I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. (Philemon 1:4-7)
Greetings from Ohio!
Philemon 1:4-7 were my devotional verses this morning and it was so appropriate for where we are right now. Alise and I are at the end of a ten day trip which has included security training, church visits, meals with new friends, and speaking at a regional gathering of pastors. Honestly, usually when I read the the opening of letters like this, I usually fly through it to get to the “meat” of the letters and dismiss the introduction as rhetoric. Today, however, I read these verses and paused, then read them again thinking about all the new people we have met this past month and how thankful I am for all the people God has put us together with on this journey.
What I am so thankful for is seeing how many people are taking part in God’s mission to the lost in this world in different ways. I’m encouraged because it shows me that we are not alone – we are just one small part of God’s big plan. I’m also encouraged by the people who affirm our own message and calling. As Paul mentions in his letter to Philemon, at the base of it all, what connects us together, what encourages me the most, is the love I have seen and experienced in people. I wanted to share a few of the ways we have experienced love and encouragement:
This was a simple post to share some of what we have experienced this past month. Even though we aren’t in Thailand yet, we have seen God at work! We are already in the mission field, and God is moving in churches and individuals. This trip wasn’t just about visiting churches and sharing our story – it was about connecting with brothers and sisters in Christ and mutually encouraging each other. To borrow from Paul; as we meet and speak with you, your love gives us great encouragement and you continually refresh our hearts. We are thankful and encouraged for each and every one of you.
Trying to follow,
Mark & Alise
Our homeschool adventure has begun!
Sydney and Gavin are now official homeschool kids! After one month they are starting to settle into a routine. What stands out so far is how connected to each other they have become. They are really learning to work well together as a team on projects – especially video recording each other’s science experiments. The curriculum we have chosen encourages us to have conversations with them about what they are learning – in the Bible, in history, science, etc. To keep them connected socially they have group activities such as bible, math, and science clubs, Tae Kwom Do lessons, and rock climbing classes. Kolin is still at preschool but looks forward to joining his brother and sister soon!