“I pray that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.”
While studying Philippians I was asked the question “How does Paul participate in the life of the Philippians?”. The only way I could answer is that he wrote them letters and he prayed for them. And so I am challenged to do the same. I am going to try and write more notes to encourage my friends, and I am going to try and pray for them more. We had a friend tell us that we were on his Wednesday prayer schedule. I was so humbled, but also motivated to make a schedule instead of just trusting my memory to pray for people. I was encouraged, and I felt like he was more a part of our lives than I had known before. So I am going to make a schedule, pray more for my friends, and write more encouraging words.
And as a second thought, if you ever wonder what you can do for friends who are far away (like missionaries), all you have to do is send a couple line email note letting them know you are thinking of them and then encouraging them to stay strong in their faith. It makes a bigger difference than you might imagine!
Last weekend we left the kids with the grandparents and headed to Corpus Christi, TX. We wanted to see some of our old friends from our time living there in the early 2000s. It was a great visit, full of laughter, full of fun. As we drove home we stopped to see more friends along the way. One part of our life that I really like is that we have to visit people. I think both Allison and I can have some introverted tendencies. We break free of them, but not completely. But when you live out of the country you cherish the time when you can see people, and you work to make it happen.
I recently read a book called “A Dream So Big“, and the author talks a lot about the time he spends with people. And I do not know whether it was his intention or not, but I was challenged by the idea that there is no better way to spend your time than to spend it with people. We have responsibilities, and we have to work. But outside of that, can any website or game replace how interesting a person is? So I am challenging myself, that when I get to Africa and am invited to attend a wedding that may last all day, or if there is a church, hospital, or school meeting that will last too long, that I should go. Because there will be people there. And people are made in the image of God, and there is no better way to spend our time than to spend it with people.
We did not graduate from 5th or 6th or 8th or any grade except when we finished high school. Yet, I have to say I think these graduations can play a meaningful role in our kid’s lives. And the Scofield Christian School graduation was pretty special. The kids gave their testimonies, a local youth pastor gave them a challenge for high school, the kids gave roses to teachers that they appreciated, the 6th grade teacher gave a description of the character of every individual student, and then the principle described and thanked the parents of each student. Wow! Way to go Scofield! It is a sweet place. And we are thankful that they let our kids join in the middle of the year. It was where they attended before we left for Costa Rica and Peru, and it was a good place for them to attend on coming home. They remembered their friends, and their friends remembered them. It allowed them to readjust to an American schooling system in a friendly and safe environment with great Christian teachers who would not allow them to slip through the cracks. We love Scofield!
The kids are finishing school again. This is the second time Annie is finishing 5th grade and Sarah is finishing 3rd. They completed those grades in Peru, but being in the southern hemisphere, the years were flipped with summer break starting in December. So we moved here and let them finish the years in the grades they had previously completed. The first month was hard, especially for the girls. But yesterday as we drove home, Annie said to me “I am really going to miss school! I liked learning new things and making new friends!” As Allison told me, it is a reminder that things, circumstances, and best of all, attitudes can change with time. Come on summer break. It will be the kids first one since February of 2016!