Dear Family and Friends,
Glory to God! I recently had the honor of carrying the cross through Belize. What a privilege! In 1988 and 1989 I walked with the cross along the Pan American Highway, from Panama on up to Mexico. I didn’t pass through Belize, however. For many years, I’ve prayed to be able to return to Central America to walk through this nation. While in Antarctica, I felt that God wanted me to go to Belize in January. I carried the cross from the coast, Belize City, to the capital, Belmopan. The people were so warm and lovely, and they welcomed the cross openly. During this trip, I had the wonderful privilege of speaking at a national rally. Later I was even invited to lead a Jesus march that brought together many of the national churches and ministries of the nation for a great Jesus witness in the streets. From the first day until the last, God poured out His glory and beauty as the cross was carried through the streets and along the roadsides!
At the beginning of the walk, a young man ran up to me, crying out, “I saw the cross, and I knew you could help me!” He said, “I’m a bad man. I’m a thief and I’m about to become a murderer.” He told me that he was about to kill his wife, another man, and then his children because he couldn’t care for them. Finally, he was going to take his own life. After reading a few short stories from the Gospel about how Jesus loved “bad” people, he suddenly pulled out a gun. Then, with a loud scream, he threw it into the sea. Next he pulled out a knife and also threw it into the sea. Finally, he fell to the ground, crying and praying. The next day I met a clean, well-groomed, young man who was beaming–it was him! He had cut his hair and wanted to carry the cross. He was ready to go and tell his old friends how Jesus changes lives!
How beautiful when God changes a life!! Recently, as we were moving, Josiah, my son, wanted to help. Though we could easily do it without him, he felt so important as we allowed him to be a part. In the same way, God could reach the world much more effectively without us. Yet, even though we sometimes get in the way, God has given us the wonderful privilege of working together with Him. As we live with Him, He takes a little portion of His heart and shares it with us. His love for people is so great–sometimes, it’s unbearable! I believe that His heart breaks over this world. It is this call to reach out to the lost, broken, poor, and needy of this world for Jesus that burns in my heart. I never want my identity to be in what I do, still the call of God leads us on.
I believe that ministry is the overflow of a life lived in love with Jesus. However, in our success-oriented society it’s so easy to get busy doing something for God that we forget to enjoy being with Him. At times it’s possible to get so preoccupied in finding His will that we miss the simplicity of His will–loving Him and caring for others! I’m ready to go to the nations with the cross, yet I want my life to be shaped by the cross. I guess when it all comes down to it, the goal is to be a friend of God; not a minister, not even a “cross carrier.” By the grace of God, my desire is to be a simple pilgrim follower of Jesus. In the Bible, Samuel said, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” King David said, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God ”
Once again, we want to say thanks for your friendship and example of Jesus. Thank you for your overwhelming generosity of love–your prayers, letters, calls, and gifts that encourage us. You have truly gone with us to the nations. It is a glorious privilege to serve and follow Jesus together with you.
God Bless You!!