Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Just another Day in Paradise!

Friends! I feel like we're moving in whirlwind fashion. Spring has come and there hasn't really been a dull moment yet! There are two changes to my schedule coming that I hope allow me to meet more people and build some quality relationships. This week I start volunteering at the Lighthouse Youth Center. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to serve the kids who are a part of this ongoing ministry. I'll volunteer twice a month for now, while I see how my schedule shakes out. I'm looking forward to building relationships and I'm praying for opportunities for discipleship among the guys who are there!
I've also accepted an offer to become a part time chaplain at one of the larger employers in the Oxford area. One of the factories has about 7 part-time chaplains and I've just been hired to join that team. This is a God-given opportunity that fits right in my wheelhouse as it related to gifting! I cannot wait to see how God uses this opportunity to build trust and  build relationships. I'm already praying for the people who work there that they might be open to hearing the gospel. I wasn't looking for this opportunity, but a friend of my asked me about it. There's still training to be done before I'm in the factory, but I'm pretty excited.
We're also about ready for our first outreach event! The May First Friday is the first time we'll represent the church publicly. We're setting up a booth. We're grateful for a family at Wrightsdale Baptist who has volunteered to watch our kids and for a family who has volunteered to help us with our booth!
On a positive note, last week someone shared with us that they want to join our first missional community. We're praying a  couple of more families will join us on the journey and we can start meeting in late May or June. our aim for missional communities is to study the Scripture together once a week, share a meal together once a week, serve Oxford once a month and do something fun once a month. We believe using these relational opportunities we'll be able to make disciples who make disciples and we'll be able to restore every area of life and culture in Oxford for God's glory and others' good!
We're so grateful for those of you who keep up with us and pray for us! Here are some ways you can pray:

  1. Pray that I keep everything as balanced as possible in my schedule.
  2. Pray for students as the Lighthouse and be open to conversation.
  3. Pray the same thing for employees of the factory.
  4. Pray for no rain for First Friday. The forecast isn't looking promising at all!
  5. Pray for other people to say yes to joining a missional community.
  6. We're praying that God might add a few partners to this work for 2018. We had some one time gifts that we're praying God is able to replace through additional partnerships. If you or your church might be interested in partnering with us, reach out to me!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's been a while...and I was too busy to take pictures!

Don't worry we're still alive! It's been a while since I've posted anything, but I'm trying to get back around to it. Since the last time I posted, I've been to Tennessee twice! I've preached both of my grandparent's Memorial Services. I've been to Georgia for a training and traveled to Carlisle, PA for another training. In the middle of all of that we've moved into Pennsylvania from Maryland and we've started Homeschooling Ellie. Toss in a couple of sick kids and we have the perfect storm! However, our dear friends Jamie and Angelica visited with us during all of this chaos. What an amazing time of refreshment to get to spend a few days with them at the beginning of March!

When I tell you we feel like we're moving a breakneck speed, we're not lying. It's been a wild ride. In all of that we've managed to make a couple of friends. Our kids are adjusting well. I know I've mentioned it a couple of times, but we're so grateful for Wrightsdale Baptist. Their love toward our family has been overwhelming. They've gone above and beyond to help our kiddos feel loved. Matthew loves Mrs. Jacque. He looks forward to Wednesdays and Sundays so he can hang out with her. The other kiddos love Mr. T and Mrs. Colleen. They've connected well with them and their kids.

Here's a couple of changes coming for us. First, we'll shift from being super detailed in our blog to sending a newsletter to those who want to make sure they don't miss anything. We'll still try to regularly blog, but we'll keep more details of ministry related things to the newsletter. I'd love for you to send me an email or shoot me a facebook message with your email address, so you don't miss out on anything.

Second, we're trying to plan a couple of mission trips with folks from TN this year and next! We're also very excited about folks who are planning to come up for a visit this Summer. It's going to be a busy time of year.

Later this week or early next week I hope to have the first newsletter out. Pray for us as we begin the process of running 100 mph for the foreseeable future. We're incredibly grateful for your prayers and partnership along the way! Thanks for loving us! Thanks for walking with us!

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Kiddos

Hey! Thanks for checking in with us again! Hope your New Year is off to a good start! Thank you for your continued prayers for our family. I thought today would be a good opportunity to update you on the kiddos!
Isaac is doing very well! He's adjusting nicely! Most nights he sleeps well. He hates tummy time, but really enjoys playing with everyone in the family. He's growing up really quickly and really seems to enjoy laughing. He cries a fair amount too, but we try to enjoy the laughter! Here a some ways you can pray for Isaac:

  1. Pray that he continues to be healthy.
  2. Pray that he might sleep at regular times (for Jodi's sake).

Matthew is a hot mess! He is absolutely hilarious. He has such a funny sense of humor. He asks us about 3000 questions a day. He loves to play "With my little eyes, I spy..." He's also apparently quite strong willed because he seems to listen like a rock. He believes bedtime is straight from the Devil and is praying for the curse to be broken so he can stay up all night long. He also must believe his bed comes from the same source as he has aimed to distance himself from it considerably. Here are some ways to pray for Matthew:

  1. Pray that he would continue to exude joy to others around him.
  2. Pray that God would use his laughter to connect with other people!
  3. Pray that he would desire to try to obey his parents (This might be a prayer for us more than for him!)
Will was very excited to meet Batman!
Will is learning so much right now! He's growing by leaps and bounds. Jodi has been working with him and he seems to be soaking up most of what he's learning. He's learned some letters (W,I,L,A, B, C and D) and he's enjoyed all the activity that has gone with that. Both he and Matthew are going to a Music and Me class at the Library. Will is doing well. He says he's scared of the dark, but he's hanging in there. While he never used to like to be read to, most days he asks for many books to be read to him. Here are some ways you can pray for Will:
  1. Pray that he would continue to enjoy learning.
  2. Pray that he would continue to hear and understand the gospel as we teach him the Bible.
  3. Pray that God would help Will (and Matthew) make friends at the Music and Me class, that Jodi and I might get opportunities to build relationships with some other parents.

Ellie is a beautiful girl! I love her to the moon and back. Some days seem to be going really well for her! One day this week she told me ate lunch with 2 other girls. She says school is going OK. Her behavior at home seems to have taken an absolute nose-dive right off a cliff. She and I are having a difficult time communicating with one another about her behavior. I can't really think of a time where I've seen her struggle like this. We've asked for a meeting with her teacher, so we can get her take on things as well. 
  1. Pray that she would seek Jesus in her struggle. I've shared the gospel with her many times.
  2. Pray that God would help her make some friends. 
  3. Pray that she would be open to her parents helping her in this season.
  4. Pray that God would help her know that he hasn't abandoned or forgotten about her.
Had a pretty day, so we enjoyed the park!
Finally, Jodi and I have a favor to ask! If you've read this long, then you likely care for our kids. Would consider writing them letters? I think getting letters encouraging them and letting them know they are loved would make them feel special. They don't need gifts or anything, just a reminder from folks, whether in Tennessee or here in Pennsylvania/Maryland with us now, that they're loved and people around them are praying for them. If you would like to do that and need our address, feel free to message Jodi or me and we'll get it to you.

Thanks again for sharing this journey with us! 

Billy and Jodi

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from the Levengood's! We trust that God has been gracious toward you and your family. Thanks for taking time to check in on us. We've had a really cool couple of weeks since I last posted. We had some neat conversations in town and we got to see two really cool families.
One of the things we're doing as we get settled in is trying to visit some local things as we get to know the area. What better way to visit local places than to go with people you really enjoy hanging out with! Just after Christmas we got to visit Herr's Snack Factory. We took the tour with our friends, the Hummel's, who were in the area visiting family! We had a ton of fun and really enjoyed getting to try potato chips hot off the the line where they were being made. They were a-maz-ing! It may have ruined potato chip eating for us. We're not sure if they could ever be any better than that!
Last Wednesday my sister Stephanie and her family drove up for a visit. They managed to keep it a secret from me. I sniffed out enough to know that something was going on, but I couldn't figure it out. Ellie knew the secret, but she wouldn't give it up either. It was very refreshing to see their faces when they pulled in. We really enjoyed getting to spend time with them and hang out with their kids. One of the things we did while they were here was a trip to the Amish Farmer's Market. We ate lunch and found some tasty treats to have. Next time we go, I'm going to get a milkshake and a pretzel. They looked amazing!
We continue to pray that God would open doors and help us meet people. While we were at the Farmer's Market, during a rather chaotic moment right after our kids had spilled their second drink on the floor and we were looking for even more napkins, one of the guys who was sitting around us said something to me, which led to us having a 15 minute long conversation. He's a Christian and coaches in a local high school. We were able to exchange numbers and plan to connect again soon!
As for how you can pray for us, here you go:

  1. Pray that God would help us meet people.
  2. Pray that God would give us favor among people in town, that we might be able to build trust quickly among people.
  3. Pray that we would clearly be able to see needs that exist in Oxford, so we might find avenues to serve.
  4. Pray for Jodi as she balances all she has going on with the kiddos.
Thanks again for all you do to pray and encourage us! We're grateful for your prayers, support and encouragement! Words cannot express our gratitude to be sharing this journey with you!