Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 is all done

Two months now have gone by since my last update. Unbelievable! I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays. Most important news first: Engagement: On December 12, 2008 I asked Alaina Bare, my girlfriend of 4years and nearly 8months, to my wife. There is a video production coming on YouTube if I can get it to upload. The video is a documentary of the whole thing. I flew to the US and went to Jackson, TN where she is studying to surprise her as well as ask for her hand. And, praise the Lord, she said, “YES, I’d love to (be your wife)!” More details on our engagement in future posts. We are planning right now to have the wedding June 6, 2009 in Jackson, TN at her church. Many are welcome and save the dates and invitations will happen soon. I hope. Pray for effective and informative premarital counseling for Alaina and me here in Ecuador as we meet with different couples to discuss and learn about different topics. Adam and Sara DeVries have agreed to walk us through this process. Thanks. Ministry: Chaplaincy: The semester ended well with much anticipation for the vacation. I know that Adam and I were ready for the vacation time. While projects were being completed and last minute tasks accomplished, I feared people lost sight of Christ’s coming. When things are crazy it is so easy to just “do stuff”. As the worship leader for the school I have been exploring ways to be the best leader I can, while better leading students and faculty in worshiping and encountering their Creator. One of the Bible teachers here, Dave Saavedra, has agreed to mentor me through this process. In fact next fall I may be teaching a class on Worship – history, philosophy, controversy as well as personal and corporate worship leadership. This will be a huge step for me as I would be given a temporary teaching licenses to teach something I will self educate myself in. Therefore, this coming semester will consist of educating myself as well as taking practical musical classes in voice, and guitar. There is the potential of added costs for better material with which to improve my ministry here. More on that in the upcoming months. Jungle Trip: Just this past week I went with the Bare family on a ministry adventure to the Shuar people. The tribes we visited were almost on the southern Ecuador/Peru border. Fortunately we were able to fly from Quito to Loja on a commercial plane, but then had a full day of driving mostly on very bumpy dirt roads. After our second day of travel we stayed in some cabins on the Nagariza River just over the ridge from Northern Peru. The following day we traveled by canoe up and down the river sharing the Christmas story and giving candy bags to the children of the villages. It was a wonderful trip! The only down side was leaving my basketball shorts behind by accident.   Check out Facebook for pictures! Life: Friends: This month of December my best friend and long time ministry partner Trevor Schmidt has come to live here in Quito for at least three months. I am thrilled that we will be working together again. Pray for him as he will be beginning some masters courses from Liberty while assisting me with the Youth Group and Chaplain’s Office. Needs: Personnel: Please pray for the upcoming semester and future as we are desperately in need of quality help. If you feel called to be an intern or even full time missionary, let me know and I would love to help you through that process. Pray for Dave Gardeen, who is coming to be the full-time Youth Pastor at EFC as he raises support. Also for Ashley Ruffner who is having trouble raising support to come and be a full-time chaplain at the Alliance Academy. Personal: Please keep me in prayer as I explore the topic and depth of Worship. Pray for Alaina and me as we learn about being married and how to prepare for that. The coming summer we will be traveling around the US speaking and raising support to go full-time with International Teams. Next Fall we hope to return to Ecuador and continue working as chaplains/teachers here. Thank you all for your support and prayers. They are invaluable to the work and the quality of work here in Ecuador. Everyone is feeling to economic strain. The whole world seems to be tied to the economy of the US and even here in Ecuador things have gotten tighter. God rules still! I know what He has called me to, do you? Does your “God” change when circumstances do? Are you comfortable, may be too comfortable to witness His greatness through difficult times when your only choice is to trust Him? I hope so. He has come! Merry Christmas -Loren Holland

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Risk is Right

Over the past week since I sent out my update letter, two responses have come in.  There are those who sent a word of encouragement.  They are praying and continuing to give in faith that God will provide them the means to take care of their families as well as take part in furthering God's global kingdom.  For them my heart give thanks.  They are choosing to actively have a hand in the work of God.  They are willing to be tools in the hand of the master craftsman.
The second response once more discouraging.  Their concerns were of safety and provision.  Times are difficult world wide financially.  Countries from the 1st to the 3rd world are being effected.  Times are tough and will likely be tough for a while.  Also, it is not safe to be here in Ecuador.  Over the past two months I've been here there have been multiple robberies, muggings and murders on the very streets I walk each day.  The community here is not safe.  It does not help to not carry money because it just makes the ladrones (thieves) more angry.  
There is a man in my building that has lost may basic motor skills because he was shot in the head by a man trying to mug him.  The guy had five dollars on him, and was shot on the street in front of a popular shopping mall down the street from the school.
 
Not only am I and the missionaries here in danger from muggings, but also from unclean water and unclean foods.  God has spared me from stomach diseases thus far so I can do the work He has called me to.  Terrible traffic and dangerous drivers flood the streets.  We are fortunate to be more welcome in this country than despised as white people, discrimination still happens.  
 
Still I live on ready and willing to preach the gospel as God has called me to.  There is still so much to do here.  Everyday has held a ripe opportunity to be Christ and share Christ to someone.  Galo, the guard here at my apartment building is a testimony to this.  The students of the Alliance Academy and their initiative to worship God and pursue Him on their own is a testimony to the work of God here.  He has put me here for His purpose.  Those around me are carrying on their hearts the testimony that I bear.  It is being written each day as I show Christ love.  Many times I fail, but those times also bear witness to how God works bad things out for His good.  He will show me how much I must suffer for His Name that my life and my death will be a testimony to the greatness of God.  I will gladly give both my life and death that I would know Christ, for all other things have become rubbish to me.  Oh that I might gain Christ and be found in His love.  And I also pray that you will be of the same heart and mind, having the same desire.
 
Finally, it has been suggested that I ask for no more money and soon discontinue the work here and then return "home".  To this I say, "My home is in Him, where else can I go?"  My King is King over all and I can find no place where He does not rule.  Over money, government, man, body and soul, He rules.  What should I fear but His might hand?  Who should I fear but Him who made every man?  No it is not in safety that we see God clearly, but in risk and in suffering and sacrifice do we show Him as more precious in our lives, treasured far above money, comfort and earthly security.
 
Now may we each risk much that we would find find much.  He is proved more satisfying when we risk much to see Him.  Please continue to pray for the work here and around the globe as He is God and is in love with the people of this earth.  Too many people are lost and still don't know that they are loved by their Creator.  So continue in faith that He will be your provider and he will see His kingdom come.  Freely you all have received your life and the gifts of God, now freely give life to others.  I pray for you as you encounter your own mission field each day.  May God have His glory and His praise from our lips and the lips of all people.
-Loren

Student Worship and the Gift of Tongues

The past couple weeks have been an open view to the hand of God.  Some really incredible things have happened.  Most recently the students of the Alliance Academy have chosen to take a huge step forward in their faith.  This past Wednesday's chapel concluded in prayer at 10:10am after a 40min. chapel.  They were encouraged to spend some time praying for each other.  So they did, for the rest of the day.  Not all, but at least 30-40 kids moved in and out of the chapel for the rest of the day praying and encouraging one another while singing worship songs and truly desiring to encounter God.  It threw the whole morning off for many teachers, but none the less was received well.
Out of a desire to continue worshiping and encouraging one another through prayer, the students (not the chaplains or any other staff) decided to have a worship night this past Friday night.  They asked me to be there to play songs and give what guidance I could, but they entirely took the task on themselves out of a desire to worship Him.  What a blessing it was to see students pray and edify one another in love and desire for God.  That does not happen often as many of you know.  Please continue praying for these students as they are stepping up as leaders in their school and this world.  They need your prayers and encouragement as they fight to make eternal choices every day.  Thank you.
As I mentioned in my earlier note, the guard of my apartment building has chosen to follow Christ.  Because I am the only truly solid believer around him I am charged with the task of discipling him.  This is where I've been praying for the gift of tongues.  I thank God that I know Spanish language as well as I do, but in describing the things of the heart and the things of God, I find myself struggling often.  Pray that I can communicate the gospel of Christ and the Christian walk well, not only in speech but in actions and attitude as well.  He is so thirsty for God's Word and eating up anything I can give Him.  Thank you for your prayers and support to make this ministry happen.  You are seizing the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing and for that you will be richly blessed.  Our God desires that none should perish and that all would come to a knowledge of Him.  We know that not all will, but know that we are chosen according to His purpose.
Thank you all for your prayers.  Continue in Him rooted and build up.
-Loren

Thursday, October 23, 2008

October Update

Dear Friends and Family, Thank you for bearing with me as you wait in eager anticipation of my next newsletter. Here are a few of the things I am involved with. Spiritual Emphasis Week – For a solid week chapels are held each day where the students (high school through middle school) here and message and take part in worship music. This semester’s theme was Unlearn: making room for the path of Jesus. The goal was to shatter some preconceived ideas about our walk with God. For example few understand that we can encounter God anywhere. Not just at church or bible study, but anywhere. The response from the students was amazing. Many were moved to follow God more seriously. A few chose to follow Christ in a way that they had never experienced before. Praise God for a school like the Alliance Academy where the church can grow and move and prepare leaders for this world so desperately in need of Him. The Chaplain’s Office – The day to day in the Chaplain’s Office is filled with small administrative ministry tasks, but often riddled with wonderful conversations with students and teachers about a huge scope of spiritual issues. Often I feel unprepared and unworthy to even engage, but my God works in and through me. Pray for the ministry that happens here. Already I’ve watched students change their actions, words and attitudes after encountering God through a conversation or a worship service. He moves in ways that we cannot comprehend yet are sometimes privileged to witness. Youth Group – For the next three months I am filling the position of youth pastor at English Fellowship Church. This has been a burden of responsibility more than a joy given all of my other primary tasks, but still a blessing. A full time youth pastor will arrive in January and take over, but until that time I have been charged with the task of “keeping it alive”. Youth mean more to me than just being alive, but unfortunately I don’t have the time to help it thrive. Thanks to God who provides all we need, I do have a few well needed and well equipped volunteers. Our theme at the moment is of “Denying ourselves, Taking up our cross, and Following Him”. This is truly an opportunity for some well informed Christian kids to become mature and bold believers. Pray for them as they become involved in the youth group and encounter God in new ways. Worship Teams – At the Alliance Academy my official title is Director of Worship. This means I lead and develop six teams of students that lead worship for chapels, Guardians and Youth Group. So far God has brought me almost thirty students who desire to know more about worship and learn more about how to do that. Pray that I can be a conduit of true, spiritual worship. There is a true potential for some radical transformation in the hearts and minds of the student body through ardent and genuine worship of our King. Guardians – Guardians is a Christian Service Outreach that targets middle school students. A group of 12 high school students whom Adam and I have identified as potential leaders and who are solid in their faith and belief in Christ partake in running a youth group like ministry for middle school students. The group we have this year is incredible. I have been blown away by their maturity and capability. They are willing and active in sharing their faith and trying new things. Pray that they would grow more than we could ask or imagine. Day to Day Ministry –Last Thursday while having a general conversation with the man who guards my apartment building, we began to talk about religions. He was unchurched and has not heard the gospel. After him asking me a few questions about what I do and why I’m in Ecuador he paused. I realized he was debating whether to ask this question or not and decided it would be ok. He asked “Loren, how do I become a Christian? How do I do that?” and I was more than willing to share the gospel of our Savior with Him. Please pray that I can find an Ecuadorian pastor and church to connect Him to. He really knows nothing about God or Christianity, please pray that God would give me the wisdom and words to speak to him and may he be first of many to accept His Word and lead others to Christ. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. They are truly priceless. May God continue to bless you each as you seek Him and use your worldly treasure to make others glad in Christ. What else should we use it for if not to bring others to Him? I pray that God would open the eyes of every believer to the great needs of this world and that we would gladly give all we have if it would further the cause of Christ. There are several needs that have arisen over the past two months. 1) I have two small groups of guys that I meet with regularly for lunches and discipleship. You have a heart to give toward this ministry please do as my budget is not covering this cost of taking boys to lunch. This is where the majority of lives are impacted and changed, when they know that I care enough to talk with them and challenge them over a meal. 2) As the Director of Worship I need a guitar. The office owns one that is in poor shape. It is shared with other departments and therefore often not available or not in the place I need it when I need it. The guitar would need to be an acoustic electric guitar able to be plugged in. If you know of a guitar available to be given to the ministry let me know. If you are willing to give towards us buying a guitar here in country that is also doable. Thank you. 3) As some of you know. My shoulder was injured at the beginning of the summer and has increasingly become more painful to lift or carry things with that arm. What is needed is an MRI. This runs around $350, this is not enough for my insurance company to cover as I have a $1000 deductible which would cover surgery. If you can help me with this expense it would be greatly appreciated as I would be able to better participate in ministry if this could be fixed. This expense would be personal, so checks would have to be made out to Loren Holland and sent to my state side address (at bottom). Thank you again.4) Alaina and I are preparing for marriage and are going to begin the book Love and Respect. Please pray for us as we do so and are guided by God and couples who have agreed to walk us through this material. Thank you all once again. Loren Holland 6233 15th ave. Meridian, MS 39305
View of Cotopaxi Volcano from my apartment roof

Monday, September 22, 2008

The First Month

Hello Everyone,
The first month of Ecuador has been phenomenal.  I've had a great time so far adjusting to living in this third world country.  Even though I grew up here there is a lot that was taken care of for me and now I'm having to figure it out for myself.  I guess that's what happens when you become an adult.  Spanish is coming back to me little by little, but I had not realized how much I had lost.  Communication with the people is usually pretty easy though.
This past week was Spiritual Emphasis Week at the Alliance Academy.  This is put on by the Chaplain's Office staff (Adam DeVries and Loren Holland).  Dan Gilder from Ohio was our speaker and did an amazing job.  Michio Ozaki led our worship time each day and also did an incredible job.  Michio is actually an Alliance Academy alumni from years past and has an amazing gift for music and worship.  We were very blessed to have him this Spiritual Emphasis.  The student response has been good, but we were praying for better.  Part of the vision for this semester's Spiritual Emphasis was to give the students ways to encounter God other than through the chapel service each day.  To do this we created encounter spaces where they could meet with God in different ways.  I will attempt to attach a video I made that shows kids how and where they could do so.  
video
Please continue to pray for the students as the population is in a balance between not caring at all about God and those who are very arrogant and think they know all there is about Christianity.  God is at work, thank you for your prayers and concern as the chaplains and counseling team tackle some difficult challenges in reaching the kids.
This week I am interviewing students who want to be on the school worship teams.  This is a hard thing to do as I have never done it before.  I served on the worship teams when I was at Alliance and have some concept of how they work, but need prayer for wisdom.
This past Sunday was the first youth group meeting for the senior high at English Fellowship Church.  I have been delegated the responsibility and the privilege to head this ministry up.  Again I was in the youth group as a high schooler and now am in charge of it for the next 5 months until a full time youth pastor arrives.  Pray that I can develop good one on one relationships with the kids.  Nearly 30 came on Sunday night which was much more than I expected.  As a sort of interim youth pastor pray that I can prepare the way for Dave Gardeen the to-be youth pastor while having a positive godly impact on the youth.
I share an apartment with three guys who are here doing a study abroad program through Youth World and their school in California, Eternity Bible College.  They are great guys and we have done well together thus far.  They are helping me out at the youth group as well as involving themselves in various ministries around Quito that Youth World is involved in.
There is a youth pastor that works across the street from the Alliance selling artisan things.  In the past I have helped some of his youth to get school supplies.  Recently he has asked if I could supply a pair of backpacks for their schooling.  And I said "of course".  So if any of you would like to give toward helping some of his youth out you are welcome to give through IT or directly to me.  The information for that is at the right of the blog.
Forgive me as I do not have any pictures up.  Some how I managed to leave all of my rechargeable batteries in the US and have no battery for my camera, but I will get them up soon.  Thank you for your patience.  And thank you all who have given to allow me to be here.  May God bless you in immeasurable ways.
In Him
Loren

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ecuador at Last

Greetings All,
Getting to Ecuador was a challenge to say the least.  With horrible weather in Houston, it took an extra 24 hours to get there.  The Ozaki family hosted me as well as got me to the Consulate the day of my departure to acquire my visa.  God worked it out perfectly!  
Only an hour in the consulate with no problems whatsoever.  He is incredible!
I arrived in Ecuador last Friday night around midnight as was greeted by some of my very dear friends.  It gave me such a warm feeling...you know
 what I mean?  This past week has b
een spent preparing for school to begin and getting the year
 mapped out for ministry.  The chaplain's office was rearranged by Alaina and I and I think it looks pretty good.  What do you think?
I am thrilled to be here.  Many of my friends, teachers, mentors keep asking me if it's weird to be back here.  In some ways it is, but like I told Alaina, "Could you see me doing anything else?"  Truly, this is what I have wanted to do for so long that I just thank God for allowing me to serve Him in this way.  Though He is not served by human hands as though He needed anything, I thank Him still.  Often it is where we least desire to go that He serves us best.  Already I have been stretched to place greater faith in Him as this morning I was put in charge of leading the faculty worship band for the first day of school assembly.
  Those who pray for me, thank you, it was awesome!  The group worked very well together and sounded amazing.  Piano, Bass, Percussion, 2 guitars, and 3 voices.  God blessed me by having it go so smoothly. 
Soon I will be putting together student worship teams for chapels.  There will be an application process involving spiritual and musical placement.  Pray that I would heed His directing and have the wisdom to approach each applicant with discernment and most of all love.  He loves these students so much and already I know many that are unaware of this.  Pray that I and the chaplain team will communicate the Lord's love for them in ways that we cannot fathom.  We are His.
Presently there are only two of us in the office.  Four total within a few months.  Pray that the team will grow together in purpose and common love for the students resulting in humility and effective ministry.  Pray that I can be a blessing to Adam the overseer of the Chaplain's Office and as well to the Weatherbys, the new Directors of Student Ministries at Alliance Academy.  I hope to be as helpful as I can, while encouraging them and making their jobs easier.
This evening Alaina returns to the US to begin her senior year.  It was not an easy parting, but He is sufficient.  We have not left everything that He does not want to satisfy us a hundred fold with Him.  In other words His grace is enough.  She will return here for Christmas, for which we are both thankful.  Pray that we will keep our eyes and hearts on Him as He teaches us what lessons He has.  
I lift my eyes up to the hills.  Where does my help come from?  It comes from you Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fear

     As I go, preparing for the mission field, so many emotions and thoughts have run through my mind. One of those emotions is one I did not expect. FEAR. Having grown up on the mission field, the last thing I felt was fear of doing what God had called me to do. Whether it was street ministry or youth groups or worship teams, I experienced nervousness, and sweaty palms, but not fear like I have felt lately.
Fears:   - Not adequately fulfilling the role of chaplain to the students of the Alliance Academy   - Afraid I lack the necessary skills to serve Him   - Failing in...integrity, discretion, wisdom, example, leadership, servanthood, honesty and capability.   - Disappointing supporters, sending mission, partner missionaries.
  From the time God called me I have known what I would do with my life. Every large decision in my life (college, finances) has been made with that holy ambition in mind. As John Piper puts it...a holy ambition is something that you really, really, really want to do and God also wants you to do. My holy ambition is to see godly leaders raised up for this generation impacting the world with the message of the gospel. I have a passion for the lives of young people and I desire to see them choose what is good, right and true. In this world it seems all but impossible to find someone whole-heartedly committed to faith, purity, uplifting speech and deep honest love. They can be found though and I hope to see the young people I connect with become just that by the power of God.
     With YOUR prayers and support it CAN and WILL happen. Right now I NEED YOUR PRAYER. Never underestimate it. Our God moves mountains and splits seas when we have the courage to trust Him and step out in faith. Lets walk together in this faith and discover those immeasurably great and wonderful things that God does beyond all we can ask or imagine. “Surely what Christ means is that he himself makes up for every loss. If you give up a mother's nearby affection and concern, you get back one hundred times the affection and concern from the ever-present Christ. If you give up the warm comradeship of a brother, you get back one hundred times the warmth and camaraderie from Christ. If you give up the sense of at-homeness you had in your house, you get back one hundred times the comfort and security of knowing that your Lord owns every house and land and stream and tree on earth. Isn't what Jesus is saying to prospective missionaries just this: I promise to work for you and be for you so much that you will not be able to speak of having sacrificed anything. That's the way Hudson Taylor took it, because at the end of his 50 years of missionary labor in China he said, ‘I never made a sacrifice.’” By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ecuador on the Horizon

Greetings, friends and family,
What an intense moment in my life! Less than two weeks from now I will enter the mission field as an intern for Youth World. Between now and then I will take two tests, get my visa in Houston while visiting past dorm parents Bob and Carol Snell, speak for a local church and finish packing and preparation for leaving. Thank you all for your continued prayer and support over these past months of preparation. They have tested and tried me in many different ways. I thank God for the opportunity to serve Him whole heartedly. These next weeks will be the most stressful as I transfer to another country and adjust to a new schedule and living arrangement. Pray that I would continue to be diligent in seeking His Kingdom first each day as I am reminded of the calling I’ve received. Pray also that He will continue to provide financially as extra costs have added up. Extra Costs: -Change in tickets schedule to Ecuador ($262) -Miscellaneous Ministry expenses: Sponges, Resource Books (Worship Songs, Discipleship books) -Dress Code - Khaki pants, collar shirts, and NO Sandals. When I was at Alliance as a student, the chaplains did not have a dress code requirement, but as faculty and staff, they now must “dress-up”. Therefore, I may be picking up some proper attire once I’m in Ecuador. Current Costs: -Support is still needed. If you would like to give. Do not hesitate to jump on board with what God is doing in and through the chaplain’s office ministry. The past week was spent in Fort Worth, Texas with Alaina and her family. It was a great time despite being bed ridden for 3 days with a severe cold. Alaina and I were able to visit Dallas Theological Seminary and have a tour along with a free lunch. The school looks like a great place and could perhaps be in our future plans someday. Please continue in prayer for me as God prepares me to go to Ecuador. Pray that He would grant me the strength and wisdom to remain above reproach in my leadership and example to the students and faculty of the Alliance Academy. And that I would find the humility to work with my partners in ministry as they are my brothers and sisters there to reach people for the Kingdom. Thank you all for your prayer and support. From the bottom of my heart I am so grateful to be able to step directly from college to full-time ministry. God has truly blessed me through you. Without those that have given towards this passion and those who have grabbed ahold of this passion for the nations to speak the praises of God, I would feel much more alone in this work. Thank you. -Loren 6233 15th ave. Meridian, MS 39305 Mundo Juvenil Casilla 17-17-691 Quito, Ecuador

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July Update

Greetings,

July is finishing and so much has happened. Just this last weekend I finished three courses. What a headache they were, but a relief to have them done and out of the way. It seems my legs have been chained to my desk. Pray that I can finish strong with three more exams to go and then I am finished.

Today was one of those days where you go a lot of places and do a lot of waiting in lines and you really don’t seem to get a lot done, but you have to keep going. The stress level was high as I worked on needed paperwork to leave the country. The unknown looms around every corner surprising me with the unexpected tasks. Fortunately Alaina has been here to go through it all with me. I’m thankful that God has allowed us to spend so much time together before I leave the country. He is faithful and takes care of our needs according to His riches in glory. So often I fight Him on what is best for me because I’m confused or experience discomfort, but He is the Father and I am the child. I pray to be reminded that He does what is best for His children because He loves us.


Raising support has been going well. The 21st of July I spoke at North Park Church here in Meridian, MS. I’ve been attending the church since I got here last August and they have enthusiastically agreed to be my sending church or “home church” for which I am very grateful. Soon I will try to have a clip from the sermon I preached on the blog. The church had what is called a Faith Promise Sunday where each person is presented with the opportunity to make a promise to give toward missions. Those who make that promise believe by faith that God will provide that amount each month so that they can give. It is a wonderful exercise in faith and comes with many good stories of how God has provided for people over the years who have committed in faith to give toward missions. This may be something you each consider as you partner with myself and others who are answering the call to missions.

I am very grateful for those who have given over the past three months. It is a very short time to raise any kind of support. Thank you so much to those who have given thus far.

Prayer:

-I have begun the Visa process a little late and need things to go quickly and smoothly over the next month or so. Pray that this will happen so that I can be in country with a mission visa and not just a tourist visa. Otherwise I will have to leave and reenter the country every 30 days. That’s expensive.

-Schooling finishing up…tests and courses will be passed and finished well.

-I’m doing a leadership seminar for a local youth group. Pray that the group will work well together and I will be able to teach concepts clearly as this is my first time doing something like this

Need:

-I am in need of a new computer. The one I have seems to be failing. I cannot use ministry money for this as it is a personal expense ($1000). Having a computer in Ecuador will be a must for communicating and day-to-day tasks such as e-mail, internet, etc. If you would like to contribute toward this send your gift to:

Loren Holland

6233 15th ave.

Meridian, MS

39305

Thank you so much and may God Bless you as you seek Him.

-Loren Holland

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nashville

Our weekend in Nashville was great! Alaina and I spent a few days with Neil and Laura Gowan and their little baby Sally Jane. Have any of you ever been to the Cheesecake Factory? I highly recommend it if you have the money. Alaina and I are enjoying our cookie dough cheesecake with Neil, Laura and Sally in Cool Springs (I think that's the town) just south of Nashville. Neil and Laura were both friends from Ecuador


What a cute baby!





We had a packed weekend as the premier of Veggie Tales' new vegetable adventure The Big River Rescue was shown in Franklin that Friday. And none other than THE voice of Larry the Cucumber was present.

It's always great to share with old friends. Especially with those who have had a similar experience living in Ecuador. We even shared a meal of Ecuadorian ceviche one evening.








As I look over the pile of schoolwork that still lies ahead of me I am reminded that nothing happens with out the power of God at hand. Please pray that I will have the discipline needed to accomplish what has been apportioned to me. Most of all I'm learning to surrender it all as I can do nothing to change my future.
Support raising is going well. Over $3,000 were raised just in the month of June. That puts me just over the half-way mark. YES! God is good. He will get me where He wants me to be in His timing. Continue to pray for support to come in and perhaps even you may decide to give.

In Him,
Loren Holland

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tennessee Boys and Girls




Right now I'm enjoying a wonderful breakfast at Perkins in Jackson, TN. Alaina is wrestling an intense summer course that has occupied most of our time. We have been moving from one study spot to another around Jackson. It's difficult as most places don't really cater to studious people during the summer, especially the college! All weekend the library was open for weird hours and sometimes had power and sometimes had internet. Go Figure.

Alaina's acquaintances have provided great lodging. I'm staying with a youth pastor and his family. Wonderful folk!

Alaina and i took care of their kids for an evening.

All this studying has made me pretty tired, but Alaina and i have had a great time so far.



I've been reminded this week that faith is being assured that God will be all He promises to be. At times I realize just how small my faith is when I seek to satisfy my desires with anything less than God. May God grant us more faith in Him, to believe that he will satisfy us with all His riches in glory. And that doesn't just mean money. It means all he is in every situation is enough for us. Thank God.

In Him
Loren Holland

Check back soon for details of our weekend in Nashville and "Spider Man with a BEARD???

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

John Piper Video

Here is a video from John Piper's ministry, Desiring God. He talks about the "gospel" that is being exported from America. Great video! If the embedding doesn't work here is the URL : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukcV-xtU3hc Hope it works -Loren

Monday, June 16, 2008

What's Up with June?

June 14, 2008

Dear Friends,

A little less than two months from now I hope to begin my trip to Ecuador. When I tell people, their first reaction is, “That’s not very long from now!” The only reason they say this is because they haven’t seen the pile of assignment and books are on my desk at home. Not to mention the amount of support that I still need to raise (about $7,000). With those things calculated in my finite mind Ecuador seems so very distant. Thanks be to God who has all things under His control. He has set the times and dates for us and we don’t have to worry about a thing. So, I continue on with my studies and take what opportunities come my way to talk about what I’ll be doing in Ecuador.

Two weeks ago I attended training at International Teams in Elgin, IL, just outside of Chicago. It was GREAT! Getting to know some of the IT staff and other missionaries that will be going all over the world and working with a myriad of ministries was a huge blessing. We learned about working with/as a team, how to handle conflict, communicating in different cultures and of course the ins and outs of IT. After the week was over I felt even more assured of my calling than ever before.

After talking with Adam Devries in Ecuador about what the up coming year looks like I am even more excited. It looks like I will be working with a few groups of students on leading worship for the Wednesday morning chapel services. I have been involved in worship groups for many years, but have little experience leading, so it will be a stretch for me.

On Sunday and Wednesday nights I am still helping out with a local youth group. The regular youth pastor has left the group to two of us who aspire to be youth leaders ourselves. My counterpart just completed his first year of school and really has a heart to work with student. He grew up in the same church so already has an established relationship with many of the kids which helps a lot. Before I leave I am trying to get in a student leadership training seminar. Student leaders who know something about leadership is desperately lacking in the youth group.

Please pray for:

-Raising the money needed to go to Ecuador

-Finishing my studies well

-God preparing the students for next school year at the Alliance Academy

-The students I work with now as they truly lack a passionate well guided walk with Him

-My shoulder began ailing me a month or more ago from an old flag football injury and because of it I can no longer lift weights (a hobby I had been pursuing over the past year). The doctor said it is fixable which is good, but I’ve decided to wait on that.

Thank you all for your care and support. I truly appreciate it. Recently I was reading a John Piper Book that said, “All God really wants from us is our thirst”. I believe this is very true as we cannot server Him as though he needed our service to accomplish anything. Rather He just wants our thirst for the living water He is. May you drink deep of Him.

Loren Holland

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Beginning

Alright, my own blogspot thing... ...I hope to keep everyone informed as best I can over the next year. thanks for reading... -Loren