April 2016 Report
Happy Monday! I hope that today and the rest of your week are filled with opportunities to pause and enjoy the moment. This morning Dana and I sent off our soon-to-be 14-year old daughter to her 8th grade retreat. It is an annual tradition for Trinity Christian School to send their 8th graders away for a few days. Their time will be spent enjoying adventurous outdoor activities, spending quality time with teachers and a select group of parents, and deepening their relationship with the Lord in times of worship with our great friend, Rich Smith.
As I hugged Harleigh good-bye this morning, my heart was FILLED with joy and anticipation for her. It was definitely one of those “pause and enjoy the moment” moments for me. She is such a beautiful young woman, and I am so proud of her! It is true – she is growing up way too fast. Obviously, Dana and I are also excited to hear the testimonies from her week. This particular experience holds great tradition for TCS, as many high school seniors, upon graduation, highlight their 8th grade trip as one of their top TCS memories.
As I was praying about writing this particular report, the Holy Spirit reminded me that there are two things in which I can confidently know about Harleigh’s week. First, the presence of the Lord will be readily available, and secondly, the voice of the Lord will be speaking. It is my prayer for her that she clearly recognizes both of those every day, however, if you know her at all, you can likely affirm that we shouldn’t be too concerned. She knows her Lord!
For all of us, those same two promises apply every day – the presence of the Lord is readily available, and His voice is always speaking. In these, we can ALWAYS be confident. The only uncertain part of the equation? Our response. Is our heart in a position to recognize the promises? Are we ready and willing to obediently respond? Those are the uncertainties in the equation.
It is important that we remember that our response can be take one of two different forms: 1) we react to His voice and leading by seeking Him more deeply, and respond accordingly, or 2) we proactively seek His voice and leadership, knowing that He will respond. Either way, I believe He is pleased with our demonstrations of faith!
Tucked away in the “faith” chapter of Hebrews (ch.11), is an interesting statement about Enoch, who was miraculously taken up from the earth and into heaven. Scripture tells us that he had the testimony of pleasing God. Oh to be known as one like Enoch! The next verse is one of the most oft-quoted verses in all of Scripture: “6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him…” However, if we keep reading the verse, we discover an amazing promise: “…for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” What a comfort! Scripture promises us that when we diligently seek Him, the Lord rewards us! His availability and our response will lead to a reward from Him. As difficult as this may be for us to accept, this can be a breakthrough reality for those who continually come to God as a child, fully trusting Him and believing His word. It’s my prayer for my daughter this week, and it’s my sincere desire that each of us put this truth into every day practice.
Costa Rica update
Two weeks ago, David Setser (of Prepare International) and I returned from a quick 4-day trip to Costa Rica. Together, we taught and ministered alongside our translator and new friend, Tony Del Rio, on the topic of “The Kingdom of God.” That particular weekend was only the second official programmed
gathering of students and leaders in the western Costa Rica city of Liberia. Tony and his wife, about to give birth to their first child, are on staff with YWAM Costa Rica, but have a passion to train leaders for the Kingdom in their region. David and I were able to spend several hours on Friday and most of Saturday ministering to a hungry, eager group of about 25. The presence of the Lord was strong in our midst, and it was clear that the Holy Spirit had prepared a fertile soil in their hearts! We have received many positive feedback reports from the attendees and from Tony. Thank you for praying for us and continually being a part of the sending team! Since it was my first time in Costa Rica, we took a whole day to spend with Tony and Rossela, exploring some of the beauty of their country before returning home on that Monday evening. Compared to most of my international trips, a 7-hour travel itinerary (start to finish) seems like a piece of cake! Despite the short trip, I am confident that we have made new friends in Tony and Rossela that will last a long time.
June 2016: Ten days with a team of Betenbough Homes families in Belgium and The Netherlands, partnering with Rance & Stacy Bland of SportQuest on various outreach and service projects, as well as with our great friends, Volkert & Karoline Muijs, in Bunschoten, Netherlands.
September 2016: 12-day trip to Slovakia & Ukraine
November 2016: 12-day trip to Czech Republic & Hungary
May your week be full of pause-and-enjoy moments, and may you be always aware of the promises that our Father makes!