We hope Spring is just around the corner for all of you! We were somewhat dismayed as “winter” came later again this year with one of the snowiest Februaries on record. Last year we had major snowstorms in April, and we were hoping we weren’t on our way to another year like that! Mid-March, we had close to 10 inches of rain, which melted most of the 2 ft. of snow we had on the ground and caused major flooding. But a week later, the sun was shining, we could see the grass again, and as we walked outside something came to our attention; it was the sound of birds singing and chirping! David, who grew up in Mississippi and had fair weather all his life, appreciates these signs of Spring so much more now after being in Iowa! It reminds us too, that we can have hope the long Winter is over as it says in Song of Solomon 2:11-12 and of the promise of new life.
Ministry to the Body of Christ
Over the winter months, we were busy with ministering in several local churches. We were able to step in when a congregation’s pastor underwent open-heart surgery and were in need of someone for pulpit supply. David and his female staff mentor with ATLAS were able to share to a new congregation about what ATLAS as a ministry does. This church has since asked us to come and help them develop a leadership program. We spoke at another church that is also in need of help developing their leadership. Lastly, the group of local pastors David meets with on a weekly basis, are in the process of coordinating a large gathering of churches from Spencer and surrounding towns for a night of prayer, worship, and teaching. The idea of churches coming together in this town and helping one another and doing ministry together is really starting to catch on. We’re so happy to see that come about!
Ministry to the Hurting
Daily, as the director of the non-profit ministry, ATLAS, David, gets to interact with those that are down and out and hurting. Often, we have shared that working in this kind of ministry rarely has fairy tale endings for those who walk through our doors. Many are still in their struggle and sin. But our job is not to transform their lives, that is God’s job, He brings the change. All we can do is be that open door in which those who have never called out to God before, can learn of Him, see Him through us and our testimonies, and hopefully walk out of our doors, with a new knowledge, that there is a great big God who loves them! (Hehe, singing kids songs over and over with our close to 2 year old may be influencing our terminology!)
One testimony we have for you is about the first man who walked through the door when David became the new director. However, we don’t remember the “code” name we used to protect his identity. But he quickly began taking the right steps for change in his life shortly after meeting him. However, over the summer, he and his wife made some bad choices, that led to drug use and other things. He realized that was not the life for him and asked for forgiveness and began to pick up the broken pieces once more and set them to rights. Recently, he has been asked to be the building manager of another local ministry! This will give them room and board, but also will require a high level of accountability as he and his wife will be the daily “face” of the ministry people see as they walk through their doors. We are so happy for them and this new role the Lord has blessed them with! And it blesses our socks off, that they are returning the love they have received, to pour out on others who are in similar situations they too were in not long ago!
Also, during our first few months at the ministry center, we encountered another young man, but not in a good way, he was not seeking help at the time, in fact, he was loving being in his sin. In the last few months he was serving a prison sentence. We were in touch with his sister for various reasons and she told us of the change that had come over him during this time. So, she reached out to us asking for help, to help him get on his feet when he returned after incarceration. We were a little leery of what we would encounter at first, doubting if he had really changed, because his reputation as a criminal was so extensive. We had heard many stories, and we knew he had hurt a lot of the people that we meet with regularly. Recently he has been released on parole. After seeing him on a regular basis, we can visibly see that he has changed! He seems like he wants to learn and grow and has been clean from drug use for several months! A sister ministry under ATLAS is an after-care ministry specifically for those returning from prison, so they have taken him under their wings and have really helped him to get a fresh lease on life. He has regularly attended their prison ministry meetings, as well as other Bible studies that David leads. It just goes to show again that we serve a BIG God!!
We have also had the privilege of leading two people to the Lord and one of them is currently in a halfway home that is Christian-based, wanting to get more of the help they know they need. We have also been meeting with a lady who is going through a divorce.
Rylie and Evie’s Corner
On the home front, we are a little dismayed that our oldest “baby girl” will be turning 2 at the end of April! She’s definitely no longer a “baby” and is growing so fast we can hardly remember all that she learns in a day! Her vocabulary has expanded immensely (it seems we can almost have a conversation with her!), she’s saying 2-3 words at a time, and is even singing songs to us! 12 Evie is now 3 months old and reminds us so much of her older sister, but in many ways too, is her own person. She seems to have a more mild-mannered personality than her sister, but when she wants to, she’ll let you know when she wants some attention! Haha! She’s such a joy, always quick with a smile, and is beginning to laugh, which is such a wonderous sound! It’s hard to believe, but in just a few short months, she’ll be rolling around, stuffing everything she can find into her mouth, and wanting to go-go-go like her big sister!
We thank you for your prayers and support!
David, Rachael, Rylie, and Evelynn Lyons
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About David & Rachael Lyons
David got saved at the Brownsville Revival in 1996 and is a graduate of Fire School of Ministry. He was a missionary in the Netherlands from 2002 to 2006 before moving back to the U.S. in the Fall of that year where he met Rachael. They were married in August of 2008 after Rachael graduated from the school and they moved to Peru to serve as missionaries from July of 2011 until November. of 2017 when they moved back to lead a ministry in the Midwest. They have one child, Rylie, who is 18 months old and another on the way in December.