I’ve been spending a lot of time studying the epistles, the writings of Paul (who is, hands down, my favorite New Testament figure, just in case you were wondering). Anyway, there’s a phrase that he uses, time and time again, as part of the greeting in his letters: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 1:2, NIV). The wording differs from letter to letter but the idea is the same.
Grace and peace to you from God…
And it never occurred to me until recently what this actually means. It’s not a wish. It’s not a prayer. It’s not a just a blessing.
It’s a greeting.
Paul walked so closely with God that he opened his letters in this way to send greetings – from God to the churches. He’s saying, in effect, “God sends his grace and peace” in the same way that he might also have said, “Timothy says, ‘hi.’”
This hit me like a ton of bricks.
How many of us are so close to God that we would feel comfortable saying anything to that effect? “By the way, God says, ‘hi!’” How many of us feel like we could pass along a blessing – a greeting – from the Most High God? How many of us have that kind of relationship with Him?
One of the camps I worked at several years ago uses a song with this phrase as a farewell blessing for campers at the end of each week – and until now I never realized how truly powerful those words are.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
I want that kind of relationship with my Father in Heaven. Where I can feel confident speaking His grace and peace over someone. That’s what I’m working towards. That’s what I’m praying for.
The last few weeks have been filled with excitement – women’s retreats, education camp, LIT (Leader in Training) weekend camp, and so much more.
And there’s so much more to come!
Camp planning is in full swing and I’m looking forward to the summer more with each passing day. A couple of weekend camps have given me a taste of how camps here at SIMC operate – and I couldn’t be more excited for the weeks to come this summer – spending time in worship, study, games, and life with the kids who will come to join us here.
My role this summer is still mostly undefined – it really depends on what kind of local volunteers and work teams we end up with – but for now, I’m working with some of the full-time missionaries in planning worship music and other camp activities. In all likelihood, the summer will give me the opportunity to wear many hats; filling any roles which become available at any given time. For now, my only official role is co-worship leader – a role I am only too happy to fill!
But I have a much more exciting announcement to make in regards to my place on the American Indian Field for the remainder of my time here – I’m going to be a teacher!
Starting in August, I’ll be moving to Sells, AZ – the capital of the Tohono O’odham nation – to teach full-time at another of AIF’s ministries – Living Word Academy – while another missionary is out raising funds for her next few years of service. This means I’ll be working and living full-time on the TO reservation for the entire school year!
As you can probably tell by my excessive use of exclamation points, I am incredibly excited about this opportunity!
In the past few weeks, I’ve traveled down to Sells twice and, although it is technically within the borders of the United States (though it is very close to Mexico, I might add), it is undeniably another country with its own customs and culture.
And I am so excited to experience every minute of it.
But that’s not for a few more months. Before I can travel south, I’ll be traveling north-east to the field’s ministry among the Navajo in New Mexico. And, honestly, I have no idea what I’ll be doing there – but it’s sure to be an adventure!
I want to take another opportunity to thank everyone who has decided to partner with me in this ministry, either through financial or prayer support. Without you, there is no possible way that I could have accomplished anything that I’ve done so far. Without your continual prayers, there is no possible way that my insecurities would have allowed me to agree to teach on the reservation for the entire year, stepping out in faith in a way which is far bigger than anything I’ve ever done before.
God is the reason that I came – but you are the reason that He’s been able to use me to this degree.
Grace and Peace,