Martyschmidt’s Weblog

A Joyful Journey

Wake Up Call April 1, 2009

Filed under: Ottumwa — martyschmidt @ 10:56 am

What a start to April Fools – (happy bday Chris)

We got a call from our neighbors and we looked outside to see that someone had beat the snot out of our garbage can and trash was everywhere! I might get upset over something like this but the amount of diapers that stretched to the end of the block was hilarious.

Walking up and down the street at least 20 others were hit. Kudo’s to our trash man who picked up as much of it as he could without killing his day.


Work Day Tomorrow February 27, 2009

Filed under: Ottumwa — martyschmidt @ 12:12 pm


We have a five different work projects lined up!

  • We have two painting projects
  • One construction project
  • One demolition project
  • Helping a family move

If you would like to be a part of these opportunities meet at OCOM (325 E. Main St) at 8:00am. We will work until Noon.


Helping Others – Hurting Me December 19, 2008

Filed under: Ottumwa — martyschmidt @ 4:43 pm

Advent Conspiracy has been a great series. I was so excited about it. I mean what a great concept of how can we pull back on spending less on ourselves and give more away to those who need it. I mean there is more to it but that angle alone is something I get jacked up about. I’ve already heard a couple stories of how people are engaging with this whole process. One guy tossed up a prayer asking God to reveal to him who he was suppose to bless and the next day the answer showed up at work.

Yet in all of this I wasn’t expecting something. I wasn’t expecting to be completely gutted by being generous. It wasn’t even a week ago that we went out and payed for people’s laundry and groceries. Shortly after that experience I was contacted by someone who asked if I could track down some families in need and take them Christmas shopping. Always up for giving away other people’s money (and learning how to do it with our own has been fun as well) I agreed and made some contacts that led me to a list of 10 families. I’m about to leave on adventure number 3 in a couple hours and I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.

On one angle I am over joyed that I have the opportunity to go and help others. There are no strings attached to this gift and I don’t even mention that I’m a pastor unless they ask what I do. All I want to do is show them God’s love and that is what I share. I’ve heard people cry over the phone in disbelief and I’ve had a women cry on her way to her car with her arms full of Christmas presents.

But there is the other angle. As we walk we talk. I ask them questions and I hear their stories. More than that I hear the stories of their kids. Now please don’t read into this that I’m criticizing the parents or more often parent. I’m just stating that as I hear the story of what the child’s environment is like I am humbled. That isn’t even the right word. I get pissed, I get mad, I get sad, and I get lost in conversation with God about why it is the way it is.

All of my ideas for Advent Conspiracy were far off in a distant land. They were out of my face. They were a website. They had no name and they had no face. They didn’t live just down the road from me. They didn’t just get laid off. They didn’t have a story about not having a mom, not having a dad, or not having a chance.

This isn’t what I signed up for and at the same time this is exactly what I signed up for.


Winter HARSH & BEAUTIFUL December 6, 2008

Filed under: Family,Ottumwa — martyschmidt @ 12:28 pm

Winter is often referenced with harsh and bitter. Those seem to be the realities that have crossed my path in the past 24 hours.

I repeatidly had to tell two women to quick going by each other because all they would do is yell at each other and start crying. Usually neither one was talking about the same situation.

I helped find a place for a woman to spend the night because it was unsafe for her to stay where she was.

I gave away two coats.

I saw children eating at the soup kitchen.

I saw a women who had some disabilites walk out of the dollar general. She dropped her bag and it carried it into the street. I tried to stop a truck that was about to drive over it but he just thought I was waving and he crushed the package. I got out of the van only to find the women’s glasses were in the bag.

I saw a mom walking with her baby in sub 30 degree tempetures. No blanket and no hat on the baby.


Winter also has a beauty to it. The white blanket and pure fall of snow. This also has been a part of my reality in the past 24 hours.

It has been a huge joy listening to Toby request me to read the Bible so we can open the Advent Calendar. Sure there is a bit of a selfish motive in it but he knows that we are reading about Jesus.

My princess just keeps repeating, “DADDY!” As she walks around the house.

My bride and I have been teaming up on some projects and there is no greater then working with your best friend.

I have been able to read a lot this week and a known reality has recently been refreshed in my life. I AM LOVED


Why I Believe The Bridge Is Growing November 7, 2008

Filed under: Ottumwa,thebridge — martyschmidt @ 9:19 pm

It has been humbling to observe the rapid growth God has blessed us with the past few months. I don’t think there is any one reason as to why this growth has been true for us nor do I believe there was an outright strategy that was attempted that brought this result. Just the same I do believe it is important to try and identify what some of the factors may be. Below are my top five reasons in no particular order.

1. Launch in Year 1 Went Well – I believe we launched healthfully. We prayed a lot, communicated as best we could, and followed through on our initial strategy. This allowed us to grow in depth and now we are seeing a season of growth in width, hopefully without compromising any depth.

2. Ripe Town – Jenny came up with this wording and I think it fits perfect. We could have tried to plant a church in a number of locations but God was very clear about Ottumwa. I think that is because He knew this town was longing for something new that offered hope. I’m not saying there weren’t churches here offering hope – but the newness of our voice seemed to be more easily heard. If we would have tried this plant say in Pella or DSM we wouldn’t have seen the warm welcome that we have encountered here in Ottumwa.

3. Other Pastors Leaving – Nothing opens up the door for visitors like your own pastor leaving. This is a sad but true reality in Ottumwa. Since moving to Ottumwa I have counted 18 churches losing a pastor or looking for a pastor. That is an astronomical amount of pastors leaving a single area in a 1.5 year time frame.

4. Good Experience – I would like to say that the dynamic preaching and applicable messages are causing people to flock back in a hurry but when I ever silicate info on what people enjoyed it usually has to do with a warm welcome, coffee, or they can dress how ever they want. Those three things have led to people leaving feeling as if they just had a good experience and they are more apt to come back because of it.

5. Word of Mouth – We have done mass mailings and they have definitely brought people in the doors but it is the word of mouth invites that have solicited the most fruit. People inviting people continues to be our biggest reason for people to visit thebridge and I hope that never changes.

You can see that none of the above things above are flashy or are really dublicatable (maybe the coffee) but they are what I have observed. Above all of those continues to be God’s favor. For some reason He has chosen to bless a guy like me who just can’t get enough of Him. It is my prayer that he stops growing us when we stop serving Him with our all.


New Roles In Ottumwa August 19, 2008

Filed under: Leadership,Ottumwa — martyschmidt @ 8:58 am

One of the things that I believe is important in my role with thebridge is to be active in the community. One of the ways this has happened was by becoming a board member at the Outreach Center. In the past few months it has become clear that my role on the board needs to transition. We have recently hired a part time staff person who will help streamline many of the duties that have fallen on Kate and I. In addition we are hoping to add another board member. These two moves will allow me to transition into more of a visionary role.

Yesterday I was asked to represent the Ottumwa Clergy on the Emergency Food and Shelter Program for Ottumwa. I believe God has some huge things in store for this group and that I am being led to be in a key position for a specific time.

I also have recently been asked to become a member of the Community Advisory for School Improvement and Eductional Equity. I’m so excited about this opportunity!

I’ve only been here a year and I am continually humbled at all of the opportunities the Lord brings to my door. In no way am I trying to trumpet my own horn by mentioning all of the above. Rather I’m asking for your prayers and advice. I would especially like to hear from those of you who have served in similar roles.


What one can of gas equals July 21, 2008

Filed under: Ottumwa — martyschmidt @ 9:36 am

Last Friday I had coffee with a friend I had met while in or Orlando. He’s from Chicago and was passing through on his way to Kansas and thought he would check out what we were doing here at thebridge. It was a great time of encouraging one another and as we parted ways we both shared how we were excited for the next time our paths would cross. Little did we know that would be in 30 minutes.

Bruce calls me up shortly after he had left to inform me that a woman had run out of gas about 10 miles outside of Ottumwa. He wanted to know how he could help. I told him I would be there in a few minutes with a gas can.

I have to admit that upon arriving I wasn’t all that excited about the change in plans. The woman kept complaining about her gas guzzler while two little guys tried to keep themselves entertained in the car. After gassing the car up and giving the two boys a fist pound I went home and didn’t think much of it.

Fast forward to Sunday morning and who should walk in but the lady, her grand-kids, and their dad. Thanks Bruce for the phone call. It was totally worth it. One gas can = 4 visitors.

side note – after the service this woman came up and showed me that her Bible has Acts 10:30 as four days and the Bibles we were using had three days. I went home and all of the other Bibles I own also have four days. Anyone else ever have that happen?