The Praying Church in Chicago
As most of you know, we have many special relationships and personal history in the Chicagoland area. I was born in the city and lived in the north suburb of Zion for most of my life. Stephanie moved to Chicago to attend Bible college and continued to live there for 10 years before we moved to Kansas City. Many of you who read this newsletter also have deep roots in the Chicago area. We have been honored to stay connected not only with our friends and family, but also with what the Lord is doing by strengthening the Church in Chicago through prayer. I don’t know how else to say it, but God is doing something remarkable in regards to prayer and worship in Northern Illinois. Recently, I’ve had opportunities to hear the reports of church and prayer leaders from various local churches, prayer houses, and college universities. The common refrain that came from the lips of each of these leaders was that God is sovereignly filling people with a deeper hunger to know Jesus and to partner with Him through prayer to see revival come to their cities.
Stephanie and I, along with a few of our co-workers here on the IHOPKC missions base, have felt our hearts stirred to come alongside what the Lord is doing in Chicago. One of the ways that we’ve been given opportunity to serve is through a ministry called Chicago Prayer Network, whose vision is to unify and equip churches to build a prayer culture that results in a corporate cry to Jesus for a Great Awakening in Chicago. Through CPN, we will provide coaching and encouragement for pastors and prayer leaders in the Chicagoland area to help them grow in building a culture of prayer in the unique context of their local church communities and specific church visions.
One of the practical implications of our commitment to this new ministry (which is in addition to my current commitments to the Prayer Room and to the IHOP missions base in Kansas City) is that I (sometimes with Stephanie and John) will be traveling to Chicago a minimum of once every quarter to strengthen the praying church. God is opening new doors for us, but we cannot go through them alone. At our current monthly income level, we are unable to include the cost of related ministry travel expenses (which we project to be about $2000 this year) into our family budget. If each of our monthly financial partners were able to increase their gifts by just 10% (i.e. $20 monthly gift increased to $22), this would cover all of our projected ministry travel costs for this year.
If you are able and your heart is stirred, would you partner with us in a special gift, or perhaps by increasing your current monthly gift to enable us to answer God’s call to strengthen the praying Church in Chicago? We have included a “Chicago Prayer Movement Giving Card” and self-addressed envelope with this newsletter for your convenience. Thank you so much for your faithful support. We can’t tell you how much it means to us to have you join us in this mission!
Keisman Family Update
February has been a sweet month in our home! Kansas City saw its first major snowfall of the year early in the month, and we decided to take John outside during the storm (warm and snug in a baby snowsuit, of course). He was unimpressed and (to our amusement) did not smile once during our ten minute snow adventure. John is officially 9 months old now, and is cute as can be!
Stuart and I enjoyed our 5th Valentine’s Day together this month and had fun trying to remember how we have observed the holiday each year since we met. We also celebrated my brother Andy’s 25th birthday, and we made a short trip to the Chicagoland area for Stuart’s sister Carla’s baby shower. While in Illinois, we had the opportunity to stay with dear friends who have two young children, one of whom is right around John’s age. John picked up some new skills from his little friends and is now trying to master crawling on his hands and knees (instead of on his belly). He is starting to occasionally pull himself into standing position. I have the thought nearly every day that our little guy is growing SO fast! John is quickly approaching a year old, and it hits me regularly that he will never be this young again. I find myself daily lingering in our early morning snuggles and thanking Jesus for this precious gift of a child.