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Happy Father’s Day!

Erika preaching on Father's Day
Erika preaching on Father’s Day

Today on Father’s Day, my father and I preached – he at Fridley Covenant in MN and me at Peniel Iglesia del Pacto in Zaachila, Oaxaca.  As I prepared my sermon I thought about how I would not be in this position, preparing a sermon in Spanish in Oaxaca, Mexico, if it weren’t for my family, and specifically if it weren’t for my dad.  Before I got into my sermon, (which was based on Lucas 2 when 12 year old Jesus stays in Jerusalem at the temple and his parents discover he’s not with them and don’t find him for three days!) I shared part of my testimony, specifically about my relationship with my dad and his influence in my life.  I talked about how I always knew that my dad loved me because he played games with us, cooked and served us our favorite meal (and still does), told me how proud he is of me, attended most of my basketball games, concerts, plays and track meets while I was in school.  He still hugs me and tells me he loves me.  He’s written me cards expressing how proud he is to be my dad.  He also always included us in ministry at church.  As pastor’s kids, we were in front quite often – singing, playing trombone and piano, reading Scripture and participating in ministry with my parents.

When I was called to serve as a missionary right after graduating from NPU and right before I married Nils, my family and my home church supported me whole-heartedly, even as it was difficult considering I had just been diagnosed with MS (you can read more about that here).  And, after my year of service I will never forget that my dad invited me to preach for the first time, and although I was nervous, and a little long-winded (just like my dad) I felt accepted and loved, called and gifted to minister in this way.  Today, my family and Nils’s family are our strongest supporters of God’s call on our lives to serve in Mexico as missionaries, through prayer,and emotional and financial support.

My dad visiting us in Oaxaca January 2012
My dad visiting us in Oaxaca January 2012

As I prepared my testimony, I was filled with gratitude as I remembered this verse…

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.  Deut. 7:9

At the same time, as I was about to share in my sermon about Jesus’s family, I wanted everyone to know that even though I grew up in a Christian family, surrounded by love, it certainly did not mean we were a perfect family.  We had our share of arguments, and hurt each other with our words and attitudes.  We weren’t always honest and open with one another, sometimes hiding our sin from each other.  However, possibly one of the greatest gifts I received from my parents was grace and forgiveness, as they also often asked me for forgiveness as well.  This is a gift I desire to pass on to my children.  May they always know that when they make mistakes or poor choices, they can come to Nils and me and find grace and mercy, just like the Father with his Prodigal Son.

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2 thoughts on “Happy Father’s Day!”

  1. Erika, God has so richly gifted you with a loving and caring spirt and an ability to express yourself so well through wrtten and spoken words. I know I was not always the best dad for you, but by God’s grace, he blotted out my sins and mistakes and has shaped you into a beautiful woman with a servant spirit for His glory. Thank you for that wonderful tribute, though not all deserved. You have blessed me and mom beyond what you could imagine! Dad

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  2. Dear Erika,

    I just read your talk about your dad. Through the years we often think of Dan and Petra at Thomastown and the blessing they were to us. You were always special to us Erica and it was so fun to see you grow up. We watched you grow up and prayed for you and your brother and sister. It is such a joy to see what is happening in your life and the fact that you can be connected to Bay Indies Covenant Church!

    Rose

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