stories

Continue to Pray for Pastor Saeed and Family

A couple months ago I had the privilege of interviewing Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has spent the last year in two different prisons in Iran where he has been tortured, abused, and told to deny his Christian faith. He has led many people to Christ in prison. Naghmeh has spoken multiple times on Fox News and CNN, even in front of Congress asking for her husband's release.

Please watch this powerful interview and continue to pray for Naghmeh and her family. They would love to see Saeed home for Christmas!

A New Chapter in Our Lives

It is with sadness in my heart that my time at LaGrange Baptist Church is coming to an end. Last weekend, Oak Hill Baptist Church, in Humboldt (pronounced HUM-BOLT), Iowa, called me to be their Senior Pastor. After talking and praying with my wife, my kids, and close friends, we believe God is leading us to this new chapter in our lives. God has burdened my heart to preach the gospel, and I can’t not do what he’s called me to do. Though I feel a real sense of grief in leaving, I feel an equally strong sense of excitement and calling to be a part of what God is doing in Humboldt, Iowa, and beyond. Eight years ago, I started serving at LBC. I was 27 years old with so much to learn. And the people of LBC taught me. They taught me way more than I could’ve taught them. They loved me. They prayed for me. They gave me patience to grow as a husband, father, and pastor. They supported me and sincerely cared for my wife and my kids. They celebrated with us and cried with us. They served alongside us and sacrificed their time to reach kids & families for Christ. They even let me spread my wings with new ideas and dreams. Some that worked and others that didn’t. Through it all, they have shown me what it means to be a church family.

We have loved serving at LaGrange. I never once thought of my position as a stepping stone. Pastoring the children and students and families has been a tremendous privilege … and I’m thankful that the vision to reach the next generation will continue when I’m gone.

My last day at LaGrange Baptist will be Sunday, November 6. We are hoping to move to Iowa and start at Oak Hill as soon as we can. Please pray for our house to sell and for our entire family during this emotional time of transition. God is at work, and we greatly appreciate your prayers as he turns the pages and begins this new chapter in our lives.

With you for the kingdom, Doug and Jaime (Emie, Lily, & Luke)

LaGrange, KY on the Map in Little League World Series

Michael Grant, writing for the Courier Journal:

The Little League baseball team from La Grange, Kentucky, participates in the opening ceremony of the 2011 Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar).  North Oldham is one of 16 teams — eight from the United States, eight from other countries — participating in the nationally televised double-elimination tournament. The games started Thursday and conclude with the title contest Aug. 28.

North Olham plays tonight at 8:00 on ESPN!

Everyday Moments are Gospel Moments

I got home late last night and my oldest daughter was still awake. She's been having trouble sleeping at night and honestly, it's been pretty frustrating. But she was waiting up for me and just had to tell me something. Thankfully, God gave me patience to listen. She said that her little brother couldn't fall asleep and so she laid in bed with him for awhile. She told him that she understood how hard it is to go to sleep and what she does when she can't sleep. She said to her brother, "When I can't sleep, I remember some verses from the Bible. I remember that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ... that he can help me do all things, even go to sleep." Then she shared another verse, "Come to Me and I will give you rest." She told him that we can ask Jesus for rest and he will give it to us. After that she prayed with her brother for God to give him rest. I was smiling as she looked up at me and said, "Daddy, in about one minute, he was already sleeping."

Isn't that sweet? I told my daughter how much I appreciated her and how I see God's grace working in her. I was thrilled that she tried to understand her little brother's situation by comparing it to her own and then went right to the Bible for help. It's cool how God gave her a glimpse of His grace in using her to help her little brother go to sleep.

As I reflected a little more on this moment last night it made me deeply grateful for the gospel. It reminded me that everyday moments are gospel moments -- moments where the simple message of Christ can be communicated by an 8 year old sister to a 3 year old brother who can't get to sleep. Without knowing it, my daughter had lived out 2 Cor. 1:4. In her struggle to go to sleep, she found comfort in Christ's words and wanted to share that comfort with her little brother. Now I know that not every moment will end like this one did. But either way I'm learning that every moment is a gospel moment. It's an opportunity for us parents to point our kids to Christ so they can in turn do the same.

What March Madness Reveals About Us

March Madness is madness indeed! But it reveals some things about us as human beings: 1. We are made for something big

Paul Tripp once said, "There is woven inside each of us a desire for something more--a craving to be part of something bigger, greater, and more profound than our relatively meaningless day-by-day existence."  It's true. We love the feeling of transcendence, and March Madness gives us a glimpse of the glory we were made for.

2. We love rooting for the underdog

Why do we love the underdog? I think it’s because we see ourselves in the story of these cinderella teams. We identify with the “Davids” because we are weak in and of ourselves. Not many of us are naturally gifted to do great things. But all of us want to be a part of doing something great. Ironically, this is God’s pattern for showing His greatness(1 Cor. 1:26-28). His glory is seen most powerfully in humility--that's why Jesus is so glorious, He's the ultimate underdog.

3. We want to win and be on the winning team

There's a longing in all of us to win. As the old Wide World of Sports intro used to say, "It's the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!" As followers of Christ we are on the winning team. Though we have failed, our humble champion has won. He reigns! And we will one day reign with him in everlasting glory as we celebrate his victory over sin, death and the devil.

Japan, My Twin Brother, and News Article

By now all of you know about the devastating earthquake in Japan.  Many of you also know that my twin brother is a missionary there in Kyoto.  He and his family are doing fine as they live about 450 miles from the epicenter.  They did feel the tremors, but their big concern now is praying for and helping the people of Japan.  Go to his blog and read more about what he had to say. I was interviewed today by WHAS.  Here's the brief article. There may be a couple more interviews coming.  Pray for the right words to speak that would honor God in this time.

10 Years in Japan

My twin brother, Mark Wolter, on his 10th anniversary of serving in Japan: September marks ten years since I first came to Japan. It is amazing to think about all the Lord has done since I first came here as a naive 24 year-old foreigner.  Though we may not see all of what God has done in those ten years, it is enough to know that He continually has given me a heart and a love for the precious people of Japan, and that it is a pleasure to give my life away for them every day.

More than 99% of Japanese are like sheep without a shepherd, going about life trying to find the best way, and yet lost, and starving, and dying. Every day more and more are suffering and dying. They do not know the wonderful food - the love, peace, and joy of God that surpasses all understanding, both in greatness and in duration. It is my longing for my dear brothers and sisters in Japan to know that, and to know Him personally. Please pray with me that they would; that their eyes would be open and that they would seek and find God through Christ Jesus.

Thanks to all of you who support my brother prayerfully and financially.  If you'd like to learn more about how you can partner with Mark and Maki and/or receive their email updates, email me at dwolterATlagrangebaptist.com.

Teachers, Be Encouraged!

Jen Berglund

Ten years ago I taught 6th graders at Grace Christian School in Deephaven, Minnesota.  I loved it.  Pouring my life into young people was (and still is) a passion of mine.  After all those years, I recently heard from one of my former students.  It was so encouraging to hear about what God is doing in her life and how she remembers 6th grade as the year she started making a habit of reading the Bible on her own.  She is now a junior at Bethel University in Minnesota with a burden to share her faith in Christ.  I was so blessed to read this article and to be a small part of the story God is writing in her life.

So, if you're a teacher, be encouraged.  You're making a difference.  Many times you won't get to see the fruit of your labor, but God is at work!  BTW ... if you're a former 6th grade student of mine, I'd love to hear from you!

Learning about Community from an Unlikely Source

Yesterday my car started over-heating on the highway.  I was with a good friend of mine and we quickly pulled over at the nearest exit and prayed for a place to stop.  God led us to a Valvoline where I found out that my car had to be towed.  Little did I know God was ready to teach me about community from a most unlikely source.   He was a scruffy, cigarette-smoking, 48 year-old country boy with a deep Kentucky drawal.  As we got into his tow truck, we started asking him questions.  It wasn't long before he told us about how he was a member of the "Vannin Club."  Yep, you heard it right.  The Vannin Club.  We told him we had never heard of such a thing.  And he was more than excited to tell us all about it.  In fact, he gave me the offical Vannin' website and here's what it says:

For those of you new to vanning, or who have somehow stumbled across us, vanning is a culture unlike anything else you may have ever dealt with.  Vanners are like a big family, they will travel for hours, even days to see each other on a regular basis. They watch out for each other, they celebrate together, and sometimes... they mourn together. Vanners are a diverse bunch brought together by their common love for the sport of vanning. Some people like to just camp out of their vans, while other prefer to make their van into something more them. Sometimes that is just curtains and a bed, for others its something they put their all into, chopping, gull wings, tubbing,..It's amazing what you can do with a van. Whatever level of vanning you may enjoy, you do it because you want to. Vanning is also a very social event, we do some wild and crazy things, and consume more than our fair share of alcohol.   

There you have it.  Vanners are "like a big family ... they watch out for each other, celebrate together, and sometimes even mourn together... a diverse group brought together by their common love for the sport of vanning."  Wow.  Makes you want to be a vanner!  So as we thumped along in the front of his tow truck, this guy kept jabbering about his Vannin' Club and the community he experienced there.  He rambled on and on about how much he loved it.  We just sat and listened.

Finally it was time to get out.  We shook his greasy hand, told him thanks, and said good-bye.  But he wasn't done.   He actually turned to us, looked at us in the eye, and asked us to come to his next "Vanning Club" get-together.  We laughed out loud ... but he was totally serious.  And as he rode off, I turned to my friend and said, "Weird.  He just invited us to his church, didn't he?!"

You see, for this 48 year-old, buck-toothed, cigarette-smoking Kentucky hick, vannin club is where he's found community.  He couldn't help but talk about it, and in the end, invite us to be a part of it.

Everyone is looking for community.  Some find it in the strangest of places.  But I learned something from this simple tow truck driver.  He found community and was eager to talk about it and invite others into it.   Am I?  After all, I'm part of a community too.  A community centered on something that will last forever.  A community centered on a Savior who bled and died on my behalf.  All other kinds of community are only faint pictures of the real thing our hearts were made for.

And to think God used a tow truck driver to teach me all of that.