This past month I was able to take 3 young men, who are in our Disciple Making Training course, to the main campus of Penn State University, where we put our training into action and shared the gospel with dozens of college students! It was quite an experience!
For the past three months I have been running a training center in our home every Thursday night to train men and women to share their faith, and make and train their own disciples for Christ. We have practiced sharing “Our Story”, which can provide a connecting point with people we come in contact with, and sharing “God’s Story”, the glorious good news of the Gospel.
Now it was time to live out Christ’s command to “go and make disciples” in an environment where people were lost and ripe to hear the truth. Friday nights at a certain part of Penn State’s campus is like a fair, with college students milling about, going to bars or restaurants, meeting up with friends and just hanging out. When we arrived, I think all three of the guys I brought were nervous but excited to share. It was my intent to shepherd these guys, pray with them and lead them into situations where they could feel comfortable sharing the gospel. The Pastor we met up with had a large sign with a riddle on it, of which the last question led into a conversation about eternity! We were shocked how many students stopped and did the riddle and engaged in conversations about faith and eternity. We went on prayer walks, prayed with an entire wrestling team and shared God’s story multiple times with individuals and groups. All three guys grew more and more confident as the night wore on and learned how to engage with people in a natural way to share God’s story. It was an amazing night!
It is so easy to get stuck in a Christian rut, where we go about our day to day life, reading the Bible, praying, going to church and hanging out with our circle of Christian friends and family. Yet the Bible is very clear that we should be out there sharing what Christ did for us with others! I’d like to encourage you to step out of our comfort zones and intentionally create opportunities to share! God will teach you so much when you do! He will bring back the
“Joy of your salvation” into your life, which sometimes for a long-time Christian may have grown dim over the years.
I am so blessed to be doing this amazing work! Please pray for us as we will be taking a fresh group to the Penn State outreach this Friday night. Thank you so much for your financial support and prayers which makes this ministry possible!
Love In Christ,
Bill and Joy Gibson
Fall 2022 News Update
“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting…” Psalm 100:5a
God is good! How often have we heard that?
Many times, I’m sure, but that doesn’t make it
any less true. He is so good, in His very nature,
and in His blessings and provision to us, His own children.
We have seen God’s goodness here within our ministry this past summer in the following areas:
Growth within the ministry! There are seasons of investing, laying the groundwork, and preparing for growth within any ministry. We have been doing that for the past two years since we’ve been back in Pennsylvania. Now we are experiencing great growth and a fruitful harvest. Praise the Lord! The pornography recovery group I’m leading is flourishing, kids are being saved up in Ashland at the Youth Center, and I have a number of new people interested in receiving discipleship training!
Provision for our finances and funding. We ran a matching fundraising over the summer months with a goal of raising $10,000 to cover the rise of the cost of living, and other ministry expenses. God blessed us and we exceeded our goal, raising over $15,000! Thank you to all who donated. We couldn’t be doing ministry without you!
Training for me on effective one-on-one discipleship through the Timothy Initiative. I’ve been blessed to join a cohort with other discipleship trainers, which meets once a month to encourage, advise and pray for one another in our disciple-making endeavors. God will ultimately bring in the harvest, but it’s helpful to have the tools needed for sending out vibrant, multiplying disciple makers!
Youth center in Akron to re-open! We just got the green light from the Church we partnered with in Akron to go ahead and get our old Youth Center back up and running. After sitting empty for two years, it will be exciting to see the Center being used again to reach and bless young people. We’re looking for volunteers to train as staff, so let me know if you’re interested in helping out in this way.
Along with these exciting blessings, we have some very real needs! We are looking to raise another $1000 of recurring, monthly support to bring our income closer to the median income level for our area. Many months we struggle to pay our bills and provide for emergencies such as car or home repairs when something breaks. Please pray for monthly givers who want to partner with us in this ministry. God has always provided for us as a family when finances were tight, and we know He will again!
Bill and Joy Gibson
We are very excited this spring as we see God at work in many different areas of our ministry and our family life! I’d like to share some praises and also some prayer requests with you. Just knowing we have brothers and sisters in Christ around the country praying for us means so much.
Please pray for our new online Bible Study and accountability group we have begun this Spring. Its focus is to help guys stay strong in their personal purity and grow in their faith. We meet weekly to study the Bible together, pray together and check in on personal goals. I have seen a lot of growth so far with the men involved so praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord for our outreach opportunities! I have been blessed to come to know a few of the parents of kids at the Youth Center where we help out every Tuesday night. Harry and I were privileged to help a single mom move from a Women’s shelter into her very own rented home last week. This young woman is a recovered drug addict who has accepted Christ into her life and is trying to put her life back together. We were able to connect her with a church that blessed her with a $300 gas card and a $300 grocery card for which she was so thankful. We are also making connections and building relationships with the homeless folks we minister to at “needle park” in Philly.
Please pray for me as I have begun doing quite a bit of counseling with the young men I disciple. I’m finding that most people who want to be discipled have some issues that have been holding them back from really growing in their faith. God has given me the gift of helping many of them work through these issues and find freedom from sins that once enslaved them. I have also found an excellent counselor that I can refer people to who need more help than I am able to give them. I am praying about getting some training in counseling if that is an area the Lord can use me in.
Please pray for our financial needs. We will be kicking off our annual Summer Fundraiser in June and with the recent rise in the cost of living, we need to raise another $1,000 of monthly living expenses to stay on budget. We are trusting God to provide for our needs and would appreciate your prayers.
We are still planning on opening a Discipleship Home in the near (or distant) future. Pray for clarity on God’s timeline for this project as we think about the housing market and other factors.
Our oldest son, Harry, just graduated from High School! He has his mission trip to Nicaragua coming up in June and is very excited about that. We have seen such spiritual growth in him these past two years. Harry wants to go into ministry of some kind and is praying for direction about what college to attend. He is taking a gap year this next year, where he will do some mission trips and work landscaping full time. Please pray for direction for his future plans.
The other children are all thrilled to be on summer vacation. Molly will be working with Harry landscaping full time this summer and getting her drivers permit, Lord willing.
Luke, who turns 14 in August, will be working with my father in law doing odd jobs and playing with the neighborhood boys in his free time.
Miles will be spending lots of time working on his reading with Joy so he can go into 2nd grade a fluent reader. He still does speech therapy but is getting pretty proficient and clear with most of his speech. He plans on riding his new bike and swimming a lot this summer.
Joy is happy to have her dad visiting us this month of June, as he does many projects around the house for her which I tend to put off. She is staying busy working in her garden, playing her new piano and helping the kids with their various needs and projects.
I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude to the Lord for blessing me with a wonderful family, wonderful friends and prayer partners and a chance to do what I love - discipling young men for the Kingdom of God.
Bill and Joy Gibson
“When was the last time you wept for the lost?”
I remember my Youth Pastor asking us teens this question once on a youth retreat. After rolling my eyes and thinking “how corny can you get?” I began to listen as my youth pastor taught us a valuable lesson which I’ve never forgotten - that Christians can get so caught up in their own lives, comforts and ambitions, that they never take the time to seriously think about unbelievers spending eternity separated from God. This should make us full of sorrow and compassion for the lost, and motivate us to spend a portion of our lives, at least, in striving to reach these lost folks for Christ.
I have been shedding quite a few tears for the folks I have met recently while doing an outreach in Kensington Park, Philadelphia. This is a park in downtown Philly nicknamed “needle park” where homeless folks and drug addicts are allowed to camp out. Over the past few months, we have had the privilege of meeting dozens of lost souls, serving them hotdogs and hot chocolate, hearing their stories and sharing our story of the good news of Christ. Ministering here is not for the faint of heart. The sights I’ve seen here have sobered me and touched my heart with compassion for these lost and hurting folks. There are a few folks I’m hoping to build a relationship with as we continue to go back every month, so please be in prayer for them to accept Christ as savior and allow Him to clean up their lives.
Would you also please keep the young men I’m discipling in your prayers this month? Many of them are gaining victory over addictive sins and some are stepping out in leadership roles. Pray for their spiritual growth and that God would use them to impact those around them.
Here at home, Joy and the kids are doing well. We are all healthy and ready for Spring to come. Harry will be graduating High School this May! Molly will be turning 16 in April, and Luke is a full fledged teenager, almost as tall as me! Miles is still our “baby” at age 7 and keeps us feeling young! And although we love having 3 teens in the house, this brings its own set of challenges, so please pray for Joy and I as we continue to raise all our children to love and serve the Lord.
In closing, I think of the story in the gospels of Jesus looking out over the city of Jerusalem and weeping for the lost souls who would not come to Him. I’m so glad Jesus has a tender heart, full of compassion and mercy and love for sinners. I pray you and I would be able to emulate Jesus in this way and that we would be able to think back and remember the last time we wept for the Lost!
Bill and Joy Gibson