The Coomers

Mission to Bethlehem

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February 15, 2017
by The Coomers
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March 26, 2016
by The Coomers
Comments Off on Many Hats

Many Hats

I’m a bad missionary. For years now, we’ve existed in this place where we trust God to provide, and He has. However, the apostle Paul said, “He who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat.” Although we are working in His will, and constantly striving to see souls saved and lives changed for the glory of Christ, we have not been so vigilant in communicating our successes with our friends and loved ones back home. So without further ado, I am excited to share what has been going on lately.

First, I am proud to say that my beautiful and amazing wife is doing a fantastic job in her new role as a mother of two in the Holy Land. In short order she will be sending out a blog post about what it means to raise “two under two” here in the Middle East. Paige has also joined the High School staff in our Science department teaching Health to 7th and 8th graders. She has also started a ladies only workout class. With so many irons in the fire, I am continually amazed at how much time she still spends pouring into our kids. When our children grow up and change the world, it will because of their mother.

Secondly, I have taken on many new roles here in the Holy Land. If you can say that a person with many jobs “wears several different hats”, then I must be living in a hat store. As a recently christened father of two, I returned to Bethlehem as Principal of the JSB High School. But that is only where my commitments start. Following the advice of a man I deeply respect, I decided to start a Master’s Degree program at Lee University. I’ve also taken the opportunity to be the Director of a Continuing Education program (teaching English to Arab professionals) at a local university.  Add pastoring our church while our lead pastor is traveling, and studying for my Ordained Bishop’s test that I’m taking in April, and you have a very busy couple of months for the Coomer Clan.

I know that many of you have supported us financially through our last 3 years here in Bethlehem. I am truly grateful, and I recognize the sacrifice you make to invest in our ministry here. I want to send you a heart-felt thank you. Without you we would not be able to minister here in the Holy Land. It is an absolute honor to represent you here and to influence the next generation of the Middle East.

Finally, I am proud to announce that we have seen much spiritual breakthrough this year. It seems we are coming into a harvest that has been years in the making! Several students have made declarations of faith in Jesus Christ, and even more are making renewals of their relationship with Him. I intend to send updates with specific stories in the near future. However, at this time, please know that your prayers and support are being heard and appreciated. I am so grateful for the opportunity God has given us to do ministry here in Bethlehem.

Although we have been blessed in our relationship with People for Care and Learning, we are transitioning to a new ministry organization. Church of God Men and Woman of Action will now operate as our point of contact for fundraising Stateside. Please take a moment to check our new link on the right, and see the website for our school as well. As always, if you make a donation, please note The Coomers in the comment section. Again, thank you for your continued prayers and support.

 

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November 11, 2015
by The Coomers
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The struggle is real.

Well, here we are again! As always, I apologize for the lack of updates recently. Life has been…hectic. Wonderful. Difficult. Amazing.

Since the last update , we headed “home” to America and spent a glorious 4 months basking in the love and support of our family and friends. I gave birth to our completely precious and perfect daughter, Katherine Elizabeth, on September 1. Little Kenneth adjusted perfectly to life with a little sister, and God gave us an easy, calm baby so we could manage life with two. Sometimes I can’t believe it. TWO UNDER TWO. But such pudgy little blessings!

After feeling almost settled again in our cozy apartment in Georgia, we had to pack up and prepare to head back to the joys of the West Bank: no air conditioning or heat, unpredictable water supply, dangerous conflict, and many less conveniences. Like no Walmart. Which is probably the hardest part. Kidding! But, back to the land where Jesus was born and walked. Where every day we have the opportunity to impact children and speak His name as much as we want. Where the reward of doing so far outweighs the small things we have to do without.

When we got back to Beit Jala, our small community right outside Bethlehem, we moved into a new house. This was not a fun time for me, to be frank. I was jet lagged. Hungry. Hot. I felt nuts because we had 15 boxes and 6 suitcases to unpack, and I had an 18 month old trying to figure out where the heck we were, while his infant sister cried for Crazy Mommy. And as soon as we were all adjusted to the time zone, the babies and I caught THE PLAGUE. It was the virus of all viruses. Hand, foot, and mouth disease. Google it, and you will know of its horrors. Yes, adults CAN get it. The three of us suffered, cried, and didn’t sleep for days. It was quite honestly some of the roughest weeks of my life.

I feel that it is important to share those struggles transparently because it is A) cathartic for me, and B) I want our family, friends, and supporters to know that I feel like I was in the middle of a real spiritual attack. The enemy does not like what we’re doing here. He wants us to give up and leave. We won’t. We’ve already experienced breakthrough, and more is coming. As much as I sometimes get discouraged, I know why we’re here. Fighting doesn’t have to feel futile because Jesus. Always. Wins. Thank you all again, as always, for having our backs. We wouldn’t have made it through these first few weeks without your support.

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May 13, 2015
by The Coomers
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A Year of Adventures

This post is long overdue, of course. I am finally forcing myself to sit down today, for the first time. Baby Kenneth is asleep for the night, and I am able to relax. It has been a long day, y’all! Well, honestly, it’s been a long year. A GREAT year, but a long one. The events of these past few weeks have put me in a nostalgic and reflective mental state. Easter Sunday was the first occasion that caused me to get misty eyed. We went to the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem again, and I held my heavy and squirmy baby boy, sang worship songs, and remembered what it felt like last year when I experienced it for the first time. Baby boy was just one week old then, having been born on Palm Sunday after a long and scary 48 hour labor. I held him close that morning and could not stop crying as I thanked God over and over that we both safely made it through that awful time in the hospital!! And, oh, was it awful. Joyful at the end of it all, though. Whew.

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Just look at how teeny! Oh my stars!

Just a little over a week later, our little guy turned One. This was an emotional and tiring day for me. Tiring because I stayed up most of the night prior cutting tissue paper into strips to roll into “tissue paper pom poms” for his high chair. Yes, they are a thing. And yes, Pinterest got the better of me that night. Alas. It was emotional because, well, my baby is one. ONE. I can’t really accept how fast he is growing up. He had the time of his life at his party, along with our American staff and all of Kenneth’s (Mr. Coomer’s) students, current and previous. He laughed, cheesed for pictures, cried about the stickiness of his cake, and clapped his hands after opening each gift. He waved, pointed, babbled, and did all of the new little things he had learned that week. My heart melts and breaks every time he discovers how to do something different. Before I know it, my outgoing, adventurous, brave little boy will be running away from me instead of toward me. He’ll be running out the door to his life that no longer involves me quite so much. I ache just thinking about it!

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Look at the sheer joy!

Then of course Mother’s Day happened.  It was a perfect day! Little Kenneth seemed to sense that he was supposed to show me some extra love that day. He stayed by my feet all afternoon, kept crawling into my lap, and snuggled against me with his thumb in his mouth every time I picked him up. After he went to bed, his wonderful Daddy took me to a nice dinner and showered me with praise. It was a sweet, emotional day. Of course, currently growing another person tends to make everything extra emotional. It’s like every day there is a new reason to cry. Yesterday, it was looking at the picture of our little girl’s face in our recent sonogram. We’re having a girl!!!! Tears. Then I saw baby Kenneth’s little black dress shoes in the closet. I mean, they’re SO small and cute that I just had to cry about it. Today it was when he yelled for his Daddy as soon as he woke up from his nap, and couldn’t be made happy until he saw him soon after. More tears. I am so blessed to be this amazingly perfect child’s mother, and to have one on the way, too!

I also cried over these photos, realizing how incredible this past year has been. We have been so blessed to live here in Bethlehem, and to have the adventures we’ve had. I’ve seen and experienced things in my first year of motherhood that I never imagined possible! Kenneth was born 200 yards from where Jesus was born. He has put his feet in the water that Jesus was baptized in. He has swam where Jesus calmed the storm. There are no words! Well, one. Grateful!

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The Sea of Galilee.

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Jesus WALKED ON THIS WATER.

 

 

 

 

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Standing on the “Jesus Trail”, which is said to be ground that He walked on in northern Israel. We are also overlooking Capernaum, where Jesus performed miracles.DSC_0637_2_2

We had to do the Lion King thing here. Had to.  Don’t worry, it was safer than it looks.

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The Jordan River. Where Jesus was baptized and began his ministry. Amazing!

 

February 6, 2015
by The Coomers
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Catching Up

WOW, have I really dropped the ball with this blog! I may have taken about a 10 month break… oops. It was partly on purpose, though. Kenneth and I realized our blog was being monitored (by certain non-governmental groups), and some of our content was sensitive, which could have resulted in putting ourselves and subjects of those posts at risk. Nevertheless. We are edited, safe, and back on track. Now, I will be trying my best (well, let’s just say I’ll try… this Mommy is tired!) to post regularly on the day-to-day happenings with our little family in Bethlehem. I’m not even sure where to begin! I feel like I need to catch everyone up on the last 10 months all in one post! Let me ‘splain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up. (Princess Bride? Anyone?)

So, in my last post back in April, I had just birthed baby Kenneth. Fast forward to summer, when we went home for 8 weeks to fundraise for this current school year. We were blessed to receive exactly what we needed and more by some amazing churches  – our home church of course, Adairsville Church of God,  and then Buford Church of God, Praise Assembly, Life Church International, Lexington Road Church of God, Harvest Church of God, City Light Church, Regency Church of God, North Mount Zion Church of God, and Wrens Church of God. THANK YOU for your support this summer, and your continued support this year. It means everything!

The summer was a nice break, although stressful traveling around so much with a 2/3 month old. The 3 of us were stretched and tested as much as we possibly could be. Baby Kenneth was such a champ, though! He is SUCH a good baby. More to come on that later! When we came back to Bethlehem in August, things were a bit shaky because of the war going on between Gaza and Israel. That was interesting! It’s definitely surreal to be giving your 4 month old his middle of the night bottle and hear bomb sirens going off, and explosions only miles away. We appreciated your prayers for our protection during that time. We were always safe, but it is because of your prayers of support back home and being in the will of God that no harm came to us! That continues for us today; we have no reason to be afraid while living here. That particular war is over, but we are still fighting a spiritual battle every day.

Last semester was challenging. We have honestly struggled in a myriad of ways this year. Some days, it’s difficult just to make it until the sun goes down without getting discouraged. But as always, God is so faithful to use those experiences to shape us into who He wants us to be.  We have both grown so much as individuals, as a married couple, and as parents. Let me tell you though – when Christmas came, we needed the break! And it was quite the break. We were able to get back to Buford Church of God, City Light Church of God, and our wonderful home church in Adairsville while we were home. We also have so many family members and friends faithfully supporting us. Thank you so, so much for your support. I know I’m wearing the words out, but I can’t say them enough.

We had such a sweet, memorable, and hilariously fun time home with our families. Honestly. These people I get to call family! I love you all SO much. I can’t describe how much I miss each one of you, too. I show baby Kenneth pictures of his Grandmama, Mamaw, Papaw, aunts, uncles, and cousins almost every day, so don’t worry! He won’t forget you. And FaceTime is a life saver on the days I feel all nostalgic, teary, and find myself listening to sappy country songs about the South. Ah, the South. Anyway…

So, I’m pregnant again!! What…??? Haha. Big surprise to Kenneth and I, but we are really happy about it! I feel as though sometimes God just chuckles at our life plans. After finding out, we chuckled as well. I mean, I wanted to wait 3 years, people. What else can you do but laugh? Kenneth and I are constantly on our toes in this life. I really try not to take for granted how incredible it is to live here. The opportunities we are presented with are tremendous. I have to stop and catch my breath sometimes, and soak it all in!

Enjoy some pictures of our adventures from the past few months, with more to come on daily adventures soon!

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April 3, 2014
by The Coomers
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Two sides

Praise be the Name of the Lord God Almighty! I pray and trust this message finds you all blessed and highly favored. Personally, I’m jamming out to the new Gungor album and thanking Jesus for every breath that God the Father allows for me. It has been an extremely interesting few days. I’ll run you through the rough stuff, but know that Paige and I are well and looking forward to our blessing from Heaven. Our firstborn, Kenneth Coomer IV, will be here in less than three weeks. We are also excited about the resulting visit from my parents, who are coming to assist us in the first couple weeks of  his existence. I have to say that as excited as we are to welcome the little one, we have not gotten much sleep this week. In both turmoil and triumph, we have had far too much action this week to waste time sleeping.

First things first! This week during a Bible class with the entire sixth grade, I taught a lesson about humility and the route to Jesus (combo Romans 10:9-10, and Matt. 20:20-29). The result was the nothing less than the accomplishment of everything I came here in hopes of doing. After completing the lesson and asking how many students could “believe with your heart” that Jesus Christ is Lord, several children raised their hands. As a result, we prayed the “sinner’s prayer” and 22 children either accepted Christ or rededicated their lives to Christ. It was an amazing experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. God is actively reaching in and changing the lives of so many young believers here in the West Bank. I cannot wait to see what God does next! This act of dedication was the reward after a significantly difficult night.

The night before was intimidating and shaking, but also a great comfort to me. It started out as usual – my pregnant wife getting up and down several times for trips to the bathroom. If you didn’t already know, babies push on a mom’s bladder until she is making trips to the restroom two or three times an hour. All was on par until approx. 4:50 am, when a large blast shook us from sleep. That sound was as familiar to me as my own mothers voice; I knew exactly what was going on. As I lay there staring at the ceiling, frozen, I intently focused on any sound that might catch my attention and waited for what should come next. Eventually it came: shrill screams of women up and down our block. I quickly got dressed, and with passport and binoculars in hand, up to the roof I went. Once on the roof I discovered that the IOC (Isreali Occupation Forces) were in our neighborhood, rolling past our building with speed. Later we would discover that the IOC blasted the metal door off the house adjacent to our building, and arrested a Hamas member. I also discovered that the screaming was unrelated to the IOC’s presence. My focus shifted back to the sounds coming from the house of our direct neighbor. His wife was running through the street, desperately calling “Habib il mayt” to all who might listen. Directly translated: “my love is dead.” Apparently, as the IOC raided the house (which shares a backyard with our neighbor) the wife awoke and tried to wake her husband, only to find that he had unfortunately died sometime in his sleep. Her hysterical screaming resulted in the IOC  egressing rather quickly. The fallout of the neighborhood raid was one dead, one captured and one (myself) completely humbled.

I’ve been many places in my life and done things that most people might consider brave or bold. However the events of this night left me feeling vulnerable and shaken. Was I scared? No. In fact, in the moments leading up to and during the raid I was actually just intrigued and excited for the action. My wife was safe inside, I was on a roof that was barely visible to the street, and we were not in any danger. Also, we were protected by the promise of Psalm 91 “a thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand but it shall not come near you.” Thus, the idea of fear never entered my thought process! We are safe in Jesus’ name. The great impact of the nights’ events were nothing compared to the lives changed the next day. This week was a microcasm of our lives as Christians; when we seek to be used by God we have to understand that we will be tested. How can we expect to be used if we cannot pass the temperance test that God has allowed to be placed before us? Who are we to question the trials that God allows us to go through, without knowing what challenges these tests are preparing us for? When do we decide to “let go, and let God?” I know you’re thinking, “it is easy to ‘let go’ when you can’t control anything, but I got this.” No matter how much you think you can handle, there will always be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. So, why not give it all to Him now? Why not let Jesus have complete control of your life and let Him decide where you will go from here? Let God decide how much you can handle and praise Him through the trials and the triumph. After all, no matter how hard it is, “He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they will bear you up, you will not dash your foot against a stone.” Psalm 91. We are His chosen, so live in His promise. I love you all and look forward to seeing you in the next few months. Keep us in your prayers.

Very Respectfully,

Kenneth H. Coomer III

Ps. Check out out some pics of my 6th grade basketball team. We have a school wide tournament with teachers as player/coaches and it is a blast.
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February 23, 2014
by The Coomers
0 comments

Loving Life!

Hi everyone!

All is well in the lives of the Coomers! It is surreal and exciting that in a few short weeks, “the Coomers” will refer to three of us! We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our baby boy! In the meantime, I’ve been experiencing Bethlehem a bit differently since we returned here after Christmas.

First of all, my third trimester began right when school started back. When we had been back one week, I experienced some pretty severe pain on my right side. After a couple of hours in the ER, I was diagnosed with “hydronephrosis.” It basically means that my right kidney is inflamed due the weight of our ever-growing baby.  He is healthy and doing just fine, but this painful condition cannot be resolved until he is born. However, I am so blessed to have time to rest and take it easy! Thanks to our Pastor and Superintendent,  a wonderful replacement for my second-grade class was found right before Christmas. She took over in January, right when I needed to stop teaching!

The transition from not teaching all day has brought about several opportunities for me. I have been able to rest when I need to, but also to spend one-on-one time with my students, tutoring them and visiting them individually when behavior problems arise. This has been amazing, as I was not able to do this when I was trying to control the whole class all day. I have also been partner-teaching Bible class with Kenneth to his 6th graders. We have discovered that we make a pretty good teaching team! I absolutely love this part of my day. We have been able to develop deeper relationships with the students through their questions about the Bible and Christianity. They are so interested  in learning more that they have invited us to their houses, and begged to spend time with us after school! It is incredible to see God working in the lives of these kids. We are looking forward to seeing more change take place as we continue our Bible lessons.

We serve such a faithful God! As Kenneth stated in his previous update – He never ceases to amaze us by meeting our needs at exactly the right time. Thank you, again and always, for your support and prayers!

Love and blessings,

Paige