March 12, 2008 - No Condemnation
Dear Family and Friends,
This past week a good friend of mine asked, "Lisa, will you be mad at me if I don't always read your updates?" Later, another person apologized for not reading them. I'm receiving these comments as a prompting to respond to everyone as I wonder if others are feeling that way as well. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Romans 8. This chapter starts out with the assurance that ". . . there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." As I write these long updates, my prayer is not that every person who receives the updates will read them, but that God would use them in the lives of those that He prompts to read them. Several people whom God has placed in my life over the years have taught me that God calls us, His children, to allow our lives/our stories/our mistakes/our weaknesses/our victories to be visible and available for Him to use in the lives of others. I believe that we are then called to trust Him to use these things as He chooses, not as we choose. So, please know that we send these updates out with a commission to "just be available", and do not hold judgment over anyone who does not read them. "There is now no condemnation . . "
You may notice that our emails have a certain structure with this first part being more of a "devotional" or personal sharing; the second part being prayer requests; and the third part is an assortment of things from facts about Nicaragua to pictures of our family to stories about our kids. We do invite you too to give us the privilege of praying for you as well. Our hope is that we grow in relationship with you throughout this process as this, we believe, is really what life is all about - relationship with God and with others.
Change: You can now reach our blog at www.vanzoest.blogspot.com and our web site is still at www.danvanzoest.com
For those of you who are new to these updates, you can visit our blog to read past updates and learn more about the history of this calling.
This week, we were contacted by a friend who is on the missions committee at her church. She asked for information to pass on for the committee to review in their March meeting.
We now have 5 people who plan to join us for the potluck and prayer time next Sunday!
Dan talked with his supervisor last Friday about Nicaragua. The meeting was positive and his supervisor even mentioned that if our support raising takes us past August, they will still have plenty of things for Dan to do. We praise God for a supportive employer!
· Please pray for the processing of our applications with Christian Reformed World Missions. Our initial email with the applications did not go through. We discovered the problem 4 days later. The problem was due to a difficulty with their system in receiving attachments. We pray that there would be no more delays. Please continue to pray for wisdom for those who review our applications and contact our references.
· Please pray for Dan as he organizes our presentation and for me as I develop the vision for small group dinners.
· Please continue to pray for 10 local couples to be available to do a small group dinner for us. Our prayer is also to do small group dinners in cities throughout the US as we travel to churches this summer. We currently have 4 local couples who have indicated interest in hosting a dinner and another couple in Indianapolis!
Thank you so much for your prayers. Dan and I are very much at peace in the midst of so many unanswered questions. Our sense of calling is strong and we are enjoying the process of pursuing the next steps that God leads us to. We know that we are being lifted in prayer - thank you!
Our kids, by their own initiative, have been giving many of their things away to their friends these past couple of weeks (thanks to the Moms of these children for graciously allowing more "stuff" into their homes!). This past Sunday in church, we were reminded that "surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus and living a life of service and sacrifice for the sake of the gospel brings joy." We are watching that principle play out in our kids right now as they are excited about giving many of their things away and seem able to hold possessions with an open hand at this point.
Rebekah has expressed a strong desire to live in a house - not an apartment- in Nicaragua (this has to do with her desire to have a dog which is more likely to happen if we live in a house). She and I are praying for God's provision for us in this. Will is concerned about finding "American friends" who will want to play football with him. Much to Will's relief, we've read that there is a Mc Donalds in Managua and he is now assured that he will not starve. (He is our picky eater).
Our Children's Pastor asked us to put together a presentation for the kids to share with Children's Church. A few days later, Rebekah's teacher at school asked if we would consider doing a chapel at Isaac Newton Christian Academy. We see both of these as opportunities for the kids to learn how to communicate mission and vision to their peers. We also look forward to how God will work in the hearts of children to be more aware of God's heart for the nations!