“And I suppose that if all the other things Jesus did were written down, the whole world could not contain the books.” (John 21:25)
As I was reading this last verse from the Gospel of John while getting ready for our move, I realize that I can relate to what Apostle John expressed. He has seen and heard Jesus’ mighty work in person and experienced countless blessings over the three years when Jesus was on earth. Though Jesus is not visible today, he has done so many wonderful things in my life over the last 20+ years, mostly here at Ames, and through His people.
Before we moved to Ames in 2003, we were newly married and God already revealed to us that Stonebrook would be our church family where we would grow and serve. I am so grateful that many saints from Stonebrook and other churches in Ames have blessed and ministered to me and my family in countless ways over the years.
- Taught me the Word of God through Sunday teachings, conferences, and Bible studies
- Lifted us in prayers before the throne of grace
- Provided numerous encouraging words and godly counsel
- Showed me how to be a mom and manage our household
- Cooked us scores of meals after the births of four children and through my sickness
- Drove me to about 20 out-of-town doctor appointments
- Offered my boys many rides to school, classes, and activities, especially in cold winters
- Helped to baby sit, buy groceries, clean, and organize the house
- Most important of all, lived out their lives as Jesus’ followers …
Deep in my heart, I know that I do not deserve any of these wonderful kindness. I sometimes pondered, “Whom am I, God? Why have you lavished such love on me? Why do people love me knowing I can never return their favor? ” I later realized that the answer is simply this, “God is love. We love because he first loved us.”
Ladies, farewell. We are both sad to leave and excited to go as God is calling us to a new mission field. Over the past year, I tried to make sure in many ways that this big move is God’s will while at the same time taking many small steps of faith to walk in obedience. As you know, I probably will not be able to see most of you again in this life and have little opportunity to return the “favor” to you. But I am confident that you will receive the eternal reward for every kind deed you have done to me and others (Matthew 25:40). I look forward to the glorious day when we will have an everlasting fellowship with one other and with our Lord. No more tears, no more sorrow, and no more farewell!