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Partners–In Life and Ministry

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Little did I know when I started to work at our family foundation called Master Works Foundation in 1998 what the Lord was going to do in my life over the next 15 years with the people that I would meet during my time there.

I have had the privilege of serving, loving, being discipled by and partnering in ministry with the most amazing people that you would ever meet, and I met many of them through supernatural encounters that only God could have arranged while I was serving at Master Works. One of the hardest parts about leaving our family foundation 2 1/2 years ago was that I didn’t know what God was going to do with me in life and ministry, nor did I know if I would be able to continue serving with our partners that had now become both friends and family to me.

As the Lord started giving direction to my life and leading me toward En Gedi and my heart for affluent families and ministry leaders, one of the great joys for me is that many of the relationships that He blessed me with in the past have been carried into the future of what He has given me to do!

This late summer and fall were especially rich with visits and times with people that the Lord has given me to partner with in life and ministry. Theses dear friends come from all over the United States and all over the world.  I know that no matter where the Lord takes me in the future, what country I live in, or what He gives me to do, these are people that I will be connected with for life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether I see them consistently here on earth or at a reunion in heaven.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am for their lives, their hearts for Jesus and their friendship.  I am incredibly blessed!

I want to give you a glimpse of just a few of the faces I spent time with this fall as well as giving you a small window into the worlds and God-given places of these incredible friends and partners in the kingdom.

Chris De Wet and his family, a South African living in Alabama, president of Afmin, an organization that trains pastors throughout Africa

Steve and Sheri Sweatman (and their daughter) from Colorado, President of Mission Training International, training and equipping missionaries to serve worldwide

Cassie and Jenny Carstens of Capetown, South Africa, leading a discipleship movement and training people all over the world in sports ministry and community development

Kobus and Teresa Grobler and Family from Johannesburg, South Africa, leading Afmin in training pastors throughout all of Africa

John and Lorna Abrahmse from Johannesburg, South Africa, leading J-life ministries, a discipleship movement training up youth leaders throughout Africa

Jay and Vicki Dangers (along with 2 of their 6 children), living in Uganda and leading New Hope Uganda, bringing the Fatherhood of God to the Fatherless

The Mitchell family living in Uganda, serving with New Hope Uganda, and organization that brings the Fatherhood of God to the Fatherless

Next Generation Gathering, dear friends from all over the US who are investing financially in kingdom work around the world.

More dear Young Generation Gathering Friends from the US who invest in kingdom work throughout the world.

The Jonas Family from Utah, dear friends and partners in the Gospel in different parts of the world

Leaders and board members of Leadership Development International from Singapore, Australia, the US and Switzerland. LDI is an organization that trains and equips leaders in China, the Middle East and beyond

Josh and Kristi Patty and their family living in Slovenia, leading Josiah Venture in Slovenia, JV is a movement that serves the local church by equipping youth leaders in Eastern Europe

Dave and Connie Patty living in the Czech Republic, President of Josiah Venture, an organization that assists the local church in training youth leaders throughout Eastern Europe

Amy Ellenwood (Mel was gone that day!!) living in the Czech, Republic, leading Josiah Venture, and organization that assists the local church to train leaders throughout Eastern Europe.

A Train Adventure…

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I have a fun story to share with you–A God appointed celebration on a train!

During my recent trip to Eastern Europe, I had to take a train from Slovenia to Czech. Trains always make me a bit nervous when I have luggage, especially if I have to change trains and heft luggage up and down stairs to make it to the next place! On this particular trip, I had one switch but I only had 6 minutes to make the switch! I really sense the presence of Jesus walking with me when I’m alone in these times, and I spend quite a bit of time talking to Him in the process! I usually ask Him if He has any “work” for me to do in these stressful traveling situations, and He often does.

I made the 6 minute switch successfully and got on the train I would now be on for a few hours. I originally settled in one compartment only to find out that there were reservations attached to that compartment that would soon be in effect. So, I chose to move to a different compartment that had no attached reservations– one with two ladies in it.

The conductor came and took our tickets and it quickly became evident that there was a problem between one of the ladies and the conductor. The altercation was all in German so I didn’t really comprehend what was happening, but I could understand the body language well enough to know that this woman was very upset.

After the conductor left I asked the woman in English what had happened, hoping she would understand me, and the distressed woman proceeded to tell me that the conductor had rejected a certain kind of discounted ticket she had purchased and was going to charge her twice the cost of the ticket to remain on the train. At that point I heard the drink cart coming down the hallway, and I burst out with, “You know what, let’s celebrate!!! It’s going to be a better day from here on out! I’m sure about that! Can I buy you both a cup of coffee or tea?”

As the ladies looked at me in some degree of shock, I told them both about my personal tradition of a cup of tea and some chocolate with Jesus every morning, and let them know that due to an early morning departure, I had not gotten to partake of that yet. I asked them if they would join me and offered to share my chocolate! Both ladies smiled and after getting our tea/coffee and chocolate, we settled into a great 4 hour conversation. I got to share my testimony with them as well as just talk about life–theirs and mine. One woman was Venezualan and married to an American working in Austria, and the other, who had the ticket problem, was Austrian but spoke English and was going to visit her husband who worked in Vienna.

In the middle of our conversation a very traditional older Austrian woman came into our compartment, complete with a dour face and babushka cap. All conversation in the compartment ceased momentarily. However, our wonderful conductor came around for round two, and now it was evident that the older Austrian woman also had a problem. Her problem was that she had gotten on a train that did not happen to stop at her destination, which was a local station. Now she would have to ride all the way to Vienna and then go back to her stop, which meant an extra hour or so in her journey. She was visibly distressed. Just then, guess what? I heard the drink cart coming….

and I said, “Let’s celebrate!! The day will only get better from here. Can I buy you a cup of coffee or tea?” The other two women started smiling and then translated for this Austrian woman, and we all had a delightful time drinking tea/coffee together, eating chocolate, and, though they didn’t know it for what it was, drinking from the Living Water!!

Our logo and His crown…

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In the forming of the idea and entity of En Gedi, I had the privilege of being in a discovery and branding process with my dear friends at Kumveka, an organization whose vision is to see clear and compelling communication for every Christ-focused ministry.  What a blessing they have been to me, En Gedi and so many others!!

In the midst of the brand development we spent many different times seeking the Lord for direction and future focus.  After going through two iterations of En Gedi logos, I needed to make a decision and was very torn between my own thoughts, people’s feedback and just the finality of the decision.  In the midst of my confusion, Lori, Kumveka’s project manager and also a friend, encouraged me to seek the Lord for His heart on the logo.

Though some may not think He cares about things like logos, I’m here to tell you that our God who counts every hair on my head and knows when a sparrow falls, had an opinion about En Gedi’s logo.

Almost before my knees hit the ground in my room, I clearly heard the words “laurel wreath,” which was a phrase I heard early on in the process but paid little attention.  Then I knew.  This–pictured below–was His logo choice.

This mark had huge significance to me personally as my name is Laurie, a derivative of “laurel,” which means “Queen of Victory.”  In that season of uncertainty the Lord repeatedly spoke His identity over me–I’m His daughter, His princess of Victory.

This image clearly symbolized our mission with shepherds and kings–the crown shape speaking to the royalty of kings and the leaves and the water indicating the care of a shepherd for his sheep.  The purple image of water in the middle of the mark pointed to His call for me/us–to be a source of Living Water for shepherds and kings.

The Lord highlighted the most profound aspect of the logo recently during a morning run.  He reminded me clearly that He ALONE does, and will, wear a crown forever.  Though many, if not all of us, will have some crowns to lay at His feet, there is ONE king and ONE crown in eternity.  It belongs to Him–alone.

It’s all about Him.  En Gedi is all about Him.  My life is all about Him.  This world is all about Him.  One King.  One Crown.

“At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

The ultimate message of the En Gedi logo as well as En Gedi itself is that this journey, and indeed all journeys, begin and end with Him. 

It always has been and it always will be, forever, all about Him.