We sent the following out to our mailing list this evening.
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26 July 2009
We are blessed! We returned to the States from Guam about 6 weeks ago and have been busy connecting with friends and family since then. This is what we mean by blessed -- so many friends -- so much family. And you all have been asking so many good question around the theme: "What exactly are you up to next?"
That's the point of this letter -- to try to answer some of the great questions that people have been asking.
Where are you living?
We spent a couple weeks with Brad's brother Gary and his wife Joy in Tempe. We traveled to the Pacific Northwest for the annual meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church and to visit family. Then we spent two weeks with Brad's parents in Mesa. We're currently condo-sitting for a few weeks at Jeff and Mary Johnson's newly refurbished place in Fountain Hills.
We've been bidding on houses in the Laveen area and hope to become homeowners again soon. However, most of the real estate in the area is "distressed." This means that buying is more complicated and protracted than what we we're used to. We are confident that something will come together but are asking prayer that it will be sooner rather than later. We're quite ready to give up our nomadic lifestyle. :-)
You're going to start a new church where?
Laveen is a "village" in Phoenix. It's on the south side of the city -- bordering South Mountain, the Estrella Mountains, and the Gila River Indian Reservation.
Why did you choose Laveen?
There are many reasons that we've settled on Laveen. We really like the area -- the mix of people from so many different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, "the buzz," the obvious potential with so few existing churches in a developing area. There are also a couple of families living in Laveen who are a part of Hope Covenant Church in Chandler. They've been praying that God would bring church planters to the area.
Laveen is a part of Phoenix which, because of so much recently-built housing, has experienced great financial stress. People are open and looking for some anchors in their lives. It is interesting, too, that even with the economic slowdown new homes are still under construction. Phoenix itself, in spite of the lay-offs and financial chaos, added 50,000 new people last year. It is the fifth largest metro area in the US with 5 million people.
We are very fortunate to have lots of connections and relationships in the greater Phoenix area. Brad's brother and sister-in-law live about 30 minutes drive to the east of Laveen in Tempe. His parents live about 45 minutes east in Mesa. We have friends living north, south, east, and west. Proximity to so many friends is important to us.
Is this a Covenant church plant?
Yes -- with the blessing of the Pacific Southwest Conference and with the encouragement of other Covenant pastors in the area. However, because of the economic downturn there are currently no conference funds available to add this new church to the list of conference-supported plants. Financial support is a possibility for the future but for now we are going to be self-funded missionaries. Once we get situated in Laveen Cheryl will look for a local job. Brad is already looking for some part-time adjunct teaching.
What is your time frame?
The tentative plan is to spend the rest of the summer looking for a place to live and getting settled. Once the dust settles in the fall we'll try to get together with people who live in Laveen for some vision-development gatherings. In the spring of 2010 Brad would like to have regular gatherings of the launch team, develop community, and to begin some all-church outreach and service projects. Hopefully we can start regular worship services in the fall of 2010. This is a fairly relaxed time frame to accommodate our "bi-vocational" approach.
How can I help?
Move to Laveen to help us form the launch team! Seriously! We also need people willing to pray for us and the community. And since there are no conference funds available at this time we need to raise all of the start-up money for the church. Financial contributions from individuals and churches would go a long way at this point. Checks can be made out to "MasterPiece Church" and sent to PO Box 1113, Laveen AZ 85339-1113.
Where did the name MasterPiece Church come from?
Ephesians 2:10 in the New Living Translation of the Bible says, "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." The point is that the church is the premier work of God -- the "masterpiece" -- created for the purpose of carrying out his plans in the world.
What do you hear from Guam?
Pacific Islands Bible College is now Pacific Islands University. They're gearing up for the fall semester which will begin at the end of August. This is a time of change at the school -- but it is good for the students and the institution. We do miss our Guam friends, students, and church fellowship and are looking forward to island visitors once we get situated. Fortunately, we're able to keep in touch through Facebook and email.
We want to thank you all for your ongoing prayer and support. We are indeed blessed to be "surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses" and find joy in you and your faith.
Brad & Cheryl Boydston
PO Box 1113
Laveen AZ 85339-1113
http://MasterPieceChurch.org (coming soon)