Saying goodbye is always hard, especially when relationships have been forged through mutual service, daily sacrifice, individual respect, and Spirit-filled love. We are saying farewell to five life-long friends who have served with us on the team: Jon and Heather Moreno, Amberly Cox, Ben Lamphere, and James Pitts. Serving with them has been special! It was culminated with going into the recording studio and laying down 12 new songs. This music became a part of their lives after a year of laboring together in the ministry of evangelism. I hope you will be blessed with the good things God has done in their lives.
First of all, I want to praise God for loving me unconditionally through his Son Jesus Christ. The closer I get to God, the more clearly I see the depth of my sin and the magnitude of His love which He displayed by sending Jesus to the earth, then to the cross.
Second, I praise God for the faithfulness of His servants, Steve and Terry. God has used their godly lives and sacrificial love to impact my life profoundly. Although my time has been brief, I am so grateful that God has seen fit in His perfect plan to allow me to serve on this team with Steve and Terry.
During my time on the team, one of the greatest things I have been privileged to witness has been the transforming power of the gospel. Week after week I heard stories of children, teens, college students, and adults being radically and permanently changed by the gospel. Their stories have been an incredible encouragement to me. They have also served as a constant reminder of the wonderful truth that it is God that saves souls and changes lives, not people. We are simply His instruments. Though I am so sinful and unworthy, I praise God for choosing to use me in this small way in His service.
Traveling this year with the Pettit team has been filled with blessings. One of these blessings has been the opportunity to get to know Brother Steve and Terry. Even though I’ve only had a short time with them, I’ve been rebuked and encouraged by their lives of sacrifice and service to Christ. I’ve appreciated how they have opened their lives to my husband and me. They have discipled us and loved us unconditionally. I am truly grateful for them.
In addition to the many blessings, there have been several lessons that the Lord has taught me this year. One of the lessons has been about my own sinful tendency to be fearful and anxious. Traveling has been the catalyst that the Lord has used to open my eyes to see this area more clearly. Not only has the Lord revealed this sin in my life, but He has also given me the grace to grow in this area this year. Through several avenues God has taught me that my anxiety and fear are rooted in my lack of trust in Him. When I am fearful and anxious, I am saying, “God, I don’t trust you. I don’t believe that you are in control or that you love me.” Understanding this has helped me to see that my anxiety is not only wrong because God tells me not to worry, but also because I call God’s character into question. I’ve been confronted with a choice: believe truth or believe a lie.
The Lord has also used this year to show me truths about Himself. These truths have been made real in my heart and have helped me to combat my anxious thoughts. One truth is that God is sovereign. There have been many circumstances this year where God has allowed me to see His sovereign hand at work. Another truth is that God is good and that He loves me. Not only is the Lord in control of all things, but He is also a loving and good God. Therefore, I can cast all my cares and anxiety on Him because He does care for me. I am so thankful that the Lord has used this year to take these truths that I have known in my head for a long time and implant them deeper into my heart.
It has truly been a gift and privilege to travel these last two years, and my heart is full of gratefulness that I was able to take part in the legacy of the Pettit Team. As I leave, I feel a mixture of emotions–sadness to leave many friends who have become like family to me, excitement for what is coming next, but also gratefulness for how the Lord has changed me through this experience.
Looking back, I can definitely see how the Lord wisely and graciously laid the opportunity to travel right in my lap when I was not pursuing it. As I came on the team, I was in a particular time of needing the Lord to break me. He used crucial circumstances, preaching, and a wonderful Bible study from the book of James to help open my eyes. Prior to traveling, I had asked the Lord to really show me more of my sin and its seriousness. He answered that request and humbled me as he showed me more of how truly self-centered my heart is without him. He kindly allowed me to see patterns of deeply engrained selfishness and self-absorption and how at that time I was wanting my own will and desires more than His. I was brought face to face in a new way with who I really was, which was very painful, yet in spite of the depths of my own depravity, God’s love in pursuing my heart was even deeper. I have rejoiced in the kindness of the Holy Spirit to do his work of conviction and breaking which has only proved to me and reassured me of God’s active, pursuing love. As the Lord has shown me my natural selfish desires, He has also increased my desire for my life to really be lived for heavenly things—becoming more like Christ, discipling others, and promoting the kingdom. I praise God for the victories He has given me over some strongholds and the strengthening of His values in my heart, and I long for Him to continue to break and change me.
The Lord also is deepening my appreciation for the trials he allows in my life. He is doing this by changing my attitude towards trials from one often of resentment to actually being more interested in what He is trying to do in me through that circumstance. I have learned that all of life is a trial, and I am in desperate need of the Lord whether life seems easy or hard. The Lord has done many more things in my heart, but these that I have mentioned are particular highlights for me.
I want to publicly thank Brother Steve and Terry for their ministry to me—their discipleship, guidance, generosity, and patience. They, along with many lessons and experiences on team have made a permanent impact on my life, and I will always treasure the many memories that I have from my two years of traveling.
It has been a wonderful privilege to travel on the Pettit team for the last two years and I praise God for his Sovereign control to allow me to travel. It’s hard to believe that after fortifying such deep relationships over the last two years, the time has come to end. As I depart the team with elements of sorrow, I’m truly thankful and excited for the plans God has in store for Amberley and me.
I truly can’t express my thankfulness to Brother Steve and Terry fully because of how greatly they have impacted my life. It has been a joy to travel with true servants of the King. To allow me to come on the team and be the Teen Evangelist was incredibly trusting. They have challenged me spiritually, advised me, and loved me. God has used both of you in my life and I praise God for allowing me to travel.
Traveling, as you could imagine, has molded and shaped my life in many areas. I came on the team with elements of immaturity, unseen insecurities, and a lack of ministry experience. Although I cannot say I’m free of these areas, I’ve see how the Lord by His grace has revealed and molded me. Praise God for his patient love to grow his children to become like their Savior.
It’s amazing how quickly four years can go by! As I look back on these years, I can’t help but see God’s faithfulness and kind hand in my life. The experience of traveling on the team was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. Through the many churches I’ve visited, people I’ve met and ministry opportunities I’ve had, God has given me a better perspective on the work of Gospel. So often, I focus on my immediate surroundings, problems or difficulties. But to see what God is doing on a larger scale throughout the world, makes me realize that I am just a small part of something so much bigger than I am. And the faithful God that is fulfilling His purposes in the big picture, desires to do the same in my very small, but no less important, small picture.
Then personally, God continually adjusted how I viewed myself, God and others. The Lord exposed areas of selfishness and self-dependence that had become a part of me. Through His Word and the challenge of others, God has changed me, and truly made me a different person.
Traveling on the team impacted me in so many areas. I am so thankful for it will continue to cherish the experiences and friendships for many years.