For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalms 100:5
…Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12
In 2009, we embarked on a new journey together – a call to Ghana, building on our faith already cultivated through growth. Then again, in 2012, another new phase of our journey – launch One Step In Faith (OSIF), building further on our faith and cultivating further through more growth. Continually, we have been and are tested, where these tests build a foundation firm in our belief, God is good all the time and He loves us. During those years and since, we have developed a deeper dependence and trust in God and His desires for both our family and OSIF. In these years and since our growth has not always been “steady as she goes”, sometimes these were steep, painful stretches. From the outside looking in, some who do not know us or possibly don't know the Lord, would question our call to follow God wherever He leads.
You see, over the years we have had various struggles, deaths, illness and injury, consistent issues with our home, consistent issues with our vehicles, financial roller coasters, and the list goes on. In 2015, Isabella was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. In 2016, we had a series of traumatic events occur near our home, creating great fear in our family. In 2017, over the course of one week - days before heading out to Greece - our vehicle and house A/C went out, as well as a storm landing one of our backyard trees on the back of our house. These are not isolated years or isolated events. These are just examples of our humble struggles. Yet, we don’t only believe, but embrace God is always at work molding us to be more like Him and this is good, if we allow Him. These years of difficulty, we always found peace in Jesus. And, through each and every one of these struggles, God has not only carried us through and provided, He has allowed our foundation of faith to harden so much more.
Now listen, struggle and pain have not been the whole story. In the midst of these clouds, God has brought us through such beautiful terrain, filled with experiences I never saw possible for our lives. Places, people and experiences we have felt so honored to have been invited to join. So many of you have come together alongside us, in order to provide education for children who otherwise would not have (or had) the opportunity, to provide support for mothers & foster families who have lost family support when they chose to stand-up for the life of their child/a child. These are all for and in His glory. None of this was possible without Him, and all of this was done in His name.
It's really been in this last year, where the steady growth is revealing a much bigger picture than we saw for ourselves. God had been preparing our body/mind/spirit for something much more important, where the stakes are much higher, and where the biggest transformation would occur. Through all those struggles and all those blessings, we built a foundation where Jesus was our center. I always say, it wasn’t roses and gumdrops, where everything flowed like a beautiful melody. It was a symphony of highs and lows, where God met us in our weaknesses and carried us when we were not strong enough on our own. His grace has always been sufficient. As 1 John explains, love is of God, intended for us to share by loving one another.
Although Ghana is still a part of our journey, God has been preparing us for the spiritual battlefield. He has been preparing us, in order that we may love our Muslim neighbors, who have endured so much suffering and loss.
Please keep us in your prayers, as we continue to seek and learn more about where and how God is leading us next, and that we continue to lean in, trust completely, and give glory to God who carries us through our weaknesses.
Thank you and hugs to you all...