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Trey & Mary Watts Newsletter (Spring 2024)

Greetings Friends & Family!

There is so much to share! We pray that this letter finds you well.

Do you remember those giant coin spinner wishing wells that used to be in malls? You would drop a quarter in the slot and it would slowly spin around the outside edge, speeding up as it got closer to the middle? Those things were always mesmerizing to me! Well, let’s just say that Boot Camp is the hole in the middle of the wishing well and we are rapidly speeding towards it. March and April were busy with speaking engagements, volunteer groups and preparing for both the Mud Run and Boot Camp. May is jam packed with the actual Mud Run, finishing our homeschool year, preparing our schedule for the next school year, getting all six of us ready for our summer teams, plus all of the normal family life things like church, grocery shopping, cooking, etc. And then June comes and we’re pretty well at Boot Camp. Whew…I’m tired just writing it out! Here’s just a little update of what’s been happening.

Tough Gator Mud Run
The 2024 Tough Gator Mud Run was on May 4. It was a beautiful day raising money for the overseas mercy ministries. We had over 600 runners complete the course, with no major injuries. All of the Watts crew had different stations that we were working. It was a long day, but a good day. We praise the Lord for the lives that will be helped with those funds.

The TMI family all have the option to be a part of the test run a few days before the big day since we’re all working during the actual event. Sadie and Clara ran together, while Trey ran with JC and Ellie. They all had a great time and Trey won the “Fun Parent” award for going with them. By the time JC, Ellie, and Trey made it to the finish line, Sadie and Clara had already rinsed all of the mud off.

Friends & Co-laborers
In April, we were excited to have a group from the Southern Methodist denomination (our senders) visit to serve together with TMI for a few days. There were over 30 people of all ages, from many different places here. They were a phenomenal help to us as we prepared the base for the summer ministries. They even got to be a part of putting up the Big Top!

I have to share a quick story of just one of the ways they blessed the ministry. I (Mary) love getting to work with the younger kids when they’re here. We call them the Munchkin Missions and I told someone that they were my “tiny but mighty crew”. We had seven 5-11 year olds. They helped with many projects, but the main thing they worked on for the week was to throw away old broken totes, tents, and tent poles that had been collecting for quite some time. They worked with such gusto! They really enjoyed being able to (literally) throw things into a giant dumpster. They actually had put so much in that Trey had to come pack it down so we could finish! When we were done, I told Mrs Loretta, the lady that was assigning tasks to us, how thankful I was that she found jobs that they could do. Her reply blew me away. She said, “Sis, you don’t understand. That stuff has needed to be done for quite some time and I just haven’t had time to get to it. They were an answer to my prayers for help!” I chuckled and said, “Who’d have thought that your prayers would be answered by a group of 5-11 year olds?!” So, not only were their parents a huge blessing to the ministry, but the kids were as well! And, don’t worry…we had plenty of snack time and play breaks too! :) Having them here was an encouragement to our hearts as well. We were blessed to work alongside them, but even more so to spend time in fellowship with them. We LOVE seeing familiar faces! We mean it when we say that we would love to see you if you’re ever in our area, even if it’s just for a quick “hug and a hello”!

Grampa’s Wisdom
In our last newsletter, we shared about our sweet Grampa Bennett’s passing. I’m thankful for all of his advice over the years, but a recent one just keeps coming up over and over again in our lives. As we were preparing to move to Florida, he said, “I want you to be FAT missionaries. Not get fat, be FAT: Flexible, Available, and Teachable. It will serve you well and make you better missionaries.” His 60+ years of Christian service gave him insight that he knew we would need. And oh how often I am reminding myself of this particular advice. When you pray for us, would you pray that we would have a FAT attitude that overflows into our actions. I know that sounds funny to say, but honestly shouldn’t we all be living this way?

Why do I share that?? Because we’re practicing our flexibility. As of our last newsletter, we were still scheduled to lead the preteen team to Australia. Then Australia was canceled and we were moved as head leaders to the Costa Rica preteen team. Finally, Costa Rica was canceled and we are now set to lead the preteen team to our Teen Missions base in Honduras. See where our lesson in flexibility is coming in? We are at complete peace and have known from the start that our summer assignment is always subject to change. You may be wondering why it would change. There are many reasons a team may be canceled or changed: low number of sign-ups and safety of the location or team are just a few. We are so thankful for the wisdom and discretion of the ones in charge of making those decisions and trust that we will only go somewhere “if it’s the Lord’s will”. He is the one who directs our steps and we only want to be where He is placing us. We do look forward to serving in Honduras this summer, Lord willing. If you remember, Trey co-led an adult team to this base back in October of 2023. So, this will be familiar territory for him.

Sadie is still going to Poland. Clara is still going to Tanzania. JC and Ellie will still be with us. We covet your prayers for each of us, for health, safety, peace and especially, spiritual growth.

You’re Invited!
Commissioning 2024 is just a few weeks away on Saturday, June 29, and you’re invited! We would love to see you there! Of course, we realize that it’s a long way for some of you. If you can’t join us in person, you should be able to join via livestream on Teen Missions International’s YouTube page. It is such a special and beautiful service. This year will be different for us as we’ll be saying “see you later” to both Sadie and Clara as they head off with their own teams to different continents. If you can’t join us, would you set a reminder to pray for us on that night especially? And for all of the other families that will be doing the same thing.

Speaking of the kids….
If you would like to send cards, notes, or even just verses of Scripture to encourage them during their summer, you can send them to our home address until June 16. Please write on the envelope “For Boot Camp” or mark it in some way for us to know, then I can save them and give them to them during Boot Camp. We will most likely have field addresses for them, but there is no guarantee that mail will actually get there, so this may be an easier option.

THANK YOU to everyone that has given to send our kids on teams this summer! THANK YOU to everyone that has been praying for them! It is a blessing to watch the Lord provide for these BIG needs in their lives. They are all fully funded! We praise the Lord for how He has provided through you all!

As always, we are so grateful for your partnership in this ministry. We feel like we better understand the apostle Paul’s sentiment when he was writing letters to the churches and said, “I thank my God every time I remember you”. We pray for the Lord’s blessings on your life.

With much love and thanks,

Trey & Mary

To God be the glory —Ephesians 3:20, 21

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