Sunday, March 6, 2016

2 years

Amazingly, March 4th marks the date of our move to Jamaica 2 years ago! 2 years can seem so long and so short at the same time. But praise God, for he is so good. Please take a few minutes to allow us to share with you about some of our reflections.
I feel emotional even as I write this. Because in two years, we have witnessed people fall in love with Christ! Yet, so much of this journey has been so much more difficult than we ever thought it would be: going to a 1-vehicle, 1-driver household, not being able to go for walks, not having any parks or malls, trying to keep up on laundry in the rainy season, not being able to go places alone, or after dark, trying to get any government papers in a reasonable amount of time, having to drink milk out of a box, or just living life so far from the comfort of our old friends and family.  Yet, how do you even measure what would make the sacrifices, whether certain inconveniences, cultural clashing, or discomfort, even heartbreak worth it? What if we don’t get to see immediate fruit? What if we don’t see the fruit for ourselves? Is there a magic number of salvations or students that will make my sacrifice worth it, or justify when I can say I have done my job and allow me to go back home to the comforts of my old familiar life? But we keep reminding ourselves of the sacrifice God made for us.  That love, though never earned, is the only motivation to keep us from giving up. Love others, because he first loved us. And we love in response to the opportunities God has set before us, in the context of the unique giftings he gives each of his children within the body of Christ.
 
God has placed such a desire in us to see people get to experience His love, and restoration. That has not changed. We are thankful that God has opened up so many doors for us to be able to serve him in this way. And thanks be to God that he will wash us in his sweet grace each day, or we would have been disqualified, and would continue to be disqualified, to represent his name at all.
 
We received some very good advice that we hold onto: Never doubt when you are surrounded in darkness that which you heard God speak in the light.
The reality is we are not exempt from the attacks of the enemy; this is the battleground. And, to speak quite honestly, we feel the fatigue and stress of the battle. The ache in our hearts from living in a place governed by poverty, abandonment and abuse of authority grows heavy. And as we try to make our little dent in this community,  the enemy does not want the plans God has to succeed, so we are the targets: susceptible to discouragement and frustration and sadness. And I can only imagine how God’s own heart aches. I don’t know if we should be asking God to help us be better at giving this burden to Him, like we will be better able to not hold it so close as time goes on, or if we just need to know to take breaks to just cry it all out.  
If you agree that there is hope in Christ, and believe in the New Life vision:
To provide the youth, fatherless, and impoverished with hope and skills to pursue God’s purposes in their lives, won’t you please pray with us? Please pray that we could have the time to debrief and know God’s heart for this ministry as we make decisions for the future, and that we would be able to raise the necessary support to continue this work.