Fall is here!

The month of October was a surprisingly full month for the Peterson family. Here is a quick update on our family and the work at Providence Reformed Church.

Home Front

As you know from our last update, the month of October began in a surreal way as our church, city, and family came to grips with the mass shooting of October 1. By God’s grace, none in our church were injured. Of course, the strangely sad feeling of knowing that such a horrible event happened in our home city is still a very bizarre thought. At the same time, many in Vegas have rallied around one another and we have seen a lot of human kindness over the month.

One unique event in October allowed Travis to join some of the guys for a UNLV football game. Not every college football team plays on a field that also sort of mimics a roulette wheel, but we do have some fascinating things in the desert. It was a good time together with the boys even if San Diego State crushed the Running Rebels.

FIRE 2017
In mid-October, Travis, Mitzi, and Owen traveled to southern California to take part in the FIRE West Coast Regional Conference. FIRE stands for Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals, and is the organization with which our church affiliates. Travis was asked to be one of the conference speakers and to address the recovery of biblical worship in the reformation. Owen was a great traveling companion, and we all enjoyed our time together. The Older kids stayed home with an adult friend to make sure all went smoothly.

 

2017-10-29 13.36.09Near the end of the month, Mitzi had a milestone birthday. She was not expecting it to be as special as it turned out to be, however, as the family, our church, and our dear friends truly worked to surprise her. The church had a potluck lunch birthday party that Mitzi had no idea was coming. 2017-10-29-13-34-08.jpgA sweet friend of Abigail’s made a lovely birthday cake for the occasion. And Mitzi was totally surprised with her gift. Ever since we moved to Las Vegas, Mitzi has said she wanted to be able to take the children to Disneyland while they are still young enough to enjoy it. The church and some of our very dear friends back in Illinois worked together to raise enough money to send the family to enjoy a couple of days at Disney sometime soon.

2017-10-31 13.37.50After the birthday festivities were over, Travis and Mitzi got to travel on their own to the Here We Stand Conference held at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, Travis’ alma mater. There we heard some outstanding speakers including Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, Greg Allison, Ligon Duncan, Steve Nichols, Stephen Lawson, and others help us think through the doctrine, history, and importance of the2017-10-31-16-38-17.jpg reformation which began 500 years ago. We enjoyed catching up with a sweet couple, the mom and dad of some of our best friends. We also loved being back on the Southern Seminary campus, all decked out in fall colors. A highlight of the conference in Louisville was a display of first edition English Bibles from the 16th and early 17th centuries. At one point, the man in charge of the exhibit actually removed from its case and put in Travis’ hands a copy of the Tyndale New Testament from 1526—one of only 5 remaining copies of this incredibly rare 1st translation of the New Testament from Greek to English.

 

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To cheat a bit and let you in on the beginning of November, Travis and Mitzi also got the joy of making a quick trip home to southern Illinois for a couple of days after the conference. Mitzi’s dad picked us up in Louisville and drove us to Carbondale where we got to visit with Mitzi’s aunt and uncle. We then got to spend a day with Travis’ mom and granny, and have dinner with his brother, sister-in-law, niece, and new nephew. Then we went to see friends in suburban2017-11-05-10-23-34.jpg St. Louis, surprised our dear friends Amy and TJ at their 40th birthday party, and enjoy time with several other wonderful friends. On Sunday, November 5, Travis was honored to preach at Redeemer  in Waterloo, a wonderful church plant serving the Lord well. As I write this, we are on a plane headed back to Las Vegas and thanking God for the dear friends and family we got to enjoy over this past week.

 

Providence Reformed Church

Life at Providence Reformed Church continues to be a joy. The Lord has blessed our church with people who continue to desire to follow the Lord and obey his commands. Because of this, we had the joy of baptizing two more people in early October. This was a good time to have a baptism, as the water in local swimming pools is just about to get too cold for us to do this outdoors.

Along with a baptism service, we also held another PRC membership class. Because our church takes seriously the importance of church membership, we take time with all who want to join the class to be sure they understand the gospel, the doctrines of the church, our core values, our membership covenant, and our structure. We are expecting that, in November, we will vote in several new members to our congregation.

In case you are wondering, we are still working through the Gospel According to Matthew in our Sunday morning worship services. In adult Sunday School, we are currently enjoying a video series from Dr. Stephen Lawson, an outstanding Bible teacher. We continue to walk through the Gospel According to John in our Sunday Night Live Bible study which is held in the Peterson home and which is always streamed live on Facebook for people to watch from anywhere. On Wednesdays, our church alternates between a prayer meeting and a fellowship group that will also work through the Sunday morning passage for application. The young men and young women of Providence are still meeting just about every month to learn life skills, Bible lessons, and to think seriously about their lives in the future. In so many ways we are blessed to be able to do all that the Lord is allowing us to do.

 

Prayer Requests

We always need for you to continue to lift our family and our church up to the Lord. Here are a few ways that you could pray for us:

  • Pray that God will continue to grow us in our love for him and desire to see and spread his glory.
  • Pray that God will bring people to our church who need to hear his word and join in worship.
  • Pray that we will be able to continue to form relationships with people in Las Vegas who need God’s grace.
  • Pray for our children as they grow, continue in school, and serve God in our church.
  • Pray for our sanity as the hectic holiday season approaches.

 

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Fall is coming!

September has flown by, and the world here in Las Vegas has changed. Here is what has been happening with the Peterson family and Providence Reformed Church.

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Las Vegas Shooting

Before we talk about September, and before we fill you in on family notes, it is appropriate for us to simply stop and answer the question so many are asking. Our family and our church is doing well, by the grace of God, even in the light of the evil that was perpetrated here in Las Vegas on October 1. None of our church members were at the concert where a gunman opened fire, killing 58 and wounding nearly five hundred. But many of our folks have so many emotions to struggle through as we think about what happened.

For many, there is anger, pain, and confusion. Las Vegas is our city. No, we are not into the gambling industry. Many in our church have lived in Vegas so long that they never or hardly ever go to the Strip. But we all know people who spend time in Las Vegas’ entertainment district. WE know people who work on the Strip. WE know policemen and firemen and members of the culinary union who work down there. And so, it is a strange, stomach-turning feeling to know that someone did such evil right here where we live.

As a church, we have spent time in prayer for one another and for our city. We have asked the Lord to heal the wounded, to comfort those who saw and heard things that they can never forget, and show mercy to those who have lost friends and family. WE have prayed for our police force and our other first responders. We pray for our city, and we are asking the Lord to use even this act of evil for good. We are asking that God lead people to his grace and eternal life in Christ as they have seen the evil in the human heart and the fragile brevity of our lives here on earth.

At the same time, we are praying that God not allow this incident to lead our people or our city to a man-centered mentality. There have been wonderful stories coming out of Las Vegas. We have heard of officers who were shot, stitched up, and who immediately returned to duty. We have heard of civilians covering others with their bodies to try to protect them from bullets. We have heard of brave protectors who charged toward the rifle-wielding maniac to take him down before more people could be hurt. We have seen a city turn out to give blood in such mass that people waited in line for six hours to donate.

But we must not let ourselves think that the good actions of humanity in this season is a sign that we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps to bring about healing. There is no healing, no life, no grace apart from Christ. We need Jesus in our city. WE need to humbly seek his face and see him change lives. And we are praying that our city not believe that we are strong enough to face down evil on our own.

So, you want to know how to pray for PRC in this season? Pray that God’s will be done. Pray that God comfort those who are grieving that such evil happened right here where we live. Pray that we not think that the good that we have seen in our city is enough to make us right on our own. Pray that we will talk to friends, family, neighbors, and strangers about the gospel. Pray that God will bring people into our church to learn of the love of Jesus. Pray that our church go into the community to tell people about the love of Jesus. Pray that God use what an evil man intended for evil purposes to accomplish a level of transformation that only God can bring about.

 

Home Front and Providence Reformed Church

In a mix of family and ministry, Travis had the joy of performing a wedding in September. Kevin is the son of dear friends of ours who were part of our church when we lived in Korea. So, it was a great joy when Kevin and his fiancé came to Las Vegas. They have since connected with our church, and were married on September 4 at a beautiful park here in Las Vegas.

Our church held a membership class for people who are interested in knowing more about us and potentially becoming church members. We had a great crowd in our home and very much enjoyed our time together.

With another month comes another birthday party. It is amazing to think that our girl has turned 14. She was surprised by her surprise party. We are so thankful for friends who will go to the lengths they go to in order to love our family.

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Abigail is posing with Chloe, our friend’s dog.

Our Young Women of Providence met at the end of the month and enjoyed a time of fellowship and growth.  We are learning to pray for each other out loud.  This isn’t an easy thing to do for everyone, but it has been such a wonderful experience listening to these young ladies pray.  Our hope is that with time it will become easier and that these young ladies will become comfortable praying with one another on their own.  Cultivating a friendship that includes prayer is such a blessing and we hope that God will help them grow in this area.

Our Women of Providence also had an event at the end of the month.  The women met at a church member’s home and we sat outside and enjoyed Bible study, fellowship, and a meal.  It was a beautiful evening to discuss Titus 2:3-5 and discuss the call to mentor.

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Prayer Requests

  • As we already said in the section above, please pray for God’s best on our church and our family.
  • Pray that we will have wisdom and opportunities to minister here in such a time as this.
  • Pray for our family as we travel. Travis will be speaking at a conference in the L.A. area in mid-October.

Summer’s End

As we wrap up the month of August and summer in the desert winds down, we want to share with you what has been happening with the Peterson family and Providence Reformed Church.

Home Front

Josiah worked through another promotion test in his karate class. He has now gained a green stripe on his yellow belt, which for his class means that he has completed 6 of 11 promotion steps toward a black belt. The work is getting harder and the challenges much larger. But he is pressing on, and we are very proud of him.

 

Travis, Abigail, and Josiah managed to make it to a baseball game here in Las Vegas before the season ended thanks to receiving some free tickets. The Las Vegas 51s are the triple A affiliate of the new York Mets. On the night we went to the game, we had a fun experience. Josiah said that he wanted to buy a hat, though we told him it was not something we could do for him this trip. Just after arriving, a stadium usher asked Josiah if he would like to go and play a game on the field after the 1st inning. He played, of course, and his reward…wait for it…was a game used baseball and a Las Vegas 51s hat—the very hat he wanted to get in the first place. WE all had a great time at the game. And we are all giving thanks to God for the kindnesses he is showing us.

 

One of the beautiful things about living in Las Vegas is that so many friends from years ago find their way here for one reason or another. This August, we got to visit with the Thompson family, friends from Canada via South Africa who were part of Christian International Church when we lived in South Korea. It was lovely to get to catch up and hear what the Lord has been doing in the lives of the Thompson’s and to see how much their kids have grown.

 

Of course, no August is complete without a birthday party. Our youngest turned 6 this year, and we all had a great time celebrating. Perhaps one of the most fun things about this year’s party is the fact that so many of the teens from our church’s student group took time to come and help Owen celebrate. We are grateful to everyone for the kind birthday wishes and gifts.

Providence Reformed Church

Each August, PRC has what we call family camp. Over the weekend, probably around half of the church travels to Duck Creek village, UT for a weekend of camping. We find ourselves high atop a mountain with beautiful pine trees, creeks, lakes, and meadows. We enjoy hikes, campfires, fishing, s’mores, and a lot of laughs. On Sunday morning, we have a worship service up on the mountain much like what the others in the church are doing back in Las Vegas at the same time.

Prayer Requests

We would be grateful if you joined us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that God continue to bless and care for our family. WE always need his protection and provision to do what he has brought us here to do.
  • Pray for the kids and for Mitzi as the new homeschool year gets going in September.
  • Pray for our church’s growth. We have seen several new folks arrive over the past few months. Pray that these will connect with our church in membership and service.
  • Always pray for us that the Lord will open more and more doors for us to share the gospel with friends and neighbors.

Summer fun

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What has been up with the Peterson family and Providence Reformed Church in July?

Home Front

Early in July, Travis and Mitzi had the opportunity to do something new. Sweet friends invited us to join them on an escape room adventure. We had 1 hour to solve puzzles and decipher riddles in order to escape a Martian prison and return to earth before disaster struck. We made it out with only 4 minutes to spare!

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If you have been keeping up with our family, you know that Josiah has been working through the ranks at his karate class. This month was a little different, however, as Owen got into the action. The class offered a $1 trial for new students to see if they would be interested. Owen gave it a shot, and did well. But, we will probably wait six months or so before trying to get him into the program.

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We enjoyed the fourth of July at home with friends.  We enjoyed grilled food, games, and fireworks!  The Wright family came with a box of fireworks which we got to do in front of our home with other neighbors doing the same thing.

It was so wonderful to catch up with Lupita this month.  She came to town and visited us at our church.  We met Lupita in South Korea at the church we served in over ten years ago.

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July contains Travis’ birthday. The family enjoyed some Cold Stone ice cream together. We love birthday coupons!

Providence Reformed Church

One of the joys of being a relatively new church is that we can do things in untraditional ways. That includes how we sometimes get to handle our baptism services. On July 9, just after Sunday morning services, we gathered together at a family’s home for fellowship and to support those who chose to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism. We had the joy of baptizing 7 people.

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A major part of the month of July for our church this year was our student ministry trip. We took 7 young people along with several adults to Oxnard, for a trip that combined service, spiritual growth, and fellowship. Each weekday morning over the week of July 16-23, Our group joined with Faith Community church in Oxnard to help them with their vacation Bible school. After lunch, we worked together through 2 Timothy 6:1-14 as part of our own spiritual growth retreat. Then in the afternoons and evenings, we had fun and fellowship activities including going to the beach, a mall scavenger hunt, a party with students from California at a host home, a board game day, and a trip to a Hollywood farmer’s market. Travis was happy to be able to share God’s word with the folks from FCC, and we returned to Las Vegas tired but happy on July 23.

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Prayer Requests

We would be so happy for you to pray for us in the following ways:

  • Pray that our church continue to grow. God has brought some new families to our congregation, and we certainly want that to continue.
  • Pray that God will help us to grow spiritually. We want to love him, be faithful to him, and honor him in all we do.
  • Pray that God continue to open doors for us to meet new people and reach out with the love of Christ.
  • Pray for the things that you would pray for any family: spiritual growth, health, provision, etc.

Summer Time

It is most certainly summer in Las Vegas. We’ve had a full week of temperatures over 110, but remember, it’s a dry heat. Here is what has been up in the life of the Peterson family and Providence Reformed Church.

Home Front

The month of June is always special for us because it is when we celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year Mitzi and Travis have been married for 17 years.

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Josiah got a special treat in June. He was able to travel to Camp Ironwood once more. He was sad not to be going with his young friend from church, but he did a great job on his own. At Ironwood, Josiah worshiped and learned. He also was able to participate in archery, horseback riding, canoeing, camping, swimming, shooting BB guns, and much more.

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Providence Reformed Church

Life at PRC is always full. We have continued some of our best activities while enjoying a special summertime event. Sunday Night Live in the Peterson home is still going strong. We are working through the Gospel According to John every Sunday night at 6:30 local time. People join us in our home, and many participate on-line by watching the Facebook Live stream. You are always welcome to join us on Sunday evenings. Just follow our church’s page on Facebook and watch for us to go live—www.facebook.com/provref.

We have also managed to have our second monthly meetings for young men and young women of Providence. The young men fellowshipped, studied 1 Timothy 1, and learned the valuable life skill of changing a tire. We believe that every young man needs to know that sort of thing, and we are happy to teach our boys. The ladies met together, studied, listened to one of our church members’ testimony, and learned to cook a lovely risotto.

Also during the month of June, the students had a fundraising meal.  As many of you know, we are planning our first student mission trip in July.  We are headed to Oxnard, CA, where the students will help a church with their VBS.  The theme of the fundraising meal was Star Wars.  It was a great event.  The students decorated the house, prepared, and served the meal.  They did a wonderful job.

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The new thing for the summer came at the end of June. From June 26-30, we had our first ever Vacation Bible School as Providence Reformed Church. Students met in the Johnson Middle School cafeteria to learn about God our King. Children enjoyed singing, games, crafts, and snacks together. Each day we focused on important truths like the following:

  • We are Created by the King.
  • We have rebelled against the King.
  • We can be rescued by the King.
  • We can live to serve the King.
  • We look forward to the return of the King.

 

Prayer Requests

We would be so happy for you to pray for us in the following ways:

  • Pray for the upcoming student ministry trip to California. We will be taking a group of students to help another church with their Vacation Bible School and to have a sort of student retreat.
  • Pray that our church continue to grow. God has brought some new families to our congregation, and we certainly want for that to continue.
  • Pray that God will help us to grow spiritually. We want to love him, be faithful to him, and honor him in all we do.
  • Pray that God continue to open doors for us to meet new people and reach out with the love of Christ.
  • Pray for the things that you would pray for any family: spiritual growth, health, provision, etc.

May Update

What’s been happening with the Peterson family and Providence Reformed Church in May 2017?

Home Front

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One of the things we love dearly about living in Las Vegas is the beautiful outdoors. While we grew up in a part of the country that is wonderfully green with woods, creeks, rivers, and rolling hills, we still find ourselves amazed at the stunning scenery of the desert. On the Monday after Mother’s Day, we took advantage of our nearness to the Valley of Fire, a park with some truly unique trails.

Our children are happy that the major portion of the home school year has come to an end. Abigail finished two very tough on-line courses, and is quite happy for the break. These Veritas classes were courses that were taught live by a teacher using video and simulating a classroom. She is thrilled not to be working on much algebra over the summer, though all the kids will keep up a little work over the summer to make sure they are ready for next year. Even Owen has gotten into the swing of things with his own math and language arts studies.

One thing that was a neat right-of-passage experience for our daughter was her first road trip with friends. Our family is blessed with some great friends, including some very responsible and caring young 20s young ladies who offered to have Abigail join them on a weekend trip to Los Angeles. Abigail and the ladies went to Hollywood and spent time at the farmer’s market at the Grove, shopped in bookstores, hit the beach, and even visited Downtown Disney. In case you are wondering, she brought her parents Mickey and Minnie Mouse mugs.

Providence Reformed Church

Ministry at Providence Reformed Church (PRC) was full in May. Our PRC students held a garage sale where they raised funds for the students to head to L.A. in July to help a church with their vacation Bible school. The students are excited to serve others and have a summer retreat.

Our Sunday Night Live Bible study held in our home is still going well. In May, we managed to study through John chapters 1-3. These studies include a group meeting in our home and several people watching the study live on Facebook. If you are interested, feel free to join us live on Sunday nights, 6:30 Pacific (8:30 Central) at www.facebook.com/provref (you’ll need to follow the church’s Facebook page to be notified when we go live).

An annual event of PRC is the Women’s Ministry Friendship Tea. Each May, ladies from our church get together for fellowship and Bible study. This year, the ladies enjoyed each other’s company as they worked through a set of discussion questions walking them through the book of Ruth.

One change in our ministry life at PRC has been a move toward a home-based prayer meeting. One of our small groups has felt the need to focus their group time on prayer, and we had a wonderful kickoff to that in our first meeting in May.

Another exciting change in May was a new young men’s ministry and a young women’s ministry. We started with a weekend retreat in our home for the ladies and another home for the young men.  The young men worked through the “Do Hard Things” conference videos and the ladies worked thru podcasts from the Revive Our Hearts Ministry.

The young men will focus on three things: life skills, accountability, and Scripture. In each meeting, we will teach our teens a skill they need to have for life. In May, we taught the young men to check the fluids and jumpstart a car. We also are challenging them to think about the kinds of adult men they want to be and will then seek to hold them accountable to move in that direction. Of course, each meeting will be centered on a study from the word of God.

The young women will have a similar focus and at each meeting they will have different older women speak into their lives, and be taught by them. By having these regular meetings, we hope that the young women will begin seeking out the right older woman for a mentoring relationship.  In May, Mitzi taught the ladies how to cook Japanese Curry.  While cooking, we had great conversations about what the future holds for each young lady, and how one can honor God by making godly goals.

We are very excited to see what God will do with these young men and women as we connect them to the older generation in our church.  We believe in living life together as a church family, and this will definitely be one way we can accomplish this goal.

Finally, we have also begun a preaching lab for PRC. Men are gathering together to learn to prepare and deliver sermons. We believe that the church is strongest when multiple men of God are able to communicate the word of God to the people of God.

Prayer Requests

We are grateful to God for you and for your willingness to support us in prayer. Please pray for us in the following ways:

  • That God will bless our family and grow us in loving him and each other.
  • That God will open even more opportunities for us to share the gospel with friends and neighbors.
  • That God will bless the new ways that we are trying to train up our folks at PRC.
  • That God will bring new people to our church and grow us both numerically and spiritually.

April Update

Take a look at what has been going on in the lives of the Peterson Family and Providence Reformed Church in April, 2017.

Home Front

One of the fun things about living in Las Vegas is the fact that we get to try all sorts of fun, interesting, and new foods. Honestly, for the most part, we do not go out to eat unless it involves a meeting with others connected to our church, but from time-to-time we will have a treat. This past month, we got to try rolled ice cream. This new concept is perhaps the freshest type of ice cream we have found as the workers make it instantly, right in front of you. They pour the cream on a cold surface, mix in the fruit, and roll it all up and serve it. Owen’s mango madness was quite a treat!


Toward the end of April, Josiah continued his progress in his karate class. He had his next belt test, and passed, earning his yellow belt. In case you do not know, different schools of martial arts award belt colors in different orders. Josiah has progressed from white to orange to blue to yellow. He now will continue to work from yellow to green to brown to black. We are very proud of him and all his hard work. He has gotten stronger and grown more confident as he has pressed into these challenges.

While I like to write about family and church life in different categories, it is hard to separate them very much. The life of our family is our church life in so many ways. For example, on the 3rd Friday in April, we hosted Secret church 2017 in our home. We had more than fifteen people pile into our living room to join with believers all over the world in an outstanding study of the reliability of the Scripture. Secret Church is taught by David Platt over a six hour period, and is live-streamed over the Internet. This was a great experience for us all, and if you are interested in knowing more about this ministry, visit www.radical.net/secretchurch.

We have also been hosting a couple of different Bible studies in our home. On Wednesdays for the past few months, we have had a gathering of students and young adults. We have worked through some hard questions and fascinating topics. Some of our studies have included passages from Leviticus, questions about discerning the will of God, issues related to ethics, and much more. This has been a great experience, and it is actually about to transition into something even more fun.

The more fun event that our Wednesday study has moved to is what we are calling Sunday Night Live. On April 30, we held our first ever Sunday Night Live. Again, several folks piled into our living room for an hour-and-a-half study of the Gospel According to John. What is even more fun, we broadcast this study on Facebook Live so that others who are part of our church and many who are from far away were able to watch and participate in the study. We took questions from the Internet and I think we all had a great time. If you want to catch up with us during one of these studies, connect to the church’s Facebook page and watch for us to go live on Sunday evenings at 6:30 Pacific (8:30 Central) – www.facebook.com/provref.

Providence Reformed Church

During this past month in the life of our church, we joined with one of our church members in honoring the memory of her husband who passed away suddenly in March. The memorial was a reception held at the Las Vegas Little Theatre, a neat little community theatre downtown. We were happy to support this sweet lady and her family during this hard time. And, it was a uniquely Vegas experience to hold the reception at such a fascinating place. These types of experiences are all part of what it means to be the church in this community, and we love what the Lord has allowed us to do.

Our church also participated in a bit of community outreach before our Resurrection Sunday services. We went door-to-door and walked around a local park to talk to people. The goal was simply to let people know that there is a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church that meets on Sundays at Johnson Junior High School. Our people were great sports, working hard to cover a lot of ground.

On Resurrection Sunday, we had a sweet time of fellowship before our regular church services. Folks brought in extra breakfast foods and we enjoyed each other’s company instead of our normal Sunday School schedule. We also made sure to snap some updated family photos for our folks and to update our church directory.

Prayer Requests:

We are so grateful to God for you all and for your willingness to pray for us. Please pray for us:

  • That God will help us to continue to form new friendships and relationships in our city.
  • That God will help us to serve him faithfully in our church.
  • That God will bless the children as they continue to work on their schooling.
  • That God will bless our church, allowing us to honor him and grow for his glory.

1st Quarter of 2017

We are quite a bit behind, but it is time to catch up with all of our dear friends and prayer supporters about what has been going on in the Peterson family and Providence Reformed Church in the first quarter of 2017. Please forgive our slowness, and please take a look at what is up so that you may know best how to pray for our family and church.

Home Front

Life in the Peterson household has been great over the first two months of 2017, though we cannot say it was without its little ups and downs. In February, we managed to pass around a nasty stomach bug that made its way through the family, one member at a time. On the one hand, it was nice to not have the whole family down at once. At the same time, it felt like, for a few weeks there, we were constantly replaying the same song.

At the end of February through the beginning of March, Travis had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Los Angeles with a friend to take part in the Shepherd’s Conference. This four-day event was hosted by Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA. During the event, pastors are encouraged and taught by a variety of solid Christian pastors and leaders. Some of the speakers included John MacArthur, Steven Lawson, Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, Paul Washer, Phil Johnson, Michael Reeves, Iain Murray, Conrad Mbewe, Ligon Duncan, and several others. Travis enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with some old friends at the conference and sample some cool Los Angeles dining opportunities like a sushi burrito for dinner or a Mexican café breakfast (Mexican coffee is wonderful). He’s certainly hoping to return to this event or another like it in 2018.

Our dear-hearted Josiah turned 10. It is just amazing to believe that he has gotten so big. Over the first weekend in March, Josiah participated in his first karate tournament. He and Mitzi traveled to San Francisco. They had a great time sightseeing in the city, though things at the tournament did not go as Josiah had hoped. Sadly, the difficult tournament day was capped off by Mitzi finding out that, while they were eating dinner, someone smashed the window of the rental car and stole a couple of bags that were inside. Included in that stash was an old iPhone that Josiah had been using as an iPod, and all of Josiah’s karate gear.  As you might imagine, he was very sad.  When we asked Josiah what he thought about the incident a week later, he said he realized that things aren’t that important and that God protected us.  Even though it was disappointing to have things stolen, Josiah has seen God’s love and kindness through his people.  With the help of his birthday money and kind friends we managed to replace Josiah’s stolen iPod just recently, and his karate teacher replaced his karate gear.

After everybody was home from traveling, we managed to squeeze in a belated birthday party for Josiah. Our church’s student group came and helped Josiah celebrate with a Minecraft themed party.  This amazing group of students made Josiah feel so loved and he was very encouraged.

We received a nice surprise when a friend came to town.  She was invited by an organization to participate in some events here and one of those events included the NASCAR race.  She was kind enough to get extra tickets for our family to go!  We have never been to a race before so it was a special treat!  Travis’ family were NASCAR fans while he was growing up so this was especially nice for him to be able to be at an actual race.  The kids enjoyed the experience as well.


The Peterson family also had our first week of vacation for the year. Travis’ brother, Jody along with his family arrived on March 14. The whole family was also joined by Travis’ mother, Janie. While in Vegas, we had to make sure that the family enjoyed some of our local favorites such as In-N-Out Burger and Gelato Messina. But, the major part of the vacation was a family road trip. The family all piled into a 12-passanger van to head to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Though the road trip was long, the sights were something to see, and all of the kids did very well.


While we were at the Grand Canyon we saw these signs.  We appreciated them so much as we observed the beauty that God created.
The first sign says: Sing to God; sing praises to His name; lift up a song to Him who rides upon the clouds; His name is the Lord, exult before Him. Psalm 68:4
The second sign says: O Lord how manifold are thy works! In wisdom has thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.  Psalm 104:24  “Father Almighty, wonderful Lord, wondrous Creator, be ever adored; Wonders of nature sing praises to you, Wonder of wonders I may praise too!”

Providence Reformed Church

It was nice to see life at Providence Reformed Church return to normal after the holiday season. Though our church was blessed in our Advent series and special Christmas services, there is just something special in returning to working verse-by-verse through the word of God. We have continued in our series through the Gospel According to Matthew, and have worked all the way through chapters 8 and 9 (almost 10) over these months. We’d love for you to visit our church web site and listen to any of our messages – www.provref.org/media.

One neat part of life at Providence Reformed Church is the fact that we have a group of elders who are willing to preach. About every six weeks or so, one of the elders will preach the Sunday morning message, thus allowing Travis to take time to be spiritually fed. The elders have recently begun a series through the book of James. These will be the sermons that happen at PRC when Travis is not walking the church through Matthew over the next several months. We are grateful to God for this opportunity, and we believe it is a godly thing for Travis to sit under the teaching of others in the congregation and not be the only voice the church hears.

In sort of a combination of PRC and Peterson family life, we have begun to host a young adult Bible study in our home on Wednesday evenings. We have, over the past several weeks, taken time to study a variety of topics. Some of those studies have included a look at how to discern God’s will, some basic Christian ethics, and a look at a few chapters of Leviticus.

At the end of January, our church held a very fun-filled fellowship, the Chili Bowl (and the Cornbread Cup). The fellowship, which began with a chili cook-off, had 12 chili entries to be judged along with four different corn breads. After lunch, we played an exciting game which included trivia, charades, and lots of other fun competition. Interestingly, in our competition, the team representing the Atlanta Falcons managed to pull out the win unlike the NFL’s big game the following weekend.

Our church has had other fun fellowship opportunities over the past few months. Mitzi hosted a bridal shower in the Peterson home for a friend of the church. Others hosted a baby shower for a new little arrival in our church family. A group even went out into the desert on a shooting outing in March. So, there is no lack of fun-filled activity in our midst.

Prayer Requests:

We are so grateful to God for you all and for your willingness to pray for us. Please pray for us:

  • That God will help us to continue to form new friendships and relationships in our city.
  • That God will help us to serve him faithfully in our church.
  • That God will bless the children as they continue to work on their schooling.
  • That God will bless our church, allowing us to honor him and grow for his glory.

End of 2016

With 2017 in the rearview mirror, we want to thank you all for caring for us, praying for us, and supporting us in so many ways. Here is our family update for December 2016.

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Home Front

If you’ve been following us for a bit, you know that Josiah has been working hard in his karate class. He again tested for a new belt in December, and he earned his yellow stripe. His particular school ranks the belts as follows: white, orange, green, yellow, blue, brown, and black each with a half-step stripe in between.

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A couple of months ago, Mitzi answered an ad on our neighborhood’s social media page posted by an older couple. The wife had experienced a stroke, and needed help to do some light cleaning and take care of household chores. Since then, Mitzi has been going to their home four days per week and helping out. We had a sweet meal with them over Christmas, and have made some neat new friends.

Of course we had a wonderful Christmas at the Peterson house. Mitzi decorated, baked, and basically made the season festive. She made treats to take to neighbors, even to our newest next door neighbor who we are slowly getting to know.  We opened gifts both on Christmas Eve (new jammies for all) and Christmas Day. One great thing about modern technology is that we were able to use FaceTime to let family from back in Illinois join us as the kids opened presents from Mama and Granny.

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Providence Reformed Church

At the beginning of December at Providence Reformed, we had one of our twice yearly women’s brunches. The ladies got together for a time of encouragement and fellowship. One of our ladies taught a Christmas lesson, and everybody had a great time.

prc-womens-christmas-brunchFor the second year, the Peterson family hosted a deacon and elder Christmas party at our home. Mitzi made yummy burrito bowls with a Hawaiian theme. We also exchanged white elephant gifts and played minute to win it games.

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Later that evening, we took those same games to the student ministry Christmas party where they filled out a night that also contained a gingerbread house making contest.

One of the most fun things we do during our Christmas season at PRC is our Christmas Eve service. Like last year, we met together in a home—still with over 40 people—to sing some of our favorite Christmas hymns and focus our minds on the gospel in the celebration. This year, we broadcast our Christmas Eve celebration on Facebook live, where we were joined by people from all over the country. If you would like to see the archived recording, visit the church’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/provref.

PRC had a very nice surprise over the Christmas season. For a while, we were afraid we would have to find an alternative location to meet on Christmas Day, as we could not find a janitor willing to work on Christmas at the middle school where we regularly meet. However, a few weeks before, the principal of the school asked us about our struggle to find help. He then told us that, if we could not find a janitor to come and help us, he would come and unlock the doors himself. Eventually, we found a janitor, but we were thrilled to have that kind of helpful attitude shown to us by the leadership at the school. And, we had a wonderful service on Christmas.

Now, as we head into 2017, our church life and schedule is getting set. We are returning to Matthew for our regular Sunday sermons and looking forward to all sorts of opportunities ahead of us.

Prayer Requests

We are very grateful to God for you and your prayer support. Please pray for us in the following ways:

  • Pray that God will bless and grow our love for him.
  • Pray that God will help us as a family to be faithful to our calling to love each other and to live as a light to our community.
  • Pray that God will help the church to grow and to impact our city with the message of Christ.
  • Pray that God will continue to give us opportunities to share the love of Jesus with friends and neighbors.
  • Pray that God will direct our church with wisdom as we decide what to try to accomplish over the coming year.

 

As always, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment on this post, send us a note, or catch up with us on our Facebook page.

Thanksgiving Season

This holiday season, our family is truly thankful for all of you who love and pray for us. Thank you for remembering to pray for us and for all the ways that you have shown us and continue to show us that you care. Here is our family ministry update for November 2016.

Home Front

This November was marked by two wonderful family visits at the beginning and the end of the month. As you probably know, we love to have folks come and spend time with us, and it was especially wonderful to open our home to Travis’s brother, Jeff, and his wife, Katie at the beginning of the month and Travis’s mom at the end of November for Thanksgiving.

For Travis’s sister-in-law, this was her first ever visit to Las Vegas. This meant that we all enjoyed showing her the sights, especially the ones that out-of-towners do not expect to find. We all had fun hiking, eating gelato, and just hanging around and catching the end of the World Series.

Of course, a visit to Hoover Dam is a great part of a Las Vegas visit.

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Everyone also loves the beauty of Red Rock Canyon.

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At the end of the month, Travis’s mom joined us for the week of Thanksgiving. It was so sweet to have the family together. The kids love having their Mama in the house, and we had lots of fun, family adventures.

We checked out Christmas lights at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory’s Cactus garden and at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

We stopped by Red Rock to get a few nice family pictures.

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On Thanksgiving Day, we had a wonderful meal together on the Strip at the Grand Luxe Café—Mom could have turkey while nobody else was required to.

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During Travis’s mom’s visit, we took time to decorate the house for Christmas. Putting up the Christmas tree is so much better when more family is in the house!

In a fascinating little adventure, Travis had the opportunity to be a real Las Vegas musician. Well, at least he played music in public—which is really the same as having a Vegas show, right? Our realtor asked Travis if he would provide the music for a party that she threw for her clients, and he was happy to help out. It was a lot of fun for all, and Travis even took a few requests from time-to-time.

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Providence Reformed Church

Life at Providence Reformed Church has been a joy for the Peterson family, and that was true in November. In our worship services, our church has finished working through the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. We have now begun our Advent series for 2016 which will be a topical look at some important truths that we should remember over the Christmas season. Then, if things go according to plan, we will return to the Gospel According to Matthew in January of 2017. Remember that you can always listen to our sermons from the church web site if you would like by visiting www.provref.org.

Mitzi enjoyed entertaining the ladies of PRC with a Favorite Things party held in the Peterson home. In these parties, ladies bring five of one of their favorite things that cost less than $5 each. Then, besides enjoying yummy food and fun, the ladies will exchange items so that every person goes home with five different favorites. This is a great way for ladies to get to know each other, to have fun, and to discover such favorites as books, soaps, kitchen helps, candies, crafts, or just about anything. Travis appears to be the one in the family who most enjoyed the family’s acquisition of chocolate-covered ginger from the this party.

Prayer Requests

We are very grateful to God for you and your prayer support. Please pray for us in the following ways:

  • Pray that God will bless and grow our love for him.
  • Pray that God will help us as a family to be faithful to our calling to love each other and to live as a light to our community.
  • Pray that God will help the church to grow and to impact our city with the message of Christ.
  • Pray that God will give us opportunities to share the love of Jesus with friends and neighbors this Christmas season.

 As always, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment on this post, send us a note, or catch up with us on our Facebook page.