(a .pdf of this letter is available here)
Did you know that my husband is part of an emergency response team? Of course, they donít think of themselves as such. They just think of it as doing their jobs. But he and his team make themselves available 24 hours a day when there are computer problems that can (and do) shut down our ministry activities.
Last week was just such a week. Somehow a virus got into headquarters. It hit on a Monday morning and Karl and several of the guys didnít stop working until 4am the next day. Then there were days of mopping up the messes that it created. At the same time there was a problem that stopped Campus Crusade for Christís ability to print receipts for donations for several days (which is bad for you if you are waiting for a receipt, but imagine the stress on those who work in donations as they worked overtime to catch up- which they did by the next week amazingly enough!). Such are the adventures of a Campus Crusade computer guy!
I had a great treat last week, though. I got to attend a debrief meeting for our staff returning from serving overseas! You may remember I used to help run debriefs every month when I worked in International Ministries, but I hadnít been able to attend one in a long time. It is so wonderful to hear what God has done in and through them around the world.
We heard from a family who served in Nigeria for years (all their mail used to pass through my hands, since we had to send it by courier to get it through to them) describe the incredible growth of the church in Africa, but the equally great challenges to deepen the faith of its leadership and to face threats from other faiths. Their work provided training for nationals to become leaders. We also heard from staff working in France to reach North Africans with the love of Christ through distribution of Bibles and JESUS cassettes as they wait at the ports for the ferries.
Another family had been forced to leave a country in central Asia, due to a change in government policy. This is especially hard, since the wife is from that country and their children are having a hard time understanding why they had to leave home. Yet another family were personal friends and coworkers who served by initiating, developing, and training a regional office in new technologies. They were awed at Godís perfect window of opportunity (the right intersection of him and the person needing training both being there at the same time, combined with the familyís need to return for health reasons unexpectedly).
My favorite one of the day was a family who shared that their most significant legacy to ministry was establishing www.everyarabstudent.com . Weíve shared with you before how ministry is increasingly happening online. Our Campus Ministry has a web site that this one is adapted off of. The statistics are that someone receives Christ every 30 minutes on average on this site! We actually watched a Google Earth screen show us where in the Middle East people were actually online at that moment! In places where itís dangerous to talk about Jesus, we are able to enter their homes and reach them with His truth and love! Thank you, God!
Iíve run out of space on this side, but Iíd love to share a bit of our personal lives on the back if you are interested. Thank you all for being very real parts of all this. You enable us to minister, which in turn affects our ministry around the world. God bless you in your part of the world!
Many of you have been wondering how we are doing personally. Itís been an amazingly hard and an amazingly blessed year. We have a happy marriage, a beautiful child, a nice roof over our heads. We have good friends and a place to live and serve. Most of all, we have a God who has made His presence known to us through our trials.
He has not provided for us in the ways we would have chosen, but He has provided for us richly. I can truly say thank you to Him, because every life must have trials, but I donít have to wonder if ours have purpose, because they have lots of them. Most of which we wonít know, but I know my God, and He does not waste His childrenís pain. Itís partly for our growth, yes, and without the pain weíve felt, we would not know and love Him as we do now. But itís also for Godís plans for the world.
I donít know the ďhowsĒ of it all, but Iíve been impressed in all my Beth Moore studies (BTW, I highly recommend anything Beth Moore does! And I donít say that about many resources/people) that God has every detail of our lives and history working in concert together to bring Himself glory and further His plans, chief of which is seeking and saving lost humans who donít even know they need Him. It is worth any cost we pay to be in the right place at the right time and with the right relationship with Him to be a part of this plan.
All this to say that we are well. Our days are a mixture of happiness and sadness. Infertility hurts both physically and emotionally, and we still hope and pray God will ultimately say yes to us for another child. But if He doesnít, though it hurts, it will be well with us still. Please pray with us for us to stay constant in our trust and to listen well to any direction He gives. Right now all weíve been impressed with (in life in general, not just infertility) is to persevere and not despair. Pray for us to want His will, even if it costs us our own. And of course, if He wills, please pray for a safe, healthy addition to our family.
This is the anniversary month of losing our baby last year. Godís brought blessings around for a second time as He maneuvered me into reading all the emails we got this time last year (I got a notice that my box was too full and to clean it out on the same day as I went to the hospital last year. God is so good, as I would never have thought to look back and it was such an encouragement to me of His and your love and care). We wrote and framed a tribute of sorts to remember Little One, and thought you might like to see it. And if youíve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to be with us in spirit. God bless you.
We praise God because you were fearfully and wonderfully made. All your days were written in Godís book before one of them came to be.
ďAs for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is goneÖ But from everlasting to everlasting the Lordís love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness is with their childrenís childrenÖĒ Ps. 103
Many were the plans in our hearts, but it is the Lordís purpose that prevails. You fulfilled Godís purpose for your life, Little One. You brought Him glory and you gave us hope. Though we didnít get to know you on earth, we love you, we miss you and we thank God for you. Our God is good.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.