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A Heart for the Nations

Since my early 20s I've had a burden for global missions. Over the last ten years we've dreamed of taking the transforming power of the Battle for the Heart overseas. Three years ago this summer, a group began meeting and praying to see that become a reality. As we celebrate God's work through us overseas, I want to thank those men: Tom Mullis of United World Mission, Tom Patton from Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church, and Gary Wittevrongel and Dale Phillips of the Deep Community Experience.

Through our mutual effort we joined the East Mountain Community in Stellenbosch, South Africa for our first ever Battle for Men and Women's Hearts. East Mountain is a community of missionaries and national leaders who share our vision to live and lead out of wholehearted authentic, biblical community. 

 We took the Battle to the East Mountain Community for the following purposes:
  1. Expand the impact of the Battle for the Heart from the four leaders who came last August to the entire community
  2. Test the Battle for the Heart in diverse cultures and in the context of men and women experiencing it at the same time.
  3. Explore future partnership opportunities with East Mountain in South Africa and around the globe.  
Preceding and during our time in South Africa we experienced numerous challenges. We have a very active, evil foe but also an active and present Father. God overcame the obstacles and did an amazing work in the Battle for Men and Women's Hearts. He confirmed the cross cultural power of the way we express the gospel and the effectiveness of having men and women together. We'll be exploring further opportunities over the next twelve months.

I am grateful for the outstanding work Dale and Carmen Phillips and their children did in the planning and execution of this Battle, particularly in light of my illness during it! Thank you for your partnership in the gospel that is significantly affecting a diverse community of leaders in South Africa. We hope to give you a taste of what God is already doing in the Hearts of these men and women that will overflow into South Africa and around the world.

Overflowing to the Nations
The Battle For Men and Women's Hearts in South Africa
"The mission field is littered with shattered dreams and broken hearts. There's pressure to get it right, give supporters the best bang for their buck, stick it out and trust God, and to have a 'good ministry' all the while celebrated poses of individuals become bankrupt and their hearts and marriages become lifeless."   

Chris Teague 
That's what motivates Battle for the Heart alumni and Prague missionary, Chris Teague to continue in the battle for his heart as well as facilitate others as they enter into the battle for their heart.

" Being part of the South Africa Battle for Hearts was part of a dream come true for me. I long to see more missionaries and leaders engage in the Battle for their hearts."

Taking the Battle for the Heart to South Africa did just that, 30 American Caucasians, African- Americans, English, white Afrikaaners, and indigenous black tribal and mixed race men and women from the East Mountain Community started the journey into the battle for their heart in April 2016.

19 year Old South African Denver Isaacs, a one year intern in the East Mountain Community, was among those in attendance.
Larry Bolden & Denver Isaacs 
"Going into the battle was exciting, but being there and experiencing an authentic community was so WOW! Listening to the facilitators sharing their Pose was really engaging. I could relate to most of them . As the facilitators vulnerably shared their stories, it gave me the courage open up and share mine. I now have a better understanding of what it means to be a man." 

This event also provided an opportunity for Battle Alumni Leo Wurschmidt and his wife Michele to go through the Battle for the Heart process at the same time. When asked about their experience Leo said,

" The common language, the shared knowledge of the process and how God was using it, the time in our separate men's and women's Battle groups all helped to provide rich conversations that went deeper than surface emotions and actions. Michele and I were able to communicate and engage one another in a way that uncovered our deeper desires behind specific actions and emotions. It was something we had rarely, if ever, experienced in all of our past conversations together."

In addition to the growth among couples that attended the retreat, the leaders are calling each other out into who they were created to be. East Mountain missionary Rhonda Pierce said,
"It was uncomfortable at some moments, but being in a room with my brothers in the Lord was good for me. For the first time I had a brother call out the glory in me with pure motives. He was being honest and not just saying nice things to try to manipulate me for his own agenda. The Lord has been good to give me Christian brothers to show me there are men that can be trusted, but doing battle together took it to a new place. I feel more freedom in communicating with my brothers now."

In the weeks following the retreat, the leadership team is already experiencing transformation in the way that they do life and operate as a team. Leo testified,

"We now have an ability to be more vulnerable with one another or gently assist one another with understanding the way we may be operating out of our pose. Through this, significant conversations have occurred and the health of our leadership team has greatly increased. Overall, our experience with Battle for Hearts has been transformative in our marriage and our relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and others."

Pouring Into the Next Generation
The Battle for the Heart for Kids
by Justin Phillips

Justin Phillips, son of Battle Alumni Dale and Carmen Phillips, along with his sisters Carina and Rebecca and their friend Jenna Weston teamed up to provide a kids version of the Battle for the Heart.
We asked Justin to share about his experience in the article below.
Justin Phillips    

While in South Africa we had the opportunity to organize and teach a kids' version of The Battle for Your Heart that was writt
e n by Karleen Cannon of Atlanta. We had great days full of fun and teaching.
While the adults were in the Battle for the Heart sessions
each day, the kids learned a simplified version of the four realities:

The kids really seemed to really relate to the concepts we were teaching and began to see how it applied to their everyday life!  

On top of that, the games and crafts that we did with the children were centered around reinforcing what the kids had learned that day. For example, one of the lessons talked about the fact that we, as Christians, have a new heart and an old heart. The old and new heart can fight and many times our bad heart wins. To demonstrate how we need to listen to our new heart, we played a game. In the game there were two pieces of music playing: one was playing loudly and the other one softly. The object of the game was to freeze whenever the quiet music stopped. All in all, it was a blast.

After the event one parent said, "My kids loved it! They even say that they wish they could do the week over again. The program was a huge success." Another said, "Madeline didn't want the time to end and was able to articulate the four realities in language that was helpful to her."  I thoroughly enjoyed my time in South Africa, serving alongside my sisters, Rebecca and Carina, and my friend Jenna and hope to do trips like this again!



A God Who Sees
by Heather O'Brien 
Before coming on staff at Wellspring, I spent some time on the mission field for a couple of years. Though still having a heart for the nations, in 2012 God led me back to the states and told me that He was going to better
Heather O'Brien
equip me for my part in the Larger Story. Little did I know that in a few short months I would come on staff at Wellspring Group.

Four years later I am in awe of the twists and turns that God has brought into the story. It feels like I have been in a pressure cooker of growth! The combination of heart health, biblical community, skill development, and personal and professional growth has impacted me in so many ways it is hard to even begin to describe.

Throughout this season of growth, the nations were constantly on my heart. I kept asking God "Can I go yet? Is it time?" So when Larry and Abby asked me to be a part of the team for the Battle for the Heart in South Africa, my heart leapt with joy and I was moved to tears! It was a kiss from God saying I see you, your heart, and your passions.

God continued to work in my heart as I prepared and taught Reality 2A for the first time at this event. I continue to be amazed at the fellowship that came around me to encourage me, support me, love me well and challenge me as I finally took the leap and faced my fears by stepping into speaking. It truly was something I will never forget.
This event was special for me in many ways. It was beautiful to see individuals authentically wrestling with their hearts and recognizing lies they have believed, couples move together in strength and fight for each other, and to experience a community of missionaries that know they need each other and are willing to challenge each other to be who they are created to be. I saw life birthed and death lose its sting. Transformation happened before my eyes.

God is up to so much. He is faithful. Lives are being changed. I am truly grateful that I can be a part of it.

Our Savior, He Can Move the Mountains
In 2015 we began a multi-year campaign to face a financial mountain and build new monthly partnerships.  We  were amazed by God's faithfulness through your generous gifts and the many ways you joined with us in partnership.  This year we continue to work towards increasing our monthly partnerships and our team is beginning to reach out to many of you directly.  We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and share the vision of Wellspring, what we see God doing and what we are dreaming of in the days to come. 
As you hear from us, please give us the gift of feedback!  If you would like to connect with us, let us know!  If this isn't a good time or a good fit for your partnership, please tell us that as well.  Our heart is to honor you and your family while inviting you to partner with us in God's Larger Story. 
Would you begin to prayerfully consider how the Lord might be stirring you to partner with us?  We have specific financial goals for the year and our needs are greater during the summer months between our retreat seasons.  If you sense the Lord stirring your heart to make a financial gift or join in monthly partnership, please contact Abby for more information on giving. 
Electronic gifts can be made through the Wellspring Online Community and set up as recurring or one-time gifts.  Security gifts are accepted, please contact Abby for specific instructions.
Thank you for your willingness to partner with us!

Upcoming Events

Have you considered inviting your spouse, coworker or small group into the Battle for the Heart?

Registration is still open for the events taking place this fall!

2016 Battle for Your Heart Events
               Men's Events          August 11-14, 2016 - Columbiana, AL
                                                  September 22 -25, 2016 - Bolivar, PA
               Women's Events   August 25-28, 2016 - Columbiana, AL
                                                  October 6-9, 2016 - Bolivar, PA

                Battle for Your Domain - For Men and Women

                                                   September 16- 19, 2016 - Columbiana, AL
Battle for Your Marriage Event  
Feb. 2-5, 2016
               For more information contact Abby or visit our website


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