Over the past few months, our family experienced a wonderful blessing of serving in Alabama and South Texas. As Sarah finished her chemo and her port was removed, it provided us freedom to step back into the mission world as a family. We were in Alabama for the month of April and May. During that time, we spoke at First United Methodist Church, Antioch Baptist Church and Airview Baptist Church and served First Baptist Church Opelika as their missionary in residence. They kept us really busy speaking at various meetings and Sunday School classes. The girls were able to join the end of the year children’s choir and GA festivities. I saw an excitement in my dear sweet Anne that I have not seen in a long time. She was so excited to be back in the role of serving in churches. I enjoyed being back home and having early morning coffee with my mom and dad. My grandmother bringing over homemade biscuits and chocolate pudding. (I’m still trying to work that off!)
Our Heavenly Father provided a wonderful healing experience for our family as we started the process of returning to “normal”.
This past weekend we made a trip to First Baptist Church in Cuero, TX. The exciting part of the trip was bringing Pastor Peter with us. He was in the U.S. for various conferences and was able to come and speak at Kerusso events in Cuero, Waco and Frisco. All of us were blessed with his encouragement to us and most of all his desire to serve Jesus at all cost. One of the statements he made really has stuck with me the past few days. He was asked if he thought China would give the church more freedoms. Peter’s reply was that with the new leadership in China taking office this year, there will actually be more persecution because they want to use their power to gain control of the citizens in China. Peter said this was a GOOD thing because the church will be disciplined and trained during this suffering so they will be stronger in the future when God opens the door for Chinese churches to send mission teams into the World!
For me, I desire less suffering and more comfort. For some reason, I just think I work better that way. 🙂 Actually the opposite is true. As I shared with FBC Cuero, we die to ourselves so others will live. It is the call of all Christians and especially for leaders in the emerging world. The heart of emerging world Christ-centered leaders is 2 Corinthians 4 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
Peter provided the congregation at FBC Cuero a live example of a Jar of Clay that is carrying around death in his body, so the life of Jesus will be revealed to those who have never heard the Gospel.