Greetings in the Lord! Samantha and I were overjoyed when the Consistory informed us that you all as a church had decided to call us to come to Zion for me to serve you as your next pastor. I never thought I could be so excited to move to Iowa! We eagerly await the day when we can share with you in detail all the many ways we have seen the Lord work to make this come to pass.
I was so excited when Rev. Beaty selected II Peter 3:18 to encourage you all: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” This has always been something of a life verse for me, and there is nothing I want more for myself, my family, or my church family, than to grow in Christ – specifically in grace and knowledge. How I pray that our time with you in Garner would be characterized by these things, as we draw closer to our Savior by knowing more of Him, and experiencing and rejoicing in His grace!
I’m sure you were as grieved as we were when we heard that Sam’s health insurance would prohibit us from joining you in Garner right away. Now, the plan with the doctors is that – Lord willing – Sam will have the baby here in southern California, and then as soon as she’s ready, we’ll move across country to begin life with you all. When I finally realized that we would be prevented from moving sooner, I was very discouraged. I had so many plans for the summer, so many hopes that were now being taken away. I cried out to the Lord, wondering why He wasn’t bringing us to you sooner.
But I was reminded of the words of the Apostle Peter that we studied together in the sermon that I preached while with you from I Peter 1:6 – 7, that in this life we undergo fiery trials, and that the Lord uses these to refine and purify our faith. I realized that many Christians throughout the world – and many of you! – are going through much more difficult trials every day. This was an opportunity for me to practice what I preach, and to put my faith in Christ that He would bring us, and you, through this trial. That’s the knowledge. Now, I also pray that we would experience the grace: that through this trial, we would see our faith made stronger, and our dependence on Jesus made firmer.
Grace and knowledge. These are two of the simplest parts of being a Christian, and yet some of the most profound. Pray for me, as we will pray for you all, in our time apart: that we would conclude this chapter in our lives well; for the many details of having the baby and moving across country; and that God would prepare us to come and serve you. But also pray that this would be a time for Zion to know Christ more, and experience His grace more and more. We’re excited to see you later this summer!
Praying with you for grace and knowledge,