Thank You for Praying…Jesse’s Memorial Service

Jesse_2The song Because He Lives has been playing in my mind this week, for several reasons I’m sure. One is that I remember singing it year after year at Easter, and that’s what we are getting ready to celebrate this weekend.  Mostly though, I think it’s because of Jesse’s memorial service last weekend.

First of all, thank you for praying.  We could clearly see God answering your prayers at every turn. It was a hard week, however, we can say beyond a doubt that God was glorified. And, in answer to prayer, many people came to faith in Christ, including the young man who was the only survivor (from the four boys) of the car accident. Please continue to pray for Corné.

Thank you for praying for us as well as the Gous family and the forever family at Mountain View. Being followers of Christ instead of just fans was the theme of Tom’s challenge. The life that Jesse lived was put on display, highlighting his life in Christ.  That was actually the most powerful message of the day. Jesse was known by all as a Christ follower, not just an enthusiastic fan, and you could tell by the stories that were shared by his family and friends. Tom has asked on more than one occasion, “How could a young guy, only 18 years old, make such a profound impact on so many people?” The church was overflowing last Saturday. There were nearly as many people standing outside the doors as there were inside the church, in honor of this young man, and no one seemed to mind.

because_he_lives-title-2-still-4x3One truth that shined for all to see is the hope that we have “because He lives.”  It’s what we’ll celebrate this Easter weekend. Yes, the sting of death is real and is felt, but so is the hope we have in Christ. Why? Because Jesus conquered death. Because Jesus lives, Jesse lives, and we who believe, will live too. Absent from the body, present with the Lord.  How much more precious that truth is to us, heading into this Easter weekend, after experiencing the celebration of Jesse’s life last weekend.

Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone.  Because I KNOW, He holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

We’ll be praying for you as you remember the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ and the life we live because He lives! With hearts full of gratitude and love for all of you…thank you for your partnership in our lives and ministry here in South Africa, Happy Easter!

Tom and Nancy

Lives Changed Instantly…Please Pray

Last Saturday, early in the morning, one of our sweetest 18-year-old young men at Mountain View was involved in an automobile accident and went home to be with Jesus.  Just like that, his life changed forever and Jesse Gous’ faith became sight!

Jesse, Julio, Valentia & Mark Gous

Jesse, Julio, Valentia & Mark Gous

Also on that day, totally unexpected, life changed for his parents, Mark and Valentia Gous, as well as his younger brother, Julio, and tomorrow we will celebrate Jesse’s life with a memorial service.  Many in our community will be present, probably more people than has ever been inside our church building for something like this.  We will weep and mourn together, as forever families do, but we will also rejoice together in the salvation and hope that we have, made possible through Jesus Christ.  Please pray for the Gous family as they anticipate and experience the service.

There were three other young men in the car at the time of the accident.  Later in the day last Saturday, the driver of the car, Jean-Claude, also died. The following day, another passenger named Houston died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. Another young man, Corné, was safe and walked away with light injuries. His life also changed, only in a different way.  We are not sure of the spiritual condition of these young men, as we do not know them personally, however, we ask that you would keep these families in your prayers as well.

Please pray for our forever family and everyone in our community affected by this tragedy. Pray for Tom as he brings the gospel message on Saturday morning during the memorial service and Pastor Dave Drullinger as he holds the graveside service for the family. Perhaps someone in attendance will have their life changed forever, too. Our prayer is that through the work God did in Jesse’s life many more will come to faith and God will be glorified in all things.

Thank you for your partnership as we pray for one another.

Tom & Nancy

Can I Get a Drum Roll, Please?

IMG_4963Thanks to all of you, we’ve had a sweet time of celebrating our 15-year anniversary of ministry in South Africa.  Your emails have brought great encouragement. Thank you for your partnership as the work of the Great Commission continues on!

And now, can I get a drumroll as we announce the winners of the Wolfpack 15 Year Anniversary Starbucks Gift Cards? The three winners are:

Mark & Jen Holsinger, Tim & Andi Bell and Harry & Jan Gebert

We feel extremely blessed to share this celebration with all of you and reflect on the great things God has done. Here are just a few more comments that give glory to God!

“The Lord has reinforced to me these past 15 years that when we choose to be loyal to Christ alone He assures us all the more of His protection, purpose, power and presence in the diverse mission fields to which He has uniquely called us. Praising God for your obedience.” (Chip Weiant)

“I was blessed when meeting you…that a successful man in the world of business would be willing to pull up anchor and head into the unknown of God’s calling…A lesson in listening to God’s leading and then acting on it, despite any and all reservations.  And, look how the Lord has blessed you and your ministry over the past 15 years! May God grant you 15 more years and beyond of fruitful ministry!” (Amy Womack)

“Been there for everything…now give me my free Starbucks gift card!! If I win, I’ll take you out for a coffee!” (Morgan Wolf)

“Thank you for allowing us to partner with your work in South Africa.  Keep going for Him!” Psalm 37:23 (Pastor David Conrad)

“Follow the Lord’s leading…He can overcome our fears and do amazing things!” (Debbie Howdyshell)

“I have been affirmed about the importance of the local church in God’s plan.” (Rick Presley)

Our Way of Saying Thank You!

Thanks-this-one--s-on-meWe love coffee but we love you more! And since we don’t have Starbucks in South Africa, we’re giving you something that we love as part of our anniversary celebration. (It is Valentine’s Day weekend too!) It’s our way of saying thank you and sharing the blessing of 15 years of ministry in South Africa. The deadline for the three free $15 Starbucks gift card drawing is this weekend and we’ll announce the winners on Monday, 15 February.

Is it too late to get in on the drawing? No, just reply to this post (twolf@abwe.org) and we’ll add you to the list of people who’ve already responded and are hoping to win!  We really appreciate everyone who sent us words of encouragement and emails filled with praises to God. We’ve been collecting them, having cherished the interaction and learning of God’s has worked in your lives. Here are a few of the replies to the anniversary celebration question…

What is one thing you’ve seen God do in the time you have followed the Wolfpack, from 2001 until 2016, that has encouraged you, challenged you, or drawn you closer to God?

“God has taught us to trust Him even when life is a fog, and we cannot see His purposes and His plan right away…Trust God in the hard times, and remember He has not failed us in the past, and there is no reason He would fail us in the future…Don’t forget to praise Him for His blessings…or take them for granted.” Pastor Jeff Beckley

11053244_10155920228860117_963663879149716317_oOur earliest memory of the Wolfpack was Tom speaking in a Sunday School class at Washington Heights – he spoke on belief.  Then…a missions conference in 2009…God used his words to speak to our hearts…I remember being challenged to consider missions. Almost six months went by and I received a call from Tom asking us to go to dinner. God’s timing was right and that evening Tom challenged us to be obedient to God’s call to missions.  We are now missionaries in Nicaragua!  The Holsinger Family

God taught us over and over again as we have followed the Wolfpack these last fifteen years that His promises are true…that indeed “Faithful is He Who calls you who will also do it”! Sue and Phil Miller

“The first thing that came to my mind was your willingness to just GO…God has challenged me to be willing to step out in faith and obey…The way God has blessed your family and helped you make that transition has GREATLY encouraged my heart, as I’m also a mother of four girls.” April Hand

“God has taught me that there is nothing easy about missions. That we cannot glorify it because it exists in a broken world with lost people, most of all me. But I can glorify the God who has called me to that mission…And he has challenged me to trust that he will teach those same lessons to my kids.” Tara (Wolf) McComas, also a missionary to South Africa

Wolf Family World View (1)I have learned through this journey that God is worth following, no matter the risks and no matter the cost.  We need go where he leads and rest in his faithfulness and grace.  Moving to South Africa, away from everything familiar, was by no means the easy path, but he has blessed more than we could have asked or imagined, and that is only what we see here on earth.  Just imagine the rewards in heaven! Lyndsey (Wolf) Bales, our eldest daughter

It’s a great reminder that God is always busy doing 10,000 different things, even though we might only see three of them!  Speaking of three – get your entry in and be watching for the names of the three winners to be announced here on Monday!

15 Year Anniversary Give Away

Wolfs SA Arrival (1)Our 15 Year Anniversary Celebration – It hardly seems possible that 15 years ago, in January, 2001, our family arrived in South Africa. Time has flown by and our joy of serving the Lord in South Africa has only increased through the years. God has blessed us with wonderful ministry partners! We’ve seen two churches started, people who have come to faith in Jesus and been baptized, numerous followers of Christ equipped for the ministry, and we are blessed to serve ABWE’s Southern Africa missionaries. We also love the people of Mountain View – they truly are part of  the forever family. Wow! God has blessed us in so many ways.

Thanks-this-one--s-on-meGift Card Give Away – Over the years we have been the recipients of so many generous gifts and we would like to say thank you in a fun and yet meaningful way. To do that, we are giving away three $15 Starbucks gift cards (a Mugg & Bean gift card if you are in South Africa). All you need to do is respond to the question listed below by emailing twolf@abwe.org with your name and a brief answer. Once your email is received, your name will automatically be included in the drawing. Since we get to make up the contest rules…anyone sending in an email response will be included. That means all our ministry partners, family members, ABWE teammates and South African friends are eligible (sounds so official!). Only hitch, only one entry per email address.

The Question… What is one thing you’ve seen God do in the time you have followed the Wolfpack, from 2001 until 2016, that has encouraged you, challenged you, or drawn you closer to God?

Oh yeah, one more little rule! Remember, your comment is about what God has done, not us. So we suggest you begin your reply with “God taught me…,” or “God blessed me…” Or how about this, “When I saw God…” One thing we know is that God is always working in more ways than we can even think or imagine, and we want to give Him all the praise!

Wolf Family World View (1)Gift Card Deadline – The winners will be announced on our blog site on February 12th along with an article including some of the God glorifying responses we receive. So, go for it!  And, don’t forget to pray for us (see the Prayer Partner tab for our current requests). Who knows what God has planned for the next 15 years!

With all our love and appreciation for the last 15 years…it’s been a great journey, thank you!

God Makes It Happen

Greetings from the Wolfs, in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s the beginning of a New Year and with that comes time to think of all that is ahead. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been.

Nancy does just that in this simple (home made) two-minute video. It was inspiring for me to see her heart for God and her confidence in the One who makes it all happen. I asked her if I could share it with you, hoping that you would enjoy it as much as I did.

Thank you for being one of our ministry partners, highly invested in many ways to seeing that Jesus Christ is made known in an even greater way in 2016!

Also, we just updated the Wolfs’ prayer requests. You can pick them up by clicking on the Prayer Partners tab. Would you please take some time to pray along with us? God’s best to you in 2016…knowing that He is the One who makes it all happen!

 

 

 

Merry Christmas from the Wolfs – South Africa 2015

IMG_4349Nancy and I would like to wish you and your family a blessed and Merry Christmas. We just landed in the States last night and will spend Christmas with our daughter, Lyndsey, and her family. Prior to leaving, we celebrated Christmas in South Africa with our daughters, Tara, Chelsea and Morgan and their families. God is so good to us, giving us the opportunity to spend Christmas with everyone this year.

I’ll be preaching this Sunday at Morgan’s church in Jacksonville, Florida before heading off to ABWE’s Global Operations Summit with various ministry leaders from around the world.

It’s been a great year of ministry in South Africa even with all of its challenges. We can give testimony of God’s grace and strength. Our love for Jesus has only grown stronger and it is with great anticipation that we look forward to 2016. We also wanted to say thank you to each of you as we praise the Lord for you and our partnership for Christ in Southern Africa.

With all our love we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tom & Nancy

Anticipate_t copy

Christmas in South Africa – I have once again enjoyed preaching this year through the Advent Season with Pastor Dave Drullinger as we have spoke of Jesus coming through these four themes, Light, Glory, Grace and Truth. We love to celebrate the Christmas season and it is also with Anticipation that we await His second coming!