A new year is upon us all! With the new comes challenge and change like a fresh wind into each life (although it may not always feel that way). What a great opportunity to refresh ourselves and prepare for all that God has for each of us in the coming year. I pray that this year you will find joy and hope in the new challenges and changes because God is with us!
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10, NASB1995
As I shared in our last update, we launched Sunday services in the summer of last year. We are almost through the Gospel of Luke as we have journeyed chapter by chapter this past half a year. Our time together is sweet and we are really enjoying taking the slow journey through Luke’s message of good news. Sundays have been very small, but we are trusting the Lord who asked us to step out by faith.
Wednesday Wanderings are a fantastic time of gathering in worship and discipleship mid-week. The live worship at our Wednesday gatherings has been a blessing and is encouraging us to cultivate a heart of worship and waiting on the Lord. Our studies and discussions are lively, and we are blessed by this great community and group of believers from several churches who want to grow together during the week.
Both Catherine and I continue to minister in one-on-one settings. Catherine has been more severely limited in her involvement over this past year (more details later in the family section), but she continues to minister with hope and love to the ladies that gather around her. I’m still meeting with several young men as a group monthly, and in one-on-one times of discipleship and growth. Several other individuals outside our immediate group have also been referred and reached out to us for one-on-one ministry and counseling. We continue to sow the seeds of the Kingdom as we are led by the Lord and so appreciate your prayer and support to make it all possible! If you are interested in connecting with us individually too, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Tucson Student Ministries
I neglected to mention TSM in my last update. I suppose it was probably because I was more focused on the big family event of Samuel and Erin’s wedding! What can I say, it has been a very busy time the last half of this past year as we gained some new board members who have really come alongside these young people to support and empower them as they reach out to the community. I have had to step back some from weekly participation but am excited to contribute as I’m able.
TSM was invited (by name) to participate in the Reclaiming Hope Trauma Conference hosted by Pantano Church for the second year in a row. They presented a powerful performance on connection, support, and hope through difficult times which you can see on their YouTube page (or click here to view). They are also booked for one event a month already through May. God continues to open doors and opportunities for this organization to bring a message of hope to the young people of this community!
I mentioned earlier that it has been a challenging year. As many of you know, Catherine’s IVIG treatments were not successful, and while we continue to work with doctors for answers, we still are no closer to knowing all that is happening. Her health continues to be a daily struggle, and I often do not share details as I was raised to be very private about these things. But we crave your prayers to join with ours. So, just to be more transparent, here are some things you can be praying about with us. Catherine’s care needs have increased as her health has deteriorated and she has become mostly bedridden (80-90% of the time). She needs assistance bathing regularly and occasional help dressing. Additionally, Catherine has become more forgetful and has more days with cloudy or confused thinking than in the past. Still, her perseverance and trust in the Lord through suffering is amazing, and I am blessed beyond measure to share this life with her. We just trust the Lord in all things.
Additionally, we’ve had some challenges caring for and assisting my aging parents who moved to Tucson two years ago so we could help them out. My father is legally blind and unable to manage much of his own care or to help my mom as she needs. Together my mother and I counted this past week and discovered that she has been in the hospital five times in the past year with heart issues. Last week she had an outpatient heart procedure after they had spent a month with us as we cared for them between her last release from the hospital and waiting on availability for the procedure. They are back in their own house just five minutes up the road, and I continue to assist them twice a week and visit with them two other days a week. It’s been a year.
“When you accept the fact that sometimes seasons are dry and times are hard and that God is in control of both, you will discover a sense of divine refuge, because the hope then is in God and not in yourself.”– Charles R. Swindoll
To be honest with you all, I sometimes wish that each year I could have stood at the threshold of the old year passing and, like Gandalf confronting the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, declare, “You shall not pass!” But that would just make it a good story with no basis in our everyday reality. And though none may halt the ever steady and advancing pace of the days into weeks, months, and years, we can choose how we will face them. Will we stand on the bridge of our life looking behind, whether what we see is good or bad? Or will we continue the journey as we face into the unsure future? What excitement, what challenge, what opportunity to trust in God for whatever is to come instead of yearning for what has gone before!
That truly is the best part of this journey. We have a wonderful Savior, Jesus, who has already stood on the bridge to deal with what is behind us. He has defeated the Balrog of sickness, sin, and death and has descended into the pit and overcome him for all time. Jesus is also our King and Lord, the one who waits ahead of us calling us to his side in the journey. Death could not keep him in the grave, and, one day, we’ll walk out of our grave too!
This is the perspective of hope. This is the attitude that ever looks forward to the “new” journey every day with our Savoir and Lord, Jesus. This is the viewpoint Catherine and I choose to have as we face life together on this earth (though it’s not easy by any means). Will you choose to embrace it too?
I also have good and exciting news… For years Catherine has been encouraging me to write a book. I was always hesitant and not certain where to begin or that I even had anything to share. But this past week God stirred something up in me and last Friday I decided to see how difficult publishing something might be. I began to dig into it and discovered that self-publishing had become a fairly simple process. So, I took my final seminary project, edited and reformatted it, and published it over the weekend.
The Servant Leader: Exploring Principles of Leading Like Jesus in God’s Upside-down Kingdom by Jason Anderson is now available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions! If you do purchase a book, I’d like to thank you and ask that you leave a review on Amazon. I’m also starting a new book about Luke’s gospel based on what we have been studying this past year on our journey through the scriptures, so be on the lookout!
We are so thankful for your love, support, prayers, and friendship. We are grateful to partner together with you in the upside-down kingdom work God is doing in our midst!
Please join us as we pray for
- wisdom for the next steps in ministry as we grow and learn
- healing for Catherine, period, whatever way God chooses to send it
- God’s help and encouragement in writing a new book
- blessing for the coming year as we press ahead toward the goal and embrace new and exciting adventures on this upside-down Kingdom adventure
We’d love to hear how we can pray for you too!
We are still raising monthly support. If you would like to partner financially, here are some ways you can join us:
- Donate tax-deductable online by pressing the “Donate” button below or clicking here.
- Send tax-deductable donations by check. Make payable to Equipnet, write Equip3543 in the memo line, and mail to Equipnet, PO Box 860 Alamo, CA 94507
We love what God is doing in and through you as we partner together in this ministry!
Jason and Catherine Anderson