21 April 2018

it's a

the reward

I’m on one of three flights back home, after a whirlwind tour that my students in class Wednesday morning described as “you’re going to take a drink of the water and then you come back.”  It does feel about that fast!  

Thankfully, I got to do more than drink the water.  I successfully completed 1.4 pints of Ben and Jerry’s, so good. I got to eat some good food and got a night of good sleep.  

Far sweeter, I was really encouraged by friendship.

I was encouraged because a common lie I believe is that I’m alone or uncared for.

Often, He reminds me of His great love for me in little ways.  And other times He bombards me with it.  And sometimes He uses His people.

This 36 hours was one of those time, from dear friends texting and emailing on my way to the States that they were praying for my appointments, praying for my safety, praying for my family, praying for my speaking engagement…to friends texting and emailing throughout the day…reminding me again of their love and support and prayers.  From Elisa and Maria, driving 6 hours to hear me speak and to be with me, to the women I’ve met in Haiti over the years who came to show their love.  From women I’ve never met, who loved me yesterday like a sister and cried with me and prayed with me and held my hand, to a mom and daughter I’d never met getting gifts for the girls for me to take home, to Gemma in India, freely sharing her home, to Shannon, doing the same, eating breakfast with me, freely giving her entire day to sit with me at the doctor, at the hospital, share her life with me, so I wouldn’t be alone or anxious.  Bonnie, sending me home with gifts for the girls and baby.  Sharon and Anna, teaching Lily to sew and reading a million books to Nora helping Sofie through all her passionate emotions, cooking meals for Matt and taking care of visitors not their own, loving my girls like they need.

Busy people with full lives who don’t owe me a thing, who profit nothing from loving me in large and small ways, who loved me in sacrificial ways all the same.

It’s not easy to accept…gracious, sacrificial love from others, but what a VITAL acceptance in our walks with Him. 

Reality is, there are a lot of men and women and children out there who love the Lord, and are ready and anxious to love you, too, because of that love for Him.  I’m re-inspired to be that woman, re-thankful to know those women, want to remind you that you do, too…and are not alone, not as long as He is near, not as long as He works through His people.  

Sometimes we have to ask, and I’m so thankful to have been in a place where I had to, so that He could remind me He loves me freely, and that He is the beginning and the end, the one no one brought forth, and therefore the One no one, nothing can take out.

Unlike anyone, anything else, Our God is His own reward.  Seeking Him, we don’t always find the answers we wanted, the things we wanted, the experiences we wanted, the ways we wanted them. We don’t always get good results at the doctor’s office, we don’t always get our family, our children, following Him. We don’t always get the job or the bonus or the friend or the husband or the wife or the baby or the house or the support or the time.  Or, as I’m experiencing now, the flight I needed.  

But when we seek Him, you know what we DO. ALWAYS. GET?  Him. He’s promised it dozens of times, He is His own reward, when we seek Him we will find Him, and receive Him.

And He is the one, Acts 17 keeps reminding me, who has NO needs, whom I do not love well by meeting His needs, for I cannot, for he HAS none.  But He satisfies MY needs with HIMSELF.

I was running a bit on empty, with many many needs around me, yet way more than I needed a night to sleep or an amazing pint of ice cream or a good ultrasound or a connecting flight or good courage for speaking, I needed His un-meritted, sacrificial reminder of His love, and He gave it to me through so many of His children.  

So praise praise the Lord. I feel abundantly rich by the reward of receiving more of Him.  

I commit to holding onto that reward and continuing to pursue it and continuing to share it.  

And I know you want to know about sweet Ayars baby number four, but I’ve got to get back to my family first so they can know a bit more about this gift first…and a dented engine and two+ hour delay seems to be indicating that might be a day later and a night in the Charlotte airport more than planned.  

Thank you for all your prayers, dear ones!





20 April 2018

Not far off



Whew!  Today was one for the books...finally got to see a healthy, happy baby and had the privilege of lab work and appointments (thank you Shannon, servant-hearted friend of patience!!), joyfully got some time with dear friends who drove in all the way from Atlanta, and had a fantastic time this evening at Crosspoint Church, just sharing some of what God’s been sharing with me with some really special women.  I am thankful and encouraged and and most, grateful for our God, Mighty maker of heaven and earth, yet not far off, not at all.

The girls and Matt and Anna and Sharon are doing well, even cooking for and hosting visitors tonight!!  

More soon, but I’m wiped!  Thank you for your prayers!

18 April 2018

girl time

Our extra grace has arrived safely, with Sharon and Anna already meal planning, learning the route to school and the tricks of the truck, how to do "uniform" hair, helping with French homework, worked on Lily's batting and timed Sofie's running, showering me with some fresh, new maternity clothes for my trip, homeschooling, preparing to cook for visitors, grading English workbooks, hemming pants, warming Nora up and washing dishes.  And yes, that's all since they got here yesterday afternoon.

As my friend Shelley noted last night, "We ALL need a Sharon!" and it is the TRUTH.

At least I desperately do, and I am so grateful!

Because of all that extra grace, I'm teaching class Wednesday morning and able to head out after.  I'm not quite sure what to do with going somewhere other than the bathroom (and even then, rarely) by myself.  Packing for one person is ridiculous. I actually took things OUT of my purse to prepare. I'm bringing no entertainment for three flights.  I have no stickers, no wet wipes, no fruit snacks, no cardboard books, and no crayons.  It's more than a little weird.

Add in getting to wear pants for a few days, and I'm not quite sure what to do with myself.

And don't get me wrong...I get a LOT of precious girl time.
Like Tuesday morning devotions, 6:30 am.
But I'm really looking forward to spending some time with some girls over ten, encouraging each other on in our walks, stepping back for a bit, pushing forward a bit.

And Matt's going to get lots of good girl time, too :)  He's as grateful as I am to have Aunt Sharon and Anna holding down the fort so he can keep on in his work and come home to food other than scrambled eggs.

My doctor's appointment is Thursday morning (what a privilege!), and then our "Rise Up for God's Purpose" is Thursday evening (also what a privilege!) and I head back to Haiti Friday evening and Saturday morning.  Thank you for your prayers for all!






15 April 2018

worship

The girls rarely get to pick where we go to church because we have places pre-scheduled, but last night they begged to go to Granny's and we were all so glad they did.  Sabbath with this group of brothers and sisters is always so sweet!!  The assistant pastor preached a great, practical and humble sermon, and the worship is always so good.  I love the way worship and prayer are all kind of mixed together in Haiti.
After church we headed to town for lunch and to let the girls swim for a bit, and Granny joined us, which the girls just adored.  "Granny, watch this!" was the phrase of the day, and Matt and I loved having good non-work related down-time with her, too.  Sunday ministry should always feel more like dwelling at His feet with family than anything else, and from start to finish, today was that Sabbath.



So thankful for Granny in all of our lives...from the day we moved to Haiti she's been mothering Matt and I (and hundreds of students) with love and loved our children!  What a gift.


Meanwhile, Friday was graduation photo day, which is always hilariously fun, and this year was no exception.  Girls will be GIRLS, and boys will make fun of them...I don't care where you are.  

We have NINETEEN men and women graduating this year, May 11th, and it is so bittersweet.  We adore this special class and just LOVE and HATE having them moving on and out and forward with the Gospel.  It is such a joy for the kingdom to SEND and such a personal loss at the same time to 'lose' them.  Above all, God is clearly USING them, and THAT is a joy, 100 percent.  So thankful for each of them...be praying for these men and women with us, and I'll have more updates on the whole class soon!

12 April 2018

rise up

Matt is safely home, though more than a little wiped, and we've very glad to have him back after an awesome few days at Sharptown, and some really good time with some of the very best people.

Our medical team has had some awesome clinics and are prepping or their final one tomorrow here in Saccanville, after hiking the mountains to Coup-a-David today!  It's a great team and we're thankful for good weather and uneventful set-ups and tear-downs.

It is REALLY starting to heat up, so we're out of the hot house and in the shade as much as we can be...this afternoon that included water balloons, which quickly became water babies (pregnancy is just all the rage right now) and Nora playing in the mud, in her beloved Easter dress, which she wears at LEAST once every day.  She adores it.

Meanwhile, the next Ayars adventure happens next week.  So so thankfully, Aunt Sharon (and our friend Anna this time) arrives on Tuesday, and Wednesday mama heads to Florida for this:
Yes...you did not know that I did public speaking because I DON'T.  That is Matt's thing.  But I guess that Crosspoint Women's ministries and OMS' Dynamic Women's ministries were not as interested in Matt :)  I put a lot of fleeces out there for this one, and every one came back a GO, so...I'm going.  

I'm trying to think of it more as talking...which I am obviously well experienced in. 

I arrive late on the 18th, leave on the 20th, but on the 19th, because of a lot of lovely people who have set it up, I have my very first (maybe only?) doctor's appointment.  We are all really excited to see and hear and know what we can about this kicking, ever-expanding and increasingly severe stomach condition I've been experiencing...very thankful for this opportunity.

Also, you know you're a foreign missionary anytime you get to talk to a male church missions pastor about your obgyn appointment.  I'm pretty sure I left dignity back in 2006, so it's all good.   

Then that evening I'll be sharing for about 45 minutes, and would really covet your prayers for this "out of my comfort zone" opportunity to share the Gospel with several hundred women.  THANK YOU!  If you're in the Niceville, Florida-ish area, I would love to see you there!

I am SO grateful Sharon will be here to hold down the fort and love on the girls (we have tons of visitors the next 2 weeks and I could NOT be exiting stage left for three days like this without her), very grateful for the stretching and digging and growth this event has already pushed me towards, and am so excited to see lots of Niceville friends and a few dear friends from college driving down for it from Atlanta.  

On top of all that, all I can really think about is the FOOD.  There's been no point thinking about pregnancy cravings I can't satisfy, and now I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to eat 67 times in that 48 hours.  I'm also not sure I know how to be childless for two whole days (I guess technically I'll still have one with me :)  But it's the quietest one of the bunch, at least for one last trimester.  
Thank you for your prayers!

10 April 2018

adventure

Whew!  What a week!  (Can you say that on a Tuesday? Maybe if your husband is out of the country...)

I often wonder how Matt and I manage everything in a day, and managing without him, we're a little in crazy town.  Very thankful for the girls, Lily especially, who steps up when he's gone and helps with little things like walking her little sister into her class when I have to drop them at the gate to get back in time for my class...chopping up and freezing mangoes for me...washing dishes...keeping everyone on top of their chores, she's a gift.

Sofie has been working very hard to teach Nora how to climb to the top bunk by herself, so...not as helpful.  But way more fun.

From what I can tell, things in Jersey are going really well. My husband is a teacher and lover of the OT, and they are letting him teach the Old Testament, so things are GOOD.  He's been blessed to be spending time with lots of good friends and family, too, and I'm so thankful for Uncle Terry and Aunt Lori, especially, taking good care of him, Stu and Cindy sacrificially giving him a vehicle and Uncle Don and Aunt Brenda doing his shopping (which might actually be MY shopping.) Aunt Brenda does a way better job :)

It is heating up here in Haiti (think sun-up, sun-down sweating), and our staff is in the encouragement stage with our weary students.  Our chapel committee had a big meeting today looking into how to fan the flame a bit and be more of a discipling, encouraging force for our students, facing lots of discouragement and persecutions in their communities and churches, always.  Read just about anywhere in the Word and you quickly see that discouragement and persecution have LONG been a part of an abandoned walk with Christ, but there is also so much about keeping each other in good courage and perseverance till the end.  I know I've said it before, but we are incredibly blessed to have a Godly, sacrificial, servant-focused staff who genuinely see our student body as their main mission field. Keep on praying...your prayers cover us with extra grace, which as Sunday reminded me, we greatly need.

Our medical team is out to clinic three today and the girls and I loved eating in the cafeteria with our students and the team last night.  The girls were thrilled because they all three MUCH prefer Granny's Haitian cooking to my American meals, and I love hearing about all these cultures and ministries coming together, for His glory.

This week's undertaking is getting all the students "thank you for supporting EBS" letters translated, typed and out! Add in teaching and finances and grading a million workbooks and trying to get the water cycle concept across to dear Sofie, who lives in la-la land and is sure that she could have designed things somehow better, working through FDR's New Deal with Lily (who keeps trying to use the term "The Great Depression" in her everyday life, such as, "all this math homework is giving me the Great Depression.") and keeping Nora OFF the bunk bed and away from the markers...

A day in the life at the Ayars House in Haiti is always an adventure :)  That's what we're gonna call it!

Thank you for your always prayers and love.

This is Nora pretending to be "Aunt Leesha and baby Addy"...telling her what to do and all.

Our Malay apple trees are going nuts right now, and being not native to Haiti, everyone's been nervous to touch these incredibly nutritious fruits.  Everyone has watched doubtfully for the last 10 days of the girls eating them like crazy, and now that no one has keeled over, the craze is catching on!


09 April 2018

Amazing Grace.

Every night after stories, Matt and/or I sing hymns and worship songs to the girls and pray for America and Haiti and friends and family and burdens and blessings, and ever since David went missing back in August, he and his family have been a frequent part of that prayer time.

"Amazing Grace," we would sing to our God and his parents far away, at least once or twice a week, "I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see."  We prayed so many times to the one who knew exactly where David was, and how.

As I strummed I would always picture Julie, his mom, praying that her lost son would be found, would always picture all the searchers, now blind, but praying that they would soon see him.

It was hikers, instead, who found him six months later, and as we prayed again that night for his family, David's song of course came to me, and with tears we released him now found, prayed for his parents, now seeing too.  Praying Amazing Grace, still.

Tonight I was singing it with the girls in the dark, alone this time, but bawling again.  Because today Nora was very lost, and very well could still be, and I am sitting in His amazing, sweet grace and nothing else.

We met friends at the pool this afternoon to break up the weekend without Matt and to play with good buddies, and as time passed, we three watched our seven kiddos swim and play as the pools, parking lot, restaurants and countless hotel rooms were filling up.  Before long the pool was packed, the music was incredibly loud, we were shouting over it to each other, keeping a close eye on the three who can't swim yet, and I noticed that, as usual, the girls were getting a lot of attention.

There's not a lot of blonde, creole-speaking girlies around here, as you can imagine, and pretty much wherever we go, it's expected that people are going to stop to talk with them, frequently ask to have pictures taken with them, or at least sit close by and stare.  The girls hardly notice, and honestly, we hardly do either...it's just part of being very foreign in a very curious and communal culture.

But today itt was so crowded and loud and there were so many people talking and staring, however, that when our friend suggested getting out of the pool and playing at the playground next to the pool, it seemed like a good idea.  We all played for a while, but soon the big kids wanted back in the pool, so snuggling their sweet baby boy in the row of bushes separating the playground from the pool, I chatted with our friends, watched Nora going down the slide over and over, and watched Lily and Sofie bobbing around for dive sticks.

The party still picking up, we started to get ready to go, and as I watched and packed up and chatted and bounced I looked for Nora to come running around the bottom of the slide.

And instead she was gone.

You've been there.  Your heart stops, you race around for a few second and there they are, followed a butterfly or a chicken or a whim for a moment and back in your view.  But as I walked the baby around the whole playground area, I interrupted my conversation with our friends and said, "Nora's gone, help me."  They immediately started looking, I started looking, the kids started looking.

She was gone.  Gone gone.

I searched every inch of the pool, every inch of the playground, all around the lower restaurant, the bathrooms, all through the construction projects all around, the holes, the pits, the closests, clinging to the baby and hearing Matt tell me, like he's told me before, "Stacey, it's fine.  It's fine.  Don't overreact."

By now, a long time had passed, I could see our friends and the kids still running everywhere, also frantic.  I knew the front gate man wouldn't let her wander out to the street, but she was nowhere.

On the huge property, there are other pools.  A large parking lot in the middle, a hundred rooms, more restaurants, a hundred places to disappear.  Cars coming and going as we searched.

I couldn't breathe.  We kept looking further and further from where her short little legs surely could have carried her, and there were so many people there, and her hot pink shirt and blue eyes and blond sprout...how could no one know where she was?

HOW COULD I not know where she was?

Awful fears start flooding in.  Pools.  Parking lots.  Hotel rooms.  Foreign toddler sticking out to great interest.  Construction pits, stairs, cars.

I made the DJ turn off the music, I ran to the poolside and started to insist that every person stop EVERYTHING and find my baby that I horrifically lost, and saw as I opened my mouth my friend across the pool, trying to get one of the kiddos missing flip-flops out from under a chair.

I knew if she was looking for flip-flops, that something must be ok.  When the music shut off, she looked across at me immediately about to make my passionate plea and said, "Stace, he got her! I thought you knew! Up at the top restaurant, by the kitchen!"

The top restaurant is as far as it could possibly be from the lower pool...a long path, a huge parking lot, another pool, a work out area, long rows of rooms, a gift shop, a fish pond, a bridge, and a restaurant far.

I started running up and met our friend running down with a hysterical Nora, just sick and struggling and fighting to trust and fighting all my fears and praying and praying and praying.

Lily and Sofie came running too, all crying and we held her and thanked the Lord for returning her to us.

So much time had passed that anyone easily could have taken her.  She easily could have drowned.  She easily could have been hit by a car.  She easily could have fallen.

Because her mama was NOT watching her those horrible moments.  Because her mama was NOT holding her hand.

We wiped our eyes and packed our bags and said goodbyes and many thanks to our friends and got the air conditioning going in the truck and buckled three girls in and sat for a few minutes.  Once she calmed down, I started asking her.

"Nora, honey, why did you go on that big walk?  Were you looking for mommy? Could you not find mommy?"

And what she said then and has said many times since and all she'll say is "No. I wasn't looking for mommy.  I was getting the pink man.  I was getting the pink man."

Maybe it's from a show she saw once or a game or a story she heard or a 2 year olds imagination, I don't know. Maybe she was taken, maybe she was lured. Maybe she saw a man in a pink shirt and followed him? Maybe a man in a pink shirt took her?  How did she get so far away? Why would she have gone so far? Why didn't anyone stop her? Why didn't anyone scoop her up and bring her to her mama?  Why didn't I SEE it?

This mama, yes, with baby four on the way soon, has NO idea what happened to Nora today, or why, or how, or what.  And while I keep checking on her sleeping form, snuggling her penguin tonight, while she is truly fine and safe and here and unscathed and jumping on the trampoline happily all evening, I have NO idea how close we came today to losing Nora forever.

And I will never know.  

Nothing feels lower as a mom than to think through all that could have happened to my precious girl today and to realize that I was NOT there to have stopped ANY of it, and I don't even KNOW what happened and I never will.

And nothing feels more certain tonight as I pray for Doug and Julie and Matt with them, and as I sing my children to sleep, that it is absolutely amazing grace, and NOTHING ELSE, for I was utterly worthless and nonexistent in the entire miracle that has Nora sleeping peacefully in her crib 10 feet from my bed tonight.

Sometimes I need that humbling reminder.

There was a hand that protected every step today, that protected a two-year old by swimming pools, that protected a toddler in a parking lot, and it was not mine.

There was an eye that never wavered, that knows exactly why and where and how Nora was today, that watched every moment, and it was not mine.

There was preventer from evil, from kidnapping, from loss, from danger, from drowning, from cars, that hemmed in my Nora today, perhaps even somehow stopping an evil situation, who was not me.

Because I was running around the playground and construction and pool doing ALL that I possibly could to fix it, which was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Story. Of. My. Life.

I can't do one darn thing to encourage my children's next breath.  I go to sleep at night and watch over them not! I head to work during the day and look away for a moment.  I can't bring one life to salvation, can't do one thing on my own strength to change one person's life, can't fix one person's heartbreak or transform a country or a culture or a people or a friend, can't do one thing to save myself or make it right or change the world, can't make a person who doesn't want Him hungry, can't make a hungry person choose Him.

There was was nothing but amazing, unmerited and huge, practical, powerful grace for me today that is just as real every single day, and that which was lost was found, me who was blind can't stop staring at my girl.

I'm never unaware of His great grace.  But there are days when I am totally aware of my utter incapable, unpowerful, short, small, human existence, TOTALLY incapable of anything good or kind or loving or beautiful outside of Christ, and His grace is so rich and overwhelmingly gracious--Great God of the Universe and holding the hand of my 2 year old--that I am sitting in pools of it, utterly nothing but some word so much stronger-than-thankful.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, still daily saving a wretch like me, holding His children and pursuing us every instant with His grace...the lost, the found, the blind and those seeing. How dependent we are, and how incapable of earning it, how faithful He is, in the the nightmares and the dream-come-trues.

Keep praying, never stop praying, for those lost. His grace softens the hearts we are praying for, His grace finds those who are missing as we bring them to Him again and again.
Amazing grace.
  

08 April 2018

travel, mud and worship

Matt made it into bed in New Jersey this morning around 3 am after several delays, and he
 is preaching a few services this morning and then will have some rest time before teaching tonight.  Thankfully small children have prepared him well for short nights. Wish we could be there, and also thankful he doesn't have to do all this with our valuable help :)

Many of you had been praying with us for months over the bizarre disappearance of Sharptown's pastor's middle son (and EBS board member, and Matt's childhood pastor), and it was with such heavy hearts that we learned a few days before Palm Sunday that Doug and Julie's precious son's body had been found.  His funeral was this past Monday, and Matt and I were just really thankful for the opportunity for Matt to come alongside Doug and Julie and Sharptown right now, to give Doug a break for a few days and to help meet the church with the Gospel during this hard season.  

Our team of 12 from Harvest Bible Chapel in Oakville, Ontario and all their trunks of medicines and medical supplies arrived safely on the same plane Matt went out on, and they unpacked, repacked, we fed them all dinner and they were off to bed.  They started the travel day at 2 am, and this morning were joining a 7 am service and then offering a clinic at the church all afternoon.  Whew!

They'll be working alongside students and alumni the rest of the week, doing medical clinics at Belony's church in Flavil, Enick's church at Coup-a-David, Walnique's church in Fev, Nosebin and Phida's church in DuFour and the local church on Friday, which will also be open to all our staff, students and community members.

Meanwhile the girls had a friend over yesterday and creatively turned part of Phil's construction site into a mud hotel for strawberry shortcakes and fairies while I was cooking for the team.  The young men from Saccanville won't know what to do with their dirt when they come for work tomorrow :)  I promise to get up some actual construction pictures, too, in the next few days.  We have a long way to go, but the new classroom building with 2 classrooms large enough to facilitate all the classes we are currently trying to hold in the library is well underway!

Praying your Sabbath is full of slowing down (trusting Him with what we're not striving to accomplish), good worship in so many forms to our Great God, worthy of our praise, and good time joining with the missionfields around us, pointing, pushing towards the resurrected Christ.







06 April 2018

join and believe

I've been preparing the last several days to share in chapel this morning (yes, it's that terrifying time of the semester where I'm supposed to share the Word with 80 pastors...not intimidating in the least!), and as always, I'm just sharing something He seems to be sharing with me through my devotional time.

I'm going to work through Acts 17,  but something struck me last night in my final prep from the final verses!

Evangelism, conversions, discipleship and numbers is such a daily part of missionary/mission organization living.  It's hard NOT to think about numbers!

Almost all of our students were out sharing the Gospel widely during Easter break, and there is such a temptation to want to measure this somehow.  Every missions organization on earth is trying to measure fruit and success in Gospel-sowing.

Years ago, however, I read the statistic that if every missions organization on earth's conversion numbers were accurate, the entire globe would have converted twice...which means that our numbers don't really mean what we think they do.

Ouch.  

Instead of getting into my burden for evangelism to be done well, relationally, cutlurally, life-on-life, ideally not through a translator, never from a position of power, not with an alternative incentive, and almost always only through ongoing discipleship, I just want to share what I'm seeing at the end of Acts 17.

Paul, troubled by all the idolatry he saw in Athens, shared with the Jews and Gentile believers, shared with the opposing religious philosophers, shared with the council (anyone who wanted to listen, really).  He met them where they were at, points out the logical problem with their beliefs, talks to them about God being above and beyond all of their current thoughts of gods--and yet notes that He is very reachable--and finishes with a driving push towards the Gospel and the resurrection.

I mean, he gives just a FABULOUS discourse, a fantastic Gospel presentation, a powerful sermon, on all accounts.  Better than I've ever heard or shared, no question.

And you know how many people converted that day? 
None.

Verse 32-34 says that most laughed in contempt.  Some said, "We want to hear more about this later."  Pretty sure if we're sharing the true Gospel, we should expect the same responses.

But something brilliant did happen.   "A few joined him."   They joined him.  Went home with him, maybe?  Stayed after, spent time with him, thought with him, listened more to him, asked him questions, joined lives with him, shared with him, followed him, and then BELIEVED.

Verse 34 doesn't say that they believed him and joined him...but that they joined him...and became believers.

No converts.  No immediate believers.
But some did beautifully come to truly believe...after joining him.

There is SO much in that joining.  

What freedom.

Today we're not out for converts, and not out to find people to win over.

I'm just out to mostly be laughed at, mostly be scorned, mostly be pushed off.  Hopefully, I'm gonna get to JOIN with a few.  And my prayer is that as we JOIN with people, that our "after the sermons", that our behind the scenes, that our lives and daily walks with Jesus will lead those people we are joined with to BELIEVE and know.  Truly.  To be transformed.  Not converted.

Go join some people today, and pray for me while I join with mine...what a gift He has given us in a mighty, all-powerful, above-it-all yet somehow not-far-off God who meets people all at once and little by little, through joining His son with us, through joining His people with the lost.