I started writing this in an email, but soon decided I wanted to share it here. It's a letter to my class, but I pray you will find a blessing in it too.
Dear Class Family,
I just realized that I haven't talked to bunches of you all in a long time. And bunches of us haven't talked to other bunches of us in a long time. This is not good...but we can make it better!
Just an update from my side...
I've been here in Germany for an internship with Amazing Facts Europe since April. They started the first AFCOE-Europe here then too, and it's been going well and God has blessed. It's been quite the experience working here while these two organizations are in "creation" phase. I've learned so much, about working in a multicultural setting, starting ministries, and living with all sorts of different people. It's really a blessing and privilege to be here. Personally, I've been able to learn some German, and I've had the opportunity to learn new things like social media, photography (anyone want to sponsor my new interest? lol), coordinating church services, and planning trips around a bit of Europe by myself (which would be much more fun if one of YOU could join me! Anyone want to come over in August?).
Spiritually, I've learned so much and grown a lot. But I think I can sum it up in a few words:
My identity is not in what I do. Even if it is God's purpose and calling for my life, I should not -- no, cannot -- define or identify myself by what I do. My identity is not who I am, but who God is. Who is God? God is love. Thus, my identity is a covenantal, marriage relationship with God -- "Till death do we part"; and my purpose is to be a disciple of Christ, doing what a disciple of Christ does--making disciples. The way to make disciples is to love, because of my identity. Because God is love.
We can never dwell on that thought too much. "God is love" seems so simple, but I think we make life, and much more our spiritual life, too complicated. It's human. I am very much human, I've realized a lot in the past year. But God is very much God, and He is merciful and patient...by His grace working in me, I can live and love and lead more like Jesus every day. Only by His grace!
Life gets busy, distances expand, and time grows old. But once upon a time, in a land far away, between the mountains, across the river, where little people pick up orange orbs from the ground, a group of those little people once lived together. Prayed together. Laughed together. Cried together. That year was a milestone in our lives -- and I also believe it was in our spiritual lives as well.
So, I want to appeal to you: Remember your identity in Christ. I know we each discovered our identity in a deep way that year, and I believe God has taught us each more since then. But it's easy to forget. I don't know what it will take to remember, but I encourage you, take some solo time, like the time we had in Kauai our last Sabbath there, and ask God to help you remember your identity in Christ. In the past two years, life has thrown trials at me like a whirlwind, and all I could do was cling to God and my God-given identity. I have a feeling it's been similar for you. Remember your God-given identity, and cling to it. Because God is clinging to you.
Perhaps I'm the only one who misses you all so much right now. But I don't really think so. Someday very soon, we will have a real family reunion. Not in Kauai, not in Europe, not at Fountainview, but in the land that is fairer than day -- with Jesus, who has kept us faithfully.
Since that day we marched with purple and black.
To the Class of Twenty Eleven.
With love in Christ,
A Faraway Friend
Sorry, I couldn't resist :)