Isaiah was born to us at 12:35am on August 3rd after only a few hours of regular contractions. His birth in a hospital was a new experience for us and we praise God that it all went well. We spent the month recovering from his birth and the short elective surgeries both mommy and son underwent. We are thankful for this peaceful little boy who is sleeping and nursing well, and for the timer we put on for his sisters who want to hold him many times throughout the day. Rejoice with us in our family of six and pray for us as we learn how to make adjustments to family and ministry life with four children.
Thefts and Leaving but Confirmation of Purpose
To contrast our joy in Isaiah, we are saddened that two young men left Campus this month. One was found with a cousin who formerly lived here pulling out our master ring of keys. Later these keys were found in the library, but some DVD players were no longer there. Our tool shed was also found open and our newly-repaired, heavy duty chainsaw was gone.
Little did we know that this betrayal would lead to a deepening of relationship with Gerson (20 year-old who lives with us). When we discovered the missing chainsaw, Gerson went and spoke privately with the local drug dealer/purchaser-of-stolen-items. In the back-door way of communicating here, he confirmed who the thief/seller was; he also gave Gerson the name and phone number of the buyer, along with the warning “Don’t make any false moves.” So the next day, Gerson and I (Larry) drove an hour away to this man’s town. I stayed out of sight while Gerson walked up to his house with double the amount of money the man paid for the chainsaw in his pocket. Of course this large, tattooed, muscular man demanded more. But since that is all that Gerson had, the man spewed profanities, threats and insults at Gerson, along with the chainsaw. Gerson said that immediately so many Bible verses flowed out of his mouth that he didn’t know where they were all coming from. And he told this hard man “God is enough for you.”
As Gerson and I drove the hour back home we experienced great joy as we spoke about the experience. Gerson was ecstatic that the Holy Spirit had powerfully worked in and through him rather than having reacted in the sin nature. We rejoiced in this evidence of rebirth and Christ in him, and we prayed for the other man who is living in carnality and death. We rejoiced in the joy of redemption, and each of us being able to play the role of the Redeemer, even if it was for a chainsaw. And with tears in his eyes Gerson rejoiced at being able to serve a family, his own family, Christ’s family, even risking his life for us his brothers and sisters, even when his own blood relatives were the thieves. We thanked God for his joining us into his family and the opportunity to begin living his kingdom now with each other even as we wait for its coming.
Later, Bayron (22 year-old engineering student who lives with us) and I were able to speak with two of the boys involved. We encouraged them to return to Jesus and his kingdom of light, and we warned them of the coming destruction. I listened with deep gratitude as Bayron testified of his faith in Jesus and why he has chosen to live as his disciple at Campus. And we both experienced great joy in together seeking out these boys who had committed crimes against us, and calling them urgently and lovingly to repentance. Give thanks with us for Bayron and Gerson, and intercede with us for the other boys.
Praise the Lord for:
1. Healthy baby Isaiah David and Allison after the fourth (and last) pregnancy in 5.5 years.
2. Bayron and Gerson’s growing faith and participation in God’s redemption of a tough situation
3. Joel and Deidre, two new volunteers with us, who have carried many responsibilities during the last two months
Pray to the Lord for:
1. Peace and strength as parents in ministry with a fourth small child in the house
2. Gerson and Bayron to continue to grow in the face of temptations and peer pressure
3. The return of the other boys to Jesus
4. Larry and family as he prepares and travels to Nicaragua to speak at an ECHO Agricultural conference this month