Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
It is always an encouraging to time to worship God as we consider in a more concentrated way the birth of our Savior. It is encouraging that we are able to have increasingly more opportunities to speak of Christ to Lila as she is getting older and able to handle more conversation. Pray for us as parents that we would truly raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!
First, I want to praise God for the year 2020. In spite of certain obvious hardships in our world like those caused by covid19, God did not take a break this year from being God. Actually, as God, covid19 is no ultimate enemy to Him; but is actively being used to accomplish His purposes. This is no different than any other hardship in the history of this world. God has continued to purify and strengthen His church. He has continued to save those estranged from Himself. Certainly, He has continued to show His glory to the world whether they or we recognize it. So, let us praise God for what He has brought to us in 2020.
Second, the hardships of 2020 were/are very real. God’s sovereignty doesn't make them imaginary, rather it makes them purposeful. We can feel the sting of them with hope that God is in control of them and using them for our good and His glory.
Third, we had our fair share of hardships and encouragements. Some of the hardships are as follows: the loss of both of Hannah’s grandfathers, seeing another evidence of the curse of the fall in covid19, seeing many die from this disease, and watching our May 5th departure date for China go by.
Part of the beauty of our God is not just that He is good to us, but that He uses “bad” things for our good! This has certainly been the case this year. Here are just a few of the encouragements: being able to be with our families more (especially our kids being with their grandparents), extended time with our home church, and being conformed more into the image of Christ (we have learned how to have better patience and faith, and have also seen more of the sinfulness of our hearts and learned how to better battle it). If you have struggled to see good, at the very least acknowledge that God has graciously kept you by His grace!
Looking ahead to 2021
In our last updates I had mentioned some paperwork we were waiting on that was necessary to apply for visas to Taiwan. That paperwork has since come in and as of about 2-3 weeks ago we were able to send in our visa application. We are told that this should take about 6-8 weeks to process. We are waiting to make concrete plans until we get our visas approved, but if all goes as planned we are hoping to move to Taiwan in March. This means that we will start packing and preparing now.
How to Pray
First, pray for our preparations to move to Taiwan. Pray that we get our visas approved soon and that we will be able to pack efficiently.
Second, pray that China would open to us sometime in the next two years. This, by God’s grace, is still our intended destination for ministry.
Third, pray for spiritual protection as high stress stages of life are certainly vulnerable times when it comes to sin, especially within marriages. Preparing to move to another country seems to qualify as a high stress stage. Pray for my marriage and that I would better love Hannah like Jesus loves His bride!
May God keep and bless you!