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Jon Barber Newsletter (Winter 2021)

Greetings from Florida!

I hope the holidays have found you well. The last few months have been busy, but filled with excitement. 

I have some big news to share with you! This past December I got engaged. My fiancé, Greta, and I are planning a September 2021 wedding. Greta is an intern and is currently spending her time working in the Sunday school department documenting reports from our overseas bases. 

Over the holidays, we were able to split our time between Ohio and Michigan. This was Greta’s first time in Ohio meeting the family. We spent Christmas in Ohio and even enjoyed a white Christmas. After that, we went to Michigan to celebrate Christmas with Greta’s family. We were able to plan some wedding details while in Michigan including setting the date and securing our venue. We have decided to have the wedding in Michigan at the church Greta grew up in. 

The chilly weather was refreshing, but we were happy to get back to warm Florida. 

I got back to Florida shortly after the New Year and returned back to Teen Missions the 7th. I am still working on the outside land crew. As you know, I helped with the building of  a new porch for the Conference Center rooms that overlook Bathtub Lake. I, and Brandon Metzler, are now working on building a seawall at the Bathtub Lake, this will be roughly 40 feet and will keep the ground from eroding. 

We have started preparations for the annual Teen Missions 5K Mud Run. The proceeds of the Mud Run are sent overseas to help children in our Rescue Units. This mud run greatly helps our Rescue Units by providing money for medication and school supplies for the kids who are unable to be supported by their families. Oftentimes the kids who come to our Rescue Units are orphans, or children of single parents who are unable to fully support them. We are able to provide the  kids with food, medication, school uniforms and monthly camps where they can learn about the Word of God, along basic survival needs like gardening. 

I have been asked to help head up the Mud Run preparations with a fellow co-worker. Thus far, we have been inspecting the property and obstacles. We were not able to have the run in  last year, so the property is in need of extra work. We are hoping to add some new obstacles to the run, and update the traditional obstacles. With the abundance of land and water, we have some unique obstacles which adds a level of difficulty to the run. 

We are adding some new additions and buildings to the Teen Missions property. Our biggest project is the transformation of the old BMW lounge and Print Shop into the new BMW Dorms. We have gutted out the old lounge and Print Shop, and will have contractors build the new BMW center. We are hoping that construction will start soon and be finished by the start of next year’s school year. We also were able to pour concrete flooring for the new overseas storage room. The floor was unlevel and would hold water. 

It is  typical to find me working on the equipment and vehicles. I have been able to fix two cylinders on our front loader as well as replacing the internal pumps on the tractor we use to mow the banks around the lakes.

During my freetime on weekends I am able to spend time with Greta. As we are in the middle of planning a wedding, that takes up a good part of our time. Greta and I both enjoy the outdoors, so we often spend time at the local parks hiking.  One of my favorite hobbies is to go surf fishing. I do this from the beach during the day, although at times I will go out with my buddies  at night and fish for sharks. Greta enjoys spending time at the beach, so often she will sit on the beach in the sun while I fish. I have yet to convince her to get a fishing license. 

I have shared a ministry update about Malawi in the past. I thought you might be interested in hearing about what’s happening in the Philippines since this is where I went on my first Teen Missions team. 

Although COVID seems to be bringing the world to a screeching halt, some of our bases are able to continue ministering in several areas of ministry. In the Philippines our Circuit Riders are able to continue traveling to area villages to share with the children and parents. Our December report stated that there were over 70 decisions for Christ!

Following are a few statements from their reports: 

“The house we usually teach the children is under quarantine, but we continue to teach them even though it is sometimes difficult to find a place that is comfortable.”

”Rain or shine we continue to teach for even the parents are willing to join with us and also they give us a place where we don’t get and assist us watching the children.”

“The situation in our location right now is hard because the owner doesn’t want us to use the house because of COVID 19, so what we do is we teach the children at the side of the road.”

We are pleased that the Philippine Circuit Riders, staff and students are able to continue in ministry. It’s exciting to see the Word being spread and souls being saved. 

Thank you for your continued support and prayer which enables me to continue in the ministry.