“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.” 1 John 3:1a
Over and over, day after day, conversation after conversation, again and again and again we are reminded that every part of our ministry, and moreover, our personal lives, should point to Jesus. The entire Bible, front to back, points to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every story has a picture, every law is a shadow, every prophecy a foretelling of what Jesus would do. And what has He done? To the praise of the glory of His grace, He has made us His children.
Being the children of God, acting as ambassadors, being “Jesus with skin on” as we have heard it said, is both an exciting and humbling position. There are many stirring events that have taken place over the last month, from personal discipleship opportunities to opportunities to practice Holy Spirit patience; instances always compelling us to put out our hands and say “Father, help me point to Jesus.” The pastoral classes have continued, the first group studying through Romans, and the second making their way through Leviticus. Watching the two groups progress in their understanding of the Scriptures is a unique experience. On the one hand you run into a lot of controversy and ungrounded beliefs, which can at times be discouraging. But on the other hand, to see them taking to heart and act on things which they had not understood, done, or sometimes did not believe previously is immensely rewarding.
One thing which has been particularly exciting for us is the opportunity for Matt to personally disciple a young man by the name of Daniel. After many weeks of trying to get men to come to our Tuesday Night Bible Study, and only young boys coming who just could not understand; we decided to end the study and teach only Daniel until older men are more willing to come, or until the boys are a little older. Those boys need the gospel too, but it seems best to us that we train up the ones who are eager and able to understand in order to reach those less able, and even somewhat unwilling. Along with replacing the Tuesday night group study, Daniel has been commissioned by his father, our pastor, to travel with us to the different churches and act as our guide and translator. Most often Matt will end up preaching, and Daniel will be translating, thus receiving even more than a once or twice a week study. It is a special and exciting open door that we do not cease to thank God for. Please pray for Daniel as he meets with Matt, that God would reveal Himself through His word, and that Daniel would hear and take to heart all that the Father says.
One situation, which I’m sure will be ongoing, is with the community children. Beautiful. Lively. Fun-loving. Creative. Love-starved. Undisciplined. Bored. These children are in serious need of fatherly love and discipline. Whether they have a father in the home, he’s a drunkard, or he’s passed away, these children do not have a particularly positive influence from their fathers, and it shows dreadfully. While each child has his or her own endearing attribute, each one also has the tendency to outweigh that attribute with one much less agreeable, and often times destructive or downright rebellious. This is indeed a humbling experience, and something I would sincerely ask you to pray for. These children need fathers, and their fathers need the true Father. Pray for us as well, that we would be patient in Christ, showing love and teaching in an understandable manner. Even though we have ended Tuesday night Bible study with the boys, we have not given up on general friendship and involvement. Pray with us that we would point always to Jesus.
As for the family, we are doing well. Emma and Maddie have started preschool at home, and Noah, now 6 months old, continues to progress physically. We have much to be thankful for in every area of our lives, and our home life especially. However, please pray for that also as the family is a favorite battleground of the enemy, ours included.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers, they are so needed, and also for the support, either financial or relational. We are so grateful for all that you do to keep us out here on this portion of the mission field! We love you and remember you in our prayers.
In Christ, Matt, Noelle, Emma, Maddie, and Noah
“let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22