Monday, June 26, 2017

Life in the Wild, Wild, West

     We've been in Arizona now for 6 months, a lot has happened! Due to technological issues we haven't updated our blog. Those issues are behind us now and we would like to catch you up on the highlights of the last 6 months!
We arrived in Arizona after a 3-day journey and nearly 2000 miles on January 13, 2017.

     We have been so blessed by so many of you who have stood with us in prayer, financial support and of course our great and mighty God! We arrived safely to McNeal, Arizona (Home Office of New Tribes Mission Aviation) on Friday, January 13, 2017.

Our whole aviation team in McNeal paused for a photo just before the 2017 Air Expo in February.
     Not long after arriving we jumped into our role with the Aviation Team. We came at one of the busiest times for our Aviation Home Office. New candidates arrived and began their evaluations as they aspire to serve the Lord through New Tribes Mission Aviation. It is a grueling week of testing these individuals on their flying abilities and mechanical abilities. The result of the evaluations was 5 new candidates and their families will be arriving to begin training in McNeal with us in the Fall of 2018. Praise the Lord!!
     The next event followed on the heals of evaluations. It was the New Tribes Mission Aviation Air Expo. The Expo was put on so churches and individuals in our local community could see  what is happening in their backyard, so to speak. Many aircraft were on display and multiple rides were offered to attendees. The helicopter in the center of the above photo was dedicated this day to future service in the Philippines. The Expo was a huge success for our team locally.

Old unusable housing is removed to make way for new as anticipation of  new trainees will be arriving soon to us in McNeal.
     Shortly after the Expo attention turned to the housing situation for our students. With the influx of new trainees anticipated it was quickly decided steps should be taken to improve our housing situation in McNeal. It was decided 2 new homes would be needed immediately to alleviate the stress of inadequate housing for our trainees. As a result our maintenance team prepared 2 condemned home on our property for removal.
     Once the mobile homes were removed, Kent and the maintenance team shifted focus to preparing the empty sites for new double wide manufactured homes. Two new concrete pads measuring 28 feet wide and 56 feet long would be needed for the new homes. It took a lot of physical work in some very warm temperatures, but the maintenance team persevered, they prepped and poured the two pads with some major help from the rest of the aviation staff.
Kent and his co-laborer Danny work to tie rebar in preparation of concrete.
The whole aviation team came together to make 2 days of pouring 29,000 lbs. of concrete successful...Even our Grady!
     Our children appear to be transitioning well to our new life serving the Lord in Arizona. Grady has finally been able to play a full season of baseball! In previous years we haven't been able to get home in time to get him on a team. Grace continues to be a great person at making friends and having all kinds of fun. Dottie turned the big number 1! She continues to be an incredible baby and a major ray of sunshine for our family.
Our little Grady is growing up fast. He was so proud to finally be able to play baseball.
If we'd let her Dottie would love to drive us around!
Grace has come to love horses, thanks to her Kindergarten teacher (Right).
We are also still exploring the land and it's inhabitants...carefully!
Our new home is both, intriguing and beautiful. Thank you Lord! This is Oak Creek near Sedona, AZ.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Journey's Never Ends

The journey of satisfaction never ends.

I've really been struggling with the concept of prayer:

  • If God is going to do what he wants, why pray? 
  • If it's going to work out in the end, but not the way I asked, why pray? 
  • If we do pray and then He doesn't answer, why should we have wasted the time to pray?
I'd like to say I know all the answers to these questions, but I don't. However, I believe God has brought me to a better understanding of why we do pray.

** Prayer is more about our relationship with our heavenly Father than about Him answering them.**

A week ago Sunday, I asked the Lord if we could be at 50% by the end of the week. At that time we were at 44%. We had an amazing week. By Thursday night we are at 47.8% I really thought we would make it to 50% by Friday.

Friday morning, a lady called to tell me they were going to support us for $50 a month. I was overjoyed. Because of my response to her support, she called her mom to ask her if she was serious about supporting us. Her mom said yes,  and they came on board for $25 a month. This excitement put us at 48.9%!!! Needless to say I was beside myself. I was certain that we would be at 50% by the end of the day!

Well, it's Tuesday morning and even through we've gone up to 49.3%, we're still not at 50%. So if I look at it, God didn't answer my prayer. But, was the prayer being answered the most important thing? I would have to say no. The most important thing to remember was my relationship with God. Not being at 50% means I have to decide, sometimes hourly, to rest in Him. I have to make the choice not to worry and stew over where we're at. I have to decide to keep myself in His word and the truth I find there. I have to keep my faith and believe that His plan is perfect and mine is not.

I wish that I could say that I'm doing back flips over this concept, but I'm not. But it is exciting because slowly but surely I am growing.

So praise Him today for those prayers He is answering. Praise Him for the ones He decides not to answer because it seems, at least to me, that those are the times when we have to hold tight to our Father and trust Him for what lies ahead.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Counting Up or Counting Down

!WARNING! The blog you are about to read may be filled with cute pictures of our daughter Dottie! Prepare yourself for possible melting of your heart!

Dottie at 1 Month.
July was Dottie 1 old. We had a very trying month as it was a tough one for Mom. Brenda was sick, hospitalized on one occasion, and life seemed very rough for a while. Kent and Grady made an investigating trip to Arizona where we will live and play for the unforeseeable future. Grady came home excited and has been telling Grace about it ever since.
Dottie at 2 Months
In August Dottie turned 2 months old. This picture represents the month of August well as the Rockwell family took on the pose of a fighter and got down to business. We started meeting with other believers about partnering financially with our family. Grady and Grace started at a brand new school with no one they really knew. This was Grady's 3rd school in as many years. He's been through a lot and we recognize that. Without his awesome attitude Grace may not have even boarded the bus on the 1st day. We love our Grady! He's a champ and we hope to keep encouraging him and filling him up. Keep Grady and Grace in your prayers please! We understand that we have asked a lot out of these special little people while on this journey!
Dottie at 3 Months
September Dottie turned 3 months old. We continued meeting with individuals about our role with New Tribes Mission Aviation and expanding the reach of the Gospel. We celebrated Brenda's birthday and attended our 1st Street Fair in over 2 years! Grady and Grace rode nearly every ride the Fair had to offer, impressing Mom and Dad. Grandparents from both sides spoiled their grandkids and created some very special memories for both Grady and Grace.
Dottie at 4 Months
(At this point hair bows have become common attire) 
In October we, like Dottie's picture, were ready to kick it in as we started the month with a huge fundraiser. The Matt and Elizabeth Bertsch Family hosted their annual Fall Festival Fundraiser and choose our family to be the recipients of the free will offerings received that day. We received enough money to cover our start up expenses for our ministry with New Tribes Mission Aviation. Another big event was our Grady's 8th Birthday! It was a great day for him filled with tons of friends, fun and food.We shared and talked with individuals in Sunday School classes at Hope Missionary Church, sharing how God will use our family inside New Tribes Mission Aviation Team. Hope Church also had their 1st Mission Fair and we met many individuals. We felt it was very well planned and coordinated, not to mention a big success! Financial support needed to go on and serve with New Tribes Mission Aviation went from 27% to 42% in this month alone (We just need 50% to go in January...So we're close!). 
Grady and Dottie celebrating Grady's big #8 Birthday!
Dottie's 5 Month Birthday

Dottie just turned 5 months old on Election Day. She looks ready to run for office in her picture! She not only has 1 leg up on the completion, she has both! Better watch out politicians!! We don't yet know what the Lord will behold for us in this month, but we trust Him! We need to continue to build our team of supporters and get ready to move in the next 7 1/2 weeks!
If you or someone you know would be interested investing financially in the gospel of God's grace, please consider our family as a viable option! We would love to have you team up with us as we go after God's great command of completing the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19! Just contact us and we can easily explain how to get signed up and involved.
Thank you and the Lord's richest blessings!

The Rockwells

Kent 260-273-9149
Brenda 260-273-9152


KentandBrenda Rockwell

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Big Move and a New Addition!

Well, its been a while since our last blog! A ton has happened since our last post in the Rockwell family. We had a graduation, a 550 mile move, a new family addition and so far a very busy summer.
This was the beginning of our long, but fun journey home. These awesome men came together to help us load this trailer and truck in mere minutes on a very warm Missouri evening.
 The men that helped are good friends and staff members at the MTC. They were being pulled in all kinds of directions at that time as we were not the only people moving home after finishing the training. We are still so humbled by their biblical servant attitudes and inspired to carry it on wherever we go in this life. The truck and trailer were a huge blessing donated for our move home by two very loving and giving families in our home town. We were and are still so grateful to them for their generosity. We can't go into missions without individuals who represent the body of Christ like these families do and we definitely recognize and appreciate that!
Grady and Grace made lots of friends while we were studying at the Missionary Training Center for New Tribes Mission. Here Grady and some of his friends were hanging out and playing one final time as they said their goodbyes.
This is one of the part of missions that is hard, moving and saying goodbyes. We had great training here in Missouri on these goodbyes. Staff who experienced so many of these hardships came along side of us and helped us realize what our teammates Grady and Grace were going through. They opened our eyes as parents to helping them cope with the feelings of anxiety and loss that our kiddos experience. These feelings are normal and expected when we move on and/or say goodbye to people and surroundings they love. We as grown-ups experience them too. However, we are able to cope differently than Grady and Grace.
The next morning we said our last goodbyes to friends and our surrounding for the last year in Missouri. We stopped to take one last picture...If you look closely you can see someone is about to make us a family of 5!

Meet Dorothy Jane! We call her Dot or Dottie. She arrived 1 day earlier than expected on June 8th. Our whole family has found her irresistible!
Just before 9am on June 8th Dorothy Jane forever captured our hearts as she made her appearance into this world and joined our family. She has been an incredible baby, sleeping 7 hours on the first night we brought her home. Dorothy (or Dottie as we call her) is named after an incredible lady that captured our hearts years before, the late Dorothy "Dot" Kipfer.  Dottie's middle name of Jane comes from Brenda's late grandmother Mary Jane Girod. The kids absolutely love her to pieces and can't walk by her without laying a few kisses on her. We are blessed beyond measure and are so grateful to have her smiley face in our family.
Here's another shot proving her incredible happiness she carries and passes on to us daily. We love her wild hair too!

Grady wanted to get his picture taken with a Saguaro Cactus. In this picture he wanted to show Mom how tough he was by leaning against one. He thought Mom would be impressed that he was leaning against a cactus.
Kent and Grady took a trip to Arizona in July. The trip was to help Grady see his future home and surroundings and allow him a chance to adjust. He got to meet the Principal and Superintendent of his school in Arizona, see his and Grace's classroom, meet a few new friends who will be our neighbors at NTMA. He also enjoyed the southwest landscape. The trip seem to be a success as he talks about it with us he is starting to get more excited.
Its time for school! Their 1st day of school for 2016. Grady is our 2nd Grader and Grace is now our Kindergartner.
Just incredible how fast time goes. Just seems like yesterday Grace was born and now she's in Kindergarten. Grady is growing up into a young man so fast we fear to even blink anymore! The first day of school back in Indiana was special. It was the first time they have been to school in their "home state." Although if you ask Grace she tells everyone she's from Michigan.
It was so neat to see Grady tell Grace about the bus and act so confident about going to school. He marched right on the bus fearlessly, leading his sister to school on her first day. Prayer would be appreciated as they will leave this school in December and transition to a new school in Arizona beginning in January.
Here are our Diplomas from New Tribes Mission acknowledging the completion of our training. We are now full members with New Tribes Mission!

We've received excellent training and are very excited to start telling others about what God is using New Tribes Mission to do in the world and how we plug into His plan through New Tribes as well. Right now we are building our team of prayer and financial supporters. This means we are meeting with individuals who would like to invest in the Kingdom of God by praying for and financially supporting our family, who's desire is to have a hands on role in reaching those who have NEVER heard the "Good News" of Jesus Christ. Our hearts hurt for those who have no one to tell them and no way to read or learn about Jesus and His finished work on the cross. There are NO churches in the next village or around the next corner to hear of Jesus. Our hearts are burdened because the tribal people we seek to reach don't get a free pass from God for being ignorant either (Romans 1:18-20)!
If you share this same burden for the unreached but don't feel lead to go, feel free to contact, talk and pray with us. We would also ask you to go before the Lord and consider joining our team financially. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

When an Ending is Just the Beginning

      You know that moment when you're like, "Ok, it's over. Now what?" Well, that's where Kent and I find ourselves as we have completed our training. Over the last three years, two in Jackson, MI and one in Roach, MO, we have been preparing for the work that we would encounter on the field. During this training we have learned:

At some point in time, almost everyone that comes through the training has at least one baby! All these women are due by December of next year. 

Friends are worth making and pouring into even if it means we'll only have them for a short time! A wise missionary once said, "Play it hard till the end. There will be time for tears later!"

Our training during the last three years has not always been what we thought it would be. However, it was been wonderful in preparing us for the work we will do in AZ. The training is always sure to work on our relationship with the Lord. 

God has proven to be faithful time and time again as we have come to Him with many decisions that needed to be made during our training. We're so thankful that He heard our prayer and gave us Grant and Alana as mentors.

Ask the right people and you'll get the help you need. Now, we're not sure what the workers will be like but at least they do come to help!

Friendships that we have gained through this training will last a lifetime, even if we're serving or living on different sides of the world!

Time marches on. We took this same picture just 9 short months ago, at the beginning of our training at the MTC and now here we are taking it again at the end of our training. 

God does walk with us to do the things we think we cannot do. Like driving 10 hours from MO to IN when you're 37 weeks pregnant!

 No matter how long you're away or how long you'll be home, family is always good to come home to!

No ones life ALWAYS looks like this!

    So the end of training has come and now what? Well, personally I'd like to have this baby before we move too far ahead, which will hopefully be happening in 2 weeks and 2 days (not that I'm counting). 

       Then what after that. Well ,we get the amazing opportunity to ask people to join our team as we carry out the great commission to take the gospel to all nations. God's been really working on our hearts these last two weeks about what that partnership should look like and how we can develop our team. Our hearts are not always where they need to be but we are moving in a direction that I believe brings more glory to God than our rotten hearts used to bring. 

      What's strange about this "beginning," is that it has no ending. As we form our team, we're hoping to bring partners on board that have the same heart that we have, to bring the gospel to those who have not yet heard, and will thus be life-long partners in our ministry. 

     It's very clear that the task ahead of us is very large and really not something we can accomplish on our own. Ministry Partnership Development (MPD), or support raising, has shown us our "not enoughness" yet again. Our hearts and minds will have to be consistently in communion with our heavenly Father. He's proven faithful before and He will prove it yet again.  

Monday, February 22, 2016

We've finally landed on a ministry!!

After nearly a month and a half of praying before the Lord and talking with many wise people we have decided on our next move serving the Lord. Our next move, Lord willing, will land us (pun intended) in McNeal Arizona where we plain to serve with New Tribes Mission Aviation.
New Tribes Mission Aviation Hanger in Arizona.
In October 2015 we met with New Tribes Mission Aviation representatives at the NTM "Field Fair." This is where representatives from nearly every field of NTM come to tell us about their ongoing ministries and needs on the field. This is how the ball got rolling which led to a trip in January just after the 1st of the year.
Since we've returned from Arizona we have been praying about this opportunity and where the Rockwell family would fit best in the NTM organization. We can say with strong confidence we feel NTMA would be an excellent fit for our family.
It is an incredible place and ministry in Arizona. NTMA trains pilots and mechanics to go on from this facility to serve throughout the world in remote areas to keep tribal church planters supplied and in the tribe! That means more dedication to getting the Word of God to the unreached!
"Millions Unreached...None Unreachable."
 Thank you all who have partnered with us so far in this journey and we look forward to what God has in store!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

We never had a break that went this fast!

Just before we ended our 1st Semester here at the MTC for Christmas Break we had some cool experiences and another huge blessing and praise to share with you. God continues to blow us away and amaze us with His love and blessings. Even when He has nothing left to prove to us or anyone for that matter, He keeps showing His goodness time and time again...and just when we need it!
We are excited to share that we have been blessed having received our "elinc advisors." In Lehman's terms that is MTC speak for mentors. Many of you have prayed or have been praying for us in this area as we have been in prayer and searching for just the right people to pour into our lives while here at the MTC. Words cannot express our gratitude and thanks for our prayer warriors out there!
We gratefully introduce to you Grant and Alana Mayer! Grant and Alana served as missionaries in Boliva. We are rapidly becoming good friends as we get to know them more and more. They are such a blast to be with and they will be helping us with Christian life, marriage and parenting as we meet on a regular basis. It is such a blessing to have such awesome godly people to be friends and grow with! Thanks again for praying!

We had two opportunities to see our children perform in Christmas performances and they were both great! We were so proud of them!

This is Grace's class just
before their Christmas program. Grace is in the middle with a gray top on. This class is very busy and a handful, but Miss Sandi (on the left) and Miss Anna (on the right) do a fantastic job with them!
Here is our Grady moments before he performed in his school Christmas play the "Gingerbread Cowboy." He was the "Coyote" and did a fantastic job! We were able to enjoy some goodies together before we all left together and headed back to the MTC for one more class. As soon as class let out we started our trek back to Bluffton for Christmas break.
Thanks to Tim and Julie Eicher's family ministry "Eicher House Ministries" we were able to have a beautiful home to lay our heads at night and celebrate our very own Christmas together. What a blessing and encouragement! Thanks Tim and Julie!

After a great Christmas with extended family we traveled to Michigan to visit our friends at Litchfield First Baptist. We stayed overnight with some of our awesome friends Jason and Michelle Boulis and went to First Baptist the next day to worship. First Baptist is an incredible group of believers that took us in as family while we lived in Michigan. We love them dearly and it was so nice to be able to worship with them once again!

On the way from Litchfield we stopped when we saw this great sight in Auburn. "Bigfoot!" The kids couldn't resist and it was awesome to see their faces when seeing the massiveness of this vehicle.

A few days later after bringing in the New Year with some good friends Rob and Joy Martz, we went out to visit New Tribes Mission Aviation in Arizona. From this 600 plus acre facility New Tribes Mission services the world of New Tribes by training, retraining and equipping pilots and airplane mechanics. These pilots and mechanics keep our New Tribes missionaries alive and working well in the tribe by flying missions of food and support to our missionaries in the tribe. Something new about New Tribes Mission Aviation, it is now subsidizing flights to other missionary agencies and even nationals who need to get to certain areas to spread God's word but don't have the money to do so. Through generous supporters NTMA is now able to pick up the remaining balance of a flight so missionaries can get where they need to get.  

One of the beautiful settings around NTMA in Arizona. The great weather helps to make this facility a hopping place constantly training pilots throughout the year. Another attraction is the tricky landscape of the mountains which have runways supplied by generous neighbors or NTMA that try the skills of pilots in a simulated, close to real life scenario they will face in places like Papua New Guinea when landing and taking off.

NTMA has asked us to consider serving with them in Arizona because of the skill sets Kent has that are greatly needed there. We will keep you posted as the Lord reveals more to us about this possible option in ministry to complete the task of reaching those who have never heard. NTMA's slogan is "MILLIONS UNREACHED...NONE UNREACHABLE."
After returning to Indiana we hopped in a vehicle with this group and headed out to Pennsylvania to "Wayumi." "Wayumi" is an NTM ran facility that helps people understand what our role is in God's Great Commission and what tribal missions looks like. This is just part of the group. I couldn't find a picture of our people from Litchfield First Baptist. An incredible group of people!

This was a little look into our break in which nearly 7,000 miles in travel accumulated. God is good as He always is and now we are back settling in to the MTC in Missouri. Thank you all for your continued prayers of support! We love you all.
Kent, Brenda, Grady, Grace and ?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Busy Fall, New Knowledge and New Surroundings

Hello again friends! It has been a long while since our last post! August in fact! A lot has happened this fall as we transitioned to life here in Missouri at the Missionary Training Center with New Tribes Mission.
Same Rockwell Clan just a different locale

As New Tribes Mission prepares us for the situations of missionary life and in foreign contexts we spent plenty of time in the classroom this past semester.

Our classroom setting looked like this for the most part throughout our 1st semester.

Some things we covered that we're learning about are: our personalities and the personalities of others and how that affects accomplishing tasks day to day with our teammates, growing in our marriage, growing in parenting, understanding why New Tribes uses "Building on Firm Foundations" to teach the gospel to the unreached, and understanding the task is not finished simply because we have shared the gospel and a person becomes a Christian....we learned what is needed
to help these young Christians to mature in their walk so we can leave a mature church behind in the end.
Many beautiful evenings were able to be spent like on the lake for supper.

A rare opportunity presented itself to us all at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) when New Tribes Mission Aviation came for a visit in one of their helicopters. They offered free rides to students at the MTC and Grady and Kent got the chance of a lifetime to fly in it!

It was a priceless moment as Grady could hardly contain his excitement and amazement.

Grady and Kent enjoyed the little flight that took them high above the Lake of the Ozarks. It was so fun for Grady he wanted to get back in line and go again, but we had to give our friends a chance to ride too.

October was a busy month. This month included a neighborhood party with ribs and other fixins', Halloween, Grady's Birthday, a visit from Grammy and Pa and another surprise!

Fun, food and fellowship here at the MTC. What we are so used too in Bluffton!

Even the kids got in on the action!

Grady celebrating his 7th Birthday with some of his Missouri buds.

Grammy and Pa came to visit us to help us celebrate and make Grady's 7th Birthday a hit. Grammy and Pa were a huge blessing, they treated us to some great times of hanging out and showing us how to have fun. We missed seeing them go.

At Halloween we all dressed up and went door to door here at the MTC facility. It was a blast had by all who participated. The line Kent wrote was "Three of these people are pretending to be something or someone but one person is not can you guess who?"

This is how the crazy month of October ended for the Rockwell family...Blessing number 3 due in June of 2016! We are very excited!! Thank you Lord!

November was a fun time that we were able to have reuniting with family for shenanigans like this!

In between Thanksgiving and Christmas we were invited to meet up with our close friends from Bible School in Jackson, the Casey family in Springfield. One place they treated us to upon arrival was an awesome restaurant titled Lambert's CafĂ©, which had HUGE portions and hot rolls that were literally thrown at you by waiters and staff. So much fun was had as we renewed acquaintances on this super fun weekend. The Casey family will be leaving us soon to head for Belgium to "Shine the Light" there in a heavily Muslim influenced country. Please remember them in your prayers if you think of it!

Missionary life can be so sad at times when you have to say goodbye so many times to such good friends and people. It is one of the hardest parts of this lifestyle. Fortunately our hope isn't in this world or life for that matter. Our hope and trust is in the Lord who saves. One day we will never again have to leave one another when we are gathered around His Throne. It is the hope we put our faith and full trust in.