Hymn for 2016

Lord, You Give the Great Commission

Hymn by Jeffery Rowthorn

Lord, you give your great commission:

“Heal the sick and preach the word.”

Lest the church neglect its mission,

And the gospel go unheard,

Help us witness to your purpose

With renewed integrity.


With the Spirit’s gifts empower us

For the work of ministry.


Lord, you call us to your service:

“In my name baptize and teach.”

That the world may trust your promise,

Life abundant meant for each,

Give us all new fervor, draw us

Closer in community.


With the Spirit’s gifts empower us

For the work of ministry.


Lord, you make the common holy;

“This my body, this my blood.”

Let us all, for earth’s true glory,

Daily lift life heavenward,

Asking that the world around us

Share your children’s liberty.


With the Spirit’s gifts empower us

For the work of ministry.


Lord, you show us love’s true measure:

“Father, what they do, forgive.”

Yet we hoard as private treasure

All that you so freely give.

May your care and mercy lead us

To a just society.


With the Spirit’s gifts empower us

For the work of ministry.


Lord, you bless with words assuring:

“I am with you to the end.”

Faith and hope and love restoring,

May we serve as you intend

And, amid the cares that claim us,

Hold in mind eternity.


With the Spirit’s gifts empower us

For the work of ministry.


For an audio version, listen to the Georgetown University Chapel Choir


What the FBI has to do with it…

… and how the last week has brought us many steps closer to moving to South Africa.

General area where we hope to live...courtesy of Google Maps (https://www.google.com/maps/@-34.0865086,18.45499,19620m/data=!3m1!1e3)

General area where we hope to live…courtesy of Google Maps (https://www.google.com/maps/@-34.0865086,18.45499,19620m/data=!3m1!1e3)

Let me guess: the title got your attention and you are now here, reading…I am glad my ruse worked. If you don’t want to hear about the reason for the title, get back to work, but if you’re interested, keep reading.

Last week, our counselor shared with us that she feels we are in a much better place than when we first arrived in the US and that we should be okay to make this big transition to a new country, new relationships, new way of life. We have been waiting to hear back from Burkina Faso as we needed a criminal background check done for the South African visa applications. The day after we met with our counselor, I got an email saying that the background check had been completed (much faster than we expected), and a day later, it was on its way to us via DHL. Wonderful news!

We’ve also been surfing the rental properties online for a place to live and hadn’t really seen anything yet, or the properties needed to be rented before our actual date of arrival in Cape Town. A few days ago, I was briefly checking the same webpage, and saw a rather neat looking place that has used many natural materials – appealing to us. Two friends in South Africa went to check it out for us and took many photos, which we were able to look at yesterday – and they are going ahead to see if we can rent this house. The cool part was that Jen and I were on the same page about the house! Another cool step towards our move!

In our attempt to find decent airplane ticket prices, but not adding so many layovers to our flight, I’ve been worried about prices going up – but this past week, they started to come down quite significantly – just another piece of the logistical puzzle falling into place.

Oh, and what you’ve been waiting for: our FBI Criminal Background Documents arrived in the mail on Friday as well. Slowly but surely, our pile of documents for the visa applications are coming in – and most of it happened this past week after deciding to go ahead and head for South Africa. Yes, we were thinking of heading to South Africa this spring, but I was holding out in going full steam ahead until we had some assurance from our counselor.

What it ultimately comes down to is this: do I trust God completely or only partially? I think it took me stepping out and realizing that God works in our lives regardless of geographic location or cultural obstacles or personal weaknesses. And you’d think I’d have gotten that lesson a long time ago as we’ve lived in different places, travelled a lot, and married cross-culturally. But the reality is that my concern for our family’s health (physical, spiritual, emotional, and relational) had become much stronger over the last several months – and for that, I am grateful. Looking forward with confidence and peace to what lies ahead!

And there you have it – the FBI had something to do with it!   🙂

Reflecting on practical love

It is Valentine’s Day, another commercial holiday to encourage our consumeristic instincts, but also a chance to reflect on what love is. No worries, I did take Jen on a date a few days ago (to beat the rush – and coincidentally beat the snow closures), so I can talk about other love here.

Radical Grace, a project supported by HOPE for AIDS (www.hopeforaids.org), is sharing love by caring for those infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. To make some of the visits possible, they are in dire need of a vehicle. Could we share love and support the fundraising effort? Check out this video:

You can also visit the HOPE for AIDS blog:


or the HOPE for AIDS webpage:


Have you loved today? It is not too late…


...you can share love...

…you can share love…