Episode 41

October 03, 2023


Ministry in Rural America through Village Missions - Logan Matenaer

Hosted by

Erik Rasmussen
Ministry in Rural America through Village Missions - Logan Matenaer
The Concerning Him Podcast
Ministry in Rural America through Village Missions - Logan Matenaer

Oct 03 2023 | 00:44:09


Show Notes

Logan Matenaer joins Erik on the podcast to talk about his pastoral work in small-town Iowa and the ministry, Village Missions, that supports that work!

To learn more about Village Missions, visit: https://villagemissions.org/

Concerning Him - https://concerninghim.com/
Concerning Him Podcast - https://concerninghim.com/podcast/

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: Concerning Him. An Emmaus podcast is a ministry of Emmaus Bible College. Concerning Him seeks to enrich Christians around the globe by educating and equipping them through various media. For more information about Emmaus, please visit Emmaus.edu. [00:00:19] Speaker B: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Concerning Hymn podcast. Today we are joined by a good friend of mine, former teammate of mine, Logan Matineer. Welcome, Logan. [00:00:30] Speaker C: Hey, good to be here. Thank you, Eric. [00:00:32] Speaker B: I'm excited, man. It's good to see you, even though it's only over zoom, but you'll be here in a few weeks on campus, is that right? [00:00:40] Speaker C: Yeah, I think we're playing an alumni game together, if that's still the plan. As long as you don't get injured between then and now. [00:00:47] Speaker B: I'm out there on the field with those players every day, so injury is a high risk. [00:00:52] Speaker C: Oh, that's right. Yeah. Assistant coach still. [00:00:55] Speaker B: Yeah, that's right. Well, anyways, that's not what we're here to we're not here to talk about soccer. But it's good to see you. I'm happy to have you on and yeah, a lot of exciting stuff going on in your life, especially in the last year pastoring this small church in this small town in Iowa, and I'm looking forward to talking to you about that. But let's just get started today with kind of your story. Who are you, Logan? How has the Lord worked in your life to find yourself in small town Iowa as a rural pastor? [00:01:27] Speaker C: Yeah, well, first off, I'm saved by grace. And a little bit of my kind of story of coming to faith is I grew up in a Christian family, but that was coming from kind of a Catholic background. And so more or less kind of figuring out what Christianity is, what going to church is. And growing up, I had a very self righteous sort of personality. I didn't feel like Christ like that I was good enough, I didn't need Christ. And the Lord really convicted me of sin, kind of in high school or late grade school, kind of 8th grade, 9th grade, realizing that, yeah, I'm a sinner and that Christ did die for me. And I can just remember just really a turning point in my life when I finally understood that Christ's grace was sufficient for me and that he died for me and my sins. And from that point on, it kind of set me on a trajectory of wanting to go into full time ministry. And I realized that the Lord had gifted me with a love for people at that time. It was a love for agriculture and kind of sustainable farming and a love for theology. And so I was like, what can I do that can combine all these three and some sort of career? And that's ultimately where we ended up meeting at Emmaus Bible College 2014 or so is when I started going there. And I originally was planning just to go there for a year and do the one year Bible certificate and then go to a tech college, get some sort of sustainable farming agriculture degree and then head overseas and try and match these two of meeting people's physical needs, but also their deeper and more impactful spiritual needs. And then the first year at Bible College, much like my self righteousness, I went into with a little bit of a haughty spirit thinking, oh, I grew up in church. Like, this will be all review for me. And that turned out not to be the case. And it just blew my world of just studying the Bible in its historical context and just really made me really hungry. And so I was like, I got to go back for a second year. And then same thing happened at the close of that year and I was like, well, I can squeeze into bachelor's if I work hard and take summer classes. And so that's what I did. And during that third year, kind of my last year at Emmaus, I started doing a little more teaching at my church back in Wisconsin and doing Sunday school classes. And I really fell in love with just the process of how to make theology come alive for all ages. And I really felt like I needed more preparation in teaching, in understanding theology. And so that's kind of what propelled my wife and I during that time we started dating. And we got married at the end of summer of 2018. And a week later I was starting classes at Dallas Theological Seminary with the kind of idea of going into sort of a teaching professorship role of some sort. And halfway through my time at seminary, the Lord kind of shook me up a little bit because I didn't feel the same passion of going into full time teaching that I once had. And it kind of threw me through a loop quite a bit. And I was like, kind of on this shaky ground where I didn't know where I was going or where the Lord wants me. And during that time, we started having people over hospitality and just being just relational ministry, not only with our church, but also with students on campus and just some strangers that would meet at coffee shops. And the Lord began kind of revealing to me that I had some pastoral giftings of just shepherding and caring for others. And so while I'm having this midlife crisis in seminary of not going what I thought I was going to do, and then outside of the classroom, I'm having this sort of joy and life of just shepherding people and being there in discipleship. And we really began really noticing that. And during that time, Village Missions surfaced during our second and third year. And Village Missions is an organization that specifically focuses on rural churches throughout America or throughout North America. And it specifically focuses on churches where they're on the verge of closing their doors. Kind of think of that church that you go through a small town and there's 300, 400 people, there's one church in the area. And those churches often struggle with trying to keep a pastor not only financially, but also trying to have someone that has experience or theological education and then also just it's a very isolating sort of circumstances for a lot. Of pastors or seen as rural churches are seen as kind of a step to something bigger and better. Maybe a larger congregation or something that's more influential. Climbing up this pastoral social ladder or economic ladder. And so what happens is there's a lot of turnover. It's very hard for these rural churches to get pastors and maintain them and financially support them. So what Village Missions does is they provide kind of these key things that you need in a rural setting is you need financial sustainability. So with my wife and I, village Missions helps with our kind of salary, I guess you would say. And then they also provide some sort of spiritual oversight and guidance. So you go to a town where there's one church, you're the only pastor. There's not a lot of spiritual mentors or things that you can bounce things off of. And so Village Missions, they have people in place to help with that. And so I regularly contact this gentleman who's kind of overseas 20 to 30 Village Missionary churches or pastors. And, hey, I'm going through this certain issue or complication at my church. What are your thoughts on it? And kind of a bouncing wall that I can bounce ideas off of. And then what are the things yeah, financial support and then just spiritual oversight. And it can be very isolating, I think, for a lot of pastors in rural settings because you're very isolated. And so this organization helps with that by facilitating, like, pastoral conferences or we have what's called district representatives. That's a person that I reach out to if I have questions or comments or want to fellowship, they come and visit us every twice a year just to provide that sort of relationship. And so during seminary, we had actually heard about Village Missions back at Emmaus, but it was three or four or five years since it kind of resurfaced again. And the thing that attracted us to Village Missions was this kind of incarnational approach to ministry. You're not only pastoring the church and being involved in church life, and honestly, as a solo pastor, that looks like anywhere from preaching to teaching to doing announcements, leading music, being a part of AV or audiovisual, youth pastor children's ministry, like, there's been Sundays where I have all those hats on in a given Sunday. But you're not only pastoring the church, but you're also pastoring the community. And so the idea behind Village Missions and their role for a pastor is that you spend half your time being out in the community. You're being where people are. And that's what I really loved because that's kind of where my heart was. I didn't want to be stuck in an office just preparing for Sunday mornings, day in and day out where it becomes a cyclical routine just Sunday after Sunday putting on a production. Not to say that there's anything wrong with putting time into teaching, but I knew for me, I wanted to be, know, having coffee or with people know, having the flexibility to audubon's a very that's where we're placed now is Audubon, Iowa. It's a very agricultural community. And so there's times where I'll just go help farmers trim their fence lines. And so I knew that with Village Missions, if they gave me that freedom to do what I already wanted to do and just do that relational aspect of ministry, I was like, I could get on board with something like that. Village Missions is a non denominational organization. Part of the process if a church wants to go with Village Missions is they have to lay aside their denominational affiliation and then Village Missions will go about seeking a pastor that they'll place in that sort of remote or rural town. And so Village Missions has, I think, 200 and 3240 different fields or different churches and pastors all throughout the US. Not in all 50 states, but a good majority of them. And so, yeah, that's how we heard about Village Missions. And we just really resonated with their motto. And their motto is preach the word, love the people. And that's where our heart was and the heart is still now. And so we began filling out this application. And, I mean, it's a pretty lengthy application. They pretty thorough. And every step of the way the Lord just confirmed that, yeah, this is where we're supposed to go. And so about last year, we graduated Dallas Theological Seminary in May of 2022. And then through the course of the summer and into the fall, we were placed in Ottawan, Iowa on October 26 is when we were placed. And I had my first Sunday here October 29. So we're coming up on a year long kind of our work anniversary or pastiversary, however you want to say it. And yeah, it's been really good. I mean, it's a lot of growth not only personally, but spiritually and just culturally too. And I wanted to share a little bit about rural culture just because it is a different beast and it impacts how you do ministry. And so during last summer, my wife and I wanted to kind of gain as much exposure as we can to rural ministry. And so we took this class called Through RHMA, which stands for rural Home Mission Association. And it was an intensive class. And through that they talked about rural culture and just a few of the things that we really resonated with. And I'll kind of intersperse some kind of personal stories of my interaction in ottawan, Iowa in rural culture, but there's a value of preservation over progress. And so you go to urban know the newest thing is almost the best thing, right? But in rural settings or rural areas, change is really hard. And the idea of progress is seen as kind of this outside force that's going to change heritage, change the way they've done things. And so being here, just running into things at the church or community, sometimes I'll ask why do we do things this way? What's the logical reason of why you put that podium up? And they'll just be like, oh, we've just always done it. And for me, I'm like, well, that's not a reason, that's just a statement. But that's kind of the thing is you'll run into that in rural cultures where it's always been done this way and to infringe upon that can be very disastrous. And so one of the things that Village Missions tells us is really don't make any changes within the first year. Just learn the culture, learn who's how they like their service or what songs and don't change anything. And so that's taught me just a lot of patience because I'm constantly a person where I see something and I like, I want to make it better, I want to make it more impactful. But sometimes in that process I can lose sight and damage relationships. Which gives us to the kind of the second thing that we learned is there's family over fraternity is what we learned in the class. But I see that time and time again. As soon as we moved here within the first couple of weeks, I knew who the prominent names in the town were. Like, okay, you meet a Christensen, it's the founder of the town, that's a big name. And just in this agricultural community we have people who've generational farmers who've lived here for over 100 years and their families grew up here. And I even see it in the church too. Audubon is a unique situation because there's not one church but there's about like five or six. Typically Village Missions wouldn't place the pastor in a town that has a Bible believing church, but they felt like it was deemed necessary and ought to be. But I'll run into people who, why do you go to the Methodist church or the Lutheran church? And their first answer out of their mouth will be, well, my grandparents went here or my parents went here. And that's sort of that family, that's the family heritage not only at the church, but just in day to day life of just this intricate connection to one's family. So much so that I think it can almost verge on the idea of idolatry. But it is interesting. And then another one is personality over professionalism. Like no one's ever asked me, oh, what's your degree or what's your education? They don't care about that really. I mean, I think they're thankful that I have some theological training, but they more want to know, are you personable? Are you relatable? Are you willing to get involved in this community? There's other ones, too. I want to say one more of living in a rural culture, I've realized that stories are really important. I go to local coffee shop here, and I just hear stories after stories. That's how they relate with one another. It's not so much through proposition or logical arguments. It's just through stories, sharing with one another of upbringing or their life. And even in preaching, I found that people resonate with sermons when I have relatable stories in them, not so much when I have kind of this Pauline logical argument. People relate with stories. And so that's something that's I think a little different than urban settings or in rural settings, there's more parable over proposition. And another thing that we found out, well, we were here audubon, and kind of the town surrounding it have a very big Danish kind of population, and I don't know really a whole lot about Danish heritage, but one thing I've realized is that people are not as facially verbal. So when I'm preaching, I'll tell a joke, and people may think it's funny, but you won't see it on their faces. And so that took me a little while to get used to kill me. Yeah, because I'll be like did I say something offensive? Why is no one laughing? But with the Danish culture, they're not so, I guess, emotional or facially expressive, but they may enjoy your presence, but you would never see it on their faces that they're enjoying your presence or your comment or joke. And so that took me a little while to get used to. I think I'm still getting used to know Logan. [00:18:07] Speaker B: I don't know if you remember when we were students at Emmaus, there was and I don't remember who it was a guest speaker in Chapel. And he made a comment, and I don't remember anything else of the sermon, but he made a comment about he said, man, I'm so glad places like Emmaus Bible College exist, training people who love the Word and who want to study the Word, and especially training men to preach. We really need preachers. And at the time, I was living in Dubuque, Iowa. I was going to Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel. And every Sunday, I'd look around and I'd see all these Bible professors all around me at the church I was at. And we'd have trained, experienced preachers, go months and months without preaching. And I remember thinking, America doesn't need preachers. We have way too many preachers. And then I graduated. I moved out of kind of at least with Emmaus. And I'm sure a lot of places with Bible colleges, seminaries towns, they kind of have this concentration of trained people. Obviously, it makes sense. But I spent some time in Minnesota. I spent some time in Pennsylvania. And I realized I was like, no, America really does need preachers. There are plenty of churches who don't have when I lived in Bedford, Pennsylvania, for about six months, which is a small town in south central Pennsylvania, and I met a pastor there of a small Baptist church. Wonderful man, I just love him. And he said before he was hired on as the pastor, the church went a couple years where they just didn't have anybody preach. They didn't have a pastor and nobody preached. They just get together and do Bible study and that was it. And they were desperate for preaching, but they just didn't have anybody. So it strikes me at something like Village Missions, I mean, everybody's context can kind of really influence what they assume the need or lack of need is. And I think when we were in school, my assumption was, oh, there's not really a need. But there really is. I mean, there's a lot of these small towns where there's no Bible believing church, or there is, but there's like four people or five people there and they don't have anybody who wants to preach or who can preach or who's trained to preach. And so I think it's so cool what Village Missions is doing in general. And then I think specifically what you're doing. And is it audubon? Is that how you pronounce. [00:20:41] Speaker C: You know, we found out how to say it when we got here, but you read it and you're like, Audubon. Everyone knows Audubon. But then it's kind of like an I at the end audubon. [00:20:54] Speaker B: So tell me about maybe specifically and you've done some already, but this town and the people at this church and some experiences. [00:21:04] Speaker C: Yeah, so the town, I was thinking kind of breaking it up a little bit of speaking about the church and then community and then just kind of personally as well. The town is itself about 2000 people and it's very agricultural based. A lot of farming, I would say primarily agriculture, cattle, so lots of corn. You drive here and there's corn everywhere. But a little bit about the church history. So faith community church is the church that pastoring It kind of started in the early two thousand s. And as far as I understand from what I've been told and stories, it was a pretty healthy church back when it started. I think there was well over 100 people members attending. And then through the course of kind of ten to 15 years, they had a few pastors come in. And then for a while they just had a teacher for about, I think eight or so years. And he didn't pastor at all, but he was just a teacher, so he'd come in and teach, but he didn't want to do sort of that day to day life, shepherding visitation sort of aspects of pastoring. And then after he moved on or went other places, there was around like three or four pastors before me who only stayed about anywhere from like six months to nine months. And so kind of this idea of how change can be very disastrous, of you have change in an urban setting that's not awful, but in a rural setting where change is very difficult, people handle it really differently. And so to have some of those quick changes time after time after time, really, I think, really dwindled the numbers to where we got to a point where we just had twelve members and that was when we came. And kind of the environment when we arrived was up until that point, they had been watching sermons online, all the music was online, YouTube. And so that's just a different feel. I don't know if I've never been to a church where I've watched video recordings of sermons or like, what do they call that campus site where there's a screen of the pastor. But I've never been to a church where music was totally online. And so for about seven months we were listening to songs off YouTube. And just recently in July, I started leading worship on guitar. I got proficient enough where we could switch to live music. And kind of reasons behind wanting to do that is not only is it I think it's beneficial to hear one another worship and to have live music, but it also opens it up an opportunity for people to use their gifts. And that was really cool just to see God really work in that. Because worship leading is not my forte, it's not my gift. But I found that in small churches, people almost need a little jump start to get moving. And the only way to do that is to initiate it yourself. And then hopefully people will fall into that and use their gifts. And one day I think the idea is to them take over some of that ministry. But the first week we had like five people sign up. We had a drummer, a bass player, and a guitarist, a vocalist. And half of those people recently started coming in the last month. And so it's really cool to see God, like God answer those prayers, those longings for live music, and do in the simplest and most adequate way of having one of everything that you need for a band. And then just like just coming here, it felt very much like a church plant where everything had to be kind of started up from ground zero. And even we have two elders, but even then the position of an elder was just someone that was someone that you just voted, you just voted on like a board community. And the idea of an elder shepherding, teaching, leading, serving, was really a foreign idea. And so what I did early on, I think it was started in January, is I started taking my elders through this book. Church elders by Jeremy Ryan. It's Nine Marks book and just walking through chapter by chapter, kind of what it covers in first Timothy and Titus of the qualifications of smelling like the sheep of teaching. And that's been a really cool process. But it's also been really humbling just of me coming in with this framework of what an elder is and then seeing kind of where they're at and their perception of an elder and to reel them in and to help them understand what an elder is and to encourage them to live out that role and the responsibility. And so it's been really cool to just see little nuggets of growth in them. I remember a really big change that we had was starting in January, we had this family, they have about ten or eleven kids and there was about four adults in the family. So very dysfunctional, like, all the kids are from different parents. And this family started attending our church and kind of the immediate reaction was to all the original twelve members was to just huddle behind this counter in the kitchen just because they didn't know what to do. And it was just like my wife and I just kind of like reaching and welcoming these people, but everyone else is like new people. What do we do? How do we respond to newness and change as a family that doubles the size of the church does? But what was really cool to see is as we're going through these chapters of smelling like the sheep, of being intricately connected to the people who are attending our church and who were called as elders to shepherd, it was really cool to see them reach out and go visit this family and even bring meals to them. And so it's really cool to see those little fruits because it can be very frustrating and difficult at times. I think in rural ministry and just being more of a solo pastor, that you have a lot of weight and responsibility and you feel like you're the only one wanting to get to a certain direction. It can sometimes feel like you're trying to pull or push a rope instead of pull it. But little nuggets like that has been really encouraging. I know with this family that started coming that was largely unchurched, unchristian. And I remember one Sunday, the little gal, she's about ten years old, and at that time we were going through the Gospel of Mark and she picked up, I don't know if it was her Bible or one that was in the pew, and she's like, oh, Pastor Logan, where are we at today? And I was like, oh, we'll be in the Gospel of Mark. And I then proceeded to show her where to find the Gospel of Mark and show the table of contents and how you can use that to find the Book of the Bible. I think a lot of times in rural ministry or just missionaries in general, people are always asking about, oh, how many baptisms or how many people came to know the Lord this month or this year. And I want to get there, but we're not there yet. But our baptisms and our people coming to know the Lord are kids finding out how to use a Bible, finding out where the Book of Mark is. And I think that's just part of the little joys and rule ministry that I get to experience and enjoy. And it's really satisfying and it adds a lot of life to kind of the ministry and what we're doing, what God is doing here in many ways. I don't know. You just want me to keep talking or follow up and I feel like I'm talking quite a bit. [00:30:15] Speaker B: No, it's great. I'm loving it, Logan. I'm loving it. I'm curious. You talked a bit when you were kind of introducing the concept of village missions a few minutes ago about how your time is split 50 50 with 50% being in the church and preparing sermons and that type of. Stuff, the other 50% being more in the community, which I would imagine is probably a blend of in the community with people from the church and people not attending the church. As I'm asking this question, I'm going to tell you another story just because this guy that I met in Bedford, Pennsylvania, the pastor is funny. His first name was Deacon. Pastor Deacon. Great guy. And the day my wife and I were moving away from Bedford, we were packing up the moving truck. My parents were there. Matt Tomlinson was there and helping us pack up, and he swung by just to say, you know, him and I had gotten pretty close, and we still text and email and stuff today, but he swung by to say hi, and he's like, I'm sorry I can't give you a hug. I'm not even going to shake your hand. He just is in this truck. He's like, I'm not going to get out. And just the window rolled down. And I said, what's up? But he said, oh, I'm covered in manure. And he had been in the farm, just somebody from his church and just I mean, he's a full time he's full time pastor. You know, he wasn't farming on the side or anything like that, but he was connecting and relating and helping with the people in his church and just living life with them. I had Reagan Benaski on the podcast recently. We were talking about discipleship, and one of the things Reagan was talking about was how part of discipleship is just doing the things you would normally do in life, but doing it with people and doing it intentionally and pointing them towards the Lord in this. Just living life with them intentionally. What strikes me about as being fascinating about this 50 50 and you're not just sitting at your desk studying and preparing the sermon is it sounds like you. Would get tons of opportunities to do that in this community, is that right? And just live life and do this practical discipleship. [00:32:36] Speaker C: Yeah, and I can share a little bit about that. So like when we first arrived here, well, first off, did you give him a hug or shake his hand at all? [00:32:44] Speaker B: I didn't. [00:32:46] Speaker C: The manure scared you away? [00:32:49] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:32:50] Speaker C: He lives up to his name though, being a servant. [00:32:53] Speaker B: He does amen. [00:32:58] Speaker C: But yeah, when we first got here, kind of our goal was you go into this new neighborhood or new town, the first thing we want to do is kind of just take bite sizes. And so we first wanted to get to know all our neighbors and we got to do that in the first, I would say month or so. And so I was just watching people's patterns. You see the same truck go by at this time like, oh, wonder what they're up to. Or if someone's raking leaves, I'll be like, oh, I'm going to go outside and rake leaves and see if they need a hand. And so from their mindset, it's like, oh, it's just coincidence they're having to be outside at the same time. But from my viewpoint, it's like everything's intentional, being outside or seeing people or putting myself in the paths of people because I just want to rub shoulders with whoever as much as I can. And what I found out early on is that this idea of going door to door, which I think some pastors before me have done, really wasn't the culture of Otoban, it was more people meet each other by serving shoulder to shoulder instead of face to face. And so with that in mind, my wife and I started thinking, okay, how do we do that? How do we rub shoulders with people? And the biggest way to do that is just volunteering. And so we'd go to the library and pick out books and oh, they had like a reading program where you could read books to kids during the summer and so I can read some books and did that. And then there's like a local theater in town too. And so just four or five months ago we started volunteering with that. And sports is very big in Ottawan and so we would write down all the games, high school games, and we would try to be at almost all of them just because people aren't coming to church. I think that's just a misnomer in this day and age that if you have a big event at church, people are going to come, or you have a flashy enough invite, people are going to come. And so the idea of drawing people in through advertising or cleverness is not necessarily works, but relationships work. And so if I can go to a baseball game and sit shoulder to shoulder with Scott, who farms and get to know him, and then that would maybe pave a way to having them over. And then they get to know us more and maybe one day down the know they might know Christianity or who Christ is or coming to church and it's a very natural sort of way of doing ministry. It just flows relationally from one step to the next. And so that was kind of what we do. We're heavily involved in the community just any way we can serve. Well, keeping in mind it's been a little tough recently just because so much has been happening inside the church starting youth programs, kids ministry, worship ministry, preaching that I don't want to sacrifice the community on kind of the altar of serving in the church. And so that's been a challenge I think that I'm still wrestling with is how do I still be that 50 50 in the community in the church. But yeah, that shows a little bit or reveals a little bit of what we do in the community lately, I think since the fall, in spring there's this new Christian group, it's called Fellowship at Christian Wheelers. It was started by high schoolers kind of wanting to facilitate it's not associated with any church in particular even though some of the kids go to church but it's meant to facilitate kind of Christian people growing in their faith and learning about Christ. And so we heard about it and it's recently started up this past year. And so what will happen is on first and third Sundays, I'll go and hang out with these youth and we'll have them over to our place or meet at the local rec center. And usually they have been having us teach on kind of a biblical perspective of certain topics that teenagers facing things as friends or dating or death and dying. And then me and another guy, me and another pastor will kind of give a theological perspective or what does the Bible say about these sort of topics? So it's very topical in nature but that's been really good to connect with the youth. Then also I help out with the nursing homes in Audubon and so I'll regularly visit there and also do what's called a vesper service. It's basically a Sunday service for individuals in that nursing home who can't go outside the doors and so just worship there's, preaching there's a message. So yeah, I really love that aspect of it. I think that's been the most exciting and most life giving part of what I do is just doing life to life with people. And I think a lot of ministry happens on the gator or around the dinner table instead of at the pulpit. Not to say that the pulpit isn't important, because it is. People need to hear the word of God. But that sort of ministry where it's life to life and people are sharing more openly about who they are and what they're struggling with and being able to have a voice and provide kind of the voice of what God would say about that or direction or wisdom is really a privilege to be doing. [00:39:12] Speaker B: This all sounds amazing. Logan. It's awesome. As we start to wrap up here, I'm curious if you have any other stories you'd like to share, cool experiences, anything that you'd like to share? [00:39:24] Speaker C: Yeah. Okay, I got one. So it was like a couple of weeks after we got here, and I'm just trying to get my grasps on the community, trying to see any door open to meet people. And so one of the ways we do that is through the newspaper. And so we got a newspaper and I saw on it that there was this gentleman, he was celebrating his 70th birthday. And I looked at the dress because, oh, you can mail the cards to the so and so address. And I was like, oh, this is like three or four doors down from us. And I was like, I'm just going to go over there, knock on the door and give him a birthday card. And my wife was like, no, you're not that's crazy. You don't just go knocking on people's doors that you don't know and giving them a birthday card. And so like any stubborn man, I didn't listen to my wife, so I went over and I gave him this birthday card. And he ended up inviting me in. And I was like in his living room for an hour. And I never met him. It turns out they're pretty ardent believers and they're Christians, and it's been a really good relationship since we've met them. And he prays for us, for me every Sunday. So it's really encouraging in that way of idea of stepping out in faith but also being intentional. And so that was just a really funny story. Cracks me up when I think about it and just how ironic but also how God driven and purposeful it was. It's only from God, but yeah, I would say that's pretty funny story. I can't think of much else besides that one. And probably time won't allow for much more, but I thought I'd share that one. [00:41:17] Speaker B: That's pretty good. Well, I want to make it clear I asked you to come on today, but just quick pulled up, it looks like villagemissions.org. Is that right? If people want to learn more about the ministry and everything. [00:41:29] Speaker C: Yeah, village. [00:41:29] Speaker B: And then I see there's a give tab up there and there's a give tab up there. It looks like if people are interested in giving to the ministry, do you have anything you'd like to kind of share about that at all? [00:41:39] Speaker C: Yeah. And you can see, I think if you go to I haven't been on the website recently, but you can find different missionaries and see where they're placed if you type in their name. Oh, yeah, it's a really cool ministry and organization. We've loved it so far. And they've been really supportive of us and they're doing a really good know. I think sometimes we think of rural America as this kind of gem hidden in the rough and everything's right and beautiful. But we're dealing with a lot of the same issues in urban settings. Suicide, drugs, pornography, all sorts of stuff. But oftentimes rural settings don't have the resources to combat a lot of this stuff. It can be a very dark place and I'd say it's a really cool ministry of what they're doing. They're reaching out to these often overlooked places and really seeing that even if there's 200, 300 people, even if there's 100 people, those are people made in the image of God. And everyone should be exposed to great theological training or education or preaching and have the ability to have a pastor and really encouraged by what they're doing and making that possible for all these small towns throughout the US. That are often struggling and without pastors or teachers or someone to minister to them. [00:43:17] Speaker B: Wow. Well, we will be praying for village missions. We'll be praying for you. And like I said, if anybody listening or watching is interested in this organization, this ministry, villagemissions.org, and you can check out the website there. Thank you very much. [00:43:32] Speaker C: Reach out to me if you'd like. You're more than welcome to include my contact. [00:43:40] Speaker B: Sounds great. Great. [00:43:43] Speaker C: Well, thank you, Eric, appreciate it. [00:43:44] Speaker B: Well, thanks for yeah, thanks for coming on. Good to see you, Logan. [00:43:49] Speaker A: Thank you for listening to concerning him an Emmaeus podcast. Ministries like Concerning Him are possible because of the generous contributions from our partners around the world. For more information about partnering with us, please visit Emmaus.edu slash partner.

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