In My Life

My Guy is Gutsy: A Valentine’s Day Tribute to my Husband

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He’s a great catch! 😉

Gutsy is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “showing courage, determination, and

spirit.” Related words are brave, courageous, bold, daring, fearless, heroic,

lionhearted, undaunted, unflinching, unshrinking, and unafraid. Those describe Chris Stull!

On this Valentine’s Day I want to do a quick shared reflection on the gutsy

ways of this guy of mine…

• He got up at 1:00 a.m. to start a 5,000+’ grueling hike to the top of 14,259’

Longs Peak…13 hours…just because his sons wanted to do it. Gutsy.

• He took on a “leftover players” little league baseball team in which most of the

boys were afraid of the ball. By the end of the season they were champions.

Gutsy.

• He stepped in to lead a church with amazing wisdom, peace, purpose and clarity

when the senior pastor felt called to another place. Gutsy.

• He walked away from a great job with a large staff at a big church in a wonderful

city near extended family to move and plant a church in Phoenix, not

knowing where that church would meet or what that church would be called.

Gutsy.

• He chose to go from a place of full resource closets, pews and paid staff to “I

guess we should order some chairs so people can sit,” and “Would anyone

like to volunteer to help?” Gutsy.

• He has handled hundreds of difficult human resource incidents with truth and

care. Gutsy.

• He has shared truth patiently, honestly and lovingly with irate people who were

pouring their anger out on him because they were mad at God. Gutsy.

• He has preached God’s Word truthfully when he knew he would not win any

popularity contest. Gutsy.

• In the midst of taking almost a half cut pay in salary to plant a church, he

adopted two children internationally from a country that was rampant with

Ebola at the time of travel. Gutsy.

• He bravely navigates and provides for the needs of 7 children — car insurance,

car payments, cell phone payments, FAFSA apps, etc. Gutsy.

• While suffering with malaria when on a Zambian mission, he preached a full

sermon at a church that was a mile away from running water or any

bathrooms. Gutsy.

• In South Africa, though no one would go near the village witch doctor’s home, he

entered, laid hands on the woman’s sick son, and he was healed. (And the

witch doctor surrendered her life to Christ!) Gutsy.

• He has given probably 100 off-the-cuff messages or impromptu prayers at

unexpected times. Gutsy.

• He helped lead and guide people with wisdom in the horror of a Rockies

mudslide. Gutsy.

• Although a “detail guy” with an MBA in finance, he bravely has led his family to

follow the Lord when feeling the call to give to the Lord well above and

beyond anything that worked on paper. Gutsy.

• His encounters with wildlife deserve a section all their own…

⁃ He was once walking over a log and encountered a rattle snake zinging

with feet on both sides of the log and snake in between.

⁃ He sat down in a boat next to a rattlesnake – not a good fishing partner.

⁃ He was walking through a creek and encountered a moose – both ran the

fastest 40 yards that day.

⁃ He was fishing and ended up in the stream with a mama bear and two

cubs walking the bank.

⁃ He was sitting on the ground with his back against a log when an elk

climbed over the log.

⁃ He was walking in the middle of an open meadow in the pitch black when

he heard breathing and snorting all around him. The elk herd starting

running in that field as he stood in the middle of shaking ground,

thinking he would surely be trampled.

• He has completed over a dozen triathlons — swimming, biking, and running —

some in the heat and humidity, or close to freezing conditions. Gutsy.

• He sat with white knuckles in the passenger seat of a van on the Road to Hana

with his nervous wife at the wheel maneuvering 500+ hairpin turns and 500+

one-lane bridges on the sides of cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Gutsy.

(He won’t forget his driver’s license next time we go to Maui.)

• He has often folded laundry for this family of 7+ (depending on who is home at

the time), having done as much as 6-7 loads in the time of one ballgame or

movie. Gutsy.

• He has done middle-of-the-night clean up on carpets and beds when little

children got sick. Gutsy!

• He has gotten up almost every morning without fail to read the Bible and seek

the Lord in prayer, even when he didn’t feel like it. Gutsy.

If you are wondering how my guy got so gutsy, the answer lies in that last

reflection. He surrendered his life to Christ and is filled with the Spirit of the living

God. Every day for decades now he has been seeking the Lord as his source of

strength and direction. It’s not that he never feels fear. He just doesn’t let fear stop

him. His boldness comes from a deep confidence in God. I have often heard

friends talk about Chris’s “Joshua” spirit, and that’s what I’m writing about. Joshua

1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for

the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Living with him is an

adventure, and I’m thankful to be by his side every step along the way. Happy

Valentine’s Day, my love. You will always be my hero.

Pastor for the week at Wind River Ranch in Estes Park, CO

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The 30-Day Affirmation Challenge

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D
Unknown-1eclare it. Speak it out. Say it. These messages have been at my every turn the last few months. I believe the Lord is telling me it is important not just to believe truths, read truths, meditate on truths, but also to speak truths. Out loud. “ In the Bible it says, “Declare a thing and it will be done” (Job 22:28). That implies a direct correlation between speaking something and it being done.

For me, these last months have been a call to action. I put together a list of 10 scriptural affirmations that I am speaking multiple times a day, touching on areas that I want to live victoriously. I have only been doing this a couple of weeks and it has been powerful in my life. I am encouraged. I am filled to overflowing. I am caring for others in new ways.

I got so excited about it that I made a custom set of scriptural affirmation suggestions for each of my family members so that they might have readily available some scripture affirmations to speak. I am challenging them to decide on their list of at least 5-10 affirmations and then speak them multiple times a day for 30 days to see what might happen.

You know I can’t just challenge my family in this. Friend, I love and care for you too much to let you miss out on this exciting opportunity! I am including my *affirmations below and then some extra ones, so that you might have some to choose from. Practical challenge: Download the “Repeat It Again” app on your smartphone and record at least 5-10 affirmations, then listen to them multiple times a day for 30 days. Or if you don’t have a smartphone, print and post your affirmations in your bathroom, in your kitchen, and at your desk for you to see and speak daily. Maybe you might even ask your family members to join you in this challenge?

Try it! Then let me know how it goes.

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Because I obey Jesus I remain in his love and have great joy. John 15:10-11

As I follow Jesus and walk in his way of holiness, gladness and joy overtake me. Isaiah 35:8-10

God keeps me in perfect peace because I trust in Him and fix my thoughts on Him. Isaiah 26:3

I thank God for considering me faithful, appointing me to His service of sharing and caring for people in life-changing ways, spiritually as well as physically. I Tim. 1:12

As I consciously put others first, I am learning to serve like Jesus.  Phil. 2:5. Ways I honor others are by swiftly returning messages and by being 10 minutes early to appointments.

My kind words are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones of others. Proverbs 16:24

I am enriched in every way so that I can be generous on every occasion, which results in thanksgiving to God. 2 Cor. 9:11

God is able to do immeasurably more in my life than I could ever imagine. Ephesians 3:20

I trust my hopes and dreams to God.  Psalm 119:116

God is faithful. He’ll complete the good work that he has begun in me. Philippians 1:6

Aren’t those power-packed? Here are some others that I included in at least one or more of the affirmations I gave my children:

In God I live and move and exist. Acts 17:28

Because I place my hope in God, I can soar like an eagle, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

God keeps me in perfect peace because I trust in Him and fix my thoughts on Him. Isaiah 26:3

I live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 12:7

I am able to keep my ways pure, but only by living according to God’s Word. Psalm 119:9

I run along the paths of God’s commands because He has set my heart free. Psalm 119:32

The Lord stands at my side and gives me strength to share his Good News with others. 2 Timothy 4:17

As I cast my cares and burdens to God, He sustains me and I have peace. Psalm 55:22

As I wait on the Lord and am courageous, God will strengthen my heart. Psalm 27:14

The power of God works through me as I affirm that it’s His treasure inside this jar of clay. 2 Corinthians 4:7

I run along the paths of God’s commands because He has set my heart free. Psalm 119:32

The Lord stands at my side and gives me strength to share his Good News with others. 2 Timothy 4:17

I set my heart and mind on things above, not earthly things. This gives me peace. Colossians 3:1-2

I guard my heart because it determines the course of my life. Proverbs 4:23

I try to spend time with wise people. This helps me become even wiser. Proverbs 13:20

The fruit I produce brings great joy to God, my Father in Heaven. John 15:8

I give thanks to God because he is good and his love endures forever. Jeremiah 33:11

When I call out to God He answers me. He tells me things I wouldn’t know otherwise. Jeremiah 33:3

I set my heart and mind on things above, not earthly things. This gives me peace. Colossians 3:1-2

I guard my heart because it determines the course of my life. Proverbs 4:23

I worship the Lord my God and serve only him. Luke 4:8

I know that God cares for me and will meet my needs because I am precious to Him. Matthew 6:25-44

I know that God’s unfailing love surrounds me and that I can trust Him. Psalm 23:10

The Lord is my good Shepherd. He provides for all of my needs. Psalm 23:1

The “fullness of God” is available to me because I am deeply rooted in the love of Jesus. Ephesians 3:17-19

*Many of the scriptures are either from or adapted from faithandhealingconnection.org.

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2015 Stull Family Reflections

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This year’s was inspired by a question recently posed by Micah, “What one word best summarizes you?”

 

ChrisLEAD. Leading…our family to love and live for Christ, Wellspring Church toward Christ the Living Water, city pastors toward unity, seminary classmates toward wisdom for the road ahead.

Highlights: Wellspring Church moved to new location: better visibility, larger room for worship services, more children’s rooms available, better courtyard area…coming up on 2 year anniversary (come celebrate with us Sunday, January 31!) Gathering area pastors for exhilarating meetings. Spearheading a Good Friday Breakfast at the Wigwam Resort that involved more than 29 churches and 300 community leaders. Hunting trip with friend Doug who killed nice 5×5 bull elk.

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Brenna INSPIRE. Inspiring…family members and women to realize the love of Christ and to commit themselves to walking with God each day as an instrument in His hands, others to embrace each day with joy and live with intentionality. Inspiring others to better physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

Highlights: Twelve days with Chris in Maui and Kauai celebrating 25th anniversary. The whole family traveling two times to see Derek as the lead in musicals at DBU. Wednesday night and Thursday morning Bible studies with the women of Wellspring Church. Placing in the Litchfield Park Triathlon. Accidental shortcut on Thanksgiving Day triathlon to finish first in age bracket…until confession led to disqualification. Seeing friends and family’s health issues go away after getting on the natural products of the health & wellness company she is now representing.

B1


 

Dillon – FOCUS. Focused on…classes, leadership at Baylor University, important friendships, on his future plans, and first and foremost on the Lord.

Highlights: Being a Fulbright semi-finalist. (If he gets selected, he will have the chance to study next year in Scotland at the University of Aberdeen, all expenses paid.) Also being awarded a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship that pays for a year of studies abroad. (He is waiting to hear if he is accepted into Oxford’s Christian Ethics program.) Other highlights included induction into Phi Beta Kappa honor society this past fall semester, his senior year at Baylor University. Founded Christian Pre-Health Fellowship, a new club at Baylor that encourages pre-med majors with dreams of being medical missionaries. He also enjoyed a road trip with friends across Canada and the Northwest United States. He presented to Dallas hospital CMOs a discovery he made while serving as a summer intern at Baylor Hospital (where his momma was born!) Dillon’s discovery could save the hospital some big bucks this next year.

D2


 

DerekENGAGE. Engaged with people…leading them in worship, encouraging them, hugging them, having fun and laughing with them, and entertaining them.

Highlights: DBU gave Derek the opportunity to play two lead roles this last year in their musicals: Charlie Brown in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and Jesus in “Godspell”. He was also awarded top freshman male of the year in the music department at DBU. Surprising fact: Derek’s favorite class this year was Music Theory III (hard work in those early years in piano are paying off now!) He continues to serve as a worship leader at Shiloh Terrace BC in Dallas (the church his momma grew up in), and also works at DBU in the music office. In his spare time he rides his unicycles and runs sprint triathlons.

 

Version 4


 

CalebIMPACT. Impacting…the family with his great sense of humor, his school through his leadership in Student Council and other organizations, his baseball team, at Wellspring as he engages people in multiple ways – greeting, handing out bulletins, taking the count each week, working in preschool, leading the offering team, leading and sometimes speaking in youth group and continuing to be one of Wellspring’s best inviters.

Highlights: Caleb’s club team the Gauchos winning the U18 Gold Division of the USSSA Winter Nationals Super NIT, one of the biggest baseball tournaments in the U.S., as it is a qualifier for the World Series! (Caleb was the catcher and one of his best friends was the pitcher, so it was pretty special!) Getting a homerun in Goodyear Ballpark, home of the Reds and Indians. Hiking trips in Sedona with a friend. Earning a spot in MHS’s Spartan Army by proving himself through some grueling athletic feats. Setting records in the MHS weight room.

C1


 

MicahTHINK. Thinking about…building new machines out of spare electronic parts and batteries, more efficient ways to do things, new math concepts, solutions to problems, interesting facts, ways to improve his game, ways we can serve the Lord better. Basically…so many things to learn, so little time.

Highlights: Graduating from middle school and receiving the top student of the school award and top male FITKid award, which recognizes character, academic, and physical fitness. Voted MVP of WSMS Soccer Team, most improved player on WSMS basketball team, and won some area tennis tournaments. He also was awarded top scorer of the district in math. As a freshman this year at MHS he made the school’s Scholastic Bowl team, was voted Homecoming Count, is captain of the JV soccer team, and plays up with the varsity team when needed (even started as a forward in a recent tourney).

M2


 

KarisCARE. Caring for…family members 24/7 in a myriad of ways, mostly through encouraging words and service, peers in school, whomever she encounters with special needs, people by greeting and working with preschool children on Sundays at Wellspring Church. But somehow, she is able to be over-the-top caring and also a tenacious competitor on the field.

Highlights: Being chosen as the female recipient of the FITKIDs award at her school. Enjoying winning some tournaments with her club soccer team, winning the district championship a second time with WSMS girls’ soccer, playing basketball, running track and playing tennis. She was also able to travel again to Tennessee over fall break to visit the Wolford family, dear friends we met through Wind River Ranch.

Version 2


 

 

John INQUIRE. Inquiring about…the schedule for the day and week, the menu of the next meal, science facts, what is going on, the culture, details of our family members’ lives.

Highlights: Loved Wind River Ranch. He also enjoyed his first Phoenix Suns basketball game with Caleb this fall. John is enjoying sports – played recreational soccer in the spring, swim team during summer, and basketball in the fall and winter. By his second season playing soccer, he was such a dominant goal-scorer that his coach had to move him to defense after the first quarter of nearly every game in order to keep him from embarrassing the other teams.

J1


 

Mariama CREATE. Creating….fancy out-of-this-world outfits and accessories for herself and her dolls, tasty soups over rice, videos that include instructions on how to make doll clothes, do yoga, and her latest songs.

Highlights: Mariama drastically brought up her online reading grades, earning a 100 percent party, which included good food and good friends. Mariama participated on summer swim team and played soccer in the fall. She earned her first trophy this month when her soccer team won the end of the season tournament. Weeks before receiving a sewing machine for Christmas (or having her first sewing lesson!), she had friends eagerly anticipating her promised designer dresses full of frills, colors, and sparkles.

M1


 

One word for our family: CHRIST. Without salvation through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, we would have no hope, no peace, no purpose, no future. He is our everything and we try to live each and every day in a way as to honor Him and love more people into His Kingdom. Our greatest prayer for you is that you would also know the truth and that the truth would set you free to be everything that God created you to be and do everything God created you to do.

We live full-to-overflowing lives – we have a growing church, the practices and games of 8 sports teams, 2-3 loads of laundry every day (and a basket mounded with unmatched socks), a grocery cart that usually includes 7 gallons of milk and 6 dozen eggs, and a dinner table that often seats at least a dozen people. We thank God for each of these things, and his provision for each day and each moment in that day.

God’s best to you, in you and through you in 2016!

 

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Wellspring Church – 4 months old

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It has been two months since our last update in “Wellspring: A Church is Birthed”, and we have been meeting as a church for 4 months now. We want to thank all of our partners and tell you that we are already seeing fruit. We have seen a number of people profess faith in Christ, and we have had two baptism services, baptizing six.

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​Wellspring Church’s first baptism service, mid-March in the courtyard of Mabel Padgett Elementary School.
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​Chris is delivering great sermons, and many have asked about making podcasts of his messages available. We are praying we can get that feature on our website soon.
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Our handy team members are always figuring out clever ways to get what we need in the thriftiest way possible. Mike Hartwick went to the home improvement store and built the needed drum enclosure with his own two hands! Doesn’t it look professional?
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Derek Stull has continued to lead well in worship, and pull in other talented young musicians as well.
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We were blessed to have FBC Mustang, OK, come out during Spring Break and help with all sorts of things. They painted two houses, worked at the teenage pregnancy center, served two days at the Agua Fria Food Bank, passed out invitations to Wellspring, did concerts, and they sang the National Anthem at a major league Spring Training game.
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Brenna Stull had a chance to share the Wellspring story with Tom Brown on FaithTalk Radio in April.
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Leader meetings at the Stulls’ house have grown to be 60 strong, and have included potluck dinner, sharing stories, prayer, and planning.
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No shortage of food at the leader meetings (this is after most had been through the line!)
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Leaders fellowship around the tables before the planning meeting begins.
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Attendance on Sundays has grown steadily from 115 two months ago to 186 in attendance by the end of May. We also reconfigured our Sunday worship set-up to center the big screen, and were able to purchase a new and improved sound system.
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Wellspring worship leaders Derek Stull and Manny Orozco along with Taylor Napodano had the chance to lead worship at the Phoenix Country Club for the Good Friday service, which included pastors and leaders from congregations all over the Valley.
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At the Good Friday breakfast Chris and Brenna were able to share a word, and were encouraged and thrilled to meet a number of people who share a similar vision for God’s heart for Phoenix’s revival.
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A group from Cross-Eyed Skates, a skate ministry out of FBC McKinney, came out the weekend before Easter to lead a Wellspring outreach at the Goodyear Skate Park. They also served at Wellspring’s Easter Eggstravaganza community outreach the day before Easter, where children hunted for over 4,000 eggs the youth group had prepared.
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Derek did a great job leading the Easter Choir, which included a variety of ages: 11 years to age 85. The Easter Choir had a blast practicing and can’t wait until the next time they can sing. We had 206 in attendance on Easter.
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Powerful teaching from Jill Rhodes continued at the Heart & Home Bible Study through April, reaching about 20 women each Wednesday night, and 15 each Thursday mornings.
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Brenna with LIFT (Leaders In Fellowship Together) Leaders Pam Lyons and Sandy Betgur. Brenna had the chance to speak to the women’s ministers of Greater Phoenix at an all-day conference end of April. She shared how God has led them in their giving, adopting, and planting a church as they sought and surrendered to the Lord’s will. And she dared them to ask the Lord for direction and be open to new things God might do.
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Derek and Taylor had the opportunity to lead worship at the State Capitol lawn on the National Day of Prayer.
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Shawn and Lisa Copeland continue to give strong leadership to our middle school and high school students each Wednesday night. The youth will be joining North Phoenix Baptist Church’s camp in Big Bear, California, the third week of June.
The Sunday following Easter we met at a nearby park for “Party in the Park”, an after-Easter celebration.
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Chris shared a brief message and Nicki Pacheco shared her testimony.
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God blessed us with 72 degrees and sun! It was a day full of JOY and fellowship.
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Three believers were baptized in the portable baptistry.
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Party in the Park included a tasty lunch by the generous Doug Johnston of Choo Choo Bar-b-q, and fun on the ball fields.
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Women’s Bible Studies wrapped up with a dinner in May. Forty women came and shared fellowship, food, testimonies about the past year, and looked ahead at the upcoming summer activities. One testimony: Dorothy shared that she had actually moved to Phoenix to be a part of Wellspring Church, because she had heard about what was going on and didn’t want to miss it. Natalie shared that she and her family had planned to move away from Phoenix this summer, but are considering staying because of Wellspring Church.
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Women stayed and visited into the night.
The Wellspring Men also meet each Friday morning at 6 a.m. for powerful Bible Study, share and prayer time (but it’s too early to remember a camera, thus no photo! :))
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On the home front news: the Stulls received on May 15 the document they desperately needed by May 19 in order to proceed with their visa applications to bring home their two adopted children from Sierra Leone. This allows their file to move on to the U.S. Embassy in Sierra Leone. They are praying the visas will be issued by July (instead of the normal 4-5 months) so that the kids can come home and get to know the family as a unit before the oldest two sons leave for college in August.
A note from the Stulls:
We thank God for the privilege of serving Him, and for having us here for such a time as this. The biggest news is that we feel we are seeing, since Passover/Good Friday/April 18, the first Phoenix’s breakthrough for revival. Since that date, God has shown us daily new hearts He is stirring to trust Him in new ways, let go of baggage, fully surrender, and see new visions for what God wants to do. We thank Him and we praise Him.
We continue to seek to stay as close as possible to Him, being right in step to cooperate with His plans…not running ahead and not lagging behind. It is a heated battle, but God is greater. We know it is not by our might or power, but by His Spirit that we do everything.
“Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12  We thank God for the start of fulfilled longings!
Thank you to everyone who, through their financial gifts and prayer, is enabling this ministry to do all that it is.
Bless you!
Chris & Brenna Stull
…and one last photo! Wellspring Church just had our first young marrieds dinner at the Hartwick’s house. These are a few of the couples who came. We enjoyed an evening of hearing each other’s love stories, and look forward to the small group Bible Study in the Fall.
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A Church is Birthed: Wellspring

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It is hard to believe that just one year ago God was beginning to stir in our hearts the idea of moving to Phoenix to plant a church. He has shown us that we are a small piece of the grand puzzle he is putting together in Phoenix that we believe will be a picture of His mighty power and glory. Our desire is stay close to Him so that we may fully cooperate with what He is doing. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland,” (Isaiah 43:19).
*
We are thankful to our sending church First Baptist McKinney, Texas, and our hosting church North Phoenix Baptist Church. We are also thankful to Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, and the friends, family and partners who are giving support. God has provided a strong leadership team, place for us to meet, name, iconic logo, musicians, sound system, and so much more.
*
Following are a few photos of what has transpired since we moved here 7 months ago:
We have handed out over 1,600 of these invitations over the last 6 weeks. A big thank you to Jeff Simpson of Day6 for the great logo.
We have handed out over 1,600 of these invitations over the last 6 weeks, directing people to wellspring church.com. A big thank you to Jeff Simpson of Day6 for creating a great logo, and to Mark Presley for the graphic design of that logo for cards and signs.
These postcard invitations went out to homes within a 6-mile radius of the school where we meet.
These postcard invitations went out to homes within a 6-mile radius of the school where we meet.
Mabel Padgett Elementary School - 15430 W. Turney Ave., Goodyear: Our front door
Mabel Padgett Elementary School – 15430 W. Turney Ave., Goodyear: Our front door
Welcome to Wellspring!
Welcome to Wellspring!
God provided two great used trucks to hold our 300 chairs, AV equipment, pipe and drape, rugs, and supplies. Our set-up team has been unloading the trucks and getting the worship center set up in only 35 minutes!
God provided two great used trucks to hold our 300 chairs, AV equipment, pipe and drape, rugs, and supplies. Our set-up team has been unloading the trucks and getting the worship center set up in only 35 minutes! The rare rainy day provided a cool reflection.
Thankful to HEB Printing in Dallas, TX, for the super signs, which are used on site and on street corners.
Thankful to HEB Printing in Dallas, TX, for the super signs, which are used on site and on street corners.

 

We had 277 people for our launch service on Feb. 9! Since then we have had between 110-135 on a weekly basis.
We set up 300 chairs and had 277 people for our launch service on Feb. 9! Since then we have set up about 140 chairs and had between 110-135 on a weekly basis.
Worship leader Derek Stull is doing a great job leading music, along with a number of talented musicians God has brought our way.
Worship leader Derek Stull is doing a great job leading music, along with a number of talented musicians God has brought our way.
Wellspring's Core Values: Seeking, Connecting, Giving, Growing
Wellspring’s Core Values: Seeking, Connecting, Giving, Growing
Pastor Chris Stull preaching about our Savior Jesus Christ, the Wellspring - a refreshing source of life.
Pastor Chris Stull preaching about our Savior Jesus Christ, the Wellspring – a refreshing source of life.
Wellspring KIDS Ministry
Wellspring KIDS Ministry
Wellspring Preschool Ministry
Wellspring Preschool Ministry
Post-service connections
Post-service connections
We are enjoying the courtyard at the school for fellowship after services. After the launch service, Doug Johnston of All Aboard Barbecue served 300 barbecue sandwiches and hotdogs.
We are enjoying the courtyard at the school for fellowship after services. After the launch service, Doug Johnston of All Aboard Barbecue served 300 barbecue sandwiches and hotdogs. Thank you, Doug!
Courtyard fellowship
Courtyard fellowship – God blessed us with a 72-degree sunny day for our launch.
Heart & Home Bible study launched in November and has met since then. It meets in our home and we have the privilege of being taught by amazing Bible teacher Jill Rhodes.
Heart & Home Bible study launched in November and has been meeting since then. It meets in our home and we have the privilege of being taught by amazing Bible teacher Jill Rhodes. “I have been in Bible studies before that were informational, but this has been transformational from day one,” said Jeri. “This has been the best thing that happened to me since I moved to Arizona,” said Lindsay.

 

Incorporated in the Heart & Home Bible Study each meeting is a practical take-home item.
Incorporated in the Heart & Home Bible Study each meeting is a practical take-home item.
Wellspring Women: Share and Prayer time around the fire pit
Wellspring Women: Share and prayer time around the fire pit

 

Wellspring's first DiscipleNow weekend: Feb. 27-March 2. Twenty-four youth attended, and a number of them have expressed a desire for baptism.
Wellspring’s first DiscipleNow weekend: Feb. 27-March 2. Twenty-four youth attended, and a number of them have expressed a desire for baptism. (The hand sign is a “W” for “Wellspring”.)

photo 2-7 The Youth at DNow weekend collected 1,600 items for a local church’s pantry. The high school girls won the contest for the most items.

Youth shared in the worship service how the Lord impacted their lives at DNow weekend.
Youth shared in the worship service how the Lord impacted their lives at DNow weekend.
Chris preaching about how we as followers of Christ are empowered to change the world.
Chris preaching about how we as followers of Christ are empowered to change the world.

 

A big thank you to the team from Lake Pointe Church that came to serve over launch weekend. They hosted a luncheon for the teachers and administrators at Mabel Padgett Elementary. They also helped make and pass out 1,500 water invites, and host a "date night" for   military couples at Luke AFB, load and unload trucks for the service, and work in preschool and children's ministries. (As you can imagine, they also greatly encouraged us!)
A big thank you to the team from Lake Pointe Church that came to serve over launch weekend. They hosted a luncheon for the teachers and administrators at Mabel Padgett Elementary. They also helped make and pass out 1,500 water invites, host a “date night” for military couples at Luke AFB, load and unload trucks for the service, and work in preschool and children’s ministries. (As you can imagine, they also greatly encouraged us!)
…and lastly, all of the above pictures would not be if it were not for the dedicated launch team members. They have joined us in our home twice a month for potlucks/planning since August. They are selfless servants who just want the Lord to be lifted up and God's Kingdom to be increased. We thank God for them!
…and lastly, all of the above pictures would not be if it were not for the dedicated launch team members. They have met in our home at least twice a month for potlucks/planning since August. They are selfless servants who just want the Lord to be lifted up and God’s Kingdom to be increased. We thank God for them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To India With Love

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I thank God for the opportunity to partner last month with Lifesong for Orphans in India. I went with a promise: “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.” (Isaiah 50:4) I am thankful for the chance to encourage those ministering to orphans–the caregivers at Jyothi Nivas Children’s Home–and to teach the Bible to and spend time with the children. Bob and Siromani Stoll, who led our group and have done ministry through orphanages and churches in India for 35 years, were an inspiration to me and an example of the amazing things God can do with people who cooperate with Him to get His work done in the world. I am also impressed with the diligence of Lifesong for Orphans in spending each ministry dollar with intention and purpose.

I am thankful to Elizabeth Shaw, Lifesong for Orphans Board Member, who made the way for me to go on the trip. The time with she and her daughter Neha was a delight. Here they are giving me the lowdown on sarees and how they are made.
I am thankful to Elizabeth Shaw, Lifesong for Orphans Board Member, who made the way for me to go on the trip. The time with her and her daughter Neha was a delight. Here they are giving me the lowdown on sarees and how they are made.
A common sight along the roads.
A common sight along the roads.
Arriving at Jyothi Nivas Children's Home - Siromani Stoll and her husband Bob founded it.
Arriving at Jyothi Nivas Children’s Home – Siromani Stoll (left) and her husband Bob founded it.
This loving home has a special place in my heart.
This loving home has a special place in my heart.
Hospitality in India is amazing - they give gifts of garland as guests arrive, and also display large welcome banners.
Hospitality in India is amazing – they give gifts of garland as guests arrive, and also display large welcome banners.
Sweet girls
Sweet girls
I got hundreds of kisses on my cheek and gave hundreds of kisses over the week. My friend Leslie commented on what a privilege it is to not only be the hands of feet of Jesus to the hurting, but the lips, too.
I got hundreds of kisses on my cheek and gave hundreds of kisses over the week. My friend Leslie commented on what a privilege it is to not only be the hands of feet of Jesus to the hurting, but the lips, too.
Special times with the children at Jyothi Nivas Children's Home.
Special times with the children at Jyothi Nivas Children’s Home. We met at 6:00 a.m. each morning and then again at 6:30 p.m. Though they were busy with school and homework and studying for exams, they were eager and engaged. They even asked if we could start earlier for the last night’s session, then stayed late, singing into the night.
Closing a session in prayer.
Closing a session in prayer.
A typical sight as we drove outside of Narsapur.
A typical sight as we drove outside of Narsapur.
The people of India once again showed their hospitality with these beautiful garlands for our team.
The people of India once again showed their hospitality with these beautiful garlands for our team.
Attendees of the regional convention: women's section. They would line up after services each day to be prayed for.
Attendees of the regional convention: women’s section. They would line up after services each day to be prayed for.
The men's section at convention. Many are pastors in their local areas, and Bob Stoll has helped a number of them with church plants.
The men’s section at convention. Many are pastors in their local areas, and Bob Stoll has helped a number of them with church plants.
Temples are set up along roadsides in honor of thousands of Hindu gods.
Temples are set up along roadsides in honor of thousands of Hindu gods.
Caterers prepared lunch for convention attendees.
Caterers prepared lunch for convention attendees.
No paper or plastics needed: just a banana leaf loaded with rice and veggies.
No paper or plastics needed: just a banana leaf loaded with rice and veggies.

Bob Stoll, 88 years old and going strong in the power of the Lord (How many people at age 88 volunteer to ride in the jump seats for a "suspense-filled" one hour drive?) His love for the Indian people was such an inspiration! In the past 35 years he has founded 3 orphanages and helped plant 7 churches there. Lifesong for Orphans is partnering with Bob and allowing for even greater ministry and impact. Pictured is Andy Lehman, Vice President with Lifesong for Orphans (lifesongfororphans.org).

Bob Stoll, 88 years old and going strong in the power of the Lord (How many people at age 88 volunteer to ride in the jump seats for a “suspense-filled” one hour drive?) His love for the Indian people was such an inspiration! In the past 35 years he has founded 3 orphanages and helped plant 7 churches there. Lifesong for Orphans is partnering with Bob and allowing for even greater ministry and impact. Pictured is Andy Lehman, Vice President with Lifesong for Orphans (lifesongfororphans.org).

A marathon session: Strategic planning to help the orphans of India.

A marathon session: Strategic planning to help the orphans of India.
A church service. I was blessed by their passion and dedication.
A Christian church service. I was blessed by their passion and dedication.
The girls of Jyothi Nivas Children's Home helping with dinner.
The girls of Jyothi Nivas Children’s Home helping with dinner.
The kitchen at Jyothi Nivas Children's Home
The kitchen at Jyothi Nivas Children’s Home
The boys at Jyothi Nivas pull out mats and sleep on the floor in this room.
The boys at Jyothi Nivas pull out mats and sleep on the floor in this room.
I was amazed at the loads they were able to transport by bike.
I was amazed at the loads they were able to transport by bike.
Bike repair shops get good business in India -- they seem to keep those bikes running for at least a century.
Bike repair shops get good business in India — they seem to keep those bikes running for at least a century.
Streets are full of these, oxcarts, bikes, fast cars, and roaming cows. No traffic lights or signs anywhere, so it's quite an experience.
Streets are full of these, oxcarts, bikes, fast cars, and roaming cows. No traffic lights or signs anywhere, so it’s quite an experience.
The girls at Jyothi Nivas during an evening session. I loved to hear them sing.
The girls at Jyothi Nivas during an evening session. I loved to hear them sing.
A local school assembly.
A local school assembly.
The classroom at a local school.
The classroom at a local school.
Chicken stand…get 'em while they're fresh!
Chicken stand…get ’em while they’re fresh!
We toured Narsapur one morning in an auto rickshaw.
We toured Narsapur one morning in an auto rickshaw.
Cows roam the cities freely and are considered sacred.
Cows roam the cities freely and are considered sacred.
This guy at the fish market was serious about getting fish cleaned quickly for customers (no time to wipe excess from his legs and feet!)
This guy at the fish market was serious about getting fish cleaned quickly for customers (no time to wipe excess from his legs and feet!)
This fruit stand got my award for the best display and product positioning.
This fruit stand got my award for the best display and product positioning.
Seamsters line the streets.
Seamsters line the streets.
The bananas are so sweet and tasty!
The bananas are so sweet and tasty!
Government workers on strike! They created human roadblocks to prevent any transportation. Thankfully the strike was over after one day and we were able to get to the airport.
Government workers on strike! They created human roadblocks to prevent any transportation. Thankfully the strike was over after one day and we were able to get to the airport.
Garlands for sale
Garlands for sale
On our 45-min. drives to the pastor's convention each day, we saw workers in rice fields lined by coconut trees on each side of the road.
On our 45-min. drives to the pastor’s convention each day, we saw workers in rice fields lined by coconut trees on each side of the road.
The dear woman washing dishes at the pastor's convention.
The dear woman washing dishes at the pastor’s convention.
One day Kumari set us up for a lunch she had packed for us to have at convention. The tables were set up in a small bedroom. Just a few minutes after I snapped this photo, a leg on the left table gave way and everything went into the floor!
One day Kumari set us up for a lunch she had packed for us to have at convention. The tables were set up in a small bedroom. Just a few minutes after I snapped this photo, a leg on the left table gave way and everything went into the floor!
On a mission trip, ALWAYS be ready to give a message or sing a song at a moment's notice. They even pulled Neha up to the front for a few words at the pastor's convention.
On a mission trip, ALWAYS be ready to give a message or sing a song at a moment’s notice. They even pulled Neha up to the front for a few words at the pastor’s convention.
This is the hall that the girls do their homework in each night at Jyothi Nivas.
This is the hall that the girls do their homework in each night at Jyothi Nivas.
Normal traffic in India.
Normal traffic in India.
It's amazing what a small tractor and trailer can move!
It’s amazing what a small tractor and trailer can move!

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The road is shared by oxcarts and cars.
The road is shared by oxcarts and cars. I’m pretty sure the strategy for drivers is dart quickly left or right, whichever direction you think someone else is not darting.
The kids were excited to receive Bibles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and bars of soap from donors through Lifesong for Orphans.
The kids were excited to receive Bibles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and bars of soap from donors through Lifesong for Orphans.
Getting through the long line at immigration in the Bombay airport was an experience.
Getting through the long line at immigration in the Bombay airport was an experience.
Having eaten more curry than I've ever had while in India, I just had to snap this pic of this fast food restaurant at the airport.
Having consumed while in India more curry than I’ve ever eaten, I just had to snap this pic of this fast food restaurant at the airport.
The slums of Bombay - just over the fence from the airport.
The slums of Bombay – just over the fence from the airport.
Lots of love.
Lots of love. I pray for God’s continued protection, guidance and blessing on the the sweet orphans of India and those caring for them. Amen.

 

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2013 Thanksgiving Blessings: Happenings with our “New Things”

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new thing“See, I am doing a new thing….” Isaiah 43:19a

New Place – Signs of Settling

When we decorated for Christmas a couple weeks ago, I realized that when the decorations were packed away only eleven months ago, I had no idea they would be moved to a new house in a different state for Christmas 2013. A lot can change in a short time. Moving brings stress in a myriad of ways, but I believe one of the hardest for a mom is the concern for her children and their adjustments. In February, as it became clear the Lord was calling us to Phoenix, my heart broke for our son who would be starting his senior year of high school in the fall.  But on Thanksgiving Day as we gathered around the feast, we joined hands as family and friends, and each of us expressed a word of gratefulness. Derek, my high school senior, was one of the first to speak. “I’m thankful we moved to Arizona,” he said with heartfelt sincerity. That was one of the sweetest Thanksgiving blessings this momma has ever heard!

New Church: Wellspring – Our Facility Needs are Met

When you start a church from scratch, there are numerous considerations that aren’t factors in established churches. One of the most important considerations is where to meet. Our first couple of months in Arizona we spent hours researching options in the area. In the end, we landed at a local elementary school. It is a beautiful facility with a gorgeous courtyard, good parking, easy access to the gym for services, two playgrounds and basketball courts, easily accessible bathrooms and nice classrooms. Chris got approval from the district to rent the gym, cafeteria and six classrooms, but soon after, he found out we actually would not be able to use any of the classrooms because none of the teachers had agreed to it. We understood why they would hesitate since it was risking the cleanliness and orderliness of their rooms, but we also knew it would be almost impossible to run a good program for preschoolers and children without access to individual rooms. The Wellspring launch team prayed for two months that a few teacher’s hearts would be open to giving us a chance. Just before Thanksgiving we received an email from the principal telling us that three rooms had opened up for our use, including the preschool room located just across from the gym where we hold services! This was just in time for our first morning preview service on Sunday, Dec. 15th. We have two more “trial run” Sundays (Jan. 12th and 26th) before our big church launch on February 9th.

New Family Members – Last Step!

When we started the adoption process, a friend told us that international adoption is not for the faint of heart. We definitely “amen” that statement. After two years of paperwork, seeking signatures for affidavits, court orders and more, the adoptions were approved in an African court. We have two new family members as of Oct. 21st. and Oct. 23rd. Now to get them here! Having received the last needed document, we were able to get the visa application and all the necessary papers in the mail on the eve of Thanksgiving, and we are so thankful for that. We hope to have our visa appointments by February and bring them home before Spring Break. I can hardly wait to share pictures and details about our additions!

Thank you for praying for us as we continue to settle in, wait for God to provide for Wellspring Church, and soon help transition into our home two new children from a foreign land. God is good and we give him all the thanks and the praise!

 

 

 

Speaking of Endurance Training…

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Triathlon winners: gold, bronze, gold
Triathlon winners: gold, bronze, gold

Okay, I admit it. I was thrilled with the whole thing. My husband, son and I did our first Arizona triathlon last weekend. First of all, it was a crisp, beautiful fall morning and the tri location was nearby. I loved that it was a “reverse” tri (get the dreaded run out of the way first, then enjoy a dry bike, and finish with a heated pool swim…then wrap up in a beach towel and jacket). I also loved that we did it together. The icing on the cake was that we all placed in our age divisions. My son and I both brought home our first gold medals and Chris brought home his first bronze.

We train, and it is fun to be rewarded for it every once in a while. But this is not where we place our greatest training efforts.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” I Timothy 4:8

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1b-2

Father, thank you for the blessings of health and the energy to train and participate in the fun of competitive events. But help us to daily remember to invest our greatest efforts in spiritual training, through your Word and prayer. As we face trials and heartaches, thank you for the endurance your Holy Spirit provides to help us keep moving forward to the goal to which we have been called. Thank you for your grace and promises to sustain us and meet our every need in our journey. We can joyfully embrace the present and the future because we know your heart. May our focus each day be on the things that will last forever: God, God’s Word, and the souls of men. Amen.

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