We begin with a personal note on our family, and tell you simply that God’s reputation for faithfulness cannot be overstated. We have been married for over forty years now, and find more joy today in our covenant relationship than ever before. We are blessed to be the parents of three adult sons. Matt (and his wife, Rebecca), Brandon, and Blake (and his wife, Meredith) each have a heart for God and are using their gifts by serving Him through various ministry opportunities. We have no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in truth. We are also thrilled to be the grandparents of two amazing little boys! Two equally amazing granddaughters have recently arrived!
Above all, we praise the Lord for saving us, and remain grateful for our own parents who were all involved intentionally in evangelism and world missions through their local churches. Because of God’s grace, the consistency of their influence, and their prayers for our generation, we both surrendered our lives to God and to His call to serve Him as young adults. In the early years of our marriage, we began serving the Lord together in Jacksonville, Fl. We served there for thirty years, primarily as administrators and associate professors through the ministries of Trinity Baptist College. In 2008, God called us to the pastorate of Stoney Mountain Baptist Church in Hendersonville, NC, where we served with great joy until our resignation in the spring of 2017. Looking back at over forty years of marriage and ministry, we are confident that God uniquely prepared us for each season.
In 2006, the Lord began burdening our hearts for international missions. In response, we founded a mission organization called Women of the Well International Ministries which (still) exists to introduce women and children in the Uttermost to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. After its founding, God allowed us to lead dozens of international mission teams in evangelistic endeavors in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and Central America, and the Middle East.
Larry & Patti Appleby
In early 2017, it became clear that God was not finished with what He began in 2006. We prayerfully sought the Lord’s direction through Scripture and counsel and followed as God led us in the full-time expansion of the mission work. Subsequently, we have answered the inescapable call to become missionaries and have established The Well International Ministries. We have recently completed the process of relocating to Jacksonville, FL, and have begun pre-field (deputation) ministry. We are trusting God to fund us fully in His timing so we can serve Him in the open doors that await us. As you pray for us, please pray specifically that we will have a deep understanding of God’s exact plan for us to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and in stateside churches.
WHEN GOD CHANGES YOUR COURSE
Is God up to something new in your life, even though you have reminded Him that you are quite comfortable with the familiar routine of the old? Maybe you are wondering where God is taking you in your next season. Maybe you are asking Him when you will get His direction, or how will He ever provide? Whenever God engineers the circumstances of a new season of life or ministry, the most critical questions may not be those of where, or when, or how. The greatest insight into His dealings with us may be found in the wisdom of why. (Isaiah 43:18-19 and Philippians 1:12.)
We have served God together for over forty years and have made relatively few moves. We now speak more candidly of the realities of uprooting and (seemingly) starting over and can sum up four of the many lessons that God has taught us in the challenging, changing seasons of our lives.
If you are facing a season of great change, first, (recall and then quickly) release any regrets. Face regrets honestly. Restore broken fellowship with God by surrendering any attitude of entitlement. If needed, be willing to make restitution. Forgive others freely. Regrets can best be forgotten by remembering them forgiven. Biblically, we can be released from the depths and the debts of each of our regrets.
Secondly, beware of bitterness. Bitterness is not a tree from which we can shake off the leaves or trim the limbs. The only way to deal biblically with bitterness is by acknowledging that it is the consequence of our failure to appropriate the grace of God. This failure always results in a root deeply planted that inevitably springs up. When we purposefully take the axe of God’s Word to every root of bitterness in our lives, the Spirit of our God helps us get unfinished business of our past done while there is still time. How sweet to enter His presence with nothing undone, nothing between.
Thirdly, celebrate the changes God makes through His grace. His promise is for a new thing. When we allow God to do His best work in us, it is truly as season of “out with the old, and in with the new.”
Finally, practice private worship daily and marvel at His miracles. Every directive of God comes with a sufficient supply of Himself. New grace, fresh faith, and a course of unhindered obedience all birthed in the secret place of His presence makes the next, new season of life and ministry one of unexpected, even incalculable miracles.
Changing seasons in our lives or ministries may never make sense to us or those who look on from the outside. In ignorance or with limited information, even well-meaning friends may criticize or even ostracize us. Tell the truth to whom the truth is due. Is it not enough that God knows? The Judge of all the earth will do right. Until that day, we must all continue to find our expectation in our unchanging God. As He promised, He will faithfully make a way in every wilderness, and provide rivers in our every desert.