Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Arriving home from his two-and-a-half-week trip to the States, John was more than ready to drink up some sweet and refreshing family time and hug on his wife and kids. The boys and I were just as eager to enjoy John’s presence and revel in his love for us. Little did our family know that as we settled into our beds that first night of John’s return, that we would wake to tragic and devastating news which would require John to depart the next morning.

John walked into the kitchen that first morning of his return and abruptly said, “My friend’s wife died at midnight last night. The funeral is tomorrow. I need to go to Zim.”

This friend wasn’t a mere acquaintance to our family. This man was a mentor, confidant and brother. When John began ministry in Zimbabwe nearly twelve years ago, our friend served as John’s counselor, advisor, and guide. Over the years, John and his friend had grown close – so close that they each considered themselves to be brothers. What made our friend’s wife’s death even more devastating was that one of his sons had suddenly died just three days before as well. The decision was made to have the memorial and funeral be a joint service for mother and son. Thus, at this soul-crushing time in our friend’s life, John’s caring and steady presence was needed to offer solace and support.

I affirmed John immediately. “Yes, you must go. What do we need to do to get you ready and on the road?”

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t easy for our family to release John so quickly after his return. Tears flowed. Hugs lingered. However, there was no doubt in any of our minds that John needed to make this trip.

Within an hour or so, our Toyota Prado was packed up and John was ready to hit the long road to Zimbabwe.

As John departed, I wrote an email update to our friends and family calling upon their prayers. It was Thanksgiving Day. Amazingly and gratefully – on this day of thanks – our family received an avalanche of support.

Despite obstacles at the Zimbabwe – South Africa border, John arrived in time for the all-day memorial and funeral services. As John began to love and minister, I couldn’t help but think that without the prayers and financial assistance of our generous supporters, this quick, but necessary trip would not have been possible. John and I never know what we will be called upon to do in this missionary life of ours – sure, we plan and prepare – however, there are countless ministry opportunities that develop over the course of a ministry year that require our immediate response.

The donations we receive in honor of our Lord Jesus Christ reflect and honor such ministry needs.

There are two verses in 1 Thessalonians which speak to the measure of gratitude our family has for our ministry supporters:

We always thank God our Father for all of you mentioning you in our prayers.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor produced by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

New International Version, 1 Thessalonians 1: 2-3

John and I are amazed by, humbled by, and deeply indebted to our family, our friends, our ministry partners, and our supporting churches who remain mindful of us. It is through their work, labor, and endurance produced and inspired by their faith, love, and hope in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we serve in southern Africa. The prayers and financial gifts offered by our supporters uphold this absolute union of grace in faith, hope, and love found in our Lord Jesus Christ which impact and regenerate lives in southern Africa.

Without our prayer and financial supporters, we honestly could not contribute to the heart and soul regeneration that is happening here!

This is why I am writing this thank you post today. The words of Paul reflect the gratitude in our family’s hearts:

We always thank God our Father for all of you mentioning you in our prayers.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor produced by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are aware of the sacrifices that are made to assist us – produced as labors of faith and love.  Yet, we also recognize their joyful commitment offered in hope. Our supporters see that the Lord is at work in southern Africa and anticipate that this God-honoring work will continue as John and I remain aware of and obedient to our Lord’s leading and call upon our lives. As I shared, we could not do what we do without this faithful, God-honoring support!

Thank you, Friends! We love you!

Yes, we thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

 

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