Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From One Red Clay to Another


This past year, I served as an AmeriCorps member at Richardson Park Elementary School. I coordinated the Mentoring Program and was quickly welcomed into the family there. When my term ended in August and four more months stood between me and Kenya, my principal had pity on my would-have-been-unemployed-self, and I became an actual employee of the Red Clay Consolidated School District.


I love being “Miss Saadeh” to the kids. I get dozens of mini-people hugs each day, all while trying to learn all their names and make as many of them feel as special as possible. And the same students that I have sought out to help, have themselves taught me so much about life, about myself, and about the Lord.

One particular lesson jumps out in the pages of my mind.

This one comes from a third-grade friend. We’ll call him Joey. Now Joey sometimes preferred his own choices to my directions. And one day, he preferred MANY of his own choices to my directions, which ended up landing him a seat in the principal’s office. Not only that, but his mom, teacher, and I joined for this little conference. All of a sudden, my little Joey was as remorseful as could be. The only time he managed to raise his lowered head was to look me in the eye with a sincere apology and the promise of making better choices next time. With a hug to seal the deal, I truly believed I would see a new Joey from that point on. He seemed like he had learned his lesson and was set to make better choices.

That was on a Friday.

And then Monday came.

I have to admit, I was a bit taken back when I saw Joey coming off the bus on Monday, as mouthy and disrespectful as before. Where had my apologetic friend gone? As I was still trying to wrap my head around the two juxtaposing versions of Joey, it hit me.

I am Joey.

I go about my own life, sometimes preferring my own choices to God’s directions. And some days, I might prefer MANY of my own choices to God’s directions. These moments of disobedience land me a seat before my Maker, where I am found confessing my shortcomings before a Holy and perfect God. With eyes welled up and head lowered in shame, I determinedly promise to not make the same mistakes again. To live in light of his forgiveness. To  walk in freedom, not bound like a slave to my sin.

But then Monday comes.

And from this dawning realization of who I am, I take away a couple reminders that I hope will remind you, too.

The danger of judging someone else. The flaws I find in others are just as present within me. “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” [Romans 2:1]

The need for a life lived by the Holy Spirit. I personally cannot live in accordance to what God commands of me, but the Spirit can. I must cling to His power within me.  “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” [Romans 8:6]

The importance of repentance. Because I am still here on this fallen earth, I will need to bring before the Lord my brokenness on a continual basis. But what a joyful assurance to know that He has promised to forgive! “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]

As my countdown has changed from months to weeks, I anticipate meeting a new batch of students. Students who will teach me new lessons about life, about myself, and about the Lord. And as I trod around on the red, dusty desert of Korr, I pray that I will hold fast to the lessons learned here.

From one Red Clay to another.

{“May Africa’s red dirt not only stain your shoes…but also your heart.”}

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Now that's my kinda math!


I’ve always enjoyed math. That overly zealous school child, frantic hand waving and all, was me. I loved trying to solve a problem. It was a challenge, and I never wanted to back down.

Yet as I looked down at five numbers in May, it was enough to instill a little bit of angst inside my eager heart.

1.6.8.4.9.

Five of the ten numbers that exist in our numeric system. I was best friends with numbers in school. Why should these five quicken my heart beat now?

Well, you put them together, and you get 16,849. Sixteen thousand, eight hundred, and forty-nine.

And then you add one little seven-letter word.

Dollars.

Sixteen thousand, eight hundred, and forty-nine dollars.

Considering I had never made more than eight dollars per hour at that point in my twenty-three year old life, you can imagine why that figure was enough to keep my blood pumping fast. And as I looked down at that sheet one expectant spring day, I saw that $16,849 was the amount I needed to raise in order to serve in Kenya for one year.

I took a deep breath, reminded myself why I was traveling this path, and then dove head first into support raising.

But most importantly, I stood back, and watched God move.

You see, I honestly believe that motivation for giving comes from God, as He moves in the hearts of people. My part was to inform and give opportunity without imposing undue pressure or obligation.

I informed. God moved in hearts. And people gave.

And gave.

And gave.

I am humbled that my family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers, entrusted their offerings to the Lord with me. That is a high privilege and a high responsibility, and I am highly relieved that I have the Holy Spirit within me to guide and direct my steps in light of that reality.

So for those of you who supported me financially, thank you.

Truly, thank you. I couldn’t do it without you.

I also know that my deep appreciation pales in comparison to the delight God finds in His children when they give readily.

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” [2 Corinthians  9:7]

Six months ago, I looked at those five numbers, wondering if I would be able to raise the amount equivalent to them. $16,849 needed.

 $16,849 (and some!) given.

100% funded. Now that’s my kinda math!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Banana Bread


It’s my go-to.

Anytime I need to help celebrate a birthday. Anytime I need to bring an item to a potluck. Anytime I need to placate my mother for leaving to live in a foreign land.

Banana Bread.

One of my college roommates was an excellent baker, and she would indulge me every once in awhile by making this treat for us. As the year dwindled down, I realized I would soon be without my roommate’s treasured ability to make such a mouth-watering snack. She happily shared her recipe with me, and although not the most skilled or practiced in the kitchen, I’ve managed to re-create her specialty time and time again.

I enjoy watching all the ingredients come together, but one thing has always puzzled me. It has to do with the fruit that gives the bread its name. The state of this main ingredient.

You see, I’m kind of a banana freak. I love bananas, but they have to be just perfect for me to eat them. As soon as those rascally brown dots start forming, they are no longer a viable option for me. 

So, for any of you that have filled your kitchen with the sweet aroma of this homemade treat, you know that the bananas needed are not the perfect ones I enjoy eating. Rather, it’s the browned, mushy, just-days-before-moldy-growths-start-appearing bananas that make the bread taste the best.


The worst bananas make the best bread?

Yes, they do.

And one day, as I was quickly unpeeling the nearly-rotten fruit, my overly analytical brain made the transition.

Could God use me, the worst of sinners, to make a great impact for Him in this world?

Yes, He can.

In fact, God has a habit of using imperfect people to accomplish His work. David was an adulterer. Jacob was a liar. Gideon was afraid. The list goes on. And yet, God used these men to make His name known.

“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in Him.” [1 John 4:15]
“For in Him, we live and move and have our being.” [Acts 17:28]

That’s where it gets great!

I am a sinner. There is nothing I can do to save myself. But God, in all His justice and mercy, allowed Christ to take the punishment for my sin, and I now acknowledge Him as Lord of my life. Because of that, God lives in me. So despite my sinful nature, I am able to make a great impact because God himself acts in me to make that possible.

But sometimes, I forget. I feel like I personally need to bring something to the plate. Something to offer on my own. And just as I try to show God my pretty yellow banana, He reminds me that apart from Him, I have no good thing.

He alone can take me, bruises and all, and make something good.

In two months, I will be traveling to Kenya to serve as a teacher among the Rendille people. I pray that while I am there, God’s name will be made known. And not because I am able. But because, He is able through me.

Don’t be afraid to offer your brown speckles to God. He is able to turn them into something great J


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Friends...forever?


About two months ago, I walked into a room that I had only briefly visited in the previous five years. I was welcomed by an abundance of old belongings which quickly reminded me that it had indeed been awhile since I had slept regularly within these four walls.

Feeling brave one recent evening, I pulled out a box from beneath my bed that had sat there relatively untouched in its 10 years of existence. I opened the flaps and was quickly greeted with memories from my past. Gifts, pictures, and cards from my school years were soon scattered on the floor. A similar theme coursed throughout the many trinkets I leafed through, whether emblazoned on a picture frame or scribbled in a handwritten note.

“Friends forever.”

Forever, eh? Forever is a difficult notion to wrap your head around as an adult much less as a child or a teenager. But sure enough, my friends and I were determined to have our friendships last for as long as we could possibly imagine.

But as inevitability has it, schools change, personalities mature, characters develop. Friendships that once were destined to last to infinity and beyond may slowly fade into a memory tucked away in a box beneath a bed.

As I pondered the friendships in my life- some that have come and gone, others that have come and stayed, and even some that have come, gone, and since returned- I couldn’t help but be reminded of one Friend in particular.

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” [John 15:15]

Jesus, the One with every right to call me servant, chose to call me friend.

The closest of friends share their deepest thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and this is exactly what the Lord did for us. He chose to make known all that He had learned because He desired to call us friend. What a remarkable reality! And two verses earlier, we see an excellent depiction of what this friendship means for us.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13]

Jesus, my closest friend, laid down His life for me. For you. For those who have never even heard of Him. And He did that so we could experience life with him, true friendship. The kind of friendship that lasts forever.

I don’t always understand His friendship. I can go days and days without spending time with Him. I can forget to thank Him for the gifts with which He has provided me. I can flat out ignore or reject the commands He has given me out of love. And my experiences tell me that these actions should cause this friendship to slowly fade away, but this friendship is not dependent on me. He has offered this friendship to me as a gift, that once accepted, cannot be taken away. I strive to be a good friend, but when I fail Him, I know that He will not walk away from our friendship.

I am so thankful there is a Friend who wants to walk through life with us, every footstep along the way. Do we, as Christians, rely on our closest Friend? For those of you who have not accepted this gift of friendship, do you desire to taste of a love that never ends?

Although many friendships will not last a lifetime, this is one that undoubtedly will.

Friends forever.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Middle of Somewhere


We’ve all heard the phrase, and most of you have probably used it at some point in your life. It’s seemingly harmless, and I’ve never really given a second thought to it before. After all, when there’s nothing else around you, the best description may very well seem like “the middle of nowhere.”

Not too long ago, I was talking with a stranger about my upcoming time in Kenya. He asked where I would be located, and I responded that it was a remote area in the north central part of the country.

“It’s kinda in the middle of nowhere.”

I figured he would nod his head in response, somewhat impressed by me venturing off into the desert. He could then shake my hand, wish me good luck, and be on his way. My haughty attitude was quickly corrected.

“That place doesn’t exist.”

I was taken aback. Excuse me? Of course it exists. I wasn’t following him until he continued with striking simplicity and amazing depth of insight.

“Every place is a somewhere.”

I couldn’t help but smile and agree with this man whom I had met only moments earlier. I hadn’t realized what I was implying beforehand. Yes, certainly, every place is a somewhere.

Two weeks ago, the somewhere I had the privilege of visiting took me to Pottstown, PA. I was able to share with a lovely and welcoming group of people the journey God has placed me on and the somewhere that I am headed to. And in return, I was able to hear about the ministry that they take part in, reaching out to people in their somewhere, so that God’s name may be proclaimed.

And in four months, my somewhere will be a remote little town in northern Kenya. There might not be a whole lot of people. There might not be a whole lot of businesses or shops. And there’s not likely to be a whole lot of “things to do” as defined by American standards.  But by no means does that qualify Korr as a nowhere. It’s teeming with people with stories and names and faces. They are valued and loved by the God who created them. And that’s more than enough to make the place they call home a somewhere.

This truth then wraps me to my core. I have value. I have worth. I am a “somebody.” Not because of anything inherent within me or because of anything I’ve done to earn those things, but rather, because God gives me value. He gives me worth. He looks at me with delight.

“But now this is what the Lord says… ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’” [Isaiah 43:1]

God knows me by name and has redeemed me. When I have sin, he gives me forgiveness. When I am unlovely, he shows me love. And when I was a nobody, he made me a somebody.

I pray that you are reminded of this beautiful truth each time the sun appears over the horizon and a new day begins. The worth that is found in Him is a gift that He freely offers, and I desire for everyone to be enveloped in that incredible reality. Nothing else can ever truly satisfy.

Be renewed in that hope. Wherever life has you. In your middle of somewhere.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ryan David


I sat quietly in a small room with no more than 15 chairs. At first, I was the only one there, but then a few others arrived to wait expectantly. There was nothing exciting, nothing extraordinary as we sat. A man wrote in a notebook as his wife kept him company. An older woman leafed through a magazine. A young couple chatted as they fiddled with their phones. I tried to patiently pass the time until I was told that it was time to meet him.

Ryan David Creek. Perfection wrapped up into 7lbs 13 oz, and 22” in length.



As I met him for the first time, I couldn’t help but think about this new life.  How God himself had formed this precious child in my sister’s womb. And I also couldn’t help but remember a giggly 16 year old Jackie telling me about her boyfriend, Matt.  Now, over 8 years later, I stared into the eyes of a little one who is half him, half her.

New life. Precious child. 

The parallels are just too striking for me.

I am quickly reminded of the new life that God has given to me, and has offered to anyone who would believe in Him. You see, I’m a sinner, and I can’t save myself. I was separated from God and on a path to an eternity without him. I was in desperate need of this new life. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” [Eph 2:1] 

But thankfully, the passage continues. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.” [Eph 2:4-5] 

As my sins entangled my hopeless body, I was brought into life. I was dead, but now I am alive! A new life in Christ is cause for great celebration, just as we celebrated little Ryan's birth today. Being brought into a living state is no small thing!

And here’s where the great news continues. Not only do I have new life, but I am God’s child. Did you catch that? To those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life, God- the God of the entire universe- calls them children. Precious children. One of my favorite verses speaks to that marvelous reality. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”   [1 John 3:1]

With the images of new parents fresh in my head, I take a moment to change the roles.

God holds and embraces me.
He looks lovingly into my eyes.
He kisses me sweetly on the forehead.

The image is almost unreal, but it’s true. God paid a painful price for me, by sending His Son to die in my place, yet He considered me worth it. And although I have done absolutely nothing to earn or deserve it, he loves me like a father loves his child.

Have you experienced this new life? Can you call God your Father? If you never have, I would encourage you to check it out. The life and love that God offers is unlike anything that can be found on this earth. For those of you who have, I challenge you to take a moment now to praise God for His grace and unconditional love in your life.

Welcome to the world little guy, and thanks for bringing me back to the One who made it.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sky High Lessons


“Would you like a window or aisle seat?”

The answer comes as easily as saying my name. Window please.

For those of you who have ever ridden on an airplane, you know it can be quite the experience. Long lines, hurried travelers, and quart-sized bags of liquids are commonplace. But for me, those are but small inconveniences when they allow me to sit down next to that tiny window that gives me a glimpse into the world that God has made.

I was privileged to travel quite a bit in the past few weeks, and each time I stepped foot on the aircraft, it seemed like God had something to teach me.

A Paradox: [par-uh-doks] “a statement, seemingly absurd, yet really true”
Part of the reason I love sitting next to the window is because it makes me so in awe of my Creator God, who made the mountains and the oceans and the forever long stretches of green. In my own little bubble, I can quickly forget just how BIG the world is. But at seven miles into the sky, I am quickly reminded.
This then prompts the realization of just how SMALL I am. I can get so easily lost in my own little world, forgetting that there are 7 billion other people roaming about this place we call earth. And this is where I stand in awe of my Personal God, who made ME and knows ME intimately, and desires to be in relationship with ME. Can this be true? In a world that is bigger than my finite mind can possibly begin to wrap itself around, God loves me personally, enough to send His Son to die for me.
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" [Psalm 8:3-4]

Generosity:  [jen-uh-ros-i-tee] “readiness or freedom in giving”
My former neighbor, and USAirways pilot, Dave Hoffmann, found out at the beginning of the year that I was pursuing becoming a missionary in Africa. With potential ministry partnerships too far away to drive, he offered his one and only registered guest pass to me. This is no small gift, as I am able to fly anywhere in the US for free, allowing me to reach people and places that I would otherwise be unable to (see below!) His generosity left me speechless, and pointed me back to our Father who is the prime example of what it looks like to give freely in the first place:
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all- how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” [Romans 8:32]

Body of Christ:  [bod-ee] “a number of individuals regarded as a single entity”
Never in my life could I have imagined that I would be a guest speaker at a church one day, but that is precisely what happened this past weekend at First Baptist Church in Colfax, IA. This church brought a group of youth and adults to West Virginia last summer for their missions trip, and when they found out I was embarking on a missions trip of my own, they were enthusiastic to support. My main contact, Kendra Halferty, outdid herself as she coordinated the whole weekend to be filled with fun events aimed at making my time special. I was reunited with the group from last year, in addition to meeting many more members of their church. I was again reminded that together, we can be more powerful for the Lord than we are apart. I was blessed beyond belief by their desire to partner with me in my ministry, and I walked away with a great sense of unity that bridges the gap between Delaware and Iowa.
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” [1 Corinthians 12:12]

So the next time you are able, look out your window. Whether that be the window of a house, car, or airplane, check out what surrounds you. Take a moment to breathe in the reality that God created the world you are living in and has created you to be in meaningful relationships with those who fill it.

Yes, definitely. Window please.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Loving Father


Picture this:

A young boy waits anxiously in his school chair. He tries to listen to the teacher, but he can’t help but notice the clock getting closer to 3 o’clock. He enjoys school, but he is looking forward to something extra special tonight.

His dad will begin the task of building shelves in their basement tonight, and he has asked his son to help him.

The young boy loves being with his dad and delights in the thought of being able to help him out. Sure, he’s only six, but his dad has already taught him how to hammer a nail, and he knows he will be a big help.

When he gets home, the son hugs his father and they get straight to work. The mom smiles as she hears evidence of their work from upstairs. Hammering, sawing, and giggling assures her that they are having a great time.

Within a week, the shelves are completed. There are some reminders that a six year old was involved, as there is an uneven edge here, and a crooked nail there, but with the help of his dad, they look beautiful.

Now, let me ask you a question. Do you think the dad needed the help of his six year old son?

As a fully grown adult, this father surely could have done the work on his own. In fact, it might have been a little easier for him to just do it himself. Yet, the love for his son is deep, and he wanted to include him in the process. He is filled with joy to spend time with his son and to see his son delighted in him. He didn’t need his son, but he wanted him.

Oh, what a beautiful picture of our Heavenly Father.

Surely, God does not need me. Really, it’s quite comical to think that my bumbling, stumbling self could offer assistance to a perfect God. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25). Certainly God does not have foolishness or weakness, but Paul here is making a point. Even when I do “get it right,” there is an insurmountable gap between what I can offer and what God is able to do.

And here’s the amazing part: God desires to have my “get-it-wrong-more-than-right” self as a part of His work! As His child (1 John 3:1), He desires me to participate in His will being done here on earth as it is in Heaven. He knows that I will mess up, that I’ll bend a nail in half or miss spots painting, but He loves me and wants me to be a part of what He is doing. Not because I have much to offer, but because He desires me and wants me to be delighted in Him. Just as a child is delighted in “helping” his father. And just as that father finds delight in his child.

In just over 6 months, I will board a plane for Kenya to teach in a primary school for a year. I will live amidst people who mostly have not heard of our Father’s unconditional love. What a privilege to be a part of the work that God is doing among these people to make His name known. And to think, that He has invited me to be a part of it… well, that’s just awesome!

God’s work is certainly not limited to overseas missions. His command to “Go and make disciples” is one that can be fulfilled wherever God has us. What specific mission are you joyful to be a part of with your Father? Do you know the deep love of this Father? If you don’t (or if you need to be reminded), I challenge you to find a Bible and learn about the unconditional love He offers. The Book of John can be a great place to start.

On this day especially, I am reminded of the blessing of being overwhelmed in the love of my Heavenly Father and of His desire for me to be involved in His work.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Olive Branch Christian Church


YouthWorks.

For those of you who don’t know, I had the amazing privilege of working for an organization called YouthWorks (www.youthworks.com) the past two summers. The mission of YouthWorks is to provide life-changing, Christ-centered mission trips for middle and high school students. For those two summers, (the first in Niagara Falls, NY, and the second in Beckley, WV), I watched as teens and pre-teens were challenged to become more like Christ.

YouthWorks is a whirlwind experience as multiple churches descend upon you for five days and enter into an intense week of service and relationship-building. You would be amazed how much you can get to know people in just 5 days. The body of Christ extends so much farther than our particular churches or denominations, county or state lines, cultures or experiences.  

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you
were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is
over all and through all and in all.”   -Ephesians 4:4-5

As my journey to Africa began to unfold, I reached out to some of these churches to see if they would be interested in partnering in ministry with me. And this past weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to go to Williamsburg, VA, to a church that had brought their youth group to WV last summer.

As a first speaking engagement about Kenya, I have to admit, I was quite nervous. I wanted to be transparent and to inspire. I wanted to make new friendships while renewing previous ones. And most importantly, I wanted God, the God of Williamsburg and of Beckley and of Korr, Kenya, to be at the forefront.

I was graciously welcomed by many folks who likely had never even heard of Newark, DE, before I arrived. They listened with attentive ears and hearts, asking thoughtful questions and engaging me in dialogue about Kenya, which had now become important to them as well. And after I spoke, many came up to me with the most sincere expressions of encouragement. It cannot quickly be forgotten when someone looks you so genuinely in the eyes, giving their word that they will be in prayer.

When people come together with the intent of seeing God’s name be magnified, powerful things can happen.

May God’s name be praised.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Compelled by Love


I would like to use my first blog entry to explain why I chose those 3 words to name my blog. But, before I race ahead, let me share the most significant and beautiful truths that I know…truths that give joy and life:

Truth #1: Heaven is a free gift; there is nothing I can do to earn or deserve it
Truth #2: I am a sinner and cannot save myself
Truth #3: God is merciful (and doesn’t want to punish me), but he is also just (so he must punish sin)
Truth #4: Jesus, being both fully God and fully man, died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for my sins
Truth #5: Faith is not mere intellectual assent or mere temporal faith, but is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life

Sidenote: For those of you who know those truths like the back of your hand, I challenge you to re-read them with fresh eyes. What beautiful truths they are. May they never become commonplace to us.
For those of you who have never understood these facts or haven’t personally accepted them into your life, we should talk sometime J

Now with these truths in mind, this verse means so much more.

 “For Christ’s love compels us…that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” -2 Corinthians 5:14-15  

 It’s easy to love someone who is loveable. It doesn’t take much effort or thought; it’s a natural response to them. Yet, I was God’s enemy. I was alienated from Him. There was nothing good in me to earn or merit His favor. And in this state of spitting Him in the face and telling Him I didn’t need Him, He sent His Son, Jesus to die for me. What kind of love is this?! Certainly unlike anything I have ever experienced! Without this love, I would be headed for the punishment that I rightly deserve. But out of His deep, deep love for me, He has pursued me and brought me back into a relationship with Him.

Wow! That certainly is a compelling love! Out of gratitude for Jesus’ love for me, I desire to no longer live for myself, but for Him. And I believe that the way He has presently called me to live for Him is to go and share this love, this oh-so-compelling-love, in Africa. I’ve partnered with Africa Inland Mission and will be headed to Korr, Kenya at the end of December to be a primary English and physical education teacher there. God himself placed the desire to go to Africa within me, and now I have the wonderful privilege and opportunity to pursue that desire. Compelled by His love for me.

I greatly covet your prayers in this process, and that end goal (prayer!) is a big reason for this blog. Would you begin praying now, even as you sit and read this? Pray for those in Africa who have never heard of this compelling love. Pray that they might hear. Pray also that I might keep God’s compelling love forever in the forefront of my mind as I go through logistics and details in preparing to leave.

If Christ is your Savior and Lord, then Christ’s love has compelled you, too. We are not all called to missions overseas, but we are all called to live for Him. So, may God give you the grace to live not for yourself today, but for Him. And may that grace reach us every day.

May we truly live in light of His compelling love.