Friends, I’m so grateful to be wishing you blessings upon your Christmas festivities. Just today the weather became appropriate holiday climate. Though I feel that God mistakenly placed me in the Midwest, I was able to enjoy this “snow-day” as a time to fellowship with roommates and feel the warmth of Christmas in the air. I was reminded of you today too. How can I thank you…I feel surrounded in this moment by your encouragement and your strength of faith. Thank you for being my family, I feel truly blessed.
To begin my Praise God Roll: You remember last month we were praying over the Boxes of Love outreach, where 90 urban partner churches were able to distribute 2,200 boxes of food in their communities. Praise God for His provision for all the boxes! Praise Him for the successful outreaches! One member of our team, Dave, was able to go out with one of these outreaches. He shared that as he and the pastor knocked at one particular door a woman. The mom was broken by this gesture of kindness and even more moved by the fact that she had nothing to feed her kids for supper that evening. She confessed that she heard the music from the church down the street many times, but never felt comfortable going. Now she was. Praise God!
On Wednesdays, I work with five 6th grade girls from St. Paul. God’s timing blew me away a few weeks ago. It amazes me that you can share the gospel over and over again, but at JUST THE RIGHT MOMENT God moves the heart. What a reminder that it is the Spirit of Power at work. Our group was talking about what happens when
you accept Christ. Mariah, quickly raising her hand as she can’t get the words out of her mouth fast enough, asks “But, Ms. Lauren, how do you first get Jesus in your heart?” I almost leapt out of my chair; this is exactly what every Christian begs to be asked! At that moment, Luz raises her hand too, asking if she can know too. Both of these girls prayed and asked Jesus into their heart, what a chorus in heaven.
Continued prayer in the planning of the purity retreat, we are asking God for 75 girls.
Pray for Luz and Mariah, that God would protect them as new believers.
Prayer for truth to be spoken into my life to fight against lies.
In writing this letter, I flipped through my journal to reflect on the past month. On December 2nd I wrote: “I am afraid. I am worried that I don’t have the ability, capacity, and the gifts to plan this Purity Retreat. I am worried that I don’t have any friends. I am worried that I’ve sinned too much lately. I am afraid that I’ve messed it up and I’m not supposed to be doing what I am.” I share this with you friends for the purpose of showing you the grace that God has gave me a moment later when I read, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid!” (Matthew 14:27). I find myself often as Peter, standing in the midst of a storm. I start looking at the elements around me: the burdens of the girls I mentor, the opinions of others, the work load, etc. I start to sink. But Jesus speaks to both me and the storm. “Take courage!” He shows that He is the powerful one. “It is I.” And he destroys my fear. “Don’t be afraid!”
I wish you a Happy Christmas and many blessings upon the New Year!