It’s the time of year we make plans for the future and hope for a successful year. As certainly as we would like our year to unfold how we plan it, inevitably it is dictated by circumstances out of our control. Our hopes, dreams and intentions are derailed by the uncertainty of a sin sick world. We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, but why do our struggles seem to contradict this thing we know to be true?
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good"
Religious people like to stop reading here. Their love for God extends only as far as He fulfills the purpose they are pursuing. But as followers of Christ our purpose is not driven by our own desires. We are called to something higher.
"for those who are called according to his purpose"
A purpose that fits into God’s plan and not our own, for we are called according to His purpose. If you are a follower of Christ you have been called to pursue His purpose for your life. Our love for Him is shown by our obedience to His call even if that leads us somewhere we do not want to go. In this way, this verse is meant to encourage His children to press on through tough times, instead of providing false comfort to those living in temporary houses with white-washed walls.
For our suffering has a reason and our hope can grow strong, because in our obedience to His calling we know that He is working all things together for our good. For we know the reason for this testing, it is to conform us into the likeness of His Son, so that He can be most glorified.
Our work in Reinickendorf is really gaining ground with the boys we are working with. We have consistently had the same 10-12 boys come weekly over the past couple of months and we have begun to add some new young men after the Christmas break. These are rough kids we are working with and most do not have fathers in their homes. Our hope is to continue to encourage these young boys toward the gospel each week and show them what godly leadership looks like. We have registered the boys for a city tournament in March and they are excited about this. Pray for these boys that they will one day receive as much joy for what God has done for them as they do this game. We had a slow start after Christmas to our work alongside our church in the Goerzallee camp. There have been many changes in this facility with families coming and going. We continue to use our weekly outreach in this community to build deeper relationships that will give us opportunity to connect with families for the gospel. We were excited to see a number of families that we had been working with before Christmas return this week.
This month we also started a bi-monthly breakfast on Saturday's for young Arabic men. The past month we have had a number of young men show up at our church, some of them are believers and others are seekers. Our hope with these get-togethers is to develop friendship, while creating opportunity to study God's Word. Pray that God will open the door for this group to flourish.
Cherry and Jeannie continue to build relationships within our community with other women by attending weekly Bible studies, serving at the girls school and inviting people into our home. They are also providing food in our different outreaches as a tool to build deeper relationships with families. We also continue to work alongside our church in reaching out to children and teens in our community through weekly events on Saturday and Sunday. Every week we have new children show up to these ministries. Pray that the gospel seed we are planting will grow in these children's hearts as well as the hearts of our own children. We are thankful for the opportunities we have to work alongside other like-minded believers in our church family.
We had a tremendous time reconnecting with family and friends in December in Greenville, SC. It was a busy, but joyful time. We had some good friends visit us the second week of January. They were an encouragement to us and we enjoyed spending time with them and eating a lot of ice cream! We have settled back into life here in the city and look forward to the girls upcoming winter break next week. Last week we were finally able to register our car and it has been a tremendous blessing to have it for traveling as a family to outreach and on the weekends. We look forward to taking a couple day trips next week, while the girls are out of school. The girls had their first parent teacher conferences last week and they are both doing very well in school. Cherry and the girls have enjoyed cooking and baking together through the dark, cold days this month. My language classes are going well and I plan to take the exam at the end of March to get my German fluency certificate. Cherry plans to start with classes in April or May. Thank you for praying for my dad this past week with his open heart surgery. It was hard to be so far away, but we are thankful that he is doing so well after his surgery.
Praise and Prayer
- Praise for our car being on the road
- Praise for a successful surgery for my dad and prayer for continued healing
- Prayer for Median, Daniel, Abrahim, Bashar, Tony: young men we work with weekly to understand the gospel
- Prayer for our church to continue in growing toward living out the gospel in our community