People matter more than things, and relationships more than reputation.

- Desert Fathers

“Spirituality is not a formula; it is a relationship.  Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy.  Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection.”

Mike Yaconelli

Looking back over 2009, I’m awed and humbled by what I see.  The Lord is pulling together a group of people; friends, not afraid to walk the messy road of spiritual growth.  These dear souls join the messiness of other’s lives, not to fix something broken but to offer their companionship in the way of Christ.

Some moments are more challenging than others.  When entering the contours of the soul, inevitably something gets in the way of seeing God. It’s never pretty.  We are not yet complete.  None of us.  Deep work of the Spirit is required; they get to participate.

Because these intrepid souls step into the messiness of not only their own lives but the lives of others, something about that actually releases others to the same.  They inspire more – of wanting God more than resolution to our problems; of valuing His presence more than being out of pain.

When you pray and share your financial resources with us, you are part of what God is up to in and through Ministry Essentials’ team.  And we thank you.  I wonder what more God has in store for us in this new year?

Because He Is Near,


David Shepherd


NOTE:   The Shepherd‘s just wrapped up a spiritual retreat for a group of pastor’s and their wives of different International churches in Asia.  Next week they will follow up various mentoring relationships with teams coming to town for various conferences and will be preparing to lead another spiritual retreat in February.  Lu arrives in Chiang Mai in the middle and flurry of in and out people to begin settling into her new life and ministry offering church based soul care training and spiritual retreats for Christian leaders.

The Halls continue to develop their evangelistic and discipleship Bible studies in Texas rejoicing to see our Lord’s Kingdom increase.

Wendy returns from visiting family and supporters to begin the transition process of her move back to Bosnia with Diana.  The Gibson’s will be arriving home in the next few days from their daughter’s wedding and supporter meetings.  The Stirling’s continue to regularly meet with the many missionaries coming and going through Budapest.  The Moore’s, too, will be returning from visiting family and supporters to settle back into their regular routine of Bible studies and prayer groups and the like.

Finally, the newest members of our little family, the Blackwell’s, will start the process of raising support to join Lu and the Shepherd’s in Thailand where Mike will shoulder the Operations responsibilities of Ministry Essentials and exploring some Business as Mission opportunities in the region.

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