Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Part 6 of the "Thaw Out" Tour

We had a fantastic time visiting with new friends, Josh and Janel Metsker and family in Springfield, MO.  Josh has traveled to Galena twice. Preston's birthday fell during the time we were there and we had a fun time celebrating with our wonderful hosts (the Metskers) and a few other new friends.  Happy 13th Birthday Preston!

Preston requested Josh bake his cake

In Springfield we were able to meet with several individuals interested in missions in Alaska.  Another fun part of connecting with people is getting to meet families of men who have traveled to Galena.  

Sunday morning we visitied One Community Church.  Chris was able to share about the Lord's work in Galena in an interview style with the Pastor during the service.  We were also delighted to reconnect with Aylise Tisdale, and also meet her daughter,.  We first knew Aylise when she was in our youth group when we lived in Lafayette, Louisiana around 2004.

Sunday night Chris shared at Second Baptist Church of Springfield.

Moving on from Missouri, we traveled to Salina, Kansas, and the next day we made it to Evergreen, Colorado which is where Chris' brother, Greg, and family live.  Two days after arriving in Colorado Shell and the boys traveled to Fairbanks for the boys' swim meet over the weekend.  The boys were glad to be with their team and both swam really well at their meet-dropping time in every single race.  Fun fact: it costs the same amount of money to fly from Denver, CO to Fairbanks, AK as it does to fly from Galena, AK to Fairbanks. Meanwhile, Chris and the girls spent the weekend connecting with various potential supporters and partners. 

 The girls sure do love their cousins.

Sunday morning Chris attended Aspen Ridge Church in Evergreen, CO. He and the girls then traveled to Colorado Christian University and shared with a college group that is doing a mission trip to Alaska this summer. 
 An Alaskan missionary kid (son of a missionary friend) attending CCU.
 Some old Galena faces, Jake and Amanda Hoekstra were dorm staff in Galena and now are on staff at CCU. 

Later that evening Chris and the girls met with several folks from Stapleton Church.

To date we have driven just over 6800 miles.

This coming week we will be sharing at Mile High Church, in Brighton, CO. This will be our last scheduled speaking weekend and we'll begin driving back north!

Thank you for all your prayers.  Please continue to pray for our safety as we travel and praise the Lord for his care and provision.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The "Thaw Out" Tour Part 5

First Baptist Church of Lack Jackson TX holds the current record for the most mission teams sent to Galena. To date they have sent 9 teams to the Great Land. The Chamblees were gracious hosts for us for four days, and hosted 2 dinner parties for us to meet with folks from FBCLJ who have been to Galena on mission trips. 

Sunday was an incredibly busy day. It started with Chris teaching the young adults Sunday School class, immediately followed by the morning church service in which Chris Preached from Romans 15. 

After church we had a staff lunch with staff from the church, and then attended a Sunday night small group. It was great to see friends and reconnect with volunteers!

We went from Lake Jackson to Katy TX and spent a couple of days there with Shell's parents and Grandparents. On Wednesday of that week the whole family had been asked to share at a Christian Elementary School's chapel service. Since it was for K-5th grade students we decided that it would be much more memorable if the students heard from our kids. So Shell and Chris interviewed Preston, Clint, and Cara on "A day in the life of a missionary kid." The kids did great, and the students asked some great questions. 

This was a little video we put together to show at the beginning of our talk with the kids. 

From Katy we drove to Pineville Louisiana, where we shared at two campuses of The Gathering Place Church. We have not been with this church in 6 years and it was far past time to reconnect with these brothers and sisters. 

After this, we began a week long marathon of a different camping spot every night. Monday in Monroe, LA, Tuesday in Minden, LA, Wednesday in Longview, TX. Each of these stops afforded us the opportunity to visit with longtime friends and supporters. We then started our northern progression Thursday in Maumelle Park, Little Rock, AR, and Friday in Springfield MO. 

Jonny Pye was in Chris' first youth group when Chris just started in ministry 19 years ago. 

Wade and Regina Butcher, came to Galena to help after the 2013 flood.

Lunch in the Camper

 We're now staying with new friends in Springfield MO. Josh Metsker has been to Galena twice on trips as their church seeks to engage in rural Alaskan missions.

To date we've traveled just under 5700 miles, are about to have our second oil change, and just put two new tires on the camper. We are so grateful for God's faithfulness in our protection along the way.
Pray for us as we speak at One Community Church and Second Baptist Springfield and then begin traveling to Denver, CO.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The "Thaw Out" Tour Part 4

The Kopp family had our first family vacation that didn't involve extended family...ever! We spent a restful five days together as a family in between speaking engagements.

Departing from Florida we went back to Mississippi to get our camper, and hurried to Lafayette Louisiana where members of our former church were hosting a crawfish boil for us. Not only were we incredibly blessed to see so many, but we were also grateful for their generous giving. It's an incredible thing to be separated from church family for nearly a decade and it was as if time had never passed. Makes us long for heaven even more.

Chris traveled to Ville Platte, Louisiana that Saturday night after the crawfish boil so that Daylight Savings would have less affect on his preaching the 8am and 10am services at FBC Ville Platte. Shell and the kids joined him for the 10 am service. Pastor Kevin West, who has pastored there 20+ years, was a seminary student with Chris. Ville Platte has supported us since we moved to Galena and has even sent some folks up to visit Galena.

This past week we have visited with Chris' parents, Shell's brother, and local ministry supporters and friends in and around Lafayette, Louisiana. On Thursday Chris spoke with the young 20somethings group of FBC Broussard. Chris did Bible study in the small building where he and Shell met over 21 years ago, and taught on the subject of Biblical neediness from Luke 7.
 Shell"s brother Jon
First Baptist Church of Broussard's youth center. This is the place were Chris and Shell met 21 years ago.

So far we have traveled just over 4000 miles.
Pray for us as we share with First Baptist Church of Lake Jackson Tx. FBCLJ has sent 9 mission teams to Galena since July of 2013. We're thankful for their ministry partnership.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Thaw Out Tour Part 3

We had a fun time visiting Chris' parents and Shell's brother,Jon, in Lafayette, La.

First Baptist Pine Prairie Louisiana is proof that the church in rural America isn't dead. We were so blessed to reconnect with the pastor and his wife who have both been to Galena. Unfortunately we did not remember to get pictures at this church.

While we were in Lafayette, we spent a few days camping with Chris' parents and his aunt and uncle brought their camper out as well.  The kids were also glad to play with second cousins!

We've been getting very settled in the camper and its a really good fit for us.

From Louisiana, we traveled to Lucedale, MS. God's providence was evident to us through a flat tire.
Our truck indicated that we had a low tire and it was getting lower by the second. Since we were pulling the camper behind us Chris needed to quickly look for a suitable place for us to pull off the highway. We saw a gas station and pulled in. When we got out of the truck we could hear air escaping the tire. We saw a large screw embedded in the tire. It was only then that we realized that we had stopped right next to a Napa Auto Parts store...that just happened to have a tire repair kit on clearance...and a trucker who pulled up next to us and offered to let us use his air compressor to air up the tire. From warning alarm on the truck to pulling out of the gas station with a repaired tire...LESS than 30 minutes. God's timing was Perfect.

We then made it to Lucedale to visit Jennifer, Kegan, Bri, and Kara Wager. It was wonderful to reconnect after many years apart. The Wagers discipled us when we were teens.

While in Lucedale, we connected with a couple of Jennifer's friends, and Chris was able to share at a ministry lunch at the local community college.

Bri Wager was able to drive home from college one night during our stay and we were happy to get to spend a little time with her. The girls enjoyed getting their nails done by her.

Kegan, entertaining Evelyn. 

Kara Wager and Cara Kopp

Following our Lucedale visit, we headed to Jackson MS to spend a little time with Chris and Brandy Courtney and their kiddos.  The Courtneys have been dear friends for over 12 years and have been ministry supporters since we moved to Galena.

Our next stop in Mississippi was Meridian where Chris was able to share with Fellowship Baptist Church.  Chris met the pastor, Corey Fontan during his time in seminary.

To date we have driven over 2800 miles across four states. 
We have raised 32% of our goal. 

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers. Next Stop Ville Platte Louisiana. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Part 2 of the "Thaw Out" Tour

We had a wonderful time visiting Shell's parents in Katy, Tx. The camper we purchased need some repairs and Chris was able to fix a list of items. The kids got to spend the weekend in Katy while we traveled to speak at Stevendale Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, LA.

We've known Kegan Wager since he was very young.  So good to see the man he has grown up to be!

Hardie and Melissa Midkiff serve at Stevendale Baptist Church.  We enjoyed getting to know them better after many years of connection without a face to face meeting.

We also connected with the pastor of First Baptist Beaumont and they will be prayerfully considering supporting us starting their next budget cycle. This week we are in Lafayette, Louisiana.  We are grateful the Lord has graciously given us safe travels.  For those that are curious, we are up to a total of 3,500 miles traveled by air and 1,250 miles traveled by road.

This past Sunday Chris preached at First Baptist Milton.  We were also very happy to see many church family friends from our time pastoring in Lafayette.  It was a blessing to be reminded that church is not about the building, but about God's children and the relationship we all share.

Through our meetings so far, we have raised 15% of our target goal.

Please continue to pray for good health, safe travels, and that the Lord would be glorified as we share the calling He has placed on our lives to share the gospel.  We share next at Pine Prairie Baptist Church (2/24).