That's enough for a Monday, right?
Sunday, by God's grace, three little girls and I were dressed and hair braided and fed and out the door and off to church...which was a great gift because as we entered staff member Belony's church, we were also greeted by third year student Aldy playing the keyboard and first year student Ramendy preaching! Seeing our staff and students working together to share the Gospel in Haiti is just SO exciting. It's like seeing your family work together for something beautiful.
On top of that, I was incredibly touched by Ramendy's sermon, a powerful expository message on forgiveness, detailing how Matthew 6:14-15 mandates forgiveness of others as a necessary part of receiving forgiveness from the Father. He shared passionately about how he truly believes that refusal to forgive has kept many far from heaven, and how a refusal to forgive has kept many non-believers far from church, far from a desire to know God.
He was so burdened by the message he was sharing that I was shocked to see tears run down his face at the end...something you just DON'T see often in this honor/shame culture (actually, you probably don't see people sharing God's Word burdened to tears over souls often, ANYWHERE.)
I was touched by his passion, but more, I was convicted by the truth.
I've got some painful work to do (or should I say, I've got to let God do some painful work) on some areas of non-forgiveness that popped up in my heart as he preached.
Beautiful brothers. Thankful for this Sabbath.
We spent the rest of the day praying for Matt, praying with dear Edlin who's sister died unexpectedly today after a horribly failed heart surgery, and enjoying the little things...
like a bucket of water
and those wonderful swings...
Meanwhile, Matt had a very different type of day Sunday in snowy New Jersey, preaching several services in the morning, and then kicking off Salvation 101 Sunday evening.
Look! Phil and Emily's moms came!
And so did my sister and brother and nieces! Matt finally got to meet Jayla, and love on Evie for a bit. So thankful they made the trip!
Matt also got to see tons of other dear family and friends (like Doug and Julie, Uncle Don and Aunt Brenda, Aunt Lori and Uncle Teri, the Buzby's, the list goes on and on!) and I'm just so excited for all this week has in store as they work together to dig deeper in God's Word.
Please be praying for Matt...for strength, energy, wisdom and clarity!
This is a big week ahead for everybody!
Life and Peace.
Meanwhile, this photo popped up on my FB this morning, a year ago today.
How unbelievable to look back at these dear ones sending us off to America a year ago today to have Nora! I was SO conflicted in this picture. Matt in particular was SO in need of a break, I was so uncomfortable with Nora, but I also just hated leaving before the school year was done! I remember specifically thinking while we stood under our mango tree, "But it's almost mango season! We're going to miss the mangoes!"
Leave it to Stacey to mourn every single minuscule part in EVERY change of life :)
Most, I am flooded with thankfulness for these people who surrounded us then and mostly all still surround us now, working alongside, knowing us well, loving our children, being vessels of God's grace and courage and joy in our lives.
Friday's school pick-up and drop-off had been a huge challenge (read : disaster), and this morning as I pulled out of the campus to rush the girls off to school, Phil pedaled by on his bike and yelled, "BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!"
I don't know about you, but I NEED people shouting Scripture into my life on Monday morning! I am so thankful.
Thankful for this new day, just today, and that there is NOT ONE THING unable to be redeemed by His great love. NOTHING.
There is NO hurt we cannot forgive, because of His great love forgiving, first.
There is NO separation we cannot glorify Him in, because we canNOT be separated from His great love.