Hurricane and ministry

A welcome back to North Carolina from Florence is not the greeting we were hoping for. Hurricane Florence started making waves for us (rain and heavy winds) September 13th as she made her landfall less than ten miles from our house. Although we have experienced many hurricanes over the years this one was different in many ways. First, it dropped from a CAT 4 (utter devastation) to a CAT 1 (100mph winds). Her decrease in power was a huge blessing. Second, Florence moved at a snail’s pace which means we got hammered by driving rain and strong winds for about 60 hours. Third, Florence dumped 9 trillion gallons of water on NC according to the National Weather gurus. That’s a lot of water! Fourth, Florence made the town I live in inaccessible by road. All roads (small and interstate) were closed due to flooding and damage. No way in and no way out. Fifth, she caused so much devastation that the Coast Guard and other responders spent days rescuing people…..I watched the helicopter fly over our house on multiple missions. We had never seen that before.

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As for our home; we came through the storm with minimal damage. This statement is even truer when you consider the many homes and whole neighborhoods that had water up to the second story. There has been significant property loss and the number of trees that are down is staggering. Just on my little road of nine houses, there were 32 trees in the yard, on power lines or on someone’s house.

Although this storm was devastating it also brought opportunity. The four men in our neighborhood worked together for a week to patch leaking roofs, make sure everyone had what they needed and cut all those trees of the powerlines and rooftops. Although it was hard work, most every man loves being a hero (even for a day) and it’s even more fun when you get to help with a chainsaw  (man grunt).

For James, the storm gave him the opportunity to connect with four people in the neighborhood who only remembered James from his unruly days. After removing several trees from two neighbors homeJames apologized to them for being such a wild and disrespectful kid to them (they are now in their 70’s). The apology floored them. Since that day James has spoken to the two families several times and looks forward to more great conversations and better relationships.

Recovery is still going on and will for quite some time. Rachel and Caleb have joined a relief team that our church has formed giving all of us the opportunity to serve others within the broader community. Caleb has raked and hauled off plenty of trash and Rachel has served food to people who lost everything. It’s humbling and an honor to serve people who lost so much. In moments of devastation and personal loss, its natural for us to look inwardly to our own needs but Mark 10:45 nudges us to look also to the needs of others. We don’t have to neglect the needs of others while we clean up our own yard.  “Jesus came not to be served but to serve”.

Bangladesh

The research team has been formed and officially launched September 24th. This team will take three months to explore and collect needed data to help us determine ministry strategy in this needy country. Our desire is to begin recruiting workers in early 2019.

Financial Support

As stated in the recent past our financial support has dropped over the last two years requiring us to make adjustments. At this point, things seem to be stable but we are still in need of new supporters. We are requesting you to consider family, friends, and churches you are connected to that might be interested in getting more involved in missions. You can help by connecting us to the church leader or hosting a small gathering where we could share the ministry and invite people to consider joining us. Thanks for considering this.

Leadership

James continues to prepare for the Leader Cohort training in November. James is co-teaching several topics and leading a session on Situational Leadership. This training is aimed at 20 emerging leaders making them more prepared to lead others towards the purposes of God.

Family news

We are going to be grandparents. I thought that would get your attention. It is true. Moriah and Houston’s baby is due around Christmas so Lynette and James are working on what they want to be called (pops, pap, granny, etc….). We can probably just let the grandchild give us our new names.

Prayer Points

  1. For the continued storm recovery efforts and that the Father’s love would be experienced.
  2. For the Bangladesh research team. That they would make the connections needed, collect the data and compile it all in a report.
  3. For James as he prepares material for the leader cohort in Asia
  4. For more people to join our financial support team

Thank you for your support, prayers, and encouragement,

The Cottles 

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Transition update

It’s almost been three months since the Cottle family left Cambodia for North Carolina.

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Ten suitcases, four carry-ons, and four book bags. We also shipped a small crate by ship which arrives Aug 31st. 

In many ways, it feels like only yesterday we were buzzing around Cambodia…..but time flies by no matter where you are. During the last months we’ve focused on acclimating to our new surroundings and schedules, getting school matters for the kids squared away, purchasing a car (a little less scary here), and worked on our house to make it more suitable for our family (adding rooms, hallways, and sheetrock). We spoke at two churches so far. It was such an encouragement to be received back by these churches and to share the great things God has done and what things are in front of us.

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Tearing out paneling and installing insulation and sheetrock in Grandma Cottles room

Rachel started her high school senior year last week. She’s attending Coastal Christian and is making new friends. Although Rachel is processing leaving her Cambodian home and all her friends we are excited to see how she is trusting in the Lord and taking steps to branch out and connect with others. This change has not been easy for her.

Caleb will be attending E-Academy for his 8th-grade year. This is a homeschool/online school operated by the county school district. He will officially begin in two weeks. Caleb has already run a 5k race and placed well. He has also reconnected with three boys that live in our neighborhood.

Lynette has been busy making the house her new home. It has been a full-time job but one we have tried to tackle in small increments. Most things are put away and just in time for Lynette to begin her new job at Coastal Christian High School. Lynette is doing well with this transition but has had moments when the tears flow when she thinks of the people we left in Cambodia.

James is in the middle of transitioning too. James is still serving as the Area Director until October 1st. At which time he will he will transition from Area Director to his new role in Global Leadership and Development. His first trip will be September 16th-22nd to Seattle to receive training in the area of mentoring and coaching others. In November James will fly to Cambodia for the leader development seminar where 20 emerging leaders from Asia, South America, Africa, Central Asia and Europe will grow in leadership skills. James is leading several sessions on Situational Leadership and co-teaching two other sessions.

James is also working with a small team in order to launch research in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in Asia and only has 0.05% Christian presence. The hope is to launch the research team by mid-September, and gather the appropriate data so mobilizing new workers to this unreached people can begin in 2019.

Thanks to everyone for partnering with us as we labor to reach the unreached and develop others to be faithful laborers in the gospel. We ask that you pray for the following:

  1. Our continued adjustment to life and work in America
  2. Our children as they continue to process, grieve and make friends
  3. The research team for Bangladesh
  4. For James as he prepares for the leadership development training in November

Serving Him,

The Cottles

 

Cottle Family Update

June 26th, 1993 two kids got married. Lynette and I celebrated 24 years of marriage. Honestly, I’m not sure how Lynette has put up with me this long but I’m glad she has. I think we were made for each other.

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On a recent trip together, we were able to add an extra day to our travels to see the Palace in Beijing and a few Pandas. It just so happens our travel dates were on our anniversary…..so I credit myself for taking Lynette somewhere special on our anniversary.

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Also in June, I had the chance to observe the closing ceremony of Ramadan. This was a great experience and I couldn’t help but think of the verse when Jesus told his disciples “the fields are white and ready for harvest. Some estimate that over 200,000 Muslims filled the streets near the Mosque….I believe it. There were people everywhere.

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School House News

Lynette is teaching at Logos International School and one of her classes is Bible. She has some great things planned for students this year with the goal of helping them interact with God’s Word in practical ways rather than just viewing scripture as a book from the past. One way she is doing this is through using DBS (Discovery Bible Study). After reading a short passage of scripture (1-10 verses) she asked; what does this teach us about God, what does this teach us about man, is there a command to obey or an example to follow, is there a sin to avoid or repent of, and what truth will you apply this week? I have used this approach and we highly recommend it for all ages.

Rachel and Caleb are deep into their studies, making friends and enjoying sports. Rachel is playing High School volleyball and Caleb is playing Middle School basketball. Both of them are involved in Bible studies with other students and continue to grow in their faith. Since Logos is not too far from our house they ride their bikes to school and get to experience the high heat and humidity of Phnom Penh. I, on the other hand, choose to ride the motorcycle.

Area Ministry

I (James) continue to work with three different groups of leaders in Asia focusing on growing in our leadership skills and effectiveness. Each group meets every month to focus on various aspects of leading ourselves and others well. The training is not only about learning or sharpening our skills but also identifying tendencies and defaults that hinder us from serving others well. Starting in November I along with three other trainers will launch the Leadership Cohort. The Cohort will focus on developing emerging leaders throughout World Team. These participants come from South America, Africa, different countries within Europe, and Asia. The goal is to equip them now so they are better prepared to serve in any leadership capacity that God may lead them to.

Since we’re talking about leadership let me share with you a definition of leadership that I  like.  A leader is a person “with God-given capacity and with God-given responsibility who is influencing a specific group of God’s people toward God’s purpose for the group.” Dr. Bobby Clinton

Our well-being

Living in another country (especially a developing one) does bring its physical challenges and we’ve had our share of stomach bugs, viruses, and unexplainable symptoms but since we returned in August 2016 our health has been good and we’ve only encountered the typical illnesses that everyone tends to get. We thank God for good health and the ability to carry out the ministry.

However, we have experienced a decrease in monthly giving as a result of hardships some churches and supporters have had. We are currently averaging a $700 monthly shortage. As of right now, this is manageable but we would like for you to pray that all our needs would be met so that the work can continue.

Finally, we want to thank you for your prayers and support of our family and the ministry. As we enter our seventeenth year of serving in Cambodia we are amazed and thankful for each person, business, and church that has given their resources in order to reach others with the Gospel and establish the church.

Things to pray about:

  1. Moriah (our oldest) is getting married in Dec. We are assisting in the planning of the wedding via Facetime but there is still work to be done
  2. Rachel is taking SATs in October and obviously, she is hoping to do well
  3. That our financial support would stabilize…..and for others to join our support team
  4. I’m working with several teams in order to expand our ministry to Muslims. We need open doors and more workers
  5. I’m preparing my material for the Leadership Cohort….I’m still thinking through what to and what not to present

Thanks you,

The Cottles

 

 

 

Holiday update

Holiday greetings from the Cottle family.

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We trust you like us, enjoyed a great Thanksgiving Day with family and some great food. Of course we ate too much! We spent our time in Deep Run, NC. with Lynette’s family and James’ parents joined us for all the fun.

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As shared with you last month, James organized a multi-organization seminar on honor-shame cultures for Nov 16-18. The seminar was a huge success. Some said that the seminar was the best they’ve ever attended. Here are a few of the comments from attendees:

  • “One of the biggest takeaways for me at this seminar was the teaching about the three types of world views and how Scripture confronts each one.  The three types are guilt/innocence, honor/shame, and fear/power.  Cultures tend to have elements of each type in their worldview, but one tends to be dominant over the others.  Throughout the pages of Scripture these three types are revealed.  As missionaries we must recognize the dominant one within the culture where we work and use the parts of Scripture that deals with that worldview in our evangelism.  As we disciple the new believers we must teach the fullness of Scripture and confront all three worldviews.  When was the last time you heard a preacher from your home culture preach about shame?”
  • “Filipino Glenn Sebios–reported that he was converted under the Western paradigm–the guilt/innocence model–and he’s been both schooled in that and has tried to share the gospel from that paradigm ever since.  But at the seminar his eyes were opened to the Honor/Shame paradigm which is oh so much more meaningful to him as a Filipino.  He said something to the effect that the guilt aspect of the gospel didn’t grab him very much and was kinda hard to relate to, but now that he understands what it means for the gospel to save him from shame, well, it’s the difference between having a head knowledge of what the gospel is all about and having a heart knowledge.

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Lynette and I have been sharing about honor-shame at every church we’ve spoken at and the interests has been amazing. We feel honor-shame is a relevant topic for US churches as they seek to reach out to the ever growing immigrant population. If you want to learn more check out honor-shame.com. Growing in your awareness of honor-shame will enrich your understanding of scripture and help you to relate more effectively to those from different cultures.

As you think of us please take time to pray for the following:

  1. Caleb had his second ear surgery on Nov 30th. We are praying that his skin graft will attach properly and that he will gain full hearing ability.
  2. We are preparing leadership and team training materials for our trip to Asia is Feb 2016.
  3. We are still in need of additional financial support in order to make our June 2016 departure back to Cambodia.

We pray that as you enter the Christmas season that you will be centered in God’s Peace.

Blessings to you from the Cottles

The Cottle’s latest happenings

Being back in the States with family and friends has been great and of course summertime is always nice! We have enjoyed the sandy beaches of Eastern North Carolina and got to wet the line a few times. No real big fish to brag about but we did catch fish. Of course Rachel’s fish was huge:)

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James got a job with a construction company to earn a little extra cash. Pictured is a tongue and groove stage he finished in August.

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We took Moriah and Kailyn to college to start their Junior and Freshman year.

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Caleb had his first of two surgeries on his ears in August. He is receiving skin grafts on his eardrums and if all goes well he will not need hearing-aids any longer. Wooohooo. Caleb is doing well and is gaining hearing in his right ear without hearing aids.

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We attended World Team leadership meetings in Spain in October. It’s always great to be with other leaders and prayerfully try to move the mission towards establishing communities of believers among the unreached. Afterwards we added a few days to spend with fellow missionaries serving in Italy to tour some of the sites.

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Our time hasn’t been all travel, beach and fishing. We are still maintaining our leadership roles through online meetings and training. Lynette just finished two- four hour online sessions with professional teachers in Cambodia. James has been setting up a workshop on honor-shame cultures. 150 people from various organizations will attend this vital training Nov 16-18. We are also preparing for three upcoming training sessions for leaders, teachers and one of World Team’s teams in February when we travel back to Asia.

Finally; we have been visiting churches and updating on the marvelous things God is doing in Asia. We are blessed to be a part of reaching others with the Gospel and equipping others and it’s always fun sharing it with others.

Please continue to pray for us as we anticipate Caleb’s next surgery to be later in Nov or early Dec. Also, please pray that our financial support will increas. We are $1,100.00 a month below what is needed to support our family and ministry.

It seems a lot of people are posting throw-back pics these days. Here’s two from us. James taking the girls to school in 2001 and James and Moriah and Kailyn (left) in Preah Viheah in 2003.

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Thanks to all of you who pray for us, the ministry and give towards reaching the lost.