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Richard and Gina Barber Newsletter (Winter 2021)

We hope everyone had a great Christmas and that the New Year is full of blessings. We enjoyed Christmas with the family again this year. It’s always so good to visit and catch up with everyone. This year we had a special treat—it snowed! Yes, it was cold, but also beautiful as it fell, leaving a white blanket covering the ground. The kids enjoy the snowmen, snowballs and sledding. We only had it for a short time but it was fun to watch, especially when we are in a very warm house looking out the window as the kids played.

Although many people are frustrated with the year 2020, we found that we can make grand elaborate plans, but God is in control. We found ourselves, like many others, looking for ways to salvage our plans and seeking God’s Will for the future months at Teen MIssions. We had to cancel the summer program, but found that there were numerous tasks that we could do right here at the Teen Missions headquarters. The Land Crew has the grounds looking wonderful. Cleaning and purging “stuff” continues: needed paperwork from the first days of TMI to the present has been scanned and now stored in a cloud somewhere. (As I write this, I am told that additional files were just found. Will it ever end?) 

The board has approved the remodeling of the Print Shop. It will be our new Bible, Missionary, and Work (Bible school) facility. It will house the students, include study areas, have a common area, laundry and an apartment for the dorm parents. With building codes and such, we were able to do the “gutting” of the building and the contractors will do all additional work.  It looks huge upstairs with all of the walls out. The downstairs is still in the process of having walls removed etc., but it too looks very open. Please pray that permits and inspections go well and for safety for all that work on the project. 

Weekdays, I (Gina) have been preparing lunch for the staff. We receive food donations and are able to help our staff by giving them lunch each day. I am also in the process of contacting Boot Camp volunteers. It’s that time of year again. Once we know for sure how many teams we will have and where they will all be going, I will start ordering food for them to take with them to the field.  

Richard continues with Zoom meetings with each base every month. It’s a great tool for staying in touch with our overseas staff and getting information to them and from them. His biggest challenge is getting all of the paperwork from the bases. We need constant updates on staff and ministry and we encourage testimonies and pictures of the physical and spiritual work that continues. We all know paperwork is a chore, but that’s the only means of keeping track of finances, projects, etc. A reminder now and then, gives us the nudge we need. It is a tool to reach our donors and share the ministry that all of us are in together. 

Travel is tight right now, but Richard and I were able to take a much-needed trip to Ecuador. It was good to see Jonathan (Mijo, to us) and his wife, Sarah. We were also able to see some former team members, giving us the opportunity to share and pray with them. Most of our time was all business—meeting with officials and lawyers in order to take care of the needs in Ecuador. 

A couple weeks later, Richard and Paul Kostner traveled to Uganda. They were also in a lot of meetings taking care of important needs in that country. All is going well in Uganda and the ministry is back on track. We are not able to run our usual program, but the Word is being shared. 

So, back to Florida. We are now preparing for our annual Mud Run which will be held on May 8th. We had to cancel last years’ run due to COVID and we were afraid it would be quite a blow to our Rescue Units. We send all profits to our units for medical supplies. Our units provide first-aid care to hundreds of children and adults in many of our African countries. It’s an essential ministry for care where there is nothing for miles around. But, once again, God has provided and we have been doing well. We are excited to be able to have the Mud Run this year; if anything it will give us a feeling of “normal”. 

I think that has caught us up for the past few months. So I’ll share a few random things that pop into my head as I write and don’t really fit anywhere. 

*At Christmas we were able to see our parents and all of our kids (yes, they are all adults, but still our kids), grandchildren, and our little great granddaughter. 

* We may be traveling in February if things open up. Richard needs to meet with several of our base coordinators. He has personally met some but not all of our coordinators. If malaria is a problem in any of the countries, I will probably stay home and he will take someone else with him.

*And our big news! We are gaining a new daughter-in-law! Jon and Greta are engaged. She and Jon were able to spend a week with us at Christmas and then continued to Michigan to spend some time with her family. We are so happy for them. She is a BMW intern here at Teen Missions and of course you all know that Jon is on staff. 

*We have pictures of the ministry going on overseas in Zambia, the Phillipines and in Malawi.

I think that pretty much covers our comings and goings. Thank you so much for your many prayers and support. We appreciate each one of you. 

In Christ,