There is a lot of information in this update, though parts of it you may already know. A few items are being shared again for the benefit of our newest Prayer Team members. For those who have been with us from the beginning (and wait ever so patiently for another update) and for those who are new --- THANK YOU for your faithful prayers for us. We could not be here without them.
Bill is teaching every Sunday at noon at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Garðabær. Average attendance is 25. Most are believers from other countries, though at least 3 are unsaved and Icelandic. Two families drive a very long distance to get to the church. One family from the south drives an hour and fifteen minutes; the other couple (she is a believer, he is not) from the north drives 45 minutes. These could be two possible preaching points for future outreach. We are prayerfully giving leadership, training and direction as needed.
Cindy will assume leadership of a Women’s Bible study that already meets on Friday nights, with the intention to train one of the other ladies to lead it.
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) Europe is planning to send a Bible study to every home in Iceland beginning October 2012, starting in Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland. Their director has asked for our help in providing support for new church plants as they reach into the homes of Icelanders.
Mike Fitzgerald/Lindin Radio wants to train Bill on the recording equipment so he can fill in if needed during the weekly International program. You can listen online at www.lindin.is every Tuesday 9:00-11:00 PM Icelandic time, 5:00-7:00 PM EST.
We will be starting a Bible study for university students in our home. A cookout and Bible Study will take place once a month through the summer. In September we will host “Bible Study & Brownies” every week.
We have visited SALT Church twice on Sunday evenings. It is a God-centered Lutheran churche in the country. Iceland Project missionaries have invested much time and effort into this church over the years. We plan to have more involvement here in the coming months.
Bill has coffee on a regular basis at one of the cafes. Pray for the staff of four that he is getting to know, and that he will be able to share the gospel with them.
We have exchanged pleasantries with most of our neighbors and have a few names but have not had a significant spiritual conversation with them. Pray for us that we will be very intentional to reach out to them.
The greatest bakery and pizza place are in the same building and within walking distance of our current home. The bakery opened about 30 years ago by German immigrants. They use only whole grain and natural ingredients. Their date and spice bread is amazing. We may need a line item in our budget called "Bread for Bread.”
We secured long-term housing in a strategic area of Reykjavík; we move in early June. After a unique application process we were chosen out of at least 18 other families who also applied to rent the home. Bill signed the lease with the owner’s father, Ingi. He is not a believer but said he was very excited for the work we were doing in Iceland, trying to start Baptist churches. Bill wondered how he knew what we were doing but was thankful for the warm welcome. Ingi said Iceland needs to return to the teachings of Jesus. Bill agreed and invited him to a Bible study. We later discovered that Tómas, the owner of the home, found an IMB video that was made while we were at the ILC in Richmond for training. Tómas and his wife watched the video and were grateful for the work we are doing. It is amazing how our God uses so many different things to bring His will to purpose.
There are two great options of schools for Cami and Ben near our next home. They will both attend whichever school we choose, as both schools go to age 16. One is within a literal minute walk of our new home. We have heard from Icelanders that it is a great school and it would be with kids in our neighborhood.
Current prayer requests
Kennitala and Residency Permits to be granted by Icelandic Immigration, ASAP
Friendships for Cami, Ben, and Alli
To be an enemy of the cross is to set ourselves against its purposes. Self-righteousness (instead of looking to the cross for justification), Self Indulgence (instead of taking up the cross to follow Christ), Self-advertisement (instead of preaching Christ crucified) and Self-glorification (instead of glorying in the cross) – these are the distortions which make us “enemies”of Christ’s Cross.
Three Lessons I've learned from the cross:
First, that my sin is foul beyond words. If there were no way for our sins to be cleansed and forgiven but that the Son of God should die for them, then our sins must be sinful indeed.
Secondly, I learn that God’s love is great beyond all understanding. He could have abandoned us to our just fate and left us to perish in our sins. But he did not. He loved us, and he pursued us even to the desolate agony of the cross.
Thirdly, I learn that salvation is a free gift. I do not deserve it. I cannot earn it. I do not need to attempt to procure it by my own merit or effort. Jesus Christ on the cross had done everything that is necessary for us to be forgiven. He has borne our sin and curse.
What, then, must we do? Nothing! Nothing but fall on our knees in penitence and faith, and stretch out an open, empty hand to receive salvation as a gift that is entirely free.
May our hearts be stirred as we understand more fully that "Christ who knew no sin became sin for us, that the righteousness of God may be inputed onto our lives. We live and Die, He Died that We may Live
This is a week filled with reflection, weeping and celebration. Few weeks are as meaningful and filled with emotion for a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Passion week stirs me like no other week of the year. The following thoughts have captured my mind's attention and my heart's affection. I hope they will be an encouragement to you.
"The Cross is a blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to get near enough to it for
its sparks to fall on us." John Stott
The incarnation of The Lord Jesus was the supreme act of humility and self giving. The reality of God taking on human flesh and becoming the God/man is almost incomprehensible to the human mind. Yet it was in this supreme act of humility of becoming humanity that God could reconcile sinful man to himself.
The sinless life of the Lord Jesus validates a perfect sacrifice. Though tempted in every way, our Lord could not and did not sin.
The death of the Lord Jesus Christ provides substitutionary atonement for the sinner. Christ who knew no sin became sin for us so that the righteousness of God may be transposed on our life.
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the supreme testimony of honor and validation. All that Jesus said of himself is true, the "only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth."
The ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ enables us to fulfill His commission and command. He sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us and, He has sent the Holy Spirit who indwells us and gives us all things for life and godliness.
The return of the Lord Jesus Christ is the witness of His triumph. What has already been accomplished is yet to be validated. Death still reigns in our mortal bodies, the earth still groans for her day of redemption. When our Lord returns "all things will be made new." His kingdom to come is a certainty, the time of its coming is known only by The Father, the joy of His coming will be ours.
The links below are dedicated to starting new churches around marine corp bases. It is definitely worth looking at. It is also a joy to recommend how this church (Pillar Church) is starting new church plants all over the world. Check them out!http://www.praetorianproject.org/
In 1987 when Larry Thompson was pastor at Loganville Baptist Church he led us in a prayer focus on Wednesday nights. One of the highlights for me was developing a method of praying that I still use today. The method simply divided every day into focusing on something specific for prayer.
As with any method, this is not perfect and can be copied, altered or manipulated in any way. It is a help to me and I wanted to share it with you. It should also be noted that there are times when certain matters of prayer are a daily focus. I have over the years had some request that were a daily focus and then were moved to a specific day. Again this is simply a guide to better encourage an active and specific life of prayer.
This is how I use the days of the week to break down specific prayer needs.
Sunday - “Saintly Friends” These are friends of mine that are in ministry. I pray state to state and then country to country to remember those that are serving the body of Christ around the world.
Monday - “Missions” This time is focused on areas of the world that I am engaged in, where I have friends serving or where God has placed a burden on my heart. There are also some great resources for praying specifically for people and people groups provided by the International Mission Board of the SBC, Voice of the Martyrs and Operation World are just a few good resources.
Tuesday - “My Task” This is my day for focusing on what I should be intentional about throughout each week. This day sets purpose and priorities for my week. (Not that God doesn’t have the right to interrupt) I find this day helpful in keeping me on track for what God has called me to.
Wednesday - “Workers” This day is set aside for workers in the local church, or if your front line church planting it could be used for praying that God will fill the needs in establishing a new work.
Thursday - “The Hurting” I use this day for those who are sick or grieving the loss of someone. I find more people being moved from my daily prayer list to this day than any other.
Friday - “Family and Fallen Away” I am intentional to pray for my extended family and for those friends of mine who are not walking with the Lord Jesus as they should. And yes sometimes they go hand in hand.
Saturday - “Sinners” (Yes I know we are all sinners) This is the day I pray for those who are not believers and followers of the Lord Jesus.
I hope this little guide might stir your own imagination to develop a strategic prayer focus that helps you.
Praying for God to do amazing things, for his glory, in the northernmost capital of the world!
1. God surprises us in really great ways. We found a long term rental in Reykjavik that would be "perfect" for the Jessup household. It listed on Tuesday, it was shown on Thursday and Friday to at least 17 other families. I was asked to write a "why I should rent to you" paper for the owners. I really did not think we would secure the house. I got an e-mail today with a rental contract. WOW. Takk Fyrir' Lord Jesus.
2. If you mix fish, creamy potatoes, and melt cheese on top it makes a wonderful lunch. Thank you Shelia Fitzgerald and Lindin. That meal was amazing!
3. An Americano in Iceland is a little different than an Americano in the States. I kind of like Iceland's a little better.
4. A french roast coffee in Iceland is a little lighter than a french roast coffee in the States. I like the States a little better.
5. I will continue to complain about high gas prices in the states, but a little less since I am not paying $8.15 a gallon. Yes it hurts to fill up, but it does lighten your wallet from all the Kronas. (That's Icelandic money not beer)
6. Toyota makes a really cool station wagon in Europe. I just keep telling myself this so I want have another mid life crisis. The last one came when I got the minivan.
7. The 66 North clothing Outlet is still really expensive, but I found some other good outlets where jeans are under $100.
8. I'm learning how gracious Icelanders are as I butcher the Icelandic language. They are more gracious than my English teachers were in school as I butchered the English language.
I hope you enjoyed these thoughts.
Praying and believing that God will touch the world from the Northernmost capital.
Today Ben and I had the chance to meet with other believers and pray for the elections coming up in Iceland. We prayed near the Presidents home, and our focus was asking God to give Iceland a leader who would honor His word. We also prayed that God would bless Iceland by turning the hearts of people to worship Him. Please join us in praying that the God who is both Creator and Covenant keeper will be honored throughout the nation of Iceland for the glory of Jesus Christ!
On Sunday, February 26, our van and a pickup truck pulling a trailer filled with suitcases, boxes and furniture pulled away from our home of the last four months - the Mission House of First Baptist Church, Loganville, GA - and headed for Stafford, Virginia. We made it just in time for Cami to attend one more OASIS with the youth group that evening.
We checked into Hotel Pelt, otherwise known as the home of Jason and Tracee, and made ourselves very much at home. They were away on vacation when we arrived so we gladly took care of their chickens and fish. They were still gone on Monday night when we had a few (dozen) friends over for our own farewell coffee time. Those who know the Pelts, know they can seriously host a party, so for them to miss it was both ironic and unfortunate. We were very glad there was coffee finally shared by both Pelt and Jessup families on the morning of our flight.
Ben spent ALL of his Stafford time with the Cain family, specifically Jaeden and Jensen. There was conspiring to hide him away so he would miss the flight to Iceland, but thankfully he was returned to us after much Dr. Who viewing and mac and cheese eating.
Alli also spent time with the Cain family, including an overnight that was not planned in advance. Huge thanks to Aunt Julia for letting her stay and spend time with her ‘big Jordan’ and new favorite Reannah. Much shopping and packing was accomplished while Alli played and slept at her home away from home. Win, win. :-)
Cami spent time with her BFF Madi. Thanks to Madi’s mom, Mandy, some of the items on Cami’s to buy list were purchased during their fun day out in Fredericksburg for a photo shoot. Mandy also helped plan a gathering at Cici’s Pizza where all three of our kids saw many of their Stafford friends.
The Dorsey family, very close friends since BCF days 20 years ago, came to Stafford to help us finish packing, weighing and labeling. Cindy could not have finished this job without them. Bill wisely tried to stay out of the way most of the time, with Cindy’s blessing. The youth room at Stafford Baptist became our staging and packing area, and at times it resembled a yard sale in a war zone. After zipping up LOTS of suitcases and bags (continue reading for totals) and loading the church van ahead of schedule, they treated us to a great American send off lunch at Five Guys. Many thanks to Pastor Naethan and Pastor Clint for running errands for us when we needed to be in many places at once.
Frank McKinney graciously drove us to the airport and helped us unload ALL of our luggage. He took the picture of us in front of Dulles.
I have asked myself where the past week has gone. In case you are wondering too, I will give the highlights.
February 29 - We arrived at Dulles in plenty of time for our flight. We checked 11 suitcases and one box (two were considered extra for a pretty penny), plus a car seat. We are told our flight was delayed due to a severe snow storm in Boston. When we finally arrive in Boston our IcelandAir flight was gone. Really, they left without us! We had to secure our checked luggage before we could find a hotel. Only after Bill pleaded with a Jet Blue employee, making sure to mention how many kids we have, they agreed to keep it safely overnight as long as we did not touch it. As it was, items we carried through security and everywhere else included: jogging stroller, guitar, 4 wheeled carry on suitcases, 4 backpacks, and 3 other bags.
March 1 - We arrived at Logan Airport in Boston five hours early and our flight left one hour late, but we were on the plane going to Iceland. We enjoyed an uneventful flight. Alli slept really well; Ben and Cami a couple of hours; Cindy and I not at all.
March 2 - Arrived in Keflavik, Iceland, to rain and 40 mph wind. The wind blew one piece of luggage off the cart and 15 feet away. New friends Andy and Stevi Hansen rented a car for us, helped us transport our luggage, and provided us with our first basic supplies of toilet paper, milk, juice, cereal, donuts and more. We got settled into our new home and took a nap. Over the course of the day Mike and Sheila Fitzgerald delivered pastries and Helgi, Guðrún, and their daughter Johanna brought our dinner. We were overwhelmed by the generosity and help of our Icelandic friends.
March 3 - We woke at a reasonable hour of the morning and had a great day. We picked up groceries and supplies, thinking we had this body clock "thing" figured out.
March 4 - Realized we had not figured out this body clock thing. We woke up at 12pm and felt like we had been run over by an Icelandic bus. A little shopping was accomplished but other than that we just rested.
March 5 - Arranged our apartment.
March 6 - The kids started back to school, at home and online. Cindy and I got out of the house for a little shopping (which in Iceland means a lot of money). We had lunch with Andy, Stevi and their daughter Siggi at one of the shopping malls. Bill took the big kids to one of the pools. We met a neighbor, Anna, whose 13 year old son is excited we are American because he wants to attend college in the USA. Cindy met our landlady, Freyja, and learned how to use our washing machine.
March 7 - Cindy, Alli and I visited the Fitzgeralds at Lindin Radio.
March 8 - I purchased our 6 month insurance policy needed to finish our Residency Permit application.
March 9 - Our attorney will turn everything in to immigration today. She will ask them to approve the application immediately since this was the last item they needed. Please pray this goes well.
Believing God for great things from the northernmost capital in the world,
The Jessup family
Eighteen months ago Cindy and I sat down with Cami and Ben to discuss God calling our family to continue the work in Iceland. Through tears of both joy and sadness we then told Stafford Baptist our desire to transition from pastor to lead church planter in Reykjavik.
We attended training from July to September to prepare for our partnership with the International Mission Board of the SBC. After eight weeks of training we said good-bye to many new friends and partners who are now sharing the gospel all around the world. Many of these friends went immediately to their new countries of service; some headed to Vancouver for an additional four months of training. We transitioned to Georgia -- thanks to the hospitality of First Baptist Church Loganville -- and waited for government documents to clear.
Our future country is now in sight. Clearance from the government has come. Flight tickets have been purchased. On February 29, 2012, our family will leave Washington DC for the six hour journey to Reykjavik. We will be the last of our FPO 3’ 2011 team to reach our destination, even following those who went to Vancouver. Finally, we can join them. We are indeed Celebrating the Reality.