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New Song: “December”

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Here is our newest “song-in-progress”:

“December”

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

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We’re thankful for God’s gracious love as we celebrate the birth of the Savior!
Merry Christmas from our family to you! 2014 christmas card

The Kevin PicStitch

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We told you it was coming, and here it is.

Some of the many pictures that we took of our buddy Kevin the Minion.

MINION 12X18-2 copy

 

It all began a year ago

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table topExactly one year ago we were carefully placing stacks of CDs, t-shirts and DVDs on a black clothed table. Our hearts were excited and nervous and ready. We were releasing our music to the world for the first time.

We had played in churches and various events for the past decade, but nothing would compare to this event. We were putting our artistic hearts out on display. That’s an incredibly vulnerable thing to do. We hoped people would appreciate our music. We hoped people would like our music, but most importantly we hoped people would be encouraged and love God more as a result of listening to our music.

What would our CD Release Party look like? Well, it definitely didn’t go as planned. Just days before the event, Kerry began to struggle with laryngitis. The take-the-entire-voice kind of laryngitis. She had nothing to offer vocally just days before the concert. We also had a massive ice storm fly through town which caused us to reschedule our concert to a busy night of the next week, which brought the question, “Would anyone even come?”

Well, people came. And we all sang. And most of us cried a little, and we all rejoiced a LOT. The people that came were our dear friends and our church family. Our beloved family! The joy that we got to share with one another was overwhelming. It is a shining moment in our lives of feeling thoroughly loved and totally supported by everyone around us. Joy. Gratefulness.

release

Big thanks to www.stevemorrowphotography.com for the images!

We wish we could tell you all of the things the Lord has allowed us to experience as a result of this album. There are really too many things to share.

Like the time the Lord powerfully ministered to a woman’s heart as she sat across the hospital room from her sick mom. Or the time a man heard the song “He Bled” right after the Lord had shown him who Jesus was and just affirmed the Lord’s call on his life to follow Him. Or the time we stood in front of incredible servants in a country far from home and experienced the unity of the Body as we sang together.

We are thankful.

Thank you for your amazing encouragement the past year!

This time last year we were parents to a newborn baby, getting zero sleep, mailing hundreds of “thank you” cards and gifts to people for their financial support, living in what seemed like the busiest year of our lives. We were being obedient. God said, “Go.” And we went. God said, “Do it.” And we did. And we did it with hundreds of you behind us praying and saying, “Obey the Lord! Trust Him! We’re with you!” 

God said, “Go.” And we went. God said, “Do it.” And we did. And we did it with hundreds of you behind us praying and saying, “Obey the Lord! Trust Him! We’re with you!” 

Thank you for running along beside us and cheering us on! It may have been one of the busiest years of our lives, but it has also been one of the most rewarding. The Lord has been faithful. He’s been gracious. He’s given us strength and joy. He has grown our trust and our faith in Him.

The Lord is good and trustworthy, and He doesn’t change. We can certainly step out in faith and follow a God like that.

We love y’all and we praise the Lord for you!
K&K

P.S. To celebrate our album’s birthday, we’re having a GIVEAWAY on our Facebook page! Go check it out and leave us a comment!

Join us and Lottie Moon

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Our goal in life is to bring glory to God and to make Him known.

Not just with our music but with our lives. We have prayed multiple times, “Lord, where do you want us?” or “Lord, show us how you want us to spread your name.” He gave us music, and He called us to West Texas to share the Gospel and to encourage the Body of believers. He has also connected our hearts with people who are taking the Gospel to different parts of the world. Our little family prayerfully and financially supports multiple missionary families and missions organizations, and we take every opportunity we can to go and support them where they are.

Recently we had the opportunity to get to know even more families serving the Lord in the mission field. We will never forget hearing these amazing servants singing with all they have “By faith we will live today!” with us!

They are remarkable people living in incredible locations. They have given up everything for the sake of the Gospel. Some of them live in mountainous regions among villagers who have never had an outsider live among them and have certainly never heard of the One True God; some of them live in ginormous cities with difficult religious and cultural traditions to work through; some live in a city and travel hours to remote locations to build relationships and tell the natives about Jesus. Undergoing the immense physical, mental and spiritual challenges that they face on a daily basis makes them some of the hardest working people we know.  Most of them are not burdened, but challenged and trusting of the Lord. They are inspiring.

Every year we have an opportunity to come together to shower them with love and support.

lottie moon3Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

100% of this offering goes straight to the missionaries.

Over and over again, the missionaries that we have known in the past and currently have emphasized the gift that the Lottie Moon Christmas offering is to them. It is a huge blessing for them and their work!

This year we, Kert and Kerry, will be giving 50% of all of our CD and download sales to Lottie Moon.

Please join us!

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP

You can support our international missionaries by donating through the IMB; or you can help by ordering one of our CDs or by downloading our album off of iTunes or Amazon. We will run our Lottie Moon giving until the end of the year!

Thank you for your generous support!!!

We love y’all!

 

What’s the Story about Kevin?

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Meet KevinThis is Kevin.

He’s been showing up on our Instagram lately. He has several loyal followers, and we are regularly asked, “How’s Kevin doing?”

We have also been asked, “What’s the story behind Kevin?”

To satisfy the curious, here is the story of Kevin and also a look into our unique family.

 

It all started when we were driving home from church. Some friends of ours drive home the same direction as we do. As I, Kerry, was transporting our family home, a glistening white Toyota Four Runner sped up behind me and then proceeded to pull in the lane beside our moving car. I looked over and recognized the smiling faces. Simultaneously, our three girls started squealing, “They have a giant minion in the back of their car!” I glanced over and sure enough, a ginormous minion was sitting in the back seat with the window rolled down and peering out the window. We laughed all the way home.

Several hours later we had just finished dinner and Kert walked by our front door to head upstairs. He noticed a smiling yellow face looking through the window and an awkwardly crouched man hiding behind the yellow face. It was our friend Dustin. He was hoping to drop the Minion and run, but Kert looked out the window at the perfect time to catch him. Because Dustin was caught, we invited him and his wife Ashten in to visit and tell us about the minion.

Dustin and Ashten had attended the West Texas Fair and he won the minion in one of the fair’s games. They didn’t know what they were going to do with a giant minion so they decided to bless our family with it. Ha!

Our kids were thrilled to have a giant “buddy” join the family.

IMG_9335

See how happy they are! The girls immediately dressed him up!

Well, after minion became part of our family, we decided he needed a name.

We googled Despicable Me minion names and came across a website. Because we have a dear friend named Kevin that our children absolutely adore, they decided Kevin would be a good name for our new friend. Sorry, Kevin!

This has turned into interesting and sometimes awkward or confusing situations. (We should have thought this name-thing through a little better!) For example when specifically church families ask,

Them: “How’s Kevin?”
Us: (awkward pause) “I think he’s doing well. He’s right over there.” (pointing to our human friend Kevin). “Oh, you mean our minion! He’s great! He’s lovin’ life.”

Them: “Did Kevin explode?”
Our friend Kevin was actually standing not too far when someone asked this and he decided to respond to that question. Ha!

Them: “Is Kevin going on your getaway with you and Kert?”
Us: (trying not to appear too confused)”Umm, no, Kevin is not going with us on our trip…Oooooh, you mean the minion!”

You can see our dilemma. 🙂

Anyway, to make Ashten and Dustin smile, our family decided to take a picture of Kevin doing something every day, and then we would text it to them.  We sent them a picture every day for about a month! Our entire family got into it and had a blast creating scenes and outfits for the pictures.

Word spread through our friends and family that we were taking pictures of Kevin the minion every day. More and more people wanted to know what Kevin was up to. We had no idea Kevin would become such a popular guy…er…minion.

So now, he has his own hashtag (#kevintheminion) and we’ve been sharing some of the pictures.

Soon we will put together the ultimate picstitch of Kevin pictures. 🙂

Now you know the Kevin the Minion story, and now you know how we, at the Prater house, have been entertaining ourselves for the past month!

Through Every Day and All the Way

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shadrachmeschachabendego
Daniel 3:26-27 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.

During our evening devotional, our family is currently reading through the book of Daniel. The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is always an amazing and encouraging account. We love their courage; we love their trust in the Lord no matter what; we love that it’s a rescue story, and we see the “Son of the gods” in the fire with them. Our entire family is gripped by the excitement and drama of this narrative.

At lunch yesterday Rylee, our five-year-old, was excitedly retelling the story to our family. After she finished, Kerry asked the question, “What does this story tell us about God?”

We all considered her question. Well, everyone except Maddy, who was more interested in shoving her index finger into the middle of her peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

There are several observations that can be made about God in this passage, but the one that stood out to us this time in particular is from Daniel 3:27:

“… the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.”

We talked about how God’s protection for them was utterly perfect. Not even the smell of fire was on Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.

Our family enjoys going camping. We asked our kids what happens when we sit around the campfire. They immediately made sour faces and said, “We stink. We smell like smoke.”

Taylor, our seven-year-old said, “It’s like God put a big bubble around them.” For Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, His protection was completely thorough.

It led us to a discussion about how the Lord took care of the Israelites in the wilderness.

Deuteronomy 29:5 I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot.

God’s ability to protect and watch over is absolute! Does He choose to do that every time? No, but we are finding great comfort in knowing that God is able to completely shield and totally defend. Not even natural processes like 40 years’ worth of wear and tear on shoes or the natural effect of smelling like smoke in/near a fire can hinder God’s ability to physically care for those He chooses. No one is bigger; no one is stronger, and no one can overtake Him. When the Lord doesn’t rescue, we are also finding great comfort in knowing that the Lord is still there and present, guarding us and guiding us.

We have had so many opportunities to watch the Lord do this very thing, and we are praying and anticipating God to do this even more.

Here’s where we are right now:
1. Kert experienced carbon monoxide poisoning while working on a construction project. The Lord shut down a piece of equipment. Literally, He made it stop working so that Kert had no choice but to stop what he was doing and fall out of the room to safety. After an emergency room visit and a tank of oxygen, Kert is fine.

2. Kert, on yet another construction project, stepped backwards off of our roof. We can only envision the angelic being holding the collar of his shirt and pulling him back to safety.

dirt devil 2bw

Also on our list: We recently had to replace a broken front door, a broken kitchen faucet, a broken toilet. Our couch is falling to pieces. We have an underground leak in our water system outside.  Our glass greenhouse was abused by some giant hail. As a result, we are choosing to convert it into a workshop. Recently our decade-old vacuum cleaner has stopped working. Last night a huge tree branch fell on our house. This morning our dishwasher started making an awful noise and is now not working. And those are just the physical needs!

Interestingly enough, we find ourselves chuckling and saying, “Really? Another thing? Okay, Lord, we trust you. You’re the only one who can take care of these things.”

We find ourselves singing a hymn that our deceased, 97-year-old neighbor taught us a few years ago called “God Will Take Care of You”:

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

Refrain:
God will take care of you,
Through every day, o’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Our list of opportunities to trust the Lord will always be there. It will change. Things will be removed and things will be added. Some will be simple, tangible needs, others will be complex, life-altering issues and others will be urgent emergencies. Regardless of how much our list varies, the Lord is totally able to sustain us through it all and can meet any and all of our needs in a moment if He decides that is best. He can even defy natural processes and normal methods to do that!

Also, God doesn’t waste anything. He is going to use these opportunities to increase our dependence on Him and our trust in Him.

George Muller, an evangelist in the 1800s is also an encouragement! He says, “God’s plan is there shall be none of self and all of Christ. The very people who are doing the most for God in saving souls, in mission work, in the care of orphans, are those who are working on short supplies of strength, of money, of talents, of advantages, and are kept in a position of living by faith and taking from God, day by day both physical and spiritual supplies. This is the way God succeeds and gains conquests over His own people, and over the unbelief of those who look on His providences.”

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

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Oh and this happened too. Our three-year-old took scissors to her long, golden hair. Thankfully it could be fixed. It’s always a fun time around the Prater house!

maddy cut hair copy

An Opportunity

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IMG_5246A note from Kerry:

If you haven’t met Kert, you may not know that he is possibly the most optimistic person on the planet. Really. He is. Sometimes unintentionally, aggravatingly positive.

I think God created him with a natural bent towards a “cup half full,” but his faith in God takes it to an entirely higher level. He believes the Lord is good in all things. He trusts the Lord. Kert’s faith in the Lord is massive.

Today, like many days, I am encouraged by his positive outlook.

The Lord has allowed Kert to put his Texas A&M Construction Science degree to good work at our church, especially recently. He is in charge of a large building project at our church. So not only is he the worship pastor of SSBC; he is also the facilities dude. As many of you have experienced, things often go wrong or take longer or don’t go as planned when it comes to construction projects. Today has been a special day where he’s had to deal with some of those construction issues.

When Kert arrived home for lunch today, I asked him, “Well, how’s your day going?”

His response, “The Lord is giving me lots of opportunities to trust Him.”

I chuckled. Most people would call those opportunities to trust the Lord “struggles” or “issues” or “problems” or “difficulties.” Not Kert Prater. These are opportunities of trust!

After Kert left the house to return to work, I have been replaying that sentence in my mind.

“The Lord is giving me lots of opportunities to trust Him today.”

What opportunities do I have right now?

I’ve got stress with various circumstances in my life right now, work-related stress and disobedient children.

Am I using my “opportunities” to build trust in Him? How can I trust Him with the difficulties occurring in my life today?

For Kert, he said he was needing to remind himself to be thankful and to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” to pray to the Lord.

What about you?

What difficulties are in front of you right now?

How about we flip those difficulties and turn them into opportunities?

How about we choose to pray to the Lord and ask Him to take those problems and to use them as opportunities for us to see Him more clearly, to see Him more powerfully and even more sovereignly?

Let’s use the problems of today as opportunities for trusting the Lord.

Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

The Lord is the Rock.
He is eternal.

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

He’s never let us down.

Behind the Songs: In God

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Doubt and fear coming too close and near
Tripping up my steps of faith
Satan prowls like a roaring lion
seeking someone to devour
I will put my trust in God
There is rest for the weary
There is peace for the worried
There is hope for tomorrow
Joy in the sorrow
In God
Fire and trial come to assess my faith
Fully proving where it lies
Just as gold drenched by the blazing flames
So I will be purified
But my joy remains the same
I will lift my voice to You my God
The One who gives me strength

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 1:3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

 

We sat down and wrote this song a week after our daughter Rylee was born.  We were overwhelmed by God’s provision in our lives through childbirth, health, meals from our church family, etc.

A few days leading up to our baby girl Rylee’s birth, Kerry and our oldest daughter Taylor became sick.  We were pretty concerned that this may impact the labor and delivery that we had scheduled.  We knew that God was in control. If He wanted to to rearrange our plans, He would. If He wanted to take our baby girl, He would. Ultimately she was His!  We had peace, hope, and joy through this test of faith.  It was an opportunity for us to rest in God and watch Him move. God began a melody in Kert’s heart and then gave us both words to go with the musical melody.  Our joy, hope and strength is found in Christ.

This song has undergone various changes. One of those changes included the title. We originally did not have a title for it so we temporarily labeled it “Hope, Joy, Life.” After reshaping the chorus, we decided “In God” was a better fit.

This song is meant to encourage our brothers and sisters in their faith as we encounter difficulties, struggles and the World’s brokenness.

Behind the Songs: Victory Has Come

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bookletcoverWe’re standing united,
together as one
Resisting all evil
Firm in our faith
The enemy’s defeated
The battle is won
Gratefully praising King Jesus God’s Son

No greater battle has ever been won
No greater victory has ever been won

Victory has come!
Death, o death, where now is your sting?
Victory has come!
Slaves to sin now have been set free
Victory has, Victory has come!
Praise You Lord for sending Your Son!


1 Peter 5:8-9
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

 

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

 

Hebrews 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

 

1 Corinthians 15:55-58 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

 

Many of our songs have come about as our senior pastor Kevin Ueckert and Kert work together in planning various sermon series. “Victory Has Come” is one of the first songs the Lord gave to us as a result of their planning sessions. Our church was walking through 1 Peter together, and the Lord gave us this song as our battle cry during that time period.

This song addresses the truth that satan has been defeated, death is not to be feared, and Jesus Christ is our Victor!  What Christ’s death and resurrection has accomplished is unspeakable.  No other victory in ALL OF HISTORY is greater! We can confidently claim victory because of the work of Christ, according to God’s sovereign plan accomplished on the Cross. Hallelujah!

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