Wednesday, May 15, 2013
About Legacies: In Honor of Dr. Jerry Falwell and Others
A little over a year ago, I wrote the post below after attending several key events in the lives of some important folks in my life. I want to reprint the article today for a very special reason. Today, August 11, 2009, would have been the 77th birthday of Dr. Jerry Falwell. He was a man of great influence and even greater dreams. His life and ministry cut a large path across this country and had an amazing effect on thousands (no, make that millions) of people. I used to listen to the Old Time Gospel Hour on the radio shortly after I became a Christian. I was even a Faith Partner in his ministry. I wanted to play football at Liberty, and although that never happened, I still felt as though Jerry Falwell was in some ways my pastor and teacher. I read his sermons, I joined his first Moral Majority, and I genuinely appreciated his life and influence on me as a young man trying to figure out what God wanted me to do.
I watched Jerry Falwell's ministry from afar until August 2004. That month two very important things happened in my life: My father passed away, and I moved to Lynchburg, VA to begin a great adventure teaching at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Falwell became a larger than life part of my adventure. I only had the privilege to meet the man face-to-face a few times, but each time he remembered me and details of my life. He revealed such a genuine concern for me and my family that I began to think of him (to some degree, at least) as my second father. I remember once as he walked through the seminary offices, I could hear his booming voice as he talked to folks. As he passed my office, I heard him say, "Wait, I need to stop by and say hello to Leo." He not only remembered my name, he wanted to come into my office to check on me. His leadership and his kindness still inspire me. Oh that every pastor or leader could be a little bit like Jerry Falwell!
I hope that I live up to his legacy and expectations. I miss him, and I wish he had remained with us. At any rate, here are my thoughts on legacy, presented on this day in honor of a man who profoundly influenced my life: Dr. Jerry Falwell.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than a good ointment, And the day of one's death is better than the day of one's birth.
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.
Recently I have experienced several occasions that caused me to think seriously about the idea of legacy. Recently I attended Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary's graduation, in which I watched several students and good friends walk across the stage to receive their degrees and launch into their ministries. Then, on May 15, I paused to remember the life of Dr. Jerry Falwell who passed away several years ago. May 17, 2009 saw the retirement of Dr. A. Ray Newcomb from 33 years of being a pastor at First Baptist Church, Millington, TN. Then May 21, 2009 witnessed the high school graduation of my nephew, Ethan Percer. All of these events reminded me of beginnings and endings, but more importantly they reminded me of the impact a legacy can have on people. In the next few paragraphs I'll try to explain.
I'm not sure how much we think of the impact of our lives. As I watched the high school students graduate with Ethan and the seminary students walk the stage in VA, I couldn't help but think about what I may hear about these people in the future. Some of them have already made an impact, some of them have a future impact to make. Most of them have no idea what the end of their lives will be, they only have dreams and hopes and (perhaps) plans. I remember holding my nephew shortly after he was born. Ethan seemed so tiny to be the first grandchild born to my parents, and as I held him in my arms, I prayed that God would grow him into a warrior, a man of God who is willing to help others and to serve God no matter the risk. I had forgotten that prayer, to be honest, until one day I heard a story about my nephew tutoring other students in school and going out of his way to help others when it wasn't necessarily a popular thing to do. He has laid a foundation for a legacy that will not fade. I received an e-mail from his high school principal that said, "I would be proud if all of my students were like Ethan." Ethan is building a legacy.
Some of the seminary students who walked across the stage recently have begun their legacy. Many of them left homes and nice jobs to pursue a degree at the seminary. They said "no" to "success" as the world measures it so that they would have the opportunity to labor for God. Some will labor in obscurity, some will never have "the largest Sunday School in America," some will never make the "big money," or write the most impressive "how to" book for other pastors. I know their lives, their hearts, and I know that their legacy will be greater than any can imagine. Does anyone remember "James the Less"? He was one of the twelve chosen by Jesus, but even church history and tradition have trouble determining who he was. Yet, he was one of the twelve, one of the original disciples, one of the eyewitnesses to Jesus' life, ministry, death, and resurrection. Not as famous as James the son of Zebedee, this James nonetheless left enough of an imprint on history to be regarded as one of those individuals who "turned the world upside down" with his life and preaching. We no doubt graduated a lot of these individuals, folks we may have a hard time identifying who will nonetheless make a great impression on many they will bring to Christ or love in God's name. "Less" may describe the knowledge of them, but it will not define their impact on those to whom they minister. I bet there were people in the first century who didn't think of James as "the Less" because of what God did through him. Nonetheless, James built a legacy, and like him, many of these graduating seminary students are building a legacy.
That brings me to two pastors--one gone and another freshly retired. Dr. Jerry Falwell and Dr. Ray Newcomb may have taken decidedly different paths to ministry, but they have something in common--their lives and ministries encouraged and affected many who now try to follow in their footsteps. Both men gave multiple decades to one congregation (Dr. Falwell served at Thomas Road for over 50 years, Dr. Newcomb at First Baptist for over 30 years), and the dreams and plans they received from God have inspired many to pursue the purposes of God for the love of Christ. Both men played a role in helping me grow as a new Christian, in helping me understand the concept of "call," and in helping me define the ministry to which God appointed me. I do not know where I would be without the legacies of these two men. On Sunday, we had a celebration of the ministry of Bro. Ray. During the singing of "Thank You," the minister of music asked all of us who had become Christ followers under Bro. Ray's ministry to come forward and stand by the stage. It seemed like over half of the crowd came forward to testify that God used this man's life and ministry to bring them to Jesus! There were doctors, lawyers, postal employees, politicians, teachers, and even one seminary professor. I was fine until then, but that scene brought tears to my eyes. Bro. Ray was getting to see his impact in a very visible form. Here were dozens, even hundreds of people whose lives will never be the same simply because he obeyed God to serve at First Baptist Millington. That number doesn't even count the lives that have been touched by those individuals as they went out to emulate their pastor. Bro. Ray and Dr. Falwell built great legacies.
Well, I've rambled a bit. I want to close with one more legacy to bring this full circle. As I watched my nephew graduate and as I participated in the celebration of my pastor's life and ministry, I couldn't help but think of one person who would have been so proud of both of them--my father. My dad, Bobbie Percer, passed away in August 2004. I have no doubt he would have loved this week--watching people honor his pastor and his grandson--oh, how proud he would have been. But my father's legacy is bigger than his joy at the accomplishments of others. You see, my dad left quite an impression. When my father passed away, my family and I drove to Millington from Waco, TX for the funeral. On Friday night before the funeral on Saturday, we had the traditional "viewing" when people would come to give their condolences to the family. I stood there greeting people in a line that stretched so far outside of the funeral home that the people were literally standing in the parking lot. I met folks I did not know, and they told me things I had not heard. One fellow told me how he came to Christ because my dad gave him shoes and a ride to church. This fellow's family was embarrassed to go to church because they did not have proper clothing. My dad not only clothed them, he gave them a ride to church. Another young man told me that he never would have graduated college if my father hadn't helped pay for his education. A young woman (with several children) told me of how my dad had helped her family and been instrumental in leading her husband and several children to the Lord. A line of nearly 1000 people marched through that funeral home and praised the life of this man, my father, in ways I could not even imagine. My dad was a great man. No, you'll never hear his name mentioned with luminaries like Jerry Falwell or Billy Graham, but man what a large footprint this one man left in a small town in west Tennessee. Lives were changed (including those in his family), and eternities were determined. He did not even recognize all that he had accomplished, but he continued to love and to serve others because he loved a great God. His legacy is intact because he followed the example of his Lord. Bobbie Percer was a hero to many, and he is a hero to me. If I can have half the influence on others that my father had, I'll be a happy man. Bobbie Percer left a legacy and a good name.
I watched all of these scenarios open before me recently, and it made me a bit introspective. What kind of legacy am I leaving? Where will my footprints lead others if they follow me? Who would attend a celebration of my life and what would they say? Would my love for Christ be obvious? Would my love for others be mentioned? God has blessed me to walk with giants (and some giants in training), and I have to admit that I am often overwhelmed by their collective witness. I am reminded of a conversation I had with Dr. William L. Lane. I admitted to him that I didn't think I could live up to his example of a godly life and scholarship, and he said to me, "Never covet another person's gift, and never despise your own." He went on to remind me that God had not called me to be identical to Dr. Lane or to anyone else. God had called me to use my unique gifts and abilities for his glory. I do not have to live up to the stories of these giants, I simply need to live the legacy God has given me. No matter how obscure or unrecognized or inconsequential a life may seem, if it is lived for God it will have a legacy. What kind of legacy are we leaving the next generation?
Thanks to all of the men and women who left their footprints in our hearts and lives!
Thank you, dear reader, for reading!
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
The "Absence" of God: He is There!
Yet in our moments of trial, in times of despair, we tend to live a lot more in Psalm 22 ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") than in Psalm 23 ("The Lord is my shepherd, I will not want."). That little reality caused me to think of Psalm 139 and God's continuing and never failing presence. Here is what the Psalm says (in part):
CSB Psalm 139:1-12 For the choir director. A Davidic psalm. "LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, LORD. You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me. This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it. Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will become night'-- even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You."
“It is difficult to undo our own damage, and to recall to our presence that which we have asked to leave. . . . We doused the burning bush and cannot rekindle it; we are lighting matches in vain under every green tree. . . . What have we been doing all these centuries but trying to call God back to the mountain, or, failing that, raise a peep out of anything that isn’t us? What is the difference between a cathedral and a physics lab? Are they not both saying: ‘Hello, is anyone there?’ We spy on whales and on interstellar radio objects; we starve ourselves and pray till we’re blue.” From Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard
“. . . If God is present at every point in space, if we cannot go where he is not, cannot even conceive of a place where he is not, why then has not that Presence become the one universally celebrated fact of the world? The patriarch Jacob, ‘in waste howling wilderness,’ gave the answer to that question. He saw a vision of God and cried out in wonder. ‘Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.’ Jacob had never been for one small division of a moment outside of the circle of that all-pervading Presence. But he knew it not. That was his trouble, and it is ours. People do not know if God is here. What a difference it would make if they knew.” From The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
Saturday, April 20, 2013
A Rough Week Touched by Hope
Hope has been like that to me the past few days. By God's grace I see hope peeking into the dark times of life. The sun has not fully risen to its zenith, but there is a shaft of light shining into a dark place, making it livable and alive. In the midst of this darkness, I have taken solace in some music. One song that has encouraged me is "Take Me Away" by Sarah Kelly. It can be found on her album by the same name. Here are the lyrics:
no more weary teary eyes
just sunny skies
never have I felt so alone
my how I've grown
maybe that's the way it's supposed to be
as I'm walking down this street
maybe if it's just you and me
we'll never even miss a beat
Take me away
Take me away
All that I love is you, is you
captured by your love
I'm such a fool for you
the day you laid your hand upon my heart
tore my world apart
there's been so many times that I have prayed
to hear you speak my name
and though I've never seen you face to face
I search for you everyday
Take me away
Take me away
All that I love is you, is you
come what will and come what may
I know your love will remain
through the joy and through all the pain
I surrender and it makes me want to fly
Take me away
Take me away
All that I love is you, is you
I have this sense that God is there. He cares. I want to run away to him, to be in his lap for a few minutes. I want the ugliness of this fallen world to disappear, just for a minute. I want to experience the joy of life without any evil. I know that a day will come, a day unlike any other, a day when we can tread streets with no names and find what we are really looking for. That hope is what drives me today. I'm in a bit of sorrow over the recent events: bombings, explosions, friends facing hard times, friends in distress over sickness, etc. I'm not depressed, really, just sad that the ugliness of this world causes the death of so many who are too young to die. Whether it is an 8 year old child or a 26 year old adult, death and tragedy all too often seems to invade our existence here in this fallen world.
I guess we shouldn't be surprised, but then again neither should we despair. God is beyond these tragedies, and he died for this fallen world. His goal is redemption and renewal. He is there. I turn to him, he is my hope. Without him, it just isn't worth the work, it isn't worth the effort, I'd just stay in bed.
Thanks to God for hope, thanks to God for his inexpressible gift! The sun will rise, life will continue, good will happen. Joy comes in the morning. I look forward to joy, and I pray for those who can't see it right now. May they soon see the sun peeking out of the clouds of their tragedy to shine the light of God's great kindness into the darkness of their world. Father, soothe the heart burdened with grief, give comfort to those who have suffered loss, and show your great grace to those on the verge of giving up. Lord, come quickly and make yourself known. Bring the joy that only you can provide. We need your light!
Blessings, my friends, thank you for reading!
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
In Remembrance of the Holocaust
"They are not distinguished from other men by any unusual skill in finding truth nor any virginal ardour to pursue her. Indeed, it would be strange if they were: a persevering devotion to truth, a nice of intellectual honour, cannot be long maintained without the aid of sentiment . . . It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so." (C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001, p. 25).
These Germans were not less human than the rest of us, they just acted as people without that emotion that makes our "better angels" show up instead of the "brutes" in each of us. They became the "elites" who judged other races in humanity as mere brutish nature to be studied. They were Social Darwinists who wanted to keep their race pure, and who ultimately participated in that which Lewis deems "the abolition of man." They were people like us. In many ways we hate to admit, they were us. As one survivor records the event of his liberation:
"The full record of the pseudo-medical experimentations came to light. Prisoners had been used as laboratory animals, without the humane restrictions placed on vivisection. Hannah Arendt suggested that `the camp was itself a vast laboratory in which the Nazis proved that there is no limit to human depravity.' For it was remembered that these experiments were not planned or conducted by identifiable psychopaths. They were performed or supervised by professional scientists, trained in what had been once considered peerless universities and medical schools. Reverend Franklin Littell called them `technically competent barbarians.' Indeed the procedures had the full approval and cooperation of Berlin's Institute of Hygiene." (Sachar, Abram L. The Redemption of the Unwanted. New York: St. Martin's/Marek, 1983, pp. 8-10)
Let us remember with sadness the number of innocents lost and the reality of our own potentially brutish nature. Let us not forget that without grace, we are all irredeemably lost. Could Dachau or Auschwitz happen again? Only if humans let it, only if we deny once again our own humanity and treat our fellow humans as mere animals or brutes. Yes, it can happen again. Let's pray that it doesn't. Let's make sure it doesn't.
This topic is heavy and sad. I don't apologize for that, but I do want to put the weight down now.
Thanks for reading.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Easter: What Exactly Did We Expect?
Rightfully so . . . this was THE WEEK for which Jesus lived his entire human life, and it was a rough one for him. On Sunday before his crucifixion he entered Jerusalem with cheers ringing in his ears. The (usually fickle) populace embraced him for all the great miracles he performed, and they hailed his coming as though a conquering warrior had entered the city. Like paparazzi following a Hollywood star, they trailed behind this carpenter from Nazareth and looked for ways to become part of his entourage or to at least get a "piece of the action" as Jesus came to town.
These same folks will yell "Crucify him!" in just a few days, by the way.
When Jesus offered them something tangible to grab, they wanted to be a team player, they wanted the fishes and loaves, the healings, the wonders, the mighty signs.
How soon their tune would change . . . how quickly they would turn on the one who was innocent of any sin except the failure to live up to THEIR expectations.
How like them we are today . . .
When things are going our way, we look to heaven and sing God's praises. We celebrate and sing and run to join the band as God rides triumphantly over all our "enemies." But as soon as Jesus fails to live up to OUR expectations, what do we do?
I know the spiritual answer--"though he slay me yet I will praise him."
Do we really? Will we? Will I?
I'm struck with how Jesus routinely challenged the popular expectations of the crowds who showed up hoping for another demonstration of heavenly power and flash. In John 12, just after the people have celebrated his "triumphal entry," Jesus tells them that the way to jump on his bandwagon is for his followers to hate their lives in this world. Just think how that must have sounded to the celebrants rejoicing in the coming of their conquering hero!
"You want to be a part of my movement, of my thing?" Jesus asks, "Then you will have to regard your life in this world as a dead man would. You have to become the least, the slave, the dead one, in order to get in on my movement."
Come and die.
What an invitation!
Of course, Jesus knew that in just six days he would literally fulfill that invitation. The innocent would die for the unquestionably guilty . . . and he would die horribly.
I can just imagine how this conversation must have put a damper on the celebration in Jerusalem. Jesus took a party and turned it into a wake. The next thing we know he is engaged in theological discussions with the people and with the Jewish leaders. He created a controversy that caused folks to take sides. All he had to do was accept the adulation and promise to "win the war that must be won," but Jesus decided to go against expectations again. He decided to allow God to get the glory through humility and death.
Hasn't this happened to us? Just when we think we have God's agenda all spelled out like it ought to be, He throws us a curve ball that reminds us we aren't in charge! We have a hard time "boxing Jesus" into a neat package.
What's the point then? The point is that we should reverse the procedure. Instead of putting expectations on God, we should look for HIS expectations for us. What has He required of us? What does He want? How should we respond to His voice?
The week of Easter we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the process maybe we should participate in a funeral of our own. Maybe we should let die our selfish expectations about how God "ought" to act towards us. Bury them, and let God resurrect them in His image.
As we contemplate the price of our salvation, let us willingly become slaves to the one who has paid such a price to purchase our freedom. Like Jesus, let our prayer be "Father glorify your name." Remember, if a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it will yield much fruit. It is, however, pretty useless in a bag with other seeds. Let's allow God to plant us where he wants so that our service can produce fruit for his glory. Let's follow our crucified Lord by living cruciform lives.
What would the world look like if we did?
I'd really like to find out!
Thanks for reading!
Sunday, March 17, 2013
The Ministry of Staying Put
Today I read the entry for March 17 in my old copy of Streams in the Desert and marveled at the message (especially the poem) contained there. I've been thinking a lot lately about the ministry of "staying put" and patiently waiting on the Lord's direction. I remember living in Waco, TX when I encountered a bit of trouble and seriously considered leaving the church I attended at the time. As my wife and I prayed about our situation, I kept returning to Psalm 37. Verse 3 of that Psalm says, "Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness." As I read this Psalm from David, I was reminded that sometimes the best thing I can do is simply wait before the Lord. I have learned that sometimes I simply need to "be still, and know that God is Lord."
We are often tempted to take what I call an "American" approach to ministry: We "work" our way up the ladder and progress from a "smaller" ministry to a "larger" one. We try sometimes to "help" God out by making our own opportunities instead of working diligently at the work God has placed in front of us. I'm not saying it is wrong to leave one work from another, I am simply stating that sometimes we need to "stay put" until we know God wants us to move to the next thing. We are full of anxiety, and we want to "make our mark."
Sometimes, however, that requires patience and humble waiting on marching orders from God. Others may move on to "bigger" and "better" things, but God sees fit to keep us in the "small" thing or in the "unknown" ministry. It is a hard word, but one that we need to hear. Sometimes the ministry in front of us, the ministry of "today" is best for the moment. Being faithful in the little things sows seeds for faithfulness in the larger endeavors. The goal is to find where God wants you, then stay there until he releases you to a new opportunity. Remain faithful, and let God lead.
If you are in this "waiting period" at the moment, I want to share the March 17 devotional with you. I hope it is a blessing to you. It is entitled "Patience in the Routine."
"Remain there until I tell you." (Matthew 2:13)
"I'll stay where You've put me;
I will, dear Lord, Though I wanted so badly to go;
I was eager to march with the 'rank and file,'
Yes, I wanted to lead them, You know.
I planned to keep step to the music loud,
To cheer when the banner unfurled,
To stand in the midst of the fight straight and proud,
But I'll stay where You've put me.
"I'll stay where You've put me; I'll work, dear Lord,
Though the field be narrow and small,
And the ground be fallow, and the stones lie thick,
And there seems to be no life at all.
The field is Thine own, only give me the seed,
I'll sow it with never a fear;
I'll till the dry soil while I wait for the rain,
And rejoice when the green blades appear;
I'll work where You've put me.
"I'll stay where You've put me; I will, dear Lord;
I'll bear the day's burden and heat,
Always trusting Thee fully; when even has come
I'll lay heavy sheaves at Thy feet.
And then, when my earth work is ended and done,
In the light of eternity's glow,
Life's record all closed, I surely shall find
It was better to stay than to go;
I'll stay where You've put me."
Oh restless heart, that beat against your prison bars of circumstances, yearning for a wider sphere of usefulness, leave God to order all your days. Patience and trust, in the dullness of the routine of life, will be the best preparation for a courageous bearing of the tug and strain of the larger opportunity which God may some time send you.Thanks for reading!
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Notes from a Mission Trip in 1993
Russia--Inconvenience really seems to be the name of the game here. After a rough start Wednesday, KLM airlines was delayed, and we had to reroute to Frankfurt from Amsterdam in order to catch a Lufthansa flight to Moscow. As a result we missed our Aeroflot flight to Ulan Ude (Bill and Steve are even now negotiating a new flight schedule for the team), but nonetheless we are finally here in Moscow!
We spent a rough first night in Russia. Some of our team ended up in a room next to a very rowdy party and got little sleep. We spent the night in a "hotel" near Moscow--actually "hotel" may be too nice of a word. It was really more like spending the night in an old cabin left for several years in disrepair. Few of the toilets had seats, and none of them had toilet paper! The showers were nothing but a bare pipe out of the wall pouring out cold water in a steady, wakening stream of "refreshing" Russian water! We found it a bit harder to wash than we expected, but we found a way.
One of our Russian contacts (Sasha) really came through for us! He met us at the airport like a knight in shining armor. He had a great attitude, especially considering the fact that he had been at the airport since 3:00 p.m. and our flight did not arrive until almost midnight. He arranged a better place for us to stay as well as making the necessary arrangements for our flight to Siberia.
Some interesting encounters and conversations have come our way on this trip! I got to talk briefly to a Saudi student on the KLM flight from Houston. We've had the privilege of sharing the story of Jesus in several major airports (e.g., Houston, Amsterdam, Frankfurt). On the Lufthansa flight we were privileged to meet a young woman named Olga, a Russian living in Dublin. Her hometown is Irkutsk, and she will actually be there when we are doing our camps. She was thrilled when we told her our plans for the youth camp and the support of the church plant there.
We also met some young ladies from Ireland. They were striking women who seemed determined to drain the marrow out of life. The shared stories of their home and sang beautiful songs about Ireland while accompanied by a flute. The old Irish folk songs were matched by our singing, although instead of folk songs we regaled them with TV theme songs and commercial jingles (yeah, we actually did that!). The flight attendants came back and "shushed" us with the reminder that some folks were actually trying to sleep! What fun on Lufthansa!
It is now morning, and I am waiting for good news about our trip to Ulan Ude. The Lord has blessed us with endurance and encouragement this far, and we have found ourselves driven to pray for and to love the Russian people. How I long to get to Siberia! A 13 year dream soon to come true!
I'm beginning to realize that many of us in the West are spoiled and selfish. We are fools to think that God's light of salvation will come to any land without our commitment to go. Unless we commit our lives to be witnesses, to bear the story of grace to them, how can we expect them to hear? Is it inconvenient? Yes! But it is worth it! Jesus died for us, how can we offer him less than our very lives? How can we give him less than he gave us?
How can I begin to compare the "comforts" of this life with the beauty of Jesus and his kingdom? How can I deny ANY person that beauty?
Lord, forgive us for our selfishness. Teach us to swallow our pride and to be willing to face any inconvenience to advance the message of your salvation. Use us to advance your kingdom against the kingdom of our enemy Satan. May this trip be used to bring many souls to a knowledge of God through Christ! May many souls be snatched out of the dragon's mouth and out of the fire in the next few weeks. Help us, Lord, to stand firm on your Word and to set our faces like flint to go to Siberia! Amen.
There you have it. The ramblings of a so-called missionary on his first major trip! I will tell you that the trip succeeded beyond our expectations, and we were blessed to have the privilege of leading many to salvation by God's grace and the help of his Spirit. Of course, those are stories for another day. For now, let me thank you for your patience, dear reader, and wish you blessings!
Thanks for reading!