Dear Friends & Family,
Greetings from Ankeny (hopefully soon that will change). I wanted to send a quick update of our last month and a half. I know our last update came out at the beginning of July, but hopefully you’ll be able to understand the delay better in a minute.
July 16-20th was a whirlwind for us, as we participated as the featured missions work for the Point of Grace Church VBS. I would leave for work at 6:30am, go straight to the church after work, and get home around 9:30pm. Needless to say, the week went by very quickly. The program at POG was amazing. They had over 600 different kids throughout the week, and averaged about 460 per night. The final # is a little fuzzy, and I may be wrong here, but I think there were a total of 50 professions of salvation. The Gospel message was clearly presented on a number of occasions and we praise the Lord for the fruit He gave.
We were able to share a little about our work in South Africa, and tell some of the stories of the challenges those children face. The kids (and I imagine some of the adults) raised over $6,000 for the ministry! We heard stories of children who would set up lemonade stands to raise money for the offering, kids who would dip into birthday & Christmas money and many other means, so that they could be a part of what God is doing in South Africa. Of course, we did hear there was a little miscommunication as to what the money would be used for. One little boy, after being asked what the money was going to do, was overheard saying “Duh, to buy Tools” (because we are the O’Tools). Another girl, when we were introduced in front of the group, raised her hand and asked “What is an O’Tool?” Apparently we need to do a better marketing job on the name.
The next weekend we were in Washington, IA and we had a wonderful time meeting new people, and seeing some that we haven’t seen in awhile. The following week was de-tasseling time in Carroll and was great fun, as you can imagine. On the 29th, we were able to meet with the Berean Fellowship in Carroll, and present our ministry. These are people that watched me grow up, so it is both exciting, embarrassing, and challenging to be in front of them all. The next Sunday, we were in Springfield, CO, presenting to Amber’s home church, so many of the same feelings were felt there. As intimidating as Deputation seemed from the outside, we are definitely seeing that there can be a lot of fun in it as well. It is such a joy to be able to travel and see so many old friends and make many new ones. The reception we have received in every church has been a blessing to us. Of course, since it’s not our work, but God’s, it takes so much of the pressure off us.
On August 10th, Brian & Lois Niehoff arrived home from South Africa for a quick 4 week trip. They have been going non-stop since they arrived, and we have been fortunate enough to tag along with them to several meetings. We were able to attend POG again one week, as well as our home church of Slater. It is a strange feeling to be somewhere so familiar, yet still feel like a visitor. We also had a meeting of our own in Adrian, MO. This is the second time we have visited that church, so I had to write a new sermon. Just kidding, actually, I already have two, but if we ever go there again, I’m in troubleJ.
We also had the opportunity to be on the Steve Deace Radio show on 1040 WHO. I grew up listening to every show on WHO, and never, ever thought I would be a guest at some point. I need to preface that by saying that Brian & Lois were the stars of the show, but I did get about 7 seconds of air time (on my third try. On the first two, my mic wasn’t on). I now have 14 minutes, 53 seconds of fame remaining. I guess I’ll have to try to get on the Jan Mickelson show.
We now have a brief lull in our schedule. Our next group of meetings start September 16th, when we’ll be at Calvary Baptist in Manning for the AM service, then Willow Creek Baptist in Des Moines for the PM service. On September 23rd we are in Lakota, IA for both the morning & evening services, and then on the 30th we will be at Lakeside Fellowship in Polk City, IA.
Inexplicably, for some reason we have not been able to line up any meeting beyond September 30th. When we started fundraising in February, we set October as our goal to be fully supported. It seems that after the end of September we have run into a brick wall, and couldn’t get more meetings lined up. We are praying that is because God knows we don’t need anymore. We are currently at about 50% support, but there are also some promising leads where people or churches have indicated a possible desire to commit to monthly support as well. We trust that God will provide in His time.
Thank you all for your continued prayer and support. We are greatly encouraged by the response we have received. Attached you will find the most recent update from The Pines Christian Care Center in Welkom, South Africa. This will give you a greater understanding of the needs there, and the ministry we will be entering soon. As always, feel free to contact us, as we love to share God’s work with anyone who will listen.
LOUIS, Amber, & Meredith O'TOOL
PO Box 1083
Ankeny, IA 50021