Do you love Me more than these?

feet

I have been contemplating this question a lot over the past week. For me, one of the biggest struggles with moving overseas and serving in Latvia is leaving my family and friends. I know I will be able to see them via Skype, and when we return to reconnect, but just the thought of knowing I will be halfway around the world without them close scares me sometimes. This is a big issue that I have had to work through over the years, but as things are becoming more of a reality that fear has been slipping back in. I hear the doubts of the tempter as he tries to discourage me away from the calling God has placed on our lives. And as the doubts come, I hear the still small voice asking, “Do you love Me more than these?” I reply, “Yes, Lord. I love You more.” “Then, follow me,” He gently responds. This is a continual process, as I work through my doubts and fears.

During this process, I was reminded of a couple interactions Jesus had with people desiring to follow Him. In Matthew 8:18-22, Matthew writes:

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (ESV)

These two men desired to follow Christ. One was asked to give up comforts; while, the other closeness of family. Ultimately, Jesus was calling them to decide. Would they follow Him no matter the cost? Would their allegiance to Him be above everything else?

Do you love Me more than these? Are you willing to follow Me where I lead? Do you trust Me? God is calling me to Latvia, and I will follow.

follow

~Thoughts from Tim

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Family Reunion

Baby's first visit to Disneyland

Baby’s first visit to Disneyland

Family is essential because we all yearn to feel like we belong to something greater than ourselves. ~Laura Ramirez

This past week, we had the joy of spending time with Mary’s sister Rachel, Mary’s cousins Anne and Laura, Tim’s aunt and uncle and Tim’s immediate family on vacation. The end of our week in California culminated in a family reunion to celebrate Tim’s grandma’s 90th birthday where we were able to connect with 30+ relatives on the Dady side. We were so blessed to visit with many relatives Tim hadn’t seen in years, and introduce Mary to many of the Dady relatives for the first time. We both felt very welcome and at home. One of the reasons why this reunion was great was because we were immediately accepted because we are family. We were all connected by the common bond of being Dadys.

Grandma and some of the Dady cousins

Grandma and some of the Dady cousins

Tim with the nephews, CJ, Joey, and Danny

Tim with the nephews, CJ, Joey, and Danny

Sonic! with Rachel

Sonic! with Rachel

Sisterly love

Sisterly love

With Mary's cousins, Anne and Laura, and second cousin Daniel

With Mary’s cousins, Anne and Laura, and second cousin Daniel

Our relationships with these people were even sweeter when we shared another connection, a common faith in Jesus Christ. This is why the family of God is so beautiful, although we all come from different physical families,  we are one family in Christ. In Ephesians 2:19-22, speaking of the family of God, Paul writes:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

This reality is what spurs us on to serve youth in Latvia. For we long to see more and more people be added to the household of God. We rejoice that already this summer over 35 students have come to new faith in Christ through Josiah Venture camps in Latvia, and are now our brothers and sisters. We also find hope in the fact that we can find acceptance and rest in Christ. We are forever accepted into the family of God not because of any merits of our own, but only because of our faith in Jesus.