Collins Family/Ministry Update- June

Friends and Family,

Thanks for all the prayer and encouragement we have received from many of you over the last few months. We finally feel like we are in sort of a groove (ableit a low-level energy one at times) with this whole baby thing, and I know we wouldn’t have been here without those of you who sent meals or gift cards during those first weeks after Eowyn was born.

Speaking of little Eowyn, she officially turned 2 months old this past week! She continues to grow and is starting to do interactive things like stare back and even an occasional smile if you do something funny enough. Steph is a great mom (especially for not waking me up most weeknights when the baby is fussy), and I enjoy getting to hold Eowyn each night after work.

We have really enjoyed the last few weeks volunteering as English conversation partners for Bhutanese ESL classes with Mission Adelante in Kansas City, KS. Each week, we meet over there and get to practice informal conversations with these Nepali-speaking refugees from the country of Bhutan. Most of them are Hindu and many of those in our class are older men and women (think 40-60). Many of them are not able to get jobs because of their lack of formal education and the harsh demands of factory-type jobs they could get here, and this can be discouraging for these older adults who feel they cannot provide leadership and stability for their families in this strange new land. So we love to see the joy on their faces as they learn English each week and gain confidence to do simple things like go to the supermarket. Steph brings Eowyn along and the Bhutanese women all love looking at her. I am paired up with 4 men and enjoy learning about their families. The lessons they are taught contain simple English vocab and sentences, and each lesson contains a short “story” made up of those words. Each of these stories is based on the Bible (this last week they learned about the wisemen following the star to baby Jesus and giving him gifts). If you live in the Kansas City area and are interested in learning more about Mission Adelante’s ministry to the Latino and Bhutanese communities, visit http://www.missionadelante.org/.

We just heard back this week about the initial paperwork we turned in for doing church planting in New York City area among unreached people groups there. We are now getting references in and will likely be going to New York sometime in August for a church planter assessment/interview. Continue to pray for us that everything will move along according to God’s timetable and that he would give us a heart burden for the people and the area he wants us to work in. Also be in prayer for us in the next few months as Josh is still working fulltime at the VA but Steph is now at home taking care of the baby. We are trying to stay out of debt and be ready to move when/if God opens the door, while still having time to volunteer at things like Mission Adelante and be involved with our church.

In July, I (Josh) will be helping with a soccer camp that our church Redeemer Fellowship is hosting for kids living in midtown Kansas City the last 2 weeks of July. This is a great opportunity for kids (many of which come from single parent homes in our area) to connect with caring adults, especially for the young men. Please pray for that, and if you live around Kansas City and are interested in helping, let me know and I can connect you with the people who are in charge.

Ok, I’ve rambled on yet again. Thanks for your prayers and continued interest in our lives.

Love in Christ,

Josh, Stephanie, and Eowyn Collins

PS-if you would like to join this monthly update list to pray for us, leave a comment for me and I will add you for July.

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May Monthly Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, it’s been a few months since we last updated you guys via email on our lives. Hopefully, many of you have kept up with us in person or on Facebook since then! We’ll do our best to make these a little more regular (monthly?) in the future. We were planning on writing sooner and then kept thinking, “Well, our daughter is going to be born sometime soon, so we could just wait until after that…” It’s amazing how creative people can be when they are procrastinating!

That said, on April 23, 2011 at 7:49 PM, we were overjoyed to welcome little Eowyn Ruth Collins into the world! She decided to show up 2 weeks early, so I (Josh) got to experience all the joys that Saturday morning of trying to get the hospital bags finally packed and the house somewhat cleaned up while we timed contractions and tried our best to keep Steph distracted! Somehow we made it to the hospital where they told us we were definitely having a baby that day, and about 6 hours later, little Eowyn arrived, weighing in at 6 lbs. 7 oz.

So now we’ve enjoyed our first sleep-deprived month with our amazing little daughter. We thank God for keeping her and Steph healthy and safe throughout the pregnancy and in the weeks since. It’s amazing when you look in the eyes of your little child and know that you could never earn such a moment like this and just basking in the grace God shows!

Please keep us in your prayers as we are making some major life decisions in these next few months. Since the pregnancy, we’ve realized that with Steph’s blood-clotting disorder, life overseas in the next years of life would be not only difficult but nearly impossible, especially during a pregnancy as Steph needed constant medication and doctor oversight. We still have a heart for the unreached people groups of the world and for doing cross-cultural missions. Because of that, we have now begun the process of application through the North American Mission Board and the Metro New York Baptist Association/Baptist convention of New York of doing cross-cultural church planting among immigrant peoples in New York City. Because of my background having served among the Bengali people of West Bengal, India in 2005, we are specifically looking at engaging Bangladeshi immigrants in New York City. There are still a lot of questions we are trying to figure out, as well as several months of application and assessment in our future. We hope to keep you all informed in the process, specifically so you can be praying for 2 things for us specifically: 1) that we would listen to God’s wisdom, both from His Word and from the people he has put into our lives and 2) that God would grant us his courage to take any risks he may call us to. Having originally planned to go with the International Mission Board, where fundraising is all taken care of through the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, it can be a daunting task to consider what it will take to move to one of the most expensive areas of the country and how we will be supported.

In the meantime, pray for us as we continue to adjust to life with Eowyn, specifically with Steph no longer working full time at the VA but now as a mom. We are excited to be volunteering each Tuesday this summer at Mission Adelante in Kansas City, KS, as ESL conversation partners for Bhutanese refugees living here. Pray for Josh’s work relationships, as many of his co-workers are Hindu and he has been trying to befriend them more and engage them in spiritual conversation about Jesus. Now that I’ve written such a lengthy letter, I know why I should be updating this monthly! Thank you for taking interest in our lives and for your continued prayers for us!

In Christ,

Josh, Stephanie, and Eowyn Collins

*If you would like to receive what will now be a “monthly” update email, just contact me through a comment or an email…

Back…

Yea, I’m coming back. Aiming for like 2 posts a week.  We will see.

Why I’m Quitting Blogging…

Yep, it’s official.  I started posting online “Web logs” back in the days of Xanga in college, had some good times, decent laughs, mediocre observations, etc.  Writing has always been a good outlet for me, but blogging is no longer a good or effective way for me to write.  A couple brief thoughts on why I’m quitting (and yes, quitting blogging by blogging about it is full of irony–I got that.)

1) Not currently working where writing can be a helpful part of my job duties.  There’s a pretty good reason.

2) My post tracker reveals I’m more vain than I wish to be.  There’s a little too much narcissism in this blogging cup and I drink it up too easily.

3) It also reveals that the stuff I work on most is least viewed or cared about.

4) The stuff that I need to write about most for the sake of my own heart and life (Scripture meditations, personal ventings, prayers) aren’t really the things that blogging leads me to write nor the things people care about reading on a blog.  So why keep putting it out there?

5) There’s too many good blogs out there doing things I can only do mediocre.  like linking to other great articles.  or detailed Biblical studies stuff.  or movie/book reviews.

6) The kinds of conversations (more commenting on other blogs than on my own) I can have by blogging I can easily have by going outside or talking to my wife or emailing a friend.  I honestly would like to spend more time with my wife than on a computer. and all of those things are better forums for having conversations than blogging seems to be.

7) People on the internet are by and large uninformed, inconsiderate, and stubborn.  I don’t want to be one of them anymore. at least not on the internet. 🙂

Peace, internet.

I’m not dead yet…

Seriously, I was all like “i’m off my july blogging break” and then i posted like twice and disappeared again.  Steph and I are moving from Blue Springs into Kansas City to the Valentine neighborhood.  We know that if we are going to live overseas someday, it will most likely be in an urban context and with the waiting time we were just given we felt why not go now and learn.  So that’s our goal.  We’re excited about the opportunities to live as missionaries in a new area and are making plans to do a better job of it.

One thing we are going to try out is keeping a neighborhood map.  This map will basically help us record the houses and apartments around us and keep track of the NAMES of people we meet who live there.  In our current complex, we were frustrated by our inability to remember names, etc. of our neighbors especially since it seemed like people were moving in and out every month or so.  so we’re going to try and keep a written “cheat sheet” of the names, etc. of our neighbors in order to be able to have better conversations and interactions with them.

back…(and updates)

well, my self-imposed exile from blogging has ended.  Hopefully next week, we’ll see some more writing from me.  um…that’s all for now.  A lot has happened in the last month in my life.   My 3 years, 2 month stint as “interim” youth pastor here in Blue Springs officially ended a week or so ago.  I was grateful that I got to hand off my ministry investment to a good guy who I think will see some exciting things in the future.  on the disappointing side, we were hoping to see some major movement towards going overseas, but apparently they weren’t ready for us yet, so we’re here in KC for at least 2 years or so.  We’re now looking at making a move to a different area of town (possibly into the city away from the ‘burbs) to invest our lives and possibly stretch ourselves a little, as well as trying to invest in a new (non-Youth) related ministry direction.  Steph and I are both working in the research area of the VA currently.  um…that’s all I got for right now.

Gone fishing…

(i’m taking a break for July and maybe August). so no blog writing, or as of lately, no pressure to write at least.  have fun out there.  maybe i’ll come back with some good thoughts. Steph and I have a lot of big decisions and changes this month so keep us in your prayers.