Grace, the equipping is in the command!
Quickened by this Word through His Spirit, we have rekindled courage. With new hearts, we joyfully receive His leading to take on some new adventures. (You aren’t surprised are you? What can we say? We are constantly inspired by the faith adventures of our mothers and fathers in the faith!)
To be a true disciple is to be a disciplined one, Spirit, Soul, and body, one who observes to do what they are commanded because it is the fruit of the Spirit within.
The Kilimanjaro assignment so profoundly affected our hearts that we are led to share similar spiritual treks with others who desire to seek first the Kingdom, to develop in the fruit of the Spirit, learning the joy of being disciplined ones as the fruit of Grace works in their lives.
We believe it is a pivotal time to be refreshed in faith, renewed by the Word, and revived by His Love. We believe many, if not most, of you should prayerfully consider being a part of these "expeditions" together. Why? Because the cares, anxieties, distractions, and pleasures of this world, even, for some, the work of the ministry, are creeping in, threatening to choke out the Seed, and make you like the fig tree, all leaves, no fruit.
We see in the parable of the seed, from Mark 4:19 (AMP), that " … the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless."
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (Galatians 5:22-25 NIV)
We invite you to keep in step with the Spirit as you join us on a six-month commitment to pray, serve, give, and… #stepout, celebrating the disciplines, drawing near, seeking first the Kingdom of God.
The framework of this "spiritual expedition" is modeled after Jesus’ journey with the first disciples when He called them into deeper relationship with Him:
Change of place + Change of pace = Change of perspective
God does amazing things when we step out of our comfort zone and seek him in a new environment. These six months will be a powerful time, definitely requiring the using of your faith, to include the building up, the edifying of the saints, in Spirit, soul, and body!
Provided by Summit Life Coaching, the curriculum will include:
· Two outdoor expeditions (at start and end of program)
· One hundred hours of prayer over six months
· A reading regimen that includes six books (one per month)
· Personal consultation and ongoing follow-up with a fitness consultant
· Reading through the entire New Testament
· Weekly coaching emails
· Regular group meetings (online or in person)
We have a few ladies already gearing up for the journey. Unless we have a husband step up who wants to lead a men’s team, we have only 2 ladies hiking spots left.
Be listening for God’s voice. If you are in ministry or have the heart to be, if you are leader in your mountain of influence, it could be you He calls to join us! (Remember, the equipping is in the call.)
We can also accommodate up to 15 study/helps participants. These men and women will complete the same Bible study curriculum but will not be hikers this time around. Has the Lord been asking you for that first step, or a greater step of faith, to draw nearer to Him this year than ever before?
Give God room to bid you, "Come!" (Or, "Go!") As in any decision, you don’t need a reason to say no. You do need His leading to say yes. However, if you say no immediately based on your natural reasoning, have you even listened for God’s direction?
Important: Registrations and a first deposit to cover the reading curriculum ($300) need to be received in the next two weeks to get everything started in February. Email us right away to hook up.
Like Gospel outreach via technology, we know these climbs, are not thought of as traditional forms of ministry. But they are like Jesus. Beyond being symbolic of what men, women, and children around the world go through every single day, our steps literally carry the Gospel to the people along the way and give voice to the battle against modern slavery and oppression. On so many levels, the lame walk, the blind see, and captives are set free!
But how can that happen lest one be sent? Your gifts send us. We urge you to never underestimate the power of your seed. Willing and obedient senders get the same reward as those they send!
We are compelled by love to thank you for faithfully praying always that utterance may be given unto us, that we may open our mouths and speak boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which we are ambassadors in Love’s bond.
God is inviting whoever will hear and respond to be involved in His Plan, to be instilled with greater faith, and to be inspired to a deeper relationship with Jesus. We are praying with you that many will hearken to the call, to obey His command:
He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” Luke 10:27 (MSG)
For 2014, this is a year for the revelation of identity. His Favor abides as God’s Sons and Daughters arise. Life is no longer only about our individual battles; our lives are about being Christ in all the earth, loving and reaching those for whom He won, to teach, preach, and celebrate what He has done!
Go, be fruitful and multiply! Go, make disciples!
Enjoined and empowered by great Grace,
Dr. Ray & Michelle Pearson
P.S. Be sure you respond to His leading immediately, whatever that may be. Delayed obedience is disobedience. It is the willing and obedient who eat the good of the land!
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See you on the mountain tops! (Or, from them if you snooze!)