9/9/06

Email from a Friend

This email is from my friends in Indonesia who are living a greater calling in ministry as missionaries. I have the utmost respect for them, their kids are only 4 and 1 years old. What an amazing life and testimony!:
“It’s not my time, my money, my family or my ministry. It all belongs to God. I belong to God. How can I sacrifice anything that isn’t mine to begin with?”
A Chinese Pastor

The past several months God has been challenging me in the area of sacrifice. A couple months back I was facing some typical “mission field” frustrations when my mother sent me an e-mail that had a verse in it. Of course, I can always rely on my mother to set me straight. J She e-mailed Luke 9:23 from the Message. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat -I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how." The idea of “embracing suffering” stuck in my mind and I began to meditate on it. I am not supposed to just ‘deal with it’, but I am supposed to embrace it, rejoice through it, and experience it with openness. Remember the verse we memorize from childhood, “Rejoice ALWAYS in the Lord”. If I could do that, things around here would look different. No, they wouldn’t just look different but they would BE different.

So, last month we took a trip to Thailand for a World Outreach Conference. During that time we heard testimonies from several different missionaries; several of them living in very remote, difficult living conditions. Many of them were older, grey and extremely fulfilled. It didn’t even take having a deep conversation with them to realize they had sacrificed a lot in their lives but were completely full of life, rejoicing, and faith. Ben and I were so encouraged. If we follow Him, He will show us how.

I continued to meditate on sacrifice. Ben came to me the other day and handed me an article from a magazine. He said, “Rachel, read this. This is what you have been talking about (meaning sacrifice) these last couple of months.” I read it and was blown away! The idea that if I am TRULY sacrificing I won’t have a mindset of sacrifice but a mindset of faith; hello, it made so much sense! I can truly embrace suffering, difficulties, frustrations, etc. when, and only when I have faith! When we change our thinking to “faith” rather than “sacrifice” we will fully recognize our lives belong to Christ and we will walk in complete understanding that our lives have eternal significance, not just momentary service to the Lord. Celebration wells up within when you come to recognize this and sacrifice doesn’t seem like sacrifice -- even though it is.

In the past I’ve been told over and over, “You are so amazing, you give up so much”. Yes, we have made sacrifices, but we have not given up anything; we have gained everything! What a refreshing way to look at things. J

I know this monthly update is a little different than our usual “newsy” update but I pray as you read it God spoke to you about your own personal lives and challenged you to walk with faith and think eternally.

In Christ,
Rachel, Ben, Lydia and Noah

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