May 2020 Ministry Update
PERSONAL & MINISTRY UPDATE
Carrie and I wanted to share some news with you as this is a time of great change in our lives. Before you read on, nothing is wrong! It’s all good!
May has been a busy month as our son Ryan graduated from WTAMU with a BBA in Management, graduating pretty close to the top of his cohort, and is currently working for Faith City Mission helping lead their accounting and finance department. He is quickly having a positive impact on their daily operations. Pray for him as he has been given the opportunity to combine his desire for ministry with his business acumen.
Our daughter Ashleigh graduated from high school as well this month! She was valedictorian of her home school class (of course you also know what that means on the other end of the spectrum)! Ashleigh is leaving in late July (pending COVID-19 restrictions) to travel with a road team from Life Action Ministries to help revitalize families and churches across the country.
In addition, we are adding a daughter to our family, as Ryan and his fiancé, Taylour Weldon, tie the knot on June 12. Taylour also graduated in May from WTAMU with a degree in Social Work and is currently exploring options that combine her passion for ministry with her degree. She has been serving as the college intern at Paramount Baptist. She is a perfect complement to Ryan and we are grateful and full of joy that she is joining our family.
Due to COVID-19, celebrations have had to be curtailed and plans have changed. Nothing has gone off as scheduled, as is probably the case in your family. Pray for us to handle our emotions well as we work through the change and as we launch our young adults into the world. We will be empty nester’s around August (depending upon Ashleigh’s departure date), and to that end, we’re getting a puppy! Piper is a female chocolate Labrador that will be joining our family around July 4th. Carrie and I are looking forward to this new companion. Please pray for us as we transition into life without our children at home.
It’s a time of change and there are many unknowns, yet we are confident in God’s sovereignty in all and through all that will come our way as we walk in His peace and rest in His love during these challenging times.
Our counseling load and depth of issues has increased this year. Carrie and I have been able to pursue our own individual, couple, and counseling growth in 2020. Our theme this year has been, “In Our Lives First,” taken from a book by the same name. The author, a counselor herself, has helped us better understand the work we do and its impact on our lives and souls. She has written and reminded us that there is a cost in doing this work, and we have to tend to our souls in relationship to Christ, because without this, we will either be destroyed by the work or will destroy those who come to us for help.
She emphasizes that in following our call, we counsel in some hard and ugly places; places full of evil and darkness, deception, and the exploitation of others. 2020 has been especially vivid in the types of issues we are dealing with, much more so it seems than in the past. COVID-19 has shown signs of magnifying the difficulties of the issues we are working with.
As Carrie and I bring the life and love of Jesus into flesh and blood realties in the lives of those we disciple, please pray for us. Here is the specific prayer that I’m asking you to pray. It comes from a teaching of Oswald Chambers. He says we must learn to “never allow anything to come between ourselves and Jesus Christ, no emotion, or experience; nothing must keep us from the one great sovereign source.”
The Lord is opening some intriguing doors personally and for Biblical Solutions. Please know that we seek sound counsel and guidance as we move forward with new opportunities. There’s a new truth we are learning, “active patience.”
As always, please continue to pray that the hearts of those who walk through the door (or meet us via technology) to be humble and open, and that they would be broken for the Lord by whatever means necessary. Difficult issues require difficult prayers. God hears them all. Thank you for your faithfulness.
Walking by Faith,
John & Carrie Echols
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