A new beginning can be exciting because it's an opportunity for improvement or change. In many cases, it's a restart, redo or clean slate full of good potential. When we think of the beginning of a new year, especially after the many difficulties we've seen in this one, we anticipate something better and desire to hit the refresh button!
God does that with our lives when we come to Him, we receive grace for all of our mistakes and a new beginning that only He can give and He continually gives as we walk in Him!
2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!"
The El Camino mission team has a passion for getting this Good News out to others.
The news that you can be a NEW person, forgiven, whole, full of abundant life through Jesus! He is the Way, Truth and Life that all of us are desperately craving, whether we realize it or not.
New beginnings can also be intimidating because of all the unknowns, as well as leaving behind what was familiar, comfortable and maybe even easier. Yet we can be confident that following Christ into the unknown, into the darkness and onto deep waters is where our faith will learn to stand!
For our family, God has grown our faith in so many ways and it seems that God is not done yet! In the last few months, our path has taken a turn, and after much prayer, visits with the team and trying to discern what door the Lord has open for our family right now, we will not be joining the mission team as they start on a new field at the beginning of 2021. Our hearts are sad for the loss of what we have been hoping and dreaming about together and the amazing team that we have enjoyed learning from and growing with. Yet we are hopeful for them and for us and trusting that this was God's good plan all along.
We rejoice that within days of announcing this decision to the El Camino team, God provided Pancho and Mary Torres as an amazing and fitting addition to the team! They bring such loving and humble hearts, full of experience, eagerly teaching, serving and ministering with the gifts God has given them!
As for our family, we feel extremely grateful to each of you, especially the individuals at Center Street Church of Christ and Southgate Church of Christ as well as many others that we know and love who have walked with us throughout this whole process and believed in us and encouraged us with all you have said and done!
The door of new beginnings that the Lord has opened up for us and given us much peace about is an opportunity to minister to the youth at a bilingual church in South-Central Texas. If the Lord wills, we hope to be moving and joining the work to build up the church there this February.
Our hearts are still with the El Camino team and the work God will do through them in South America. We are committing to pray for each of them continually, and to check in regularly with them and encourage them however we can. We have built such a deep bond with each of them over the years and that will always remain the same. As our 2 year old daughter said when she saw a magnet picture of our team on the fridge, "this our family." Even if we are serving the Lord in a different country than they are, we feel so grateful that we get to serve "alongside" them for the same goal of reaching people for the Lord.
I hope that you too will continue to connect with them and partner with them through prayer and financial support.
As we look back at 2020 and our time as part of the El Camino team we certainly can't say we have a full understanding of what God was doing, but we can say that we have been blessed and we have grown through this time. Had we not been part of the team through this time, we wouldn't be who we are today, nor would we be headed to where God is leading us.
- I believe that God has taken this time to open our eyes to a new culture and the global need for Christ in the nations.
- I believe that God has united us with brothers and sisters who recognize this need and want to be part of the Mission. This includes both those who are going (the team) and those who are sending (our sponsors).
- I believe that God has challenged us to connect with people virtually, through this blog, Zoom and phone calls and has grown us to strengthen connections even across many miles of separation.
- I believe that God has placed us on the team to hold a spot for Pancho and Mary Torres who needed one more year to be in Ecuador before committing to another foreign mission.
- I believe that God has prepared LaNae and I to open our home to both our friends, our family and to those who we are ministering to.
- I believe that God has challenged us to take a stand on His Word and to speak out His truth more boldly.
- I believe that God has taken this time to prepare us for what is to come.
I hope that you can look back on this year
and say that God has done great things,
even when we don't fully understand.
God is working, growing our faith, our character and trust in Him.
He continually gives us grace in our weaknesses
and shows us that He is the God of New Beginnings!