August 25, 2005
In am writing to you after several months of prayer and waiting on God for direction. It has been a summer of adjustment and deep soul searching. I want to say thank you for all those who have stood with the new affiliation during this time and I understand that it has cost us all a great price. We have been through major changes in our relationship with God and one another. To precisely walk in the truth is the desire of our life. No one is a Pharisee and no one wishes to judge anyone. I believe, as many do, that we are on the right course of change and this change will bring great glory to God for honoring the truth. We are not elitist and we are no better than those who may differ with our position. Change is not always pleasant or comfortable because I believe none of us are comfortable with the unknown. The unknown requires faith and that is what pleases God. When God is in it, I believe that change is good even when change sometimes means great heartache such as the parting of some cherished relationships. This is sometimes the results because of the need for the qualification of godly convictions leads us in a different direction. Truthfully we want to “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”(Romans 12:17, 18) That is our prayer no matter what others may choose to do.
If there is one thing that is being realized day by day during this time, it is that Kathy and I have had to cast ourselves totally upon the Lord for everything. But what a glorious place to be….! After all, it’s all about Him (Romans 14:7 – 8). Because we have chosen to walk in the truth, we have been rejected by some who were formerly very close to us. This has caused many tears and sleepless nights. But the summer is over now and we face the great possibilities of the present and future as we expect the Lord Jesus to move on with His plan for our lives and the lives of the ministry of the International Association of Grace Ministries.
I am not writing to you to tell you these things that you already know. Though others have been led of God to use the internet and emails as a means to effectively communicate what has been right and needful, as a former elder with GGWO, I have patiently waited upon God for the timing to communicate to you. This does not mean that others have not been right. They did what God led them to do and that is what matters. But I believe the time has come for my humble input concerning the potential future of the new International Association of Grace Ministries.
Multitudes around the world have taken this new step with us. The enemy has tried to discourage, create second guessing, bully our churches and cause confusion. The enemy has encouraged normally careful people to attack through gossip, innuendos and maligning those who have chosen to walk in their convictions about the truth. Families have been separated all for the sake of staying with a system that has hurt hundreds of people now for over 25 years. We now enjoy the purity of having made right those issues that for a long time we did not deal with. It has brought cleanness to our souls. There is love and appreciation for all those who invested the truth in us over the years. That appreciation will always be there.
Our prayer is that somehow the future will bring to pass the restoration of relationships with others without compromising the truth. It is only then that we can walk together in truth, genuine love and unity again honoring our accountability to God first and then to one another in the culture of trust.
Please pray for a number of churches who are seriously struggling with the conflicts of people who are in a measure of uncertainty. Pray that the work of the enemy would be brought to nothing and that lives would not be hurt. Pray that pastors would not be undermined by the unscrupulous tactics of the lying disgruntled.
Kathy and I left Baltimore, as many others have, with little promise of what the future would hold for us. We believed God that it was the right thing to do and we were determined to walk in integrity. We no longer have our jobs. We sold our home in Joppa, Maryland, at the end of May. We packed our belongings after selling off what we couldn’t take with us and then left for Florida to stay in Kathy’s dad’s trailer in St. Pete. Florida is a temporary provision for us and a neutral place to land and seek the will of God for the future.
I could not stay in Baltimore. Twice in one year Kathy rushed me to the hospital with what we believed were all the symptoms of a heart attack. The doctors said that it was stress related and could prove to be lethal if my schedule was not altered soon. I could not agree with the way things were being run in Baltimore and also the way people who did not agree were being treated. After 2 ½ years of unbelievable pressure and discord; I along with almost 90 other leaders, men and women who love God and gave their lives for what they believed was the best thing on earth, we left Baltimore. We knew it would cost us dearly. 35 years is a lifetime of service. Affiliates began disaffiliating after attempting 3 times, as a group, to change the unbelievable marking and sowing of discord emanating from certain ones in Baltimore. Hopes would rise and then be dashed within hours as godly, sane people tried to seek reasonable and godly answers for horrendous decisions and treatment of people while trying to live in unity and agreement with leaders. The breaking point came to each of us one by one as God spoke to our hearts that it was time to leave.
So we are in Florida right now and with Pastor Tim and Peggy Kelley. He is a great pastor who really loves his people and one that has opened his arms for us to be here with him as he builds this great church in St. Petersburg. He too has suffered the results of discord sown about him and has in turn lost people who he has loved and invested in for years. He, like others, has not had it easy. But he is going on with God and we have witnessed God’s hand in the daily work here.
Pastor Kelley has given us space to pray and time to wait on God to determine our future. We do not know where we will eventually end up but God knows. All of our adult life since graduating from Bible college in 1967, we have served God fulltime. It is a blessing to be here and it is so needed for us to be here as we pray and contemplate the future for our lives. For years and years our background has been serving God 7 days a week in every possible capacity from church planting to building Bible colleges and Christian Day schools. As a former international field secretary, I traveled the world helping, giving and sharing Christ with multitudes. I was operating in my call then and still believe this is my calling today.
Pastor Kelley’s church is in the process of purchasing the building that they and the Christian Day School meet in. Our coming here was partly because Kathy’s father’s trailer was available to us on a temporary basis and since we had no home God provided this to be here. Because the vision for the St. Pete church is in an infancy phase, it is a gigantic financial faith adventure for Pastor Kelley. He is trusting God for the daily supply for growth and development of the body here. He never promised us anything before we came because he couldn’t. We never expected him to financially help us either. We came with the intention of seeking God with no guarantees for the future except the Lord Jesus’ faithfulness. We are debt free because of the sale of the house. But we find ourselves in a place of needing employment or some provision. We have prayed much and urgently seek your prayers for God’s direction and provision.
This summer, I have been sought out by several of those affiliates that have stood with IAGM to continue my help and counsel in the states as well as internationally. They have requested me to continue to visit and help with this important time of transition. They have come to trust me to guide them in their vision for the future. They have looked to me for direction and wisdom now for many years.
If this is to continue with the new affiliates, it of course requires support for the traveling in addition to our current living expenses.
IAGM has struggled financially since its inception because the organizational structure is so new and is actually only now getting off the ground. In the future the new structure will allow financial help for some of these special projects, but this is at least three years off. The new web sight is already amazing thanks to much hard work. You may go there at: www.iagm.org. Membership in the organization is growing. It is so encouraging. We are reaching many new leaders and people who are very interested in becoming a part of IAGM. In the beginning of any organization like IAGM the development is limited to volunteers until such a time when finances become sufficient for a full time staff. This will change with time as membership grows and churches contribute to its needed support. Among the present needs are our missionaries. This constitutes a great concern with me and Association members at the present. Presently there is a specific need for individuals like me to fill in many of the gaps of our new organization. This, so far, is impossible without your prayers and your covenanting with me to pray for support. As I indicated above, there is a great need for support of our missionaries through counseling, visiting, encouraging, and establishing foundations that press on with the vision of winning the lost. The Russians, the Indians, the Canadians, South Americans, and Europeans have all asked me to come and help them soon. I believe strongly that we cannot afford to abandon these men and women who have paid a supreme sacrifice to represent our Lord on foreign fields as well as indigenous pastors. I have great difficulty asking for my own needs but do not hesitate asking for them.
I am coming to you upon the counsel of trustworthy and Godly leaders, members of IAGM and friends to ask you to pray for needed support. This is not easy for me to be in a place like this because I find it hard to ask for anything. I am presenting the needs to you because I trust your walk with God and your prayers for God to raise our support for my family and travel.
The cost for traveling is great as you know if you have done any of late. We try to seek the lowest fares possible to reach our churches throughout the world. So this is the first area of need.
The second area is what makes the first possible. We have living expenses which I have to have, of course, in order to fulfill the first.
Again, may I ask you, would you please pray and covet with us that God will give supporters for helping us for this next year? The cost of airline tickets, visas, vaccinations, intercontinental travel and our living expenses is laid on the altar. If God wants me to continue in what I have done for years, then God will supply the needs. If not we will seek him for other direction. I need you on the team and feel with you holding our hands up in the battle we can and will be victorious.
Our living expenses are very simple but necessary. After the sale of our home in Maryland, we were left with no savings and no provision. I requested some assistance from GGWO but this has been ignored. I received no severance package from GGWO even after 35 years of service. Our health insurance paid premiums ended the end of July. We have to cover that expense of $750 per month on top of our living expenses.
One of the urgent reasons for needing to maintain our health insurance is Kathy’s soon open heart surgery.
As God only knows the timing of our lives, Kathy went for her yearly heart checkup in June. She has suffered for years from a seriously leaking heart valve. This year the doctor told her after her exam that the time had come for her to have a procedure in which she was to swallow a little camera so that they could determine whether they would have to replace the faulty valve or if it could be repaired. The exam revealed that they could repair it. This meant that she would not have to be on heavy medication from a replacement valve for the rest of her life. Praise God! But this revelation seemed very untimely (naturally speaking) to be necessary at this time in our lives with our future so uncertain. We have had to find the money to pay the $750 monthly health insurance premium or she would not be able to have this surgery. The operation could be as much as $150,000 without the health insurance. Because we have been able to keep this insurance coverage, she goes into the hospital September 23rd for the operation. Please keep her in your prayers.
With the vision of the continuing guidance and help for our precious affiliates worldwide and considering our personal needs here in Florida, we ask you to pray that God will raise up mighty men and women of God to support the faith work God has called us to in missions. We want to serve you and those whom you support.
Would you please pray that God would raise up those who would consider helping us with their prayers, love, and financial support. There are immediate needs that could be met by those led to give a one time faith donation while God directs others to support this faith ministry monthly. You can feel free to give this letter to as many people as you feel lead and if God touches them to stand with us in this new venture of faith then they may send support to:
P.O. Box 1422
It is tax deductible because IAGM is a charitable 501-C3
As God provides as a result of your prayers we will diligently continue in the plan of God for the future of our churches.
For those who support us, we will be sending a monthly newsletter by email and also periodically sending a DVD of the video when I am able to take one of each place that I visit. We will try to have the pastors give testimony to you on the DVD about their needs and how God is moving within their work. This will help you be with those missionaries and encourage your church with the vision God has raised up.
We wait on God’s faithfulness trusting Him wholly for what He wants with ours lives.
May God bless you as we trust your prayers, love and care for us. We know that God is able and is faithful. He is waiting our intercession for the work.
Pastor Daniel E. Lewis and Kathy