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“And His name will be the HOPE of all the world.” ~Matthew 12:21
As I sit here writing this letter to you, we are listening to Handel’s Messiah. What was just sung? “The Lord of HOPE is the King of glory.“ Hope was the theme in our recent Zoom call with our Multiply family (formerly MB Mission). In Richard’s Advent readings said, “HOPE begins in the dark … HOPE begins in the chaos.” The plaque shown in the picture was given to us by dear friends in some of our darkest times (click here to see the picture). Hope is what has carried us through 2020. We choose hope, just as we choose joy. We know that most everyone has been challenged during this pandemic. Our hope is anchored in Jesus.
What has/is currently challenging our hope?
- Not knowing how we will say our goodbyes in these next months. Our flights back to Canada to begin our retirement are booked for April 5. How do we end well? How do we say our goodbyes? Can it really be that we won’t shake hands and hug the people we love so dearly?
- Will churches be able to meet together for Christmas celebrations?
- G. was reading the Bible with Richard weekly, but now Covid-19 has kept him at home. Will we see him baptised before we leave?
- Major changes are happening in our mission organisation. What will the new normal look like?
What gives us hope?
- Seeing the number of Covid infections slow down in our second lockdown. Most stores and schools will reopen on December 7. We will be able to meet with one family, but then as of December 23 there is hope that we can meet in small groups of up to 10 people.
- Seeing the hunger for God’s word in new believers. M. is reading through her Bible. She said, “I could hardly wait to get through the Old Testament. I want to meet Jesus in the New Testament.” I wish you could have seen the expression of hope in her face!
- Participants from our Open Hearts course, who shared of the healing that is happening in their lives. One lady said, “The course made me hungry to read God’s word!” We will be having a follow-up meeting with participants on January 9.
- Planning a retreat for our Austrian church leaders for January in the hope that we will be able to meet. We anticipate hotels will be allowed to open on January 7th, albeit with restrictions.
We thank everyone, who responded to our prayer letter and updates this year. Our financial situation is stable. Thanks for each gift and each prayer. Our prayer for you during this Advent and Christmas season is Psalm 25:5.”All day long I put my hope in you.”