happy Easter

Dear Friends and Family,

As Easter approaches we wanted to take a moment to give
you an update on all that is happening in our lives. First off, I
know you are probably most interested to hear that Laurel Day is doing
wonderfully. She’ll be 9 months old on April 9th. She has four
teeth, a head full of dark hair, and an infectious sense of humor.
She is eating “solid” foods, creeping all over the house, pulling up
and standing by the furniture, and making sounds that sound a lot like
“mama” and “dada.” She enjoys being around people and going all over
the place with her mom.

I know you probably want to hear more about Laurel, but I
really think there are some other things you need to know about. The
biggest news is that our church has called a new lead pastor to
replace the one that left about 16 months ago! After a long and
difficult process of searching through hundreds of candidates, our
search team found a man unique enough to fit the situation of
NorthStar Church. Gary Brown will arrive in North Idaho to preach his
first sermon on April 26th. Gary has served in various churches and
even started a church following the cell church model. Gary has also
served as the nation’s “abstinence pastor” speaking in schools and
churches and working in Washington to advocate for abstinence
education. Gary is excited to re-enter full-time service in the local
church. He fills a strong calling to lead the local church to work
for redemptive change in the community and also society in general.
Please pray for Gary and his wife Cindy as he makes final preparation
for the move from Atlanta to Coeur d’Alene.

Since Christmastime NorthStar attendance has seen slow and
steady growth. This past Sunday 71 people attended, and that was
without Tom and his family! Tom, as you probably know, is our worship
pastor. Normally Rich Nixon fills in to lead worship, but he and his
family were out as well. So with two important families out, not to
mention some really nasty weather, we didn’t expect to see a large
crowd. But God is faithful even when we doubt. Jana and I along with
two of the youth led in worship, and we had a wonderful time. Along
with our worship attendance, I should also mention that Jana helped
lead a Wednesday morning women’s Bible study that was attended by 12
ladies (Tom and I provided childcare!). The women of our church are
also planning a missions project where they will put on a spa party
for ladies in a homeless shelter. Jesus commanded us to wash one
another’s feet, our ladies decided to include manicures, haircuts, and
a chocolate fountain. Pretty amazing.

With all the good that is happening I want to remind you
that there have been some difficult times. A lady in our church who
came to Christ, along with her husband, just two years ago was
diagnosed with cancer. We ask you to join us in praying for a quick
and decisive victory over this disease for Josie. While you’re at it
please pray for another lady in our church who, because of a kidney
disease, has been on dialysis for several years now awaiting a kidney
donor. Also, our missionary (one of our own serving as a Journeyman
in South Asia) has been sick and had to undergo surgery. We’re told
she came through fine and is recovering well. Over the past year in
our church we’ve seen family members lost, jobs lost, relationships
damaged and all the normal things that life throws at us, but through
it all Christ has remained our joy and our strength. We ask God to
give us the wisdom, courage and Christ-like compassion to face these
difficulties in a way that brings glory to the Father.

Overall, we are very much excited about what God has in
store for NorthStar. Gary has not even arrived yet, but he has been
in constant contact with our leadership. His hope is that we can grow
and possibly go to two services in our present facility over the next
year. He also wants to begin work so that by the end of Summer of
2010 we will be meeting in our very own new building built on our
land. We can use all the prayers and support we can get for these
efforts. So if you would like to know how to be more involved with
the ministry and future of NorthStar, please email me at

As I wrap up this letter I want to say a huge “thank you”
to our families. Especially, Laurel’s grandparents. Technology has
allowed us to be more connected than we could have been otherwise. We
connect with live video on Skype pretty regularly. Still, we know
that our parents are missing out on so much that they would love to be
a part of. We know that this is a sacrifice that our parents didn’t
choose, but they have supported us in spite of that. Without that
sacrifice we could not be here doing what we know God has called us to

Keep loving,

Bennett, Jana and Laurel Sanderson


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