I have been enjoying some wide open skies.
The Lord makes me very happy;
all that I am rejoices in my God. – Isaiah 61:10a
I am pondering the truth of the beginning of this verse as I pray for my kids. They are all hurting and missing Peru a lot. God is with them, and he will be with them always. That is a truth I know, and it gives me peace. Jesus was a man of sorrows as he endured the pain and struggles of the this life and the cross for the joy set before him. And so I know pain and happiness can travel together. So I hurt a little to watch my kids suffer in the present even though I know that there is a greater joy in front of them. Praise God for that assurance.
“Perhaps approaching God the same way—life as a joint endeavor, God and me, God working with and through me—holds a secret to spiritual joy as well.” – Surviving the Wasteland of Faith in Christianity Today Magazine.
I like to think about walking through life with my friend Jesus beside me. We are not alone, ever, and that is a good thing to remember.
I didn’t meet a lot of “cool” people in the church where I first heard the gospel. I met some regular people who displayed profound peace, contentment, and happiness. When I saw these qualities, I couldn’t ignore them. These were qualities I wanted, too, and they drew me toward the Christ they worshiped. And when I came to know Jesus myself, the happiness I found in him was deeper than I’d ever dreamed.
Alcorn, Randy (2015-09-17). Happiness (p. 156). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
From Sunday School yesterday we had the idea that you can have a complicated life yet still practice the spiritual discipline of simplicity. The simplicity derives from the simple preoccupation on the one thing that matters. Love the Lord you God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself. If we turn our minds to that thought over and over again, then our lives can appear complicated but they will flow out of a simplicity of thought and purpose.
I have been thinking about evangelism, wondering how that continues in our new stateside life as we make the transition to our next assignment. I came across this article from Christianity Today Magazine as I was working on catching up with several lost months of reading. The article is titled, Evangelism, Without the Weird Aftertaste, and I was challenged and educated by a several sections. But one part that touched me a little more was his answer to a question, and I have reposted it below.
Many of us think of evangelism as something individuals do. What role does the body of Christ, as the community of faith, have in evangelism?
If you read the Great Commission and think, This is all on my shoulders, that’s really scary. I by myself can’t disciple all the nations. It’s freeing to realize you’re part of the body of Christ, and the whole body is called to invite people in.
God gives different gifts to different people, so that the whole body becomes a movement able to reach out and transform the world. What brings people into the body is not just a one-on-one relationship, but a community that immerses you into life with Christ together.
I am glad that we are part of the body of Christ. We have seen and experienced the body and how it supports itself as we arrived home to the US. We have seen it from our friends we left behind in Curahuasi. It is good to know that we are all in this together. We see how much our own country needs to know the love of Christ, and our family has seen the desperation of the lack of knowledge in the poor parts of Peru. God works in us to be his joyful evangelists of the good news, but we get the advantage of doing it through the community and body of Christ. And that is a relief.
I love life in the United States, but it often feels less interesting and harder to blog about. The following is what is up. We have spent several days getting the kids enrolled in school and they will all start next week. They are looking forward to it, and Allison and I are interested in seeing how they adjust to an American school setting again. Sarah has never gone to school in the US. Annie went to kindergarten and Peter up to first grade. David has had the most experience in the US, attending school up until the third grade. I attended a Basic Life Support class yesterday, and I will soon be taking Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support classes. In the middle of February I will take an Advanced Trauma Life Support class, and at the end of the month I will be attending a medical board exam review course as I prepare to sit for my exams again in April. I am going to try and do some part-time work in a few clinics and ERs, and I am currently working through those applications. Allison may do some substitute teaching as well. We are still praying about the future, and with that in mind I will have a few permanent job interviews in the upcoming weeks as we weight staying in the United States against continuing in missions at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. I feel like God has given us many good options, and we are trusting him to lead us in our decision. Fortunately, it does not feel like there is a mistake to be made, and that is a blessing. Please pray with us as we consider where God would place us, and please pray for our kids as they start school in the upcoming week.
We are in Dallas, but still getting things in order. Please pray for us as we adjust to a new normal in the great state of Texas. We are thankful to be here, and we are looking forward to what the next steps may be. (I love seeing small Sarah leaning out waving next to Allison way in the back in the picture below. Can you find Annie waving behind Peter’s arm. And I am not sure who David is waving at!) 🙂