Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jackson's School Project.

christmas video a video by Jeff_Holeman on Flickr.

Jackson made a video for his Computer Technology class. He wanted to share it with you. Photos are from a photography field trip to take photos of Brandon Christmas decorations.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Countdown to Oaxaca, Mexico.

We will be leaving the USA on January 5 headed to southern Mexico to the city of Oaxaca.  We are ready to see what the Father has in store through this new ministry assignment.  We'll be moving in a temporary apartment until we can find a house and get our crate full of 'stuff' shipped from Peru.  Haylee and Jackson will begin classes at their new school on January 9th.  And, we already have two ministry trips scheduled for late January with churches from the USA.  So, there will be busy days ahead.  Thank you for your prayer support!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

South Half Champs 2011

South Half Champs 2011 by Jeff_Holeman
South Half Champs 2011, a photo by Jeff_Holeman on Flickr.
Did I mention that my brother's Petal Panters won the South State championship this year? They finished 2011 ranked #4 in the state of Mississippi.

15 December 2011 Update!

Just a quick update on what is going on with us.

We are taking advantage of last days in the USA by spending time with family and friends, speaking to a lot of church and mission groups, and trying to have as much fun as possible.  We will be finishing up our responsibilities as Missionaries in Residence at Mississippi College this week and the kids will be taking semester exams.  We are so grateful for the many of you who pray for us regularly.  Here are some specific requests that we would love your help with at this time:
  1. The indigenous people groups of southern Mexico are in need of churches to be planted among them.  Pray that the Father would make it possible for new churches to be established among these people groups.  Here is a map for you to pray for groups by name. Click on it to make it larger. -;
  2. Pray for Haylee and Jackson as they say their 'See You Laters' to their new friends here in Mississippi and as they prepare for a new place, new culture, and new friends.
  3. Pray for all the final pieces of our departure to fall into place so that we can get to work in southern Mexico.
  4. Praise God with us for the opportunity to be involved in His work in Mexico.
Blessings to all of you!  Thank you for praying.

Jeff, Liesa, Haylee, and Jackson

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Don't just give to missions. SEND Missionaries.

You'll hear much over the next few weeks in Southern Baptist churches about giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  You should give!  A lot!  But, don't just settle for giving to missions when you can be a SENDER of missionaries.

Why be a sender?

  1. Sending is something God does. Our heavenly Father is a sender.  He was motivated by love to send His Son so that we could be rescued by a message of hope.  Be a part of sending missionaries who are motivated by love to proclaim a message of hope.  When you SEND missionaries you are following the example of your heavenly Father.
  2. Sending is the responsibility of the church.  The hope of Galatians 3:14 is that 'hope would  come to the Gentiles.'  Jesus clearly communicated with his early followers that His Church would be His Workers.  As a part of the church you fulfill Christ's command when you SEND missionaries.
  3. Sending missionaries is about more than money.  
    • We have to provide spiritual support because of the spiritual battles (Eph 6:12).  
    • We have to provide emotional support because of the challenges that cross-cultural workers face.  Emotional support can be provided by phone calls, emails, visits to the field, and other expressions of kindness and love.
    • We have to provide accountability because iron sharpens iron (Prov 27:17).  Mature, constructive accountability of those you support is a part of your role as a Sender.  Ask questions.  Challenge those you Send to grow spiritually and avoid sin.  Many missionaries are in lonely, isolated places.  Your accountability role can play an important part in their lives.
    • We must provide financial support.  It all belongs to God so make sure you're a good steward.
  4. Sending brings blessings to the Sender.  You can enjoy the fulfillment of knowing that those who send missionaries share in the great work that is happening around the world.  And, those who send are a part of making disciples and those who make disciples have the promised presence of Jesus.
As you generously give to missions this Christmas, why not make a commitment to be the best Sender of missionaries that you can be?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

17 November 2011 Update! Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our first Thanksgiving as missionaries was spent in Richmond, VA four years ago.  (Click HERE for that blog post.).  The way God has provided for our family and how He has done so many amazing things over the past four years makes us so thankful.  We are thankful to God and so thankful to each of you who spend so much time praying for our family.

These past couple of weeks have been really busy but a whole lot of fun, too!  Here's some highlights: 

  • Liesa's Birthday on November 3.  We celebrated with Liesa's mom and dad and the nieces and nephews on November 2 and then with Liesa's sisters and the brother-in-laws on November 4!  Mucho fun was had by all involved.  We are thankful!
  • Petal Panther Football.  Jeff's brother coaches at Petal High School and they have had a great year and are rolling through the play-offs and, hopefully, will win a STATE CHAMPIONSHIP.  We are thankful!
  • Royal Ambassador Day at Mississippi College on November 5 was a great day!  It was a lot of fun to spend the morning with about 200 young boys and teach them about missions.  Everything worked out fine and 'The Snake Guy' who was with us was a lot of fun, too!  We are thankful!
  • On November 6, we spent the day at First Baptist Madison, MS to help raise money for Lottie Moon.  It was fun spending the day with my friend Clay Stegall and his family.  Clay is the student minister at FBC Madison.  We are so thankful for churches like FBC Madison who are one of the top 200 giving churches to Lottie Moon.  Great job Madisonites!  We are thankful!
  • On November 7, we spent the evening with the students at the Baptist Student Union of Mississippi College.  We're thankful for the group from MC coming to Oaxaca, Mexico in the Spring to work with us.  And, we're hoping to work out some avenues for MC students to work with us next summer.  We are thankful!
  • Mississippi College International Chapel 2011 Thanksgiving Celebration
  • On November 8, we celebrated Thanksgiving with the students who attend International Chapel. These students are from East Asia and meeting with them each week is a blessing.  For most of these students this was the first time to be in the home of someone from the USA and it was definitely a first for the typical southern Thanksgiving food.  We had a great time sharing Thanksgiving stories and traditions.  We are thankful!
  • On Wednesday, November 9, we traveled to New Orleans, LA to tackle the task of trying to get our VISA for Mexico.  Immigration issues are always challenging but the Lord provided a sweet Mexican lady who is a member of evangelical church in New Orleans to handle our paperwork.  We had our VISA within a couple of hours!!  And the nice lady at the Mexican consulate told us she would pray and was thankful of our work in her country.  How 'bout that??  Go God.  We are thankful!
  • On Friday, Nov 11, Haylee had her update with her rheumatologist.  All of her test results look good and  Dr. Edelman feels so good about her progress with rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Edelman is a strong believer in Jesus who is so supportive and encouraging to Haylee.  We are thankful!
Holemans and Rankins at an Ole Miss football game.
  • On Saturday, Nov 12, we went to the Ole Miss/Louisiana Tech football game with our friends, Dr. Jerry and Mrs. Bobbye Rankin.  It was so much fun being at the game with them.  They had not been to an Ole Miss game in 30 years.  We had a great time but almost froze to death. You  never realize how many cuss words are in your school cheer until you're sitting with the former president of the world's largest mission sending agency.  Quite convicting but I think we still have jobs. We are thankful!
  • On Sunday, Nov 13, we spent the evening with the fine folks at First Baptist Yazoo City, MS.  This is Jeff's home church from his high school days and it was fun seeing old friends and making some new ones.  It was great for Jeff to be their 'guest preacher' and to be able to share about what God has been doing through the work of our REAP NORTH team in Peru.  We are thankful!
  • On Monday, Nov 14, Jeff was able to spend the day at the Mississippi Baptist Student Minister's Retreat.  It was fun to re-connect with old friends and be able to encourage student ministers to be more involved in missions, especially international missions.  We have been blessed to work with some outstanding student groups over the past few years.  We are thankful!
We have a lot of great things coming up that we're excited about and that you can pray for.
  • Early Thanksgiving with some of our Peru Missionary Family!  We'll be meeting the Penningtons and Bredbenners in the big hills of northwest Arkansas for some great fun.  (To say that the Ozarks are mountains would be offensive to our Conchucos friends from the Andes Mountains of Peru.)  It will be good to have all of the crew back together again.  We have a short tradition of spending Thanksgiving Day together.  We are thankful!
  • Thanksgiving Day in Petal, Mississippi with Jeff's mom and family.  It is a blessing to be able to be around family during the holidays.  We are thankful!
  • Sunday, November 27.  We'll be talking missions at Cato Baptist Church (Rankin County Mississippi) and First Baptist Clinton, Mississippi.  Both of these churches are strong in their giving to missions.  We are thankful!
  • Wednesday, November 30.  We'll be at the home church of Liesa's Aunt Pat in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.  Carmel Baptist Church is a special place and Jeff hopes there's Carmel Cake involved.  We are thankful!
  • December!  Our final days on the campus of Mississippi College will be bittersweet.  We have grown to love the students, staff, and faculty of this fine school.  We are so indebted to Dr. Eric Pratt for allowing us to have this opportunity.  It is blessing to serve with so many fine servants.  We are thankful!
  • Thursday, Dec 1.  Jeff and Liesa will be leading chapel for the employees of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.  We are such close friends with so many of these folks.  It is an honor to work with them in completing the Great Commission task.  We are thankful!
  • Sunday, Dec 4.  We're returning to Center Grove Baptist Church in Maben, MS to talk about missions and raise some money for Lottie Moon.  Center Grove is the home church of Chris McMinn, our brother-in-law.  We have been blessed by their encouraging support through the years that we have been serving as missionaries.  We are thankful!
  • Monday, Dec 5.  We'll be talking missions with the WMU of First Baptist Church in Yazoo City, MS.  Many of these ladies helped keep Jeff straight during his high school years.  It is wonderful to be able to spend some time with them.  Liesa will speak to them while Jeff rolls all of their yards just for old time's sake.  We are thankful!
  • On Dec 6 Jackson will be inducted into the Brandon Middle School Beta Club.  He doesn't really know that Beta Club is for outstanding students and he really doesn't care.  But mom and dad are excited!  We are thankful!
  • On Dec 8 to 12, Jeff and Liesa are headed on a CRUISE!  We've always wanted to go on a cruise outside of Disney World and we've saved some money and also found a great deal so we're sailing away to Cozumel, Mexico for a few days.  We're excited about the cruise.  Of course, Jeff has a fear of deep water so he's hoping wearing a life preserver 24 hours a day is socially acceptable on a Carnival cruise. We are thankful!
  • On Dec 14 SANDI BRIDGES COMES TO LIVE WITH US!  The only down-side is that it's only for a few days and not forever.  We were honored to work with Sandi in Peru and learned so much from her.  We are ready to spend some gluten-free days with her.  We are thankful!
  • On Wednesday, Dec 14 we'll pick up Sandi and head to Jeff's mom's church in Petal.  Petal-Harvey Baptist Church has been a great support for Jeff's mom as she's lived in Petal, MS.  Liesa's former student minister is minister of education at this church.  We'll be talking missions and raising money for Lottie Moon.  We are thankful!
  • On Thursday, Dec 15 we'll be speaking to the Prime Timer's Group at Liesa's home church, Crossgates Baptist.  We are going to love this opportunity to spend an evening with some wonderful older adults.  We are thankful!
  • On Sunday, Dec 18 we get the privilege of talking missions for ten minutes in the morning worship services at our home church of First Baptist Oxford.  FBC Oxford is our family.  Our hearts still remain with the people there.  There is no way to repay these folks for their encouraging support over the years.  We are thankful!
  • January 5, 2012!  We head out to our new missionary assignment in Oaxaca, Mexico.  We cannot wait to step off the plane and hug Caleb, Luke, Elijah, and Hope.  We are thankful!
Blessings to all of you and have a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving!

Jeff, Liesa, Haylee and Jackson

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

International Chapel Thanksgiving Celebration

We have been serving this semester as Missionaries In Residence at Mississippi College.  The best part of our job has been meeting with International Students each Tuesday to learn about Christianity and God's Word.  These students have become great friends and we have been blessed and challenged by them.

Would you continue to pray that several of these students would come to know our Savior?

Another big blessing is being able to spend time with Dr. and Mrs. Rankin.  They have moved to Clinton, MS and although they are 'retired' they haven't slowed down much.  We are always blessed and so encouraged being with them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1 November 2011 update

Greetings out there in internet land!

Your prayers are always a powerful part of our lives.  We are so grateful for those of you who invest time to pray for us and to support us in so many ways.  Click HERE for a great resource to know how to pray for missionary families.  Click HERE for a resource to use as you pray for unreached people groups.

At this time of year we want to remind you that The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is so important to the work of Southern Baptist missionaries around the world.  Thank you for your generous support of the offering.  If your church does not support the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering you can give directly through the IMB website.  This time of year is always a great time to find out how your church supports missionaries.  If you don't ask, you'll never know.

Oct 31, 2011
We've had a blast over the past few weeks.  Here's some highlights:

  • Petal Panther Football.  Jeff's brother, Pete, coaches at Petal High School and they have locked up the #2 seed in the state playoffs.  We've enjoyed being able to see some of the games.
  • Sydney McMinn's Birthday Party.  It was a blessing to be a part of Sydney's skating party and to celebrate with her.  Sydney is Liesa's sister's (Missy) daughter.
  • Teaching at Mississippi College..  We were able to be a part of Dr. VanHorn's class a few days ago.  Dr. VanHorn was one of Jeff's favorite seminary professors and now we're together at Mississippi College.  Neat experience.  It is a lot harder teaching an 8 am class than simply showing up.
  • Baptist Global Response Training.  We were so moved by our time at this training event in Nashville, Tennessee.  We are encouraged to hear that Community Development ministries are expected to be a very important part of future IMB work.
  • Lindsey Powers Ward.  We have known Lindsey since our 2007 training in Virginia and we served with her in Peru.  It was such a blessing to be able to see her during our trip to Knoxville.  The orange sweater was ugly, though.
  • Sharon Baptist Church,  Powell, TN.  We had a wonderful weekend in Knoxville, TN during our visit to Sharon Baptist Church.  This wonderful church is considering their future mission involvement and we were blessed to be able to dialogue with them.  However, Jeff was a little disappointed we didn't meet anybody named Sharon.
  • Halloween.  Some folks like it.  Some folks don't.  We get that.  Haylee and her youth group used the evening as an opportunity to go door to door and deliver info about our church and to pray with folks at their door.  Jackson used the evening as an opportunity to bring some candy home and have fun with his buddy.
  • Mississippi Baptist Convention.  This annual event is like a family reunion for many and we had a great time seeing old friends and making some great new friends.  Southern Baptists exist because of missions and we are grateful for the many churches who faithfully support missionaries.
Please pray for these events that are coming up soon:
  • Liesa's Birthday is November 3!
  • Royal Ambassador Day at Mississippi College.  November 5.  Have we mentioned that we're on the program with 'The Snake Guy.'  We're really hoping Jeremy Nelson will show up for this event.  He's our only weapon against snakes.
  • We'll be at First Baptist Church of Madison, Mississippi on Sunday, November 6. We'll be speaking in the morning worship services and we'll be spending the evening with the middle and high school students.
  • Mississippi College Baptist Student Union.  We'll be speaking to these great students on Monday, Nov 7.  We've been blessed in the past to work with MC students in Peru.
  • Thanksgiving Dinner for our International Chapel Students.  We're having a traditional Thanksgiving Celebration for the students we meet with on Tuesday afternoons.  Jerry and Bobbye Rankin are helping us plan this special event for these students.
  • Getting our Mexican Visas.  We'll be in New Orleans on November 9 and 10 to pick up our visas for Mexico.  We think all of our paperwork is in order to get our visas.  Please pray.
  • First Baptist Yazoo City, MS.  We'll be in the evening Harvest Celebration with these great folks on November 13.
Here are Haylee and Jackson's latest school photos:

Blessings to all of you out there.  If you're near Brandon, MS please come see us!

Jeff, Liesa, Haylee, and Jackson

Friday, October 21, 2011

21 October 2011 Update!

Hello world!

Thank you so much to all of you who are praying for us.  We are deeply grateful for your investment in our lives.

October has been busy with all kinds of things happening:

  • Mississippi College.  We are having fun being a part of all that is going on at Mississippi College.  Of course, our favorite part is spending time hearing what God is doing in the lives of students.  We are blessed to have this assignment during our time in the USA.  And, the Baptist Student Union at Mississippi College have plans to come to Southern Mexico in the Spring to minister among the unreached people groups of Oaxaca, Mexico.
  • Oct 4. Second Baptist Springfield, Missouri.  Jeff traveled to Springfield, Missouri to meet with their mission team about working in Southern Mexico in the future.  It was a tremendous time and Second Baptist is committed to embracing an unreached people group in Southern Mexico.  They'll begin their ministry in 2012.
  • Jacinda Melson.  Jacinda is a wonderful part of our family with whom we worked in Peru and Bolivia.  Jacinda is beginning a new ministry assignment and we are so thankful that we were able to spend time with her for a few days.
  • The Pennington Family.  Our dear friends from language school and Peru came to Mississippi to visit.  It is always a fun time when Brian, Jen, Jordan, and Trevor are around.  We are hoping to be able to get together with them before we all head down the paths God has for our families in the future.
  • The State Fair of Mississippi.  Good friends. Funnel cakes.  Pronto pups.  Deep fried Oreos.  Biscuits filled with molasses. It was a good time.  Thanks Ken Hall for taking us to lunch at the fair and buying us foot-long corn dogs.
  • Mistie and Bubba Robinson made a visit to our home here in Brandon and it was so good getting to spend some time with them.  We love and miss our Oxford family mucho!
  • Haylee's choir at Brandon High had a Fall Concert and Jackson's football team had a road game at Pearl High School (Eat dirt!).  Both of our kiddos performed spectacularly!
We have some busy days coming up:
  • Mississippi College.  On Tuesdays we have been meeting with a group of international students who are interested in learning about Christianity.  We're planning a 'Thanksgiving Meal' with them next week and will continue to answer their questions about our faith.  We'll also be meeting with MC students who are pursuing ministry-related careers to answer their questions.
  • We'll be headed to the Baptist Global Response Training Conference in Nashville.  We're looking forward to learning about new ways to help those affected by natural and man-made disasters.
  • We'll be spending a weekend with Sharon Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN to prepare them for their work in Southern Mexico in the coming years.  We're looking forward to spending time with our friend Chad Williams for a couple of days.
  • The Mississippi Baptist Convention is coming up and if you're in the exhibit hall during the convention look for us at the International Mission Board area.  We're hoping to see many of you there!
  • Liesa's birthday is November 3!  Party time.
  • RA Day at Mississippi College is coming up on Nov 5.  We'll be there along with a guy with snakes. We'll have to be on top of our game to compete with a guy with snakes.
We'll be speaking at several churches during the coming weeks.  Here's where we'll be:
  • Oct 30.  Sharon Baptist Church, Knoxville, TN
  • Nov 6.  First Baptist Madison, MS
  • Nov 13.  First Baptist Yazoo City, MS
  • Nov 27.  Cato Baptist Church, Brandon, MS. /  First Baptist Clinton, MS
  • Dec 4.  Center Grove Baptist Church, Maben, MS   /   Petal Harvey Baptist Church, Petal, MS
  • Dec 18.  First Baptist Church, Oxford, MS.
Blessings to you all!
Jeff, Liesa, Haylee, and Jackson

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A blessing.

There are so many blessings that come from being involved in student ministry.  Kellie Burnham Berry is one of those blessings.  Kellie was a part of the youth group at First Baptist Kosciusko, MS when we arrived there back in 1994.  It has been such a joy to keep up with Kellie through the years, through the boyfriends, through her time on the mission field, and now as she and her husband, Ryan, raise their kids.  Kellie stopped for a visit today and we are so thankful for our friendship.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reproducing Disciples That Are Obedient to Jesus.

When making disciples we teach what we know but we reproduce who we are.  A couple of weeks ago David Jett, pastor of Crossgates Baptist Church, made that statement in a sermon.  It's not an original quote to David but one that has been made by others.  Our family Bible studies for the past few days has been in the book of Amos.  One of the conversations that Amos had with God refers to God using a 'plumb line' to examine His people.  Brother David's teaching and the principles from God's Word that I am learning are challenges to examine what kind disciples are being produced through my life.  Am I helping to produce disciples who obey Jesus?

The whole idea of disciple-making has been something I have continued to learn about over the years.  I certainly consider myself a better 'disciple-maker' now than back in 1987 when I had my first 'job' as a student minister.  I'm pretty sure my primary goal as a disciple-maker back then was simply to give people 'information' about how to be be a disciple when my goal now is to 'show' others how to be a disciple.  Years ago I was concerned about my students obeying me whereas now it is much more important that those in my circle of influence simply obey Jesus.  I tried early in ministry to make students obey Jesus, to talk them into it, even manipulating in positive ways if I had to.  I don't have any desire now to force people to obey Jesus.  Sure, I really do desire that they obey Him, especially my children and family and friends, but forcing them to obey Jesus is not on my agenda nowadays.  The experience of being involved in disciple-making has caused these shifts.

God gives me the task of making disciples who are obedient to Jesus  (Matt 28:18-20).  Unfortunately many disciples are not obedient to Jesus but are simply religious reproductions of the discipler.  This is not necessarily an indictment on the discipler but an animadversion on the methods the discipler is using.  The discipler who focuses simply on pouring out information instead of investing in the life of the disciple runs the risk of producing a follower of the knowledge about Jesus.  The goal of our disciple-making effort is to produce followers who are obedient to Jesus.  Too many alleged disciple-makers define success when all the information is given instead of how their disciples are obeying.

As a cross-cultural missionary I have had to hold my tongue as mission volunteers proclaim great success at discipling when I know their so-called disciples are not equipped for long-term obedience to Jesus.  These disciple-makers have given their disciples a ton of information but have not invested time in understanding their world-view, their heart language, and their motivation for wanting to be a follower of Christ.  South America is full of 'informed' followers of Christ.  We need 'equipped' followers of Jesus.  Jesus gave His disciples much more than information.  He shared life with them so they could know who He was.  He invested.  Everything.

Many of you who read these words are disciple-makers.  Have you examined the quality of the disciples you are making?  Are they obedient to Jesus?  I spent years teaching what I knew instead of reproducing who I am.  When I teach what I know I look for better material but when I reproduce who I am I look for a better me.  The only way I can be better is to be more surrendered, more obedient to Jesus.  The disciples of Jesus carried on His mission.  I want my disciples to carry on His mission, too.

Information about following Jesus is good.  However, to produce disciples who are obedient to Jesus requires that they see someone who is obedient to Jesus.  That takes an investment on the part of the disciple-maker.  Get out of the classroom or small group setting.  Find out what makes this person who is the focus of your disciple-making task tick.  Which words open the heart?  Have they seen how you handle failure?  Have you washed their feet?

As you are going into all the world make disciples.  Baptize.  Teach them to obey.  ALL that He commanded.  That's a huge time investment.   And He is with us.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Missionary Family Weekend!

We have had a wonderful few days with the Pennington family and Jacinda Melson.  Jacinda worked with us in Peru and the Pennington's are our friends from language school days and we also served with them in Peru.  We had a great weekend together.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Play of the Week.

Jackson is #33 in the video.  He makes the bone-crushing tackle at the top of the screen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

4 October 2011 Update!

Hello amigos!

Thank you for your prayers for our family.  We are so grateful for so many who are investing in this interesting life that God has called us to.  It is amazing how God continues to teach us new things all the time and also continue to show us His faithfulness in so many ways.

We've had a busy September!
  • Our ministry assignment as Missionaries In Residence at Mississippi College continues to bring huge blessings.  We've met some amazing students who God is using now and will use in the future in amazing ways.  Liesa and Jeff were responsible for putting together 'Global Opportunity Week' on September 18 to 24.  We had a lot of help (Dr. Rankin, Fish, and Jennifer) in making the week a great success as we wanted MC students to consider how they can be involved in disciple-making.  We will spend the next couple of weeks following up with students who are trying to understand how they fit into God's plan for making disciples of all nations.  We also have some opportunities coming up to lead some of the classes in the Department of Christian Studies that we know will be great.  And, please continue to pray every Tuesday at 4 pm as we meet with a group of students from Asia who are interested in learning about Christianity.  This is a priority time for us each week and we love what God is doing in the group.
  • We have been heavily involved in work on behalf of the IMB.  On September 7 we were a part of a conference in Atlanta, GA where over 500 church leaders gathered to learn how they can work among the 3500+ unengaged, unreached people groups around the world.  We were able to meet some wonderful folks interested in working in Mexico and we were blessed to see so many of our REAP NORTH partners who are ready to begin new assignments wherever God is leading.  We were also a part of the leadership for the Mississippi Missionary Parents' Fellowship.  Jeff's mom and Liesa's parents were able to participate this year and it was fun being around so many missionary families.  It was good to be able to spend time with some of our wonderful missionary friends who serve in a very challenging place.
  • Jeff has been busy speaking at several churches around Mississippi.  He's been able to travel all over the state speaking to student groups and meeting with pastors and missions leaders who are interested in joining God in His work around the world.  On a recent trip to West Heights Baptist in Pontotoc, Jeff was able to meet some new friends who are from Oaxaca, Mexico where we might be moving to in January 2012.  We've enjoyed Skype meetings with future ministry partners and Jeff is looking forward to traveling to Second Baptist Springfield, Missouri on October 5 to meet with their church staff about future work in Southern Mexico.
  • Liesa has been busy with duties at Mississippi College and other ministry assignments.  She was able to serve at our state WMU camp during a mother/daughter retreat this month.  She and Haylee were able to serve together in teaching moms and daughters about the work of missionaries in South America.
  • Haylee and Jackson are enjoying life here in Mississippi.  Haylee is making new friends and had a good time at Brandon High's homecoming dance.  She's got this boy that is calling and texting all the time, too. Jackson is having fun with the youth group at Crossgates Baptist and is learning how to mix it up on the football field.  Both are bringing home good grades and are the funnest kids around.
  • We have been having a blast at Ole Miss Football games.  There's not much good football to see but we have enjoyed being back 'home' in Oxford when we are able.  We are grateful to the Morgan's for always having room for us on Saturdays.  Jeff went to the Maroon People/LSU game in Starkville a few weeks back with Louis Zinc and it was good to see some good SEC football action and to once again experience the aroma of the Maroon campus.
  • Living in the Jackson area has been a blessing.  We're able to spend some good times with our families and to catch up with former students who are now dear friends...Jennifer, Kelsey, Lyndsey, Jeremy, Karen, Seth, and the list is endless.  We are blessed to have so many friends and family so close to us.
  • October will be busy with some really fun stuff going on.  The Pennington family is coming to Mississippi to spend a few days with us.  We're so looking forward to having them here with us.  We've got a date with the Ole Miss BSU this month and we are always happy to spend time with Ole Miss students.  The State Fair is kicking off this weekend and we are ready to take in that redneck action.  Speaking of rednecks, our Arkansas Razorback friend Jacinda Melson is coming to visit us and we're excited about sharing our indoor plumbing with her.  We are traveling to Nashville to the Baptist Global Response conference and we're hoping to learn some new ways to lead our USA partners in ministry.  And, we'll be heading up to Knoxville, TN to spend some time with the one and only Chad Williams at Sharon Baptist Church.  Sharon Baptist is considering coming to work in Southern Mexico.  And the month ends up with the Mississippi Baptist Convention and we'll have a great time representing the IMB amongst the biggest supporters of missions on the planet.  And, the Rebels play Alabama, Arkansas, and Auburn this month so it'll be a while before we celebrate a win.
Well, that's about it for us.  If you're in central Mississippi please come see us.

Jackson, Haylee, Liesa and Jeff Holeman

Found this restaurant in Ecru, Mississippi.

My friend Shawn found this restaurant owned by some fine folks from Oaxaca, Mexico.  I was able to talk with them and will be spending a little more time with them in the future.  Small world.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prayer Request.

Please pray for Liesa and Haylee as they lead a Mother/Daughter Retreat this weekend at Camp Garaywa. Thanks to all of you who so faithfully pray for us.

Jackson and Nana.

Jackson and Nana after scrimmage.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jackson's First Football Game

Jackson is #15 in this video.
            Jackson's First Football Game from Jeff Holeman on Vimeo.
Greetings friends!

Just a quick update.  Things have been busy, busy in our lives.

  • Haylee is doing great and is enjoying high school.  She's involved in the the youth group at Crossgates Baptist and is continuing to take guitar classes.  Some boy keeps calling her and texting her alot.  Not sure what that is all about.  :-)
  • Jackson continues to do well.  His first football game is today so we're ALL worked up about that.  He is enjoying our time in the USA, making  new friends, finding ways not to do homework, and all those things jr. high boys do.
  • Liesa and Jeff are busy with Missionary In Residence duties at Mississippi College and also sharing with churches and other groups about the things God has done in South America.  Last weekend we led a session for the Mississippi Missionary Parents Fellowship.  That was big fun.  We have also enjoyed finding and spending time with other missionaries from around the world who are also on stateside assignment.
We have some busy days ahead that you can be praying with us about:
  • Today, Sept 22 is our final GO! Week chapel at Mississippi College.  Jennifer Smith and Fish Robinson will be leading and it's gonna be goooood.
  • Next week we have meetings with area pastors regarding the 'embrace' initiative the IMB is currently promoting so that the remaining 3500+ unreached people groups in the world will hear the Gospel.
  • Liesa  is leading a retreat for girls at Camp Garaywa on Sept 30 to Oct 1.  Pray for her as she prepares and leads this training opportunity for young girls.
  • On Monday, Oct 3 we'll be meeting with the high school seniors at West Heights Baptist Church in Pontotoc, MS to talk about disciple-making, missions, and their partnership with us on the mission field in the future.
  • On Oct 5, Jeff is off to Second Baptist Church, Springfield, MO to meet with them about a partnership with us in the future.
  • On Oct 6 to 11, the PENNINGTON'S ARE COMING TO VISIT!  Hooray!  The Pennington's are our dear friends from Peru who are also on stateside assignment.
  • On Oct 10, Liesa and Jeff will be speaking to the Woman's Missionary Union at First Baptist Meridian, MS.  We're excited about this great opportunity.
In the midst of all of those special events we have our ministry opportunities at Mississippi College.  Please be in prayer for a group of 5 students from East Asia that we are meeting with on Tuesdays at 4 pm.  These students are learning about Jesus for the very first time.  Please pray that we will love unconditionally and proclaim the Gospel wisely.

Thanks for your partnership and for 'holding the rope.'

Jeff, Liesa, Haylee and Jackson

Sunday, September 11, 2011

11 September 2011 Update!

Hola friends!

Lots to catch you up on.

We are excited to be celebrating Haylee's 15th Birthday today!  It was wonderful today to be joined by many of her closest friends for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Oxford.  All of you know that Haylee is such a blessing to so many.  It has been good to celebrate with her today!

Haylee and the cousins (minus Hayden) in 2007.

Our last update was a couple of weeks ago.  We've been busier than we've wanted to be!
  • Haylee and Jackson are doing great.  They are enjoying school and making good friends here in Brandon, MS.  Jackson is learning to be elusive on the football field and hopefully, will learn how to deliver some punishing blocks from his wide receiver position very soon.  Haylee is doing great...taking guitar lessons...texting...listening to music...all that teenager stuff.  Thank you for praying for them.
  • Liesa and Jeff are serving at Mississippi College as Missionaries In Residence for the Fall Semester.  Things have been wonderful as we're meeting students and finding different places of ministry.  One great opportunity we have is on Tuesday afternoons with International Students as we discuss Christianity during International Student Chapel.  This is something that we really enjoy because the students from a large East Asian country are eager to listen but many do not believe in God and have no concept of a personal relationship with Him.  We are loving this opportunity God has set before us.  
  • Liesa and Jeff also have duties with the International Mission Board during our Stateside Assignment.  We were in Atlanta earlier this week for a meeting of churches interested in working with unreached people groups around the globe.  There were over 500 folks at the meeting!  It seems God is stirring the hearts of many of the churches in the Southern Baptist Convention to be even more involved in reaching to the uttermost parts.  Even more exciting is that some in the world's largest mission sending agency are willing to work with them.  These are exciting days!
  • We've been able to spend some time with our families and friends.  We're blessed with so many folks that love us.  It has been fun to catch up and be a part of their lives again.  The hardest part of serving so far away from home is missing so many 'family moments.'  But, it sure makes things a lot sweeter when you're back in middle of them.  We won't ever take them for granted.
  • Church.  Being a part of church in the USA has been such a blessing. We really did not realize how spiritually worn-out we were.  It has been refreshing to be able to be challenged by God's Word and to enjoy worship in our heart-language.
Thank you to all who pray regularly for us!  You are a blessing to us in so many ways.


Jeff, Liesa, Haylee, and Jackson Holeman

Monday, August 29, 2011

29 August 2011 Update

Philippians 4:6 instructs us:

"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."

Your prayers are such a comfort to us. In our 'anxious' moments we find strength in the knowledge that so many folks actually set aside time to intercede on our behalf. Thank You!

We've had a busy few days. We've been able to see some good high school football. Jeff's brother is on the coaching staff at Petal High School so we've been rootin' for the Petal Panthers the past two weekends. A great benefit of being the family of the coach is that Jackson and Jeff have 'All-Access' the the locker room and the sidelines. Jackson has had a blast seeing the real world of Mississippi high school football. Also, Haylee's high school (and Liesa's high school) is Brandon High School and we played our huge rival, Pearl High School, this past weekend. We arrived 90 minutes before kick-off to find the stadium already full. Fortunately we found some seats and yelled our best 'EAT DIRT PEARL!' cheers.

We are living in the missionary home of Crossgates Baptist Church here in Brandon, MS. Crossgates has been so good to us! The home is incredible and we are enjoying being just down the street from Liesa's parents and their pool! :-) Our dog 'Amazon' is living at Liesa's parents and seems to be adjusting well, too! We are really loving the people at Crossgates. Pastor David is a very effective communicator and the worship is kickin'. The pastor called for a 21-day Fast about 18 days ago so Liesa and Jeff are looking forward to a return to food that is bad for you in a few days. Haylee and Jackson are enjoying being in the youth group and are making some good friends.

Last week we were a part of meetings in Birmingham with the leadership from our America's Affinity. As you may know, the IMB has launched an effort to encourage Southern Baptist Churches to EMBRACE the remaining people groups of the world where no one is attempting to plant churches. This is a huge task and we are excited about what God is going to do in the America's. If your church is looking to plant churches in Central or South America, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you.

The students finally arrived at Mississippi College last weekend. Jeff and Liesa had a great time helping with move-in for the freshmen girls. We loved meeting the new students and their families...especially those moving in the 1st and 2nd floor! We tried showing some love to the 5th floor folks, too. The MC campus is alive with students and we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to help. We are excited about working with international students, also. MC has over 300 international students with most coming from Asia.

We're busy this week with work at MC and the kids and all of their activities. Jackson is loving 7th grade football. Of course, nobody has tackled him yet so that may change. Haylee is always the perfect student and is continuing her guitar lessons. We are headed to Oxford this weekend to see our first football game on campus at Ole Miss in 4 years. We are so, so ready. EAT DIRT BYU!

Thank you for your friendship and your partnership with us as we enjoy a few months in the USA. Please join us in praying:
  1. For Haylee and Jackson as they continue to adjust to new schools and new friends and a culture that is very different from what they've had the past 4 years.
  2. For Jeff and Liesa and the work at Mississippi College. Pray for 'divine appointments' with students so that we can be used by the Father to advance His agenda.
  3. Traveling. Liesa and Jeff will be traveling to Atlanta next week for an 'Embrace Event' where churches will hear about world-wide opportunities among peoples that need to hear the Gospel in a way they can understand. We're also a part of the Mississippi Missionary Parent Retreat in September. Liesa and Haylee are helping lead a retreat for girls at Camp Garawaya in a couple of weeks. Jeff is traveling to Hillcrest Baptist in New Albany, MS to speak to the youth group.
  4. Future. Pray that the Father would continue to clearly mark a path for us to follow.
Blessings to all! If you're in the Jackson, MS area please let us know!

Jeff, Liesa, Haylee and Jackson

Friday, August 19, 2011

19 August 2011 Update!

We've had a great week here in central Mississippi!

Haylee and Jackson have had a good week of school. We're discovering that the Fetzer school in Peru has prepared them well for school here in Mississippi. Haylee and Jackson are both doing very well with their classes are are adjusting well. Haylee is taking guitar lessons from a teacher at a local college here and Jackson is enjoying playing middle school football.

Jeff and Liesa are ready for the students to arrive at Mississippi College so we can get to work. We've had a good time this week getting to know other faculty and staff and planning some of the events for the upcoming semester. Student arrive this weekend so we'll be helping with move-in on Saturday. We're excited about the 300+ international students who will be a part of the student body this fall. It will be a unique opportunity to touch the world from Mississippi.

Next week we head to Birmingham for a few days with some of our America's Affinity Leadership Team as we prepare for some great things happening in the future in The Americas. We look forward to good meetings and spending time with great friends. Please pray for these meetings as we seek to share the Gospel with the Unengaged Unreached People Groups of the Americas.

Jeff, Liesa, Haylee, and Jackson

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Furniture Sale!

All Furniture has been sold thanks to the ultimate saleslady...Pam Carter.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Praying for the World.

Five Great Quotes about Prayer . . . And Five Challenges to Pray for the Nations!

Monday, August 15, 2011

15 August 2010 Update

Greetings to all from sunny and hot Mississippi!

We are enjoying our time here in the USA tremendously. This past week was a good one as Haylee and Jackson started school here. Both have had a good week and report that school is not as bad as they thought it would be. Thank you for praying for them as they once again adjust to another life.

A fun part of being in the USA is re-connecting with former students. Our orthodontist here, Dr. Rich Simpson and his wife Amie, are former students. We have run into former students here, there, and everywhere we go. We had Kelsey McKeithen over for dinner this week. We used to counsel teenage boys as Kelsey broke their hearts as she was growing up. Now, she's a nurse in the pediatric ICU. The church we attend has two of our former students on staff. Seeing how God has answered our prayers over the years is a real BIG blessing.

This past weekend we were in Oxford, MS for DiscipleNow at First Baptist Church. Haylee and Jackson loved being a part of the weekend and Liesa and Jeff enjoyed spending time with some very dear friends. Jeff was able to take in some of an Ole Miss Football practice. Liesa went to a movie with some of her friends. And, we were able to attend church at our 'home base', First Baptist Oxford. A perfect weekend!

We're gearing up for the arrival of students at Mississippi College this week. Liesa and Jeff are serving as Missionaries In Residence at MC this Fall. We're excited about the opportunity to minister to students and faculty/staff at MC. Things will be busy and we like it that way.

This weekend, we'll be joining the leadership from our America's Affinity to continue to work out plans for the EMBRACE emphasis of the International Mission Board. We'll be traveling to Birmingham, AL and we're praying this meeting will be led by the Lord to bring many more into His Kingdom. Please pray as we travel and for the leadership of the America's Affinity. These folks have a huge task and are incredible servants. We are thankful to be able to support their work.

If you're in our part of Mississippi, please give us a visit!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


From Four Square.

Culture Shock Tweets...

It has been an interesting adjustment to be back in the USA with plenty of time to observe our surroundings. Jeff has been 'tweeting' interesting experiences over the past few weeks. Many of you have asked for a comprehensive list. Here ya go:
  • Culture shock sign #22: Liesa says I was talking to the lady at the grocery store in Spanish. I blame it on the chinese food.
  • Culture shock sign #21: Grocery store has refrigerated pet food. Speechless. .people.r.crazy.
  • Culture shock #20: Just set up my Papa John's On-Line account. I can even add extra peppers if I want.
  • Culture shock sign #19: U now rent movies from vending machines..not a store. Cool.
  • Culture shock sign #18: @ Brandon High this a.m.: "Honey where U movin' from?" Me: "Peru." Lady: "Lord, I hope u ben talkin' 2 somebody."
  • Culture shock sign #17: At Walmart. Found a tattoo removal kit. That's gotta hurt.
  • Culture shock sign #16: Pulled up at the gas station today. Waited on someone to pump the gas. Not gonna happen. :-(
  • Culture shock sign #15: Been in the USA for over a week. I haven't come upon a speed bump yet. Nice.
  • Culture shock sign #14: Mailboxes. Person comes and leaves something 4 you in front of your house in unlocked metal box by the street. WOW.
  • Culture shock sign #13: Walked in Smithsonian toilet after D.C. thunderstorm & found folks stripped down under the blow dryers. Bumfuzzled.
  • Culture shock sign #12: Should Free Refills really be this exciting?
  • Culture shock sign #11: Driving. These North Americans don't get in a hurry. Out of my way!
  • Culture shock sign #10: Am I weird 4 missing thunder and rain and humidity?
  • Culture shock sign #9: Guilt-free toilet paper flushing! Yeah!
  • Culture shock sign #8: Standing in line. Nobody trying 2 cut. Sweet!
  • Culture shock sign #7: I am giving dirty looks 2 cashiers who give me wrinkled/torn money.
  • Culture shock sign #6: Parked the truck on the street last night. The truck still has all the mirrors this morning! Praise the Lord!
  • Culture shock sign #5: Is 9:15 am REALLY the time for Sunday School or should we show up about 10?
  • Culture shock sign #4: I think Cherry Coke Zero would make Cuy (Guinea Pig) go down so much easier.
  • Culture shock sign #3: In awe walking around Wal-mart. I felt a strange kinship with the Hispanic couple walking down the shampoo aisle.
  • Culture shock sign #2: Just spent a lot of time and money at Wal-mart. How can there be only 4 check out lines open on a Saturday night?
  • Culture shock sign #1: In Hotlanta waiting for a plane ride to Mississippi. Lots of white people here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Day of School 2011.

Haylee started High School and Jackson started 7th Grade today!

Please join us in praying for Jackson and Haylee as they once again adjust to new schools and new friends. As children of missionaries, they did not choose their lot. They have accompanied their parents as we answered God's call. They have been forced into situations that most children never face. They face problems many of us never consider. However, they have handled all of this so well. That is due, in large part, to the many of you who pray for them.

Here are some specific prayer requests that you can use as you pray:
  • Pray for our family to stay strong spiritually. Pray for Jeff and Liesa to be aware of the spiritual needs of our children.
  • Pray that Haylee and Jackson would establish their own spiritual lives. Pray for them to continually be aware of their need for a personal walk with God-- to really know Him, not just learn about Him.
  • Pray that Haylee and Jackson would be filled with the Holy Spirit each day. Pray that He would guide their thoughts and decisions.
  • Pray that Haylee and Jackson would have a hunger for God's Word and a love for His church.
  • Pray that Jackson and Haylee would have thankful hearts for all of their blessings.
  • Pray that Jackson and Haylee would be able to handle the temptations and influences that they will encounter each day.
  • Pray for victory over feelings of loneliness that children of missionaries often experience. Pray that godly adult mentors would invest in them and be able to discuss their problems, fears, doubts, and confusion.
  • Pray for Haylee and Jackson's education. Pray that they would learn well and excel in school.
Thank you for your investment in our family. We are so grateful for you.