Happy Maundy Thursday!

Happy Maundy Thursday!  Now that’s something you don’t hear everyday.  Many of you, from non-liturgical traditions, may not know what Maudy Thursday is.   It is the day Jesus and his disciples had the “last supper” in which He instituted what we call communion or Holy Eucharist.  It is when Judas betrayed Jesus and when Jesus was arrested.  We don’t normally view this as a celebration, instead it is a somber, reflective time in Holy Week.

But for me, Maundy Thursday, 2007 was the day I was healed.   You see, over the course of many years I had gradually bought into a message that I was not worth caring for.  It happened so slowly I didn’t really notice, therefore, didn’t question it.  This also affected how I thought about God’s love.  I believed that God counts every hair on your head, and his head and her head.  But when it came to me, I had this image of the Atlanta Braves’ baseball stadium filled with people.  I imagined Jesus looking at my face in the midst of thousands of other anonymous faces saying, “Oh yeah, I love you too.”  Not that Jesus didn’t love me but not in the intimate way he loves you.  I was OK with that…I wasn’t worthy of anything more.

In March of 2007, I went on my first mission trip ever.  Of course, it was a mission trip to Tegucigalpa to work with LAMB.  We were building one of the cottages out of adobe block.  The children were still living in the rented house in Las Tapias on the outskirts of Teguc.  We saw them several times during the week.  I was moved, touched, amazed and in love with them.  Towards the end of the week, the Holy Spirit suddenly overwhelmed me by revealing a truth I hadn’t given much thought to.  In the south, you see “Jesus Saves” signs everywhere.  They are ubiquitous and become part of the scenery.  If I did notice one, to me it was an aspirational statement.  Someday, when I die, Jesus will save me.  What’s not to like about that?  Well, that day on the work site that would become the Children’s Home, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that Jesus saves those children right here, right now.  I was overwhelmed by the immediacy of that.  For the precious children I had come to love, Jesus was saving them, loving them in the moment!  I was filled with joy and awe at His love for them.  For them.  Not me.

Soon after I returned to the US, it was Maundy Thursday.  I was a chalice bearer for this very solemn service that ends with the stripping of the altar in preparation for Good Friday.  I and the other chalice bearers were kneeling in the back of the church as the service quietly ended.  Suddenly, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “And I save YOU, right here, right now. I love YOU!”  Just like that, I was healed.  No more feeling unworthy or uncared for.  Just like that I knew I was beloved, that Jesus died for me.  I remain secure in the knowledge that I am one of His beloved, saved now and forever.

So, Happy Maundy Thursday!  I wish you a Maundy Thursday filled with the knowledge that Jesus saves you, beloved, right here, right now!

Joey’s Prayer

American Flag ID-10047802Our time in the States has been a whirlwind—family time, friend time, meeting with current donors, meeting with potential new donors, raising awareness of our ministry, building relationships, and making time for rest, relaxation and fun. This has been our experience of our first missionary furlough. Unfortunately, our time has been sorely lacking on the rest and relaxation front, and I feel as though we are also falling short of having quality time with family and friends. It has been a balancing act, and I don’t think we have mastered the act; and now it is nearly time to return home.

Despite the busy pace of our time, it has been wonderful being Stateside; and we have loved every bit of time we have spent with family, friends and supporters. We have received much encouragement from everyone who is a part of our lives and that has flowed into our spiritual and emotional reserves, preparing us for the next leg of our ministry, one as a missionary couple.

There have been so many highlights, and there are many stories to share. I keep thinking about one, though, that I want to share with you. Not long ago, Wayne and I had the privilege to spend time with the youth at our church, St. George’s. After our presentation, when we were talking with several of the young people, a young man came up to me. He told me that he remembered my speaking to the youth before I left for Cape Town more than three years ago. He asked me if I remembered; I replied “yes.” He told me that he still had my prayer card that I handed to the youth (I didn’t remember the prayer cards.) and that he had posted it up in his room and has been praying for me every since. I couldn’t believe this–that this teenage boy remembered me and had been praying for me for the past three years! I nearly had tears in my eyes; it was one of the sweetest things I have heard. I know many people are praying for us, but to be reminded that more people than we realize are praying for us was extremely encouraging. Plus, Wayne and I work with young people in South Africa and knowing that this young man in the States is praying for us and our work with his South African counterparts is special to us in so many ways.

We are grateful for Joey’s prayer, and we ask that you join him in his prayer for us, especially as we prepare to go back to the field next month.

here we go…

we’re thankful to have you on this journey. we hope to use this site to share with you God’s unfolding story in our lives. most recently, we’ve been thrilled to see Him answer our prayer to serve in a missional setting together… enter AGAPE YEAR!

here’s a brief description of how we got here and where we are going, God willing. we hope you come along as well:

God doesn’t always take the most direct route. The past three years have proven this fact to our family. Shortly after meeting, we both shared our desire to partner with God’s mission in reaching every tribe, nation, and tongue. We hoped God would lead us to do this together, but we weren’t sure what it would look like. We’re two different people with different gifts. How could God use us together to do infinitely more than we could ask for or imagine? God took an interesting route in bringing us to this next step we’d like to share with you. Through seminary, unemployment, a gnarly job search, rewarding work found, God led the way. It was hard at times to trust He had us in His good hands. And, then His hand led us even further along, further into that vision He gave us early on and has been our heart’s prayer.

This past November, after much prayer and discernment, we accepted the call to be Directors of an Anglican Gap Year Program for recent high-school graduates. We couldn’t have expected our prayer to be answered in such profound and challenging way. Both Nate’s experience with business and entrepreneurship and my experience in teaching, ministry, and mentoring will be used together to build the Kingdom is this unique way.