Dedicated to my dear missionary friends, Matt Cretzman Family (missionaries on deputation to Cuba) whose precious daughter, Azlynn, went home to be with our Lord on Monday, February 20, 2012.
Here is a link to the Fox8 News in North Carolina that covered the story.
3yr-old dies in crash on icy roads in Surrey County.
Please send all check donations to:
Matt Cretzman Family
Cleveland Baptist Church
4431 Tiedeman Road
Brooklyn, OH 44144
or donate immediately through credit card by visiting http://cretzmanstocuba.com/. BEST WAY!
It is Sunday night. Our family just finished a wonderful missions conference week at Grace Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia where Dr. Jeff Amsbaugh is the senior pastor. The week was encouraging, thrilling, and beneficial. Once again, we saw the hand of God move in the services and in the lives of the members of Grace Baptist Church and School. Dr. David Snyder, President and General Director of BIMI was the keynote speaker. I enjoyed the opportunity to be better acquainted with several missionary families: Susan Moore (Chile), Phillip Brown Family (Montana), David Ruley Family (Uganda), Paul Johnson Family (Japan), and James Carney Family (France).
It is early in the morning following a great missions conference, however, my heart is extremely heavy and sadden by some devastating news. I noticed on Twitter that my friend, Matt Cretzman (missionary to Cuba) sent out a tweet earlier this morning to pray for his daughter. The tweet reads, “We were in an accident just now. Don’t know if Azlynn is going to make it. PLEASE PRAY. #RT.” Naturally, I call for Susan to inform her of the news. Immediately, we began to weep for the Cretzmans. I gather my children to come into the room. I inform them of the news and we began to pray as a family for this very dear little girl, Azlynn. Our prayers were desperate asking God to miraculously allow the situation to be “okay,” in the hope that this precious girl would make it. As we concluded our prayers, more tweets were being sent from a pastor friend that acknowledge that Azlynn did not survive. I was motionless. The thought of a friend losing a child literally numbed me in the moment.
It was Wednesday, October 19, 2011, and in walks Matt and Lana Cretzman. We were all gathered together to participate in a missions conference in Long Beach, California, at the First Baptist Church pastored by John Wilkerson. The week was great! Incredible actually! This conference was no ordinary missions conference. Our family got better acquainted with the Cretzmans. What a wonderful family. What a beautiful family. What precious children. It was obvious that Azlynn and Maadison were definitely adored by their parents. Matt and Lana shared their testimony and video presentation about their future work. I thought to myself, definitely, I would definitely support this family. As the conference comes to a conclusion, we all had to say our “goodbyes”. As we said goodbye to the Cretzmans, we asked, where they were headed next. Matt responds, “North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara. Where are you guys going?” This was amazing as we were headed to Gethsemane Baptist Church in Long Beach, California, and then onward to join the Cretzmans at North Valley for their missions conference.
Once again, the conference at North Valley was a great highlight for our family. We loved the opportunity to be with the Cretzmans back-to-back. In our travels, this has been rare that we would have the opportunity to be with another missionary family in this manner. I sure am glad for the opportunity. This allowed our families’ to get closer. In which case, the Lord prompted me to write a few thoughts for many Christians around the world that pray for missionaries. It continues to humble me when a church member accepts one of our family prayer cards and says, “We will pray for you!” I pray that these thoughts penned with a heavy heart for another missionary family would compel us to be fervent in prayer for each other, but definitely for missionaries.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 8For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 11Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. The Apostle Paul describes some of his experiences as: “pressed out of measure,” “despaired,” “troubled,” and “above strength.” Yet he speaks confidently of God’s deliverance. Paul is sure that God will sustain him as the believers help in prayer. Paul did not want the Corinthians to be ignorant of his troubles. He admonishes them to pray for him and his ministry to Asia. He informs the Corinthians as how to pray. I, too, desire that you know how to pray for us.
Here are eight ways to pray for missionaries:
- Power. That God would grant us the supernatural ability to do His work. For without this, we cannot do His work. We cannot do His work in our own flesh. It will not last. We need His work to last.
- Provision. That God would meet our needs whether on deputation or serving on the field.
- Protection. That God would keep us safe while traveling hundreds and thousands of miles. Or for safety as we serve in countries that may not necessarily desire that we are in there respective country preaching the Gospel.
- Personal. That each family member by name would be lifted to Him and any special needs for each member.
- Partnership. That God would send us labourers to help us with His Great Commission all around the world. That God would use people and churches to partner with us through prayers and finance.
Matthew 9:35-38 “35And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
- Physical. That God would sustain our health and our bodies to be free from sickness or disease. That He would give us the wherewithal and the strength needed to serve Him.
- Positive Fruit. That God would give us not only much fruit but fruit that remains.
John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
- Preaching. That God would be magnified and for the truth to be set free in the lives of the people with whom God has given us the opportunity to minister.
Colossians 4:2-5 “2Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”
Please continue to pray for this wonderful family, but especially for Lana. She has lacerations on some vital organs. She will require surgery on her leg as well. They are at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area. Here is a link to their missions presentation.