Dear friends and family,
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Here’s a challenge for this month. Pray about everything without worrying, and thank God for everything He’s done. The peace this brings is past all understanding, but it will be a guard for our hearts and minds as we live daily as Christians!
One thing that’s been in the local news lately is the lockdown-related suicide statistics for the Seattle area. Seattle has statistically had a high suicide rate through the years, especially during the bleak winter months. But, during the COVID-19 pandemic, those numbers have greatly risen. In a recent Seattle Times article, a survey was done that concluded that over half of people in the greater Seattle area were feeling “down, depressed and hopeless.” This is especially true for much of the younger generation between the ages of 18-39. Because of this, many have fought suicidal thoughts. On a local radio station, it was even reported that over half of the region is suffering from suicidal thoughts. This is a very tragic statistic.
Greg recently had a conversation with an Uber passenger regarding this very subject. As they were talking, the young man opened up about his struggles during the whole COVID-19 pandemic. Greg had briefly mentioned how statistically over half of the Seattle region was struggling with the same problems, even to the point of contemplating suicide. The young man admitted that he was one of those who had considered suicide. As the conversation carried on, Greg sent hope his way by sharing the love of Jesus. He let him know that it was because of Jesus that he was able to have so much hope, even in the darkest of times. The young man was open, conversed further, didn’t fully agree, but respected Greg’s position. By the end of the trip, Greg had planted a seed that the Holy Spirit can now work with! Often that is what we are…seed planters and water carriers. It is God who brings about the change.
Sometimes hopelessness comes in the form of a bad day at work. One evening Greg was Ubering and picked up a young lady who had just been demoted at her job. She was really feeling down and rather hopeless. As Greg drove her to her destination, she began to open up about her bad day. Then she asked a simple question: “What do you do when you have a bad day?” That was the open door for Greg to share about Jesus! From that point, he talked to her about how he was a believer in Christ and that when things weren’t going so well, he would simply leave it at His feet, and trust Him to take care of it. To that the lady responded, ”That’s a good idea! I really like that!” By the time the trip was over, the lady had decided in her own heart that this was the answer she needed to conquer her hopelessness from her bad day. Again, that was another seed planted. Truly this is the answer to bad days! Christ wants the weight of all our struggles. He loves taking them from us to lighten our load! Because of this opportunity presented to Greg while Ubering, a lady discovered what she needed to do to lighten her load.
Greg continues to disciple and spend time with the 5 guys God has given him to invest in. Mark is still going through cancer treatment. His chemo has worked somewhat, shrinking a few of the tumors in his body. But, overall the cancer continues to spread. He really does need a miracle breakthrough. We feel his time is not yet up! Please continue to pray for a complete healing in Mark’s body. Spiritually, Mark is growing by leaps and bounds but physically, his body is suffering. In terms of medical treatment, he has one last option left, intense and focused radiation treatment that singles out each tumor in his body. The procedure is said to be rather risky, so pray that there is success in this. Most of all, pray for a miracle. These are the times to be praying for miracles. If we don’t pray, we won’t see miracles as much. God moves through the praying saints! He desires us to be a part of the amazing things He wants to do through our lives, with healing being part of that.
The other men are doing very well. We are pleased to announce that Cameron has just finished doing StartRite 1. We moved through the program slowly, taking nearly two years to complete it, but it has been phenomenal for him. He is praying more, seeking after God more, and just living loved by God more. Once an atheist, now a Jesus follower! What joy! We began to do StartRite 2 as of this writing. It is a much more intense and focused study of things within the Christian faith! Thank you for praying for all these men whom Greg is discipling. We must live in the command of Christ to go and make disciples.
We’re experiencing a lot of growth in both youth and children’s ministry at church. Debbie and the girls work in the children’s church every other Sunday, and Isaac helps out on Sundays he’s off. We go to the early service on those days so that we don’t miss out on the main church service. Isaac has even taught the K-1 kids on his own a few times! It seems like every time we go, the numbers keep growing. It’s great to meet new kids and their families. The youth group is also growing–every Wednesday it feels like there are new faces.
The Edge youth group is growing in other ways, too–spiritually, in service, in leadership, and as warriors learning to overcome the enemy. They are so eager to grow and to serve and bless others. Moriah’s service projects team recently organized a breakfast for our worship team at church, which was a huge blessing to them. Also, the student leaders are getting ready to go through freedom prayer training so they can learn to pray for others and learn to apply the training to their own personal lives, both now and in the future as they grow into adulthood. We love seeing this kind of growth, and we’re excited about what’s happening in our children and young people.
That’s all we have for this month! Thank you for your continued support and prayers. Please continue to pray that the rioting will come to an end. Even very recently, there were riots in Tacoma, which isn’t too far from us. From Seattle to Portland, OR, things are still very unsettled in this region. More than ever, we need a real move of God! It takes prayer, and we hope you’ll join us in spiritually battling for this region as well as your own.
The Nissen family
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About Greg & Debbie Nissen
Greg and Debbie moved to the state of Washington at the beginning of 2019 to begin a new work. They formerly served in Crewe, England for over eleven years, working in areas of youth, children’s ministry, discipleship, local outreach, schools work, prayer ministry, and church work. They also assisted in planting a new church in 2010.