Maximus Gabriel Cromley arrived on December 29! That’s a pretty big name for such a little guy. But knowing his mom and dad, we are sure he will be able to fill those big shoes.
When we got rid of our home and began living “on the road” fulltime in 1997, Amanda was only 12. She gave up her room, her friends, her school, her pets, lived out of a suitcase, spent nearly every night in meetings praying for people, seeing the power of true grace transform 1000s of lives…and loving every minute of it!
She was 15 when she had to have a very major surgery, with doctors inserting two 21-inch titanium rods in her back. At 16, she won a nation-wide acting competition and began working in Hollywood. At 20, she was diagnosed with a very rare genetic disease causing the nerves in her spine to begin dying, resulting in extreme pain, with little treatment or cure. She spent the next 5 years bed-ridden and became a regular visitor and a familiar face at the hospital.
And then the Lord healed her. Amanda and Aaron Cromley married in 2009. They have Alli, 4, and Wesley, 2, both births considered very unlikely because of her past health problems.
And now comes Maximus Gabriel, a little gladiator, born at home, with no pain medication, and Amanda actually “delivering/catching” him herself. Wow! She’s a lot tougher than her dad! And the miracle continues!
These last few months we have been accomplishing a great deal of work remotely and have seen some amazing fruit from those efforts. But for the first time since March, Mark and Linda are on the road again! They are currently Alaska-bound and will be teaching there for the next 6 weeks. Then back to St. Louis just in time to welcome grandbaby number 10!
Psalm 51 was probably written after David’s sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. Under the Old Covenant, this was the right attitude and prayer. But NOT in the New Covenant. What David desperately longed for, God has already done for us in Christ. But if we don’t believe the miracle Christ started within us we will never experience the benefits.
If we pray what David prayed, we are asking God to do things He has already done in Christ. Our prayers will actually keep us from realizing the truth, believing it, and enjoying life in the New Covenant. (Continue reading...)
It’s not everyday my Dad turns 70. So to mark the momentous occasion I am sharing one of my all-time favorite “Tales From The Road” stories from our days of full-time travel in ministry. Happy birthday, Dad!
It has become a Drake tradition to give our adult children the chance to enjoy Christmas Day with their own families and then celebrate together in January. We had a wonderfully meaningful, fun, emotional, silly time together and loved being at our grandson Derrick’s house for all the festivities. And we deeply miss our oldest granddaughter, Kendra, as she has a celebration like no other in Heaven.
Celebrating Lives Transformed with Mercy Multiplied
We recently had the honor of attending a benefit to support Mercy Multiplied, an organization dear to our hearts. 26 years ago as an 11 year old child, our youngest daughter, Amanda, heard Nancy Alcorn talk about Mercy at a Point of Grace concert. She was so moved she became a monthly partner at $5 a month and kept the brochure under her pillow to remind her to pray for the young ladies in the program. She and Nancy eventually began a friendship that has now led to us traveling to the different Mercy homes across the US to teach the girls and staff about true, transforming grace.
Mark is in Vietnam Right Now!
Mark with Gabriel Webb (Response Church, AK) & Jim Harris (Relevant Expeditions) in Vietnam
Boxes of Rock Solid in Vietnamese ship out
We Didn't Have a Plan...But He Certainly Did!
We don’t recommend it for everyone, but for the past 22 years we’ve rarely had a plan for where we were going to go and what we were going to do. We simply go toward the doors that appear to open and see if the Lord provides the finances to walk through. This adventure started last summer with an email from our dear friend, Jim Harris, of Relevant Expeditions. Jim wrote us-
“I am going to Vietnam in September-October 2018 to do pastors training. I sent them your files for Rock Solid in Vietnamese to see if they wanted to use it for discipleship. They loved it! Then they asked if they had your permission to send it to everyone they know in Vietnam via internet. The man who asked was imprisoned for his faith for 4 years, beaten, starved and tortured. He is very well-known throughout the country and is very trustworthy.”
Two weeks later we received this email-"Several main leaders read Rock Solid and they all said it is so good! We truly need this in Vietnam, but we need your help. We humbly ask your help printing long-lasting books for leaders and many books for church members. We also ask if you would consider coming to teach us the truths in your wonderful workbook. Thank you so much for your work together with us for the kingdom of God. Thank you so much for helping Vietnamese Christians. Your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
There was clearly a need and a great door seemed to be opening. But we didn’t have the $10,000.00 needed to print 4000 copies of Rock Solid, take a 3-man team to teach and spend enough time in Vietnam to equip the leaders. So, we sent out our November newsletter and shared the opportunity with you…and waited in rest. And many of you were quick to generously respond! Here is what YOU accomplished by your giving...
-2000 wire bound copies of Rock Solid already distributed throughout the south of Vietnam! -Another 2000 copies being printed right now for the Mekong Delta and northern Vietnam! -All day Training Sessions for leaders from June 4-12, taught by a team of myself, Jim Harris, and Gabriel Webb, a great young pastor/teacher from Alaska. And YOU make this happen!
Text-to-Give: We have a brand new, safe, secure, and very easy way to give. Simply send a text to 417-323-6317, enter “Give $100.00” (or any amount you want to give) and follow the simple prompts they give you. That’s it. You can make it a recurring monthly amount or a one-time gift.
An Update From The Drake Family
Looking Back on 2018...Leaving a Legacy for the Future
Leaving a Legacy...
“Investing In The Next Generation So They Can Build On What We Leave Them; Doing More, Reaching More, and Going Further Than We Did.”
Your generous giving enables us to keep investing the legacy of our lives, what we have learned from both our failures and successes, into leaders around the world. Into young leaders in many nations. And all the generations that will follow them.
As you enable us to travel the world, investing in others, we never lose sight of our most important responsibility- our family. Our legacy, first and foremost, is to leave behind a model of what it means to love each other and love the Lord, through personal failure and success.
It is our great honor and joy to be a support for our 3 children, their spouses, and 9 grandchildren, as they navigate the highs and lows, the joys and pains of life in a fallen world. Always growing in the knowledge of God’s unfailing love and His eternal Kingdom.
From left to right: Mark, Richy, Lori, Kendra (pictured), Derrick & Katelyn Seth, Ella, Stacey, Aaron, Anna & Noah Aaron, Alli, Amanda, Wesley
A Year of Devastating Heartbreak & Unspeakable Joy
February 10, 2018, brought great pain to our family when Lori and Richy’s daughter, Kendra, 27, unexpectedly went to be with the Lord. As the year has gone by, we have comforted each other with the sure knowledge that she is far better off in His Presence and we will see her again!
December 26, 2018, brought real joy and celebration to our family when Wesley Drake Cromely was born to Amanda and Aaron.
.Thank you for believing in us, our message, and our labor. Thank you for believing in our shared legacy in the leaders we serve. We deeply thank you for your generous giving.You make it all possible.
After spending over three years with His handpicked disciples, Jesus willingly laid down His life, rose from the dead, and before returning to the Father He spent His last 40 days teaching them about the Kingdom of God. “He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3 NIV) Why Would This Be “New”? The Kingdom of God was not a new concept to the Jewish disciples. But a Kingdom where the King would actually rule from inside the hearts and the mortal bodies of His people? Now that was a new concept. But should it have been “new” to them? This understanding of the “inside out” Kingdom of God, of how the King is going to live and rule within the hearts of believers, should not have been a new idea to the 12. The Old Testament fully explained the coming of the New Covenant and how it would be implemented. (Continue reading...)
Unexpected Doors Opening To Us In Vietnam!
Vietnam has been one of the most dangerous places for Christians and many have been brutalized and imprisoned for their faith. But, an amazing thing has been happening over the past few years.
With new leadership that seeks better relationships with the USA, the Vietnamese government has eased its opposition to Christianity and believers are now able to meet with much less fear of persecution.
No one knows how long this new freedom will last, but this is a moment where there is a great "open door" for the message of the True Grace. While the door is open we must give all the help we can to provide a solid foundation of New Covenant training and materials in Vietnamese. Rock Solid is a HUGE tool for them!
A Great Door Of Opportunity Is Suddenly Open To Us Right Now In Vietnam...
Vietnamese leaders love the English version of Rock Solid and are asking for our help distributing the Vietnamese translation to those they teach.
Our great friend, Jim Harris, (Relevant Expeditions) has labored hard to share the message of true grace and take our materials into Vietnam. He has opened a relationship for us so that the leaders there already trust us and they're asking for our help.
To make the biggest, longest-lasting impact will require us to act relatively fast. We need to quickly print thousands of well made, durable copies of Rock Solid for leaders to use as manuals while printing inexpensive black and white copies for church members throughout the country.
This will also require Mark to travel there with Jim Harris and a team to train leaders in how to use Rock Solid to make solid disciples. It is invaluable to start new believers off with true New Covenant teaching. This email came from Vietnam a few weeks ago:
"Several main leaders read Rock Solid; all said it is so good! We truly need this in Vietnam but we need your help. We humbly ask your help printing long-lasting books for leaders and many books for church members. Thank you so much for your work together with us for the kingdom of God. Thank you so much for helping Vietnamese Christians. Your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
Jim Harris: "This man oversees several churches. He was in prison over 3 years, beaten and starved, ordered to renounce Christ. He never recanted and one day they just let him go, along with many others. He is a man of true integrity, highly respected, and he will open many doors for ministry."
We have never had an opportunity like this! As always, we do face obstacles we have to overcome. 1) Printing Costs in Vietnam: 4000 wire bound Rock Solid copies in Vietnamese is $5000.00 2) Travel Costs - Air fare: Approx. $4500.00. These funds are above and beyond our normal ministry costs. 3) Mark's Health: We deeply value you praying with us for strength, pain relief, and complete healing.
This is the need and opportunity. Do whatever the Lord puts on your heart and be in peace.
We love you all and we are deeply grateful for your belief in us and our mission...and we love our lives!!
To give towards this effort, click here and designate your gift to Vietnam Rock Solid. Or purchase a copy of Rock Solid in our store.
"Was it a pagan holiday? Is it still a pagan holiday, today?"
"Is decorating a Christmas tree a form of idolatry?"
"Was Christ actually born in December and does it really matter?"
"And, why in the world would you take Christ out of Christmas by using Xmas?!"
These are questions sincere believers ask every year around this time. To answer these questions requires an understanding of the ancient world, reading Scripture as it is simply written, and the desire to ask with integrity and then act with consistency. Let's address the last one first: Xmas! (Read More)
Loving The Road But Looking Forward to Being Home
In the past month we have been in Texas, Alaska, California, Nevada and Florida. Despite all the airports, planes and hotel beds we love this life and love traveling the world teaching this life-changing message. But we will soon be home for the holidays and also to welcome our newest grandchild, Aaron and Amanda's second baby due Christmas Day. We can't wait!
Mark teaching the MasterClass on New Covenant Grace in Northern California
Grace Vu translating "Rock Solid- Laying an Unshakable Foundation in New Covenant Grace" into Vietnamese!
After many hours of work by faithful people like Grace Vu and generous donations from partners to help pay to complete the job, Rock Solid is now available in Vietnamese and digital copies are already being sent out to pastors and missionaries in some of the most spiritually closed off areas of the world.
We have also now completed the Mandarin version and sent it over on flash drives to pastors in China to print as many copies as they can use!