Sent from Idaho Falls

Charles Barnes writes today about those who are being sent out from Idaho Falls:

1.      Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson is a high school student at Watersprings School and a member of the worship team of Eagle Rock Vineyard.  Over Spring Break, Joe is going to Guatemala on a mission trip, associated with Potter’s Field Ministries, which has a permanent outreach ministry near Antiqua.  Joe and his classmates will be involved in construction projects, helping prepare the facility for Holy Week (which is celebrated for 3 weeks), helping teach English in some classrooms, and using his music skills in ministering to children.  Joe hopes to raise a total of $800 by March 8 (he leaves a week later); you can learn more, see his progress and contribute at https://www.gofundme.com/7fseu5a4.

2.      Mitch and Amanda Chaplin

Mitch Chaplin was the only Christian in his family until a few months ago.  God brought together Mitch from Nova Scotia, and Amanda, from Idaho Falls via Boise and then Alaska, joined them in marriage in Michigan, and after a number of years of training and preparation, is now sending them to disciple and encourage a new generation to become missionaries to unreached peoples.  Mitch and Amanda have hearts to serve and enthusiasm to take the gospel where it hasn’t gone.

While Mitch’s family was marginally involved with the United Church of Canada, Mitch did not hear a clear presentation of the gospel until the summer after 7th grade.  A group from North Carolina had come north to Nova Scotia to do a summer Vacation Bible School. Much older than the kids that came to the VBS, Mitch hung out with the staff and from them heard the gospel and responded.

In high school he became friends with Christians who went to different churches, and this group would make the rounds of going to several church youth groups each week.  A leader of one of the youth groups joined New Tribes Mission and was headed to Brazil, and he encouraged Mitch to go to a NTM Bible School after graduating from high school, and even took him to visit the school.

Amanda spent the early years of her life in Idaho Falls, and most of her relatives are LDS.  Some are still very committed Mormons, others marginal.  When Amanda was very young, a man her dad worked with invited her parents to go to a concert in Idaho Falls.  The concert turned out to be a revival meeting, and they both responded to the invitation to be saved.  Amanda’s family moved to the Boise area when she was 6 years old and she came to saving faith in Jesus while living in the Boise area at the age of 11.  The family then moved to Alaska as she entered High School.  It was there that she got plugged into a strong youth group, was mentored and discipled and where her heart for missions grew.  As she heard missionaries share in her youth group, she knew that was what she wanted to do.  After high school she attended Ecola Bible School in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  One of the teachers there was a New Tribes missionary who shared about their 2 year Bible School (NTBI) and their Missionary Training Center.

Mitch and Amanda met at the New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, Michigan.  New Tribes has a two year Bible Study program; following graduation Mitch and Amanda took time to work to pay off school debts and be involved in youth ministries.  For a year and a half, they lived in Idaho Falls and were involved with Christ Community Church, helping with the youth program there.  They also came back to Idaho Falls during the summers to help with mission trips of the Christ Community youth group.

During this period Mitch and Amanda desired to continue their training with New Tribes Mission, the next phase of which involved an 18-month program with courses in cross-cultural communication, church planting, and linguistics, and a 6 week “jungle camp” aimed at learning basic living skills needed in undeveloped areas of the world.  These years prior to returning to school were a time God was teaching them to live by faith.  Amanda had three miscarriages.  And for a while they had doubts about their calling to missions, as people in their church in Canada, where they had been involved for many years, were hinting that the church may not give them any support.  But support did come through to enable them to enroll in NTM’s Training Center in Ontario.  During their time in Ontario, Amanda gave birth to a healthy daughter, Amy Grace, on May 2, 2014, just 4 short weeks before their Jungle Camp practicum began.

Mitch and Amanda completed the NTM Training program and jungle camp, spent some more time working to finish paying off school debts as well as beginning to raise their financial and prayer support team.  They arrived in Idaho Falls early last month to continue to raise their support for working full time with New Tribes Mission.  For their first 4-year term, they plan to return to the NTM Bible Institute in Michigan.  While helping to run the cafeteria, they will be involved in discipling students and seeking to influence them to pursue further missionary training.  This will also give Mitch time to gain US citizenship, so that then when they later go overseas it will be much easier making trips to both the US and Canada.

Mitch and Amanda expect to be in Idaho Falls until May and would love to share with you more about their lives and their calling.  You can contact them at mitch_chaplin@ntm.org or learn more at http://mitchandamanda.com/.

And yes, Mitch says that he IS related to Charlie Chaplin!

Prayer in Idaho Falls

Charles Barnes shares this week with us in Idaho Falls:


  1. For Jesus, our Peace; for His peace that surpasses all comprehension.
  2. For Jesus, the Light of the world, bringing hope and salvation and new life.
  3. For Jesus, King of kings, seated on a throne far above every rule and authority and power and dominion.
  4. For Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

Prayer Requests (adapted from The Power to Save, see below)

  1. For Idaho Falls to experience a revival in which we experience God’s power and presence.
  2. For Idaho Falls to experience a revival that is pure in both doctrine and practice.
  3. For wounds in the body of Christ to heal and bonds to grow strong.
  4. For a revival that will bring new life to Idaho Falls spiritually, morally and socially.
  5. That out of the revival would come a host of missionaries to the rest of the world.

The Power to Save

Bob Davey writes in the preface of The Power to Save A History of the Gospel in China (EP Books, 2011), “This book tells the story, which is still unfolding, of the mighty acts of God in China – a story that needs to be told. It has become clear since the 1970s that God has done something special in China. The spiritual awakening and turning to Christ compare in magnitude to anything in the whole history of the church. … The gospel went to China and took root there because of the profound love and dedication of many Christians from all parts of the world. Their fundamental motivation was the power of the love of Christ that constrained them. Their goal was not political but spiritual – the salvation of souls and the planting of an indigenous, self-supporting church able to propagate itself by the power of the biblical gospel. That this has been achieved against all the powers of hell and in spite of much human weakness should be a matter of real encouragement to believers the world over….”

The story of the acts of God in Idaho Falls needs to be told as well. Though the population of Bonneville County is only 1/13,000th that of China, the people who live here are loved by God, and Christ’s church is His instrument through which His love is conveyed.

The first name of this place we now call Idaho Falls – Flathead Crossing – encapsulates the story of the hunger of a native American people for the gospel and for the “white-man’s book” which contained it. The first “missionary” who settled in Idaho Falls had intentions of going to China, but God sent her here and used her to establish the first church, the first school and the first library. One of the early churches in Idaho Falls, began in 1916 when the population of the town was only about 6,500, was formed by 107 charter members who were mostly won to Christ in two short evangelistic campaigns. The Lord has brought to us and raised up from among us many dedicated servants to build His church Idaho Falls. Many churches in town have had annual growth rates of 20-40% during their early years. At least three Idaho Falls churches have started other churches in the city and a few have planted churches in surrounding communities. God has raised up ministries that feed the poor, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, elderly and prisoners, preach the gospel, make disciples and seek to heal and deliver the oppressed in His name. His power has saved and transformed lives. The Lord has also sent out many from Idaho Falls to be His witnesses in many places of the world, including China.

But yet…

In our research we have yet to find anything comparable to current people movements to Christ among Muslim people groups , or the revival in China, or the revival that started a century ago in Korea, or anything that compares to early revivals in America. We haven’t found evidence of transformation of our society similar to what happened in the First or Second Great Awakenings in America or in various cities around the world more recently where the church has sought God in unity and desperation.

While many churches in town have seen periods of high growth, the net growth rate of the Christian churches combined has barely kept up with population growth.

While a few churches in town have successfully planted another church, more have been the result of church splits or divisions. No church plant that we know of has repeated the process, and the last church we’re aware of that was intentionally planted by another in town occurred in the 1960’s.

Has our faith in what God can do in Idaho Falls been tempered more by what we have experienced rather than what He promises? In the conclusion of his book, Bob Davey has five prayers related to continuation of the revival in China. I’ve modified these above as prayer requests for Idaho Falls.