Working for just and honest relationships in a world filled with distrust, abuse, and pain is a task that can often bring discouragement and loneliness. It can also bring confusion as we seek to discern how God is calling us to live, speak and act in the midst of it all. As I reflect on our four years in Oaxaca, sometimes I struggle to see the light in the midst of darkness and to trust God to bring fruit from the seeds we and so many others have worked hard to plant.
Sometimes I feel like the Servant Jesus from Isaiah, “‘I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with God” (Isaiah 49:4). I can imagine Jesus feeling discouraged, lonely, confused and hurt as his closest friends abandoned him, betrayed him and denied him. Yet, in spite of how he felt, he put his hope and trust in His Father.
During this Holy week, I’ve been reflecting on Isaiah 42, another one of the Servant Songs, and I’d like to share a few verses here and my comments in italics:
V. 4 – He will not falter or be discouraged until he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope. The Lord brings me hope as I am reminded me that bringing justice to this earth isn’t dependent upon us, but rather God has invited us to walk with Him and His church in extending His Kingdom of justice, love and hope.
VV. 6-7 – I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand, I will keep you and will make you a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Verse 7 describes what our ministry feels likes sometimes, but Christ also must open my eyes as he holds my hand and walks with me into my own darkness and that of the world.
V. 8a – I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another. That includes me! Lord, may I never seek the glory that belongs only to you.
V. 9 – See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. This fills me with great hope that God indeed is doing new things here even though we struggle to see them spring into being.
God certainly is at work here and one of the rays of light and hope that we see is MAEM, Ministering to the Abused and Exploited in Mexico, and the new group of church leaders we have started to train in this ministry. We invited each Covenant Church from the valley as well as a few other denominations and non-profits to send one or two leaders from their church or organization to come and seek healing and training together, and the response was greater than we expected. 40 people are attending the training! We are also excited to have 6 men participating in the training, as well as many young people! What joy and hope we experience in seeing so many leaders with a desire to seek God’s healing in their own lives in order to help bring healing to others. May God use this ministry to bring about just and healthy relationships in our families, churches and communities.
Would you join me in prayer today for the Covenant church in Oaxaca and Mexico? Please pray for God to continue His work of bringing justice, healing and love to the church so that they may be a beacon of hope and light to the world around them? Would you also pray for the missionaries here that we may have the same hope and trust in our Father as Jesus did in spite of the circumstances around us and that we would model healthy, just relationships with each other and those with whom we minister? Finally, please pray for our family as we come to the end of our 4 year term and get ready to leave for home assignment. Pray that we have God’s eyes to see the ministry here as He does, so that we may be able to communicate with our partners in the U.S the struggles of ministry and the signs of God’s work with joy, truth and hope. Gracias!