The Tozour Times – News from 2014
Winter Woes & Wonders
As we write a newsletter looking back on the year that was, we are in the grips of some bitter cold here in the Midwest (temps in the 20’s and teens, snow on the way). It reminds us of the way we started 2014.
I began the year at a prayer advance in Alabama hosted by Evangelist Tom Palmer. Then Michael and I flew to Erie, Pennsylvania, for a winter revival at Walnut Creek Baptist Church. Winter it was! The snow and temps were in the single digits. Yet, the people came out every night (I was providentially protected during a ski outing that week. Hitting an icy spot on a jump, I was launched twelve feet in the air and came down directly on my tailbone. Weeks of pain and numbness followed, but no hindrance to our travels in ministry. Thank the Lord! This could have been bad.).
Back in the not-so-sunny South, we experienced a real taste of the harsh winter everyone else had this past year: 3” of snow in Gray, Georgia; 5” in Raleigh, North Carolina; 6” in Morgantown, West Virginia. We missed four nights of services all together in two weeks of meetings—a first in our experience! Nonetheless, there were souls saved in each of those meetings and godly decisions made.
Contributing to Christian Education
Since Christian education played such an important role in the life of all four adults on our team, we are grateful to take part in Christian schools on a regular basis. I had a unique opportunity to do so this year. In April, it was my privilege to preach for the American Association of Christian Schools National Competition in Greenville, South Carolina. Around 2,000 students and sponsors took part. About 50 students yielded themselves for full-time Christian service.
In the late spring, I was able to preach the high school commencement messages at two schools dear to me: Eagle Heights Christian School (where I once taught; where our home church has been for twenty-two years; and where our children now school under a home-school provision) and Gloucester County Christian School in Sewell, New Jersey (my high school alma mater). The highlight was being the commencement speaker for our own firstborn child. Briana finished school with excellent grades and some wonderful character! Her parents sure are grateful for her.
Savoring Summer Service
With the coming of each summer, our team undergoes a time of transition. Michael and I often go separate ways for a time, preaching in camps and (in Michael’s case) some church vacation Bible schools. This year was special for the Tozours. With Briana heading off to college in August, we were blessed to spend six weeks in Hawaii, ministering in five churches on three islands (Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island). Michael joined us for three of the meetings and headed up the kids’ classes. As a special perk, someone gave us Tozours a week at the Disney Aulani Resort in Oaha. What a wonderful family week we had together!
Briana Goes to College
We had long wondered how we would get along when our firstborn finally left the nest. Actually, after all the females of the family had a good cry once we said goodbye, everyone has done quite well. Daily cell phone calls and texts have sure helped!
Briana is studying graphic design at Pensacola Christian College in Florida. She has been doing well, maintaining A’s and B’s so far. Some of her interpersonal experiences have sharpened her and have brought noticeable maturation in just one semester. All of us will be very glad to have “Bri” home for a five-week Christmas break!
Our faithful Heavenly Father has promised, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee and shew thee great and mighty things…” (Jer. 33:3). We have seen some mighty answers to prayer in 2014.
We were ministering in the Pocono Mountains the week Eric Frein shot two state troopers. There were SWAT teams and high-level police forces everywhere. Yet he eluded authorities. I remember reading the story of the two D.C. snipers (2002) and their evading police, until a humble truck driver named Ron Lantz asked fellow truckers to pray for their capture. Some fifty or sixty truckers and family members met in a Maryland rest stop, joined hands in a circle, and prayed for an hour that God would stop the killing. Ten days later, Lantz was the man who recognized the at-large killers’ car in a rest area and called 9-1-1. The arrest followed in an overwhelming action by authorities.
The DC sniper incident impressed me that we should focus our prayer efforts on the arrest of Frein. So, in our nightly prayer meetings, I asked the church folks to pray to this end. As the burden grew, I recall making the matter a special point of prayer at Fellowship Baptist in Emlenton, Pennsylvania. One of the members is a Pennsylvania State Trooper. He took particular interest in the request, recalling that God had answered some of his specific petitions for wisdom solving fire investigation cases. So we prayed. The next night, just before our service started, the trooper’s wife came to me with news: “The state police received word on their radios that Frein was found and apprehended without incident just minutes ago!” Praise God for answers to prayer!
On a personal note, I had recently asked the Lord to let me see someone saved through personal witness. While in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the assistant pastor and I went to make some visits. We started at the home of a couple the teens had met the weekend prior. The man was in a wheelchair from a fall he had taken. The youth group had asked the Lord to open doors for their service project of raking leaves for neighbors. They had come to this home and had found the couple there more than grateful for the help. As we chattered with them on this follow-up visit, we found out that they had grown up in the Catholic faith and attended an uncle’s Baptist church every Christmas Eve for years, yet they had never come to certainty that they would go to Heaven someday. I went through the Gospel with them, explaining that Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection alone can make us right with God. His shed blood is the price for our sins. Both Brandon and Brandi understood the message and readily called upon Christ as Savior right there in their home! What a marvelous answer to prayer.
The aforementioned happened on Veteran’s Day. Two days later, Chloe Wessberg (age 6), called upon the Lord Jesus as her Savior! This was an answer to earnest prayer over the past few months as we knew she was getting close. Her older brother Andrew (7) was saved back in January. How good our Father is!
The kids are growing up too quickly! Heather (15) and Lanae (4) have been keeping each other company and are really looking forward to some “sister time” this Christmas with Briana. J The Wessberg trailer is a busy place with three homeschoolers and two others to keep Candace occupied! Zach (9) always has a smile when he sings in church; Andrew (7) is usually found serving someone; Chloe (6) loves to play “teacher” with her girl cousins; Evy (4) is an easy-going girl (and Lanae’s best buddy! J); and Lilly is a happy child who is trying to keep up with the rest of us. We are enjoying traveling together as much as ever and are praying for a fruitful year as we serve our faithful God!