Dear friends, family, prayer & financial partners and teammates,
A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Ash and I so grateful for all of you, without whom our ministry of medical-evangelism for the glory of God and the hope of nations would not take place!
There’s no joy without longing, C.S. Lewis shared, “All Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be’.”
And from John Piper (2015) …for the day, the season. (Ash and I were struck with “indictment preceding delight” …a wonderful indictment though, filled with hope as only the gospel is, yes?!)
“Prepare the Way…
He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:16–17)
What John the Baptist did for Israel, Advent can do for us. Don’t let Christmas find you unprepared. I mean spiritually unprepared. Its joy and impact will be so much greater if you are ready!
That you might be prepared…
First, meditate on the fact that we need a Savior. Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight. It will not have its intended effect until we feel desperately the bittersweet need for a Savior.
Second, engage in sober self-examination. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Let every heart prepare him room… by cleaning house.
Third, build God-centered anticipation, expectancy and excitement into your home — especially for the children. If you are excited about Christ, they will be too. If you can only make Christmas exciting with material things, how will the children get a thirst for God? Bend the efforts of your imagination to make the wonder of the King’s arrival visible for the children.
Fourth, be much in the Scriptures, and memorize the great passages! “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord!” Gather ‘round that fire this Advent season. It is warm. It is sparkling with colors of grace. It is healing for a thousand hurts. It is light for dark nights.”
May God bless you richly - in return for your intercessions, sacrifices and service - with all that counts for eternity!
And may He bless us richly with His Spirit that we might look to Christ, have a white-hot fire for Him, share Him and long for His ultimate coming all through 2017.
Betsy & Ash
PS... Would you please see the below 9-day Prayer Calendar (starts January 14th, if you’d tuck it away til next month!) to guide you in our needs for our upcoming ministry in Trinidad?! Thank you!
Prayer Calendar - TRINIDAD Medical-Evangelism Team - January 14-22, 2017
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16b
Sat. Jan. 14 Pray for safe travel, connections & arrival of all luggage with personal & medical supplies. Pray for favor getting through customs & that we’d be the sweet aroma of Christ to any agent we meet.
The greatest impact any of us can ever have on the missionary movement is to saturate it with prayer
and lead other Christians to pray with us. David Bryant
Sun. Sept. 12 Pray for bi-cultural team unity all week, as in Romans 15:5-7, but especially today as we worship with our Trini brothers & sisters in Christ. Pray for Ash as he teaches Sunday School, for pastor Ricky as he preaches & for our team of 28 as we prepare to share the Gospel & provide medical care for 4½ days. Pray for team health, humility, mutual encouragement & perseverance …as well as for lots of laughter!
May the God Who gives endurance and encouragement give [us] a spirit of unity among [our]selves
as [we] follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and one mouth
[we] may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6
Mon. Jan. 16 Pray for day #1 of clinic: 1. smooth organization, but that I personally would focus on relationships above team-leading tasks; 2. we’d be encouragements to Ricky & IATF (local police force); 3. we’d see those whom Holy Spirit calls to our clinic through God’s eyes; 4. correct diagnoses & compassionate treatments. Lift up our providers: Dan, Frank, Gary, Mike & Reatha; therapists Brooke & Steve; dentist Wendy.
Tues. Jan. 17 Pray for boldness in Christ in clinic-day #2: 1. Jesus would do miracles as we pray & seek His healing for our patients; 2. know protection against very real spiritual warfare with Jesus keeping back the darkness blinding souls to Gospel Truth; 3. grace to respond to anything God brings our way; 4. our focus be on lifting up Christ; 5. we’d not wane with tiredness. Pray for these servants: ultrasound tech Laci, pharmacist Lynette, nurses Adanna, Anita, Betsy, Connie, Danielle, Debbie, Geneva & Joe.
For this [we] toil, striving with all the energy He mightily inspires within [us]. Colossians 1:29
Wed. Jan. 18 Pray God will work in myriads of ways: 1. meaningful morning devotions & evening debriefs; 2. making Christ known to our patients; 3. emotional, physical & spiritual healings; 4. encouraging national brothers & sisters in Christ. Pray for non-medical servants in children’s evangelism, counseling, prayer, reading glasses, videography & patient flow: Annelise, Ash, Barbara, Cheryl, David, Diane, Jeff, Jessie, Ken, Marty & Mike.
Thurs. Jan. 19 Pray for our work today: 1. God to bring increased credibility & visibility to Ricky’s church; 2. we might be ‘midwives’ at births of new believers as Holy Spirit deigns to move in hearts of those who come for care; 3. any conflicts be lovingly resolved with humility & compassion. Pray for pastor Ricky, wife Denise & sons Jonathan (at GA Tech) & Josiah (high school senior).
I will make them strong in the LORD, and they shall glory in His name, says the LORD. Zechariah 10:12
Fri. Jan. 20 Pray for a restful day-off with further-team-building, fellowship & yes… laughter & play in the beauty of God’s creation on the northern coast of Trinidad.
Sat. Jan. 21 Pray for our final day of ministry at National Police Headquarters: 1. continued encouragement for Christians-in-minority on the force as we care for all officers & their families; 2. team relationships made during the week to deepen in Christ; 3. an evening of bi-cultural thankfulness at a dinner hosted by the Ministry of National Security; 4. blessings on our U.S. churches & families at home who’ve sacrificed so much for us to serve.
He that believeth in me, out of him shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:38
Sun. Sun. 22 Pray for safe travel as we return to the States; for us to be challenged for a lifetime by what God has shown us this past week; for open doors to witness in congregational presentations or through our newsletters. Pray God alone be glorified as we share. Pray He’d continue to use what He has taught week so that we might experience deeper walks with Him. Pray for Ricky & congregation to follow up effectively with those seen in clinics. Pray for our hearts & those of our prayer-partners to remain burdened for the needs in the Trinidad. Only the Gospel changes lives and countries!
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.
If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides,
so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11