Stepping Out From the Crowd

April 2019

 

 

Family pictures with three littles are hard, but here we are before riding the Easter Train!

 

In early March, I attended a women's conference at a church here in Wasilla that focused on the Sermon on the Mount. Every attendee received this copy of the book of Matthew and I have been slowly reading and journaling my way through it. The other day I read Matthew 8:1-4 and have been thinking about it ever since:

"When [Jesus] came down from the mountain, great crowds followed Him. And behold, a leper came to Him and knelt before Him saying, 'Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.' And Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I will; be clean.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, 'See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.'"

Right after wrapping up His teaching on the mountain, Jesus came down, leading and surrounded by crowds. And from the middle of the crowd, one man came forward. As a leper, he shouldn't have even been in the crowd: he would have lived outside the town where he could maintain a safe distance from people, as was the cultural norm.

And yet, we see this unnamed man right there in the midst of things. Not content to just be in the crowd, he stepped away from everyone to be closer to Jesus, to kneel before Him with a faith-filled request: "Lord, if You will, You can make me clean."

This man knew of Jesus' compassionate care: he boldly approached Jesus, risking shame and embarrassment in front of his peers, knowing that he would not be turned away. He recognized Jesus' power and authority, as evidenced through his bold request. And he humbly expected that Christ would heal him, as seen by his physical posture and hopeful ask. And Jesus met him there: "[He] stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I will; be clean.'"

If this man hadn't pushed through the crowd...
If he hadn't leaned in close to Jesus...
If he hadn't stopped the forward flow of traffic to kneel before the Lord...
If he hadn't asked, hadn't anticipated, hadn't recognized Jesus' authority and power to heal...

What would have happened?
A life of wondering what could have been marked by self pity and fear?
A skin disease that continued to spread, further alienating him from friends and family?
A crowd that heard Jesus' teaching, but didn't see it first hand?

When we started this pre-field journey over a year ago, we were similar to this leper. We were in the crowd, following Jesus. And then we saw an opportunity to step out, to kneel before Him, and say, "I'm here - do Your thing in my life!" And Jesus stretched out His hand to us, inviting us into the "more" that He had planned.

What would have happened if we hadn't done that? If we had said, "No thanks, we're good staying in the crowd. We'll just live outside of town, outside of what is best..."? We certainly would not have seen Jesus meet our needs as He has. We would not have seen His outstretched hand. We would not have seen the physical, emotional, and spiritual healing He has provided in our lives. We would not have received those little blessings that never got posted on our blog, on social media, or in print.


This journey is crazy - but we would not have missed it for the world.

So I don't know about you. I don't know where you are in the crowd. But boy, I hope you stop the constant go-go-go and kneel before Him. Ask Him faithfully and expectantly for that THING that seems out of your grasp and see Him hand it to you. Then let your life be the proof that others need that He is who He says.

 

 

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This month, we praise God for...

  • More daylight! Despite our mid-April snow showers, spring is here and with it, earlier sunrises and later sunsets!
  • How He sustains us. Oftentimes, when people hear that our kids are 3-years-old, 1-and-a-half-years-old, and three-months-old, they say, "I don't know how you do it!" And to be honest, we don't either, other than the Lord sustaining us by His extravagant grace upon grace.
  • Time and encouragement with like-minded believers at Missions Conferences, over dinners at our house, and through day-to-day conversations. The Body of Christ is a beautiful thing.

 

 

 

 

In April, we...

  • ... played in the snow and built a kid-sized snowman;
  • ... welcomed Mimi and Papa (who met Hudson for the first time!) back to Alaska - they are watching the girls during our site visit next month;
  • ... colored big pictures on long rolls of paper together;
  • ... and rode the Easter Train from Anchorage to Indian and back, where we colored, drank cocoa, played games, hid from the Easter Bunny, ate snacks, and enjoyed the beautiful ride while on board. It was so much fun!

 

 

 

Coming Up

We leave this week for our site visit to Togo! Upon our return, we will finish organizing an O&P yard sale fundraiser over Memorial Day weekend at Fairview Loop Baptist in Wasilla. We are planning another Partner Get Together on June 1st, so save the date and join us for s'mores in our backyard!

 

Pre-Field Update

After adding a new family member this year and seeing insurance requirements increase, we are so thankful to be back at 60% of our monthly need. Simultaneously, God has provided 36% of our Outfit & Passage (O&P) need! We are working on assignments so that we can hopefully attend our next round of training in November.

 

Team Update

Our site visit to Togo is May 1-12. The trip will start in Kara, Togo with a trip to the market, visiting two churches, attending a wedding reception, hiking, and visiting a people group outside of town. We will then travel south to the Togo South Team meeting, then wrap up our trip in Lome, the capital. Please pray for safety and a fruitful time!

 

 

 

Miss a previous month's newsletter? The video versions are posted on YouTube! These quick clips are ideal for showing to a congregation on Sunday, in a small group setting, or just if you want a kick out of how awkward we are on film. Enjoy!

 

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