IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY! As I write this update, I’m sitting in a crowded Sharpstown Starbucks with three men from Eritrea; one is Muslim, and two are Christian. We’ve laughed a lot because I couldn’t, for the life of me, pronounce one of their names (despite LOTS of help)! My new Muslim friend, whose difficult name means “Victory,” told me I am the first “authentic” Texan he’s ever met. I gave him a warm welcome and a good, firm Texas handshake! He told me he had suffered a lot in his country, and he thanked me several times for “accepting” him. I told him I am a Christian and that my God loves everyone, everywhere, and that Jesus died for everyone, everywhere. He kept smiling and saying “Today is a beautiful day.”
I agree with “Victory.” Today is beautiful because I get to see laughter and smiles on the faces of men who know deep pain, and I get to sip coffee with them, and start new friendships. Today is beautiful because the “Good News” of God’s redeeming love is beautiful; and I get to rest in it, and share it with my new friends.
Pastor Darrin Patrick writes, “The gospel is the most beautiful story in the history of the world. In fact, the reason that other stories are beautiful—the reason we love movies, novels, and biographies that are saturated with redemption themes—is that they are an echo of the story. All good stories follow the same basic plot line of the gospel: the struggle between good and evil before an eventual triumph of good over evil. Tension, then harmony. Redemption. Sacrifice. Betrayal. Love. Suffering. Victory….The story of redemption captures the human heart, inviting and challenging us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”
- THANKSGIVING: I’m so thankful to God for providing me a new job this past week! I’m now working (and playing) with autistic children at Next Step Academy in Sugarland, Texas. I’m also thankful to God for providing me with the perfect temporary housing through two Taiwan friends here in Houston! (Thank you Tricia & Daniel!) And lastly, I’m extremely thankful to everyone who has financially supported Redeemer’s Love. So far, I’ve raised approx. 1/3 of my fundraising goal!
- PERMANENT HOUSING: I have a friend in real-estate who is being generous with his time to help me find a permanent place to rent in the Sharpstown area. Ideally, I’d love to be moved in by the end of this month. Prayers appreciated!
- IN GATHERING, OUT SERVING: We hope to begin meeting as a church in my living room by end of February, (or early March) for our regular Sunday morning gatherings (& meals!). And I’m getting excited to be out serving and loving our community by early March!
Thank you everyone for your prayers, support, and participation! Ultimately, what I want is for us to be swept up, together, in this grand, hope-filled story of redemption. It’s OK to pay fifteen bucks occasionally to watch it on the big screen, but that pales in comparison to living it.
Have a great week!