absence makes the heart grow fonder.

26 07 2011

Although I do believe that in many situations absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, the title of this blog is more of an excuse for my recent bloglessness than an indication of what I’m writing about today. It has been 3 months and 7 days since I last blogged. I know this because it was right after my sweet Connor entered the world. And boy, have we been busy since then. ­čÖé

This summer has been an eventful one in many ways, and as it draws to a close, the excitement and apprehension about our upcoming school year is really starting to set in. Last week we picked out uniforms – it doesn’t get much more official than that! Overall, I would say that through many different avenues, the theme of the past few months has been affirmation the mission of our discipling program is from God. As our 23 students have been involved with the groups this summer, we have witnessed tremendous growth in their linguistic abilities, their openness to the Manna team and visitors, their maturity, and their spiritual mindedness. This is a huge affirmation for our idea that the more time we are able to spend with our “disciples,” the greater the impact our Christian influence will have on their lives. Another huge encouragement has been the arrival of 3 new team members this summer. We added Jill Rhodes in January, and since then Audrey Parker (from Texas), Jordan Crow (Arkansas), and Glenn Weaver (Tennessee) have all joined our team. Seeing the Manna DR team grow like this has been such a blessing to all of the existing Manna team members. On the reverse side of that coin, it seems that Satan has been after us this summer, through a break-in (everyone’s OK), a life-threatening allergic reaction (of a visiting team member – she’s fine now), and various other personal struggles throughout the team. However, I can honestly say that these experiences have been growing experiences for the DR team, as we are prayerfully looking at these experiences as confirmation of the spiritual impact this program could have on our kids’ lives. We are told in James 1 to “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds,┬ábecause you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Throughout all the ups and downs this summer has brought, I truly believe that we are being affirmed in our direction with this ministry, and I am so thankful for that.

Thank you so much to all of you who have been and continue to support this ministry… we are so blessed! And I ask that you will keep us all in your prayers as we tie up all the loose ends to get our program up and running on September 5.