Church-planting Update from the Provows
Church-planting Update from the Provows


"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope."
-Romans 5:3-4

At this point, nearly every one of you receiving this newsletter knows what has happened to our family. Here is the very short version: more than two months ago, Lydia left our family and went back to Bulgaria to be with a young man who had been a part of our church. She made a decision that forever changed the makeup and trajectory of our family and ministry. Earlier this month, our marriage ended in divorce and I become the sole legal guardian of our five amazing children.
In case you missed it, in this Facebook post I explain my thoughts on the importance of marriage.
And if you are wanting the full story, here is a YouTube video from Lakehills FWB Church in Cedar Park, TX, where I spoke this past Sunday (August 22). If you don't have time for their excellent praise and worship, you can fast forward to 26:05.
This has been a hurricane that I never could have imagined hitting our family. And the reality is that this hurricane has many victims besides the children and me. Our extended families were devastated. IM was devastated. And our church in Shumen, along with the other New Life Churches, were devastated.
In the midst of this category-5 hurricane, it is easy to look around and see just the destruction. But the truth is so much more beautiful. While there is much hurt, the title of this newsletter is not "Pain", "Bitterness", or "Destruction". The title of this newsletter is "Hope"!
Here are just a few of the reasons I have to hope today...

1. The kids are doing well.

Two months ago it was easy to wonder how we would survive this storm. But God's grace is new every morning, and God has allowed my kids to thrive despite the pain of a mother who walked away. They are growing in the Lord. They are surrounded by family and friends. They are able to count their blessings and thank God for His goodness. They are enjoying this extended time in the States, even though they- like me- have a strong desire to return to Bulgaria as soon as possible.

2. The IM family has been amazing to us.

None of us know what the future holds for the Provow family, but the reality is that we may very well have the privilege of continuing to serve with International Missions in Bulgaria. Our brothers and sisters at IM have cried with us, prayed with us, and given us all the tools we need to move through this healing process. While it is my fervant prayer that we get to go back with IM, even if it turns out that is not God's plan, I will never forget the way they wrapped their arms around our family.

3. The church in Shumen is alive and well.

As opposed to almost everyone reading this, our church in Shumen was betrayed not by one person- but by two. It was a betrayal that had the potential to destroy the church right then and there. (and I can only imagine that was the devil's intention) But praise God, the church continues to meet every Sunday and is showing great spiritual maturity in the face of this trial. Brenton and Debbie have stepped up to the plate in a way that would never be expected of two-year interns. Despite having formal Bulgarian lessons for less than one year, Brenton has already begun preaching in Bulgarian. The future is bright in Shumen!

4. God is drawing me closer to Himself.

In the verses I shared at the beginning of this newsletter, Paul says that he rejoices in his suffering. I'm not sure if I have reached the "rejoicing" stage yet, but I have definitely seen God use this suffering to mold me in ways I never knew I needed to be molded. My time in the Word has been more vibrant. My prayer life is more alive. God has opened my eyes to the suffering that other people are going through. And God has used this trial to fill me with a deep, abiding hope for the future.
The future is very bright, my friends. A future full of faith, hope, love, growth, and victory. How do I know that? Because that is the kind of God that we serve. He is a God of victory. A God of restoration. A God of taking the broken glass and making a mosaic.
He is God of hope!
-Josh, Naomi, Phoebe, Zoe, Malachi, and Pavel


Here are some of the songs that God has used to heal my heart. Never in my life have I enjoyed listening to songs on repeat so much!
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