Back in South Carolina
Next stop, Tirana! God-willing of course. I write this letter to you from Simpsonville, under quarantine… again. I wish I could articulate to you the weight pressing down on us, just getting to this point. Yet, our Father has proven Himself again and again. Added to that, we are also very much aware of all your prayers during this time. Thank you for petitioning the Lord of His harvest to get us to Albania!
Of course, when things move so rapidly and crisis upon crisis mount against one’s efforts, there is that numbness we call derealization that inevitably sets in. Our emotions become detached from the gravity of what we are busy with. But praise to God that emotions do not equate with faith and hope. Emotions are spent like fuel, but hope is something we can preach to ourselves.
That is why Psalm 131 is what we prefer running to. There is an unlimited sufficiency we may, or rather must soothe ourselves with in the Sovereign grace and goodness of our Father who knows all our needs. We may not always have the emotional capacity for the turmoil we face, but we dare not settle for stoicism or fatalism either – we revive ourselves with expectation, hope and confidence, all in God.
Blessing in Uprootedness
One theme that has hit me hard as we started packing again, is how often we are uprooted in life. Moving to Europe and the US had taught us much about being sojourners in this world, but as we think it through more, uprootedness tells a fuller story – the story of being torn from the stable and familiar to be swept elsewhere. It is for sure a violent story.
Scripture is filled with God’s people being uprooted. Think of Adam and Eve driven from the garden. Think of Noah, Abraham, Joseph and even Israel. But it is as we consider the Man of the Via Dolorosa that the heart can best learn what it should. In uprootedness we sense the uncertainties of this world yes, but it is in following after Jesus through it that we are severed from the one and firmly joined to the Other. In following after Jesus in uprootedness our union with and prize in Him alone becomes all the more real to our faith and hope (recall Php 3:10).
Something about worldview again
This brings me to our theme of worldview again. Uprootedness by God’s grace may shake our worldview. Cultural shifts, joblessness, civil war, family upheaval, earthquakes, pandemics – all these things may force us, even for a moment, to double-check the grids we rely on to settle our understanding of life. This is what we must pray for God’s people in Albania, which in recent decade have been quite familiar with uprootedness.
As we read Paul’s appeal to the Corinthians to live as God’s people in 1 Cor 6:14-7:1, we should see sanctification impacting and transforming worldviews. Unless God’s people begin walking to a different drumbeat, sanctification has not gone deep enough and will not bless the next generation to walk in the footsteps of their believing parents.
All good to go
Now, as we write this letter, our house is sold in Winter Springs, our household goods are somewhere in a port or on a boat, our flights are booked for December 29th, our visas are being processed in Rome, we have accommodation for the day we arrive in Tirana.
What is outstanding is getting three months of medication for Euodia before we leave. This will give us a buffer until we find an endocrinologist work out a reliable medical situation.
Finally, there are so many things for us to be thankful for:
- So many of you are praying for us, and often too! It is glorious to see how God aligns Himself with prayer according to His will. We love how God acts when we pray. Prayer aligns us to His will and causes our hearts to groan after Him.
- As of today, our monthly support stands at 73% of our target. In only 8 months, God through your support has created something truly ‘ex nihilo’.
We are also grateful for all the once-off amounts we have received. With that we have been able to completely pay for our flights and household move. Please thank our God for providing in this way for all we need.
- The sale of our home went through as well as it could have. We also feel really happy that we can leave behind a clean dwelling for the next person to enjoy. We pray it will be a blessing to her and her children, just as it had been to us. And thank you to the people who came to help us clean and prepare it.
- As we move on to Durres, we look back at our time in Florida with thankfulness. Particularly at Covenant Presbyterian Church, God provided for us more than a home. At CPC we were able to grow in our faith and love the saints who worship God with us. That is no small thing!
Finally, we have now learned that while this newsletter is very helpful to connect with you all, there were so many things over the last month that we shared in the moment with people via WhatsApp. We find WhatsApp to be particularly useful in making you aware of our state and prayer needs. If you would like to connect with us in this way, please connect to us through following this link to WhatsApp.
Together in Christ,
Mauritz, Euodia, Nadya and Yehoshua.
|1 O Yahweh, my heart is not haughty nor my eyes arrogant|
And I do not concern myself with things too great and difficult for me.
2 Rather I have soothed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like the weaned child is my soul with me.
3 O Israel, hope in Yahweh from now until forever.
Please pray for our hope in Christ to characterize these next few weeks
|“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” |
Please pray that we recognize Christ as our only prize within our circumstances.
1 Cor 6:17-18
|“Therefore come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord, |
and do not touch what is unclean, and I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me,
says the all-powerful Lord.”
Please pray that the Gospel will impact God’s people in Albania in the most radical way imaginable.
|Please pray with us that God would go before us and provide as He has always done, especially for Euodia’s medical situation.|