Rest

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

As I meditate on these words of Jesus today I feel an overwhelming sense of peace and joy. In the midst of circumstances that should lead me to anxiety and exhaustion, the peace that surpasses all understanding rests on me, thanks to the sovereign grace of God.

Rest is important and I often fall into the trap of thinking that I am too busy; that life is just too crazy to slow down, but real rest doesn’t just mean sitting in the recliner. Rest is spiritual. This past weekend, Briana graciously made a way for me to go to the Guadalupe Mountains for the day. Over the years I have found that my heart longs for spending time outdoors. As a good friend of mine says, many of the major decisions in his life have been made in the mountains, and the same rings true for me.

After hiking in the rain through McKittrick Canyon for a few hours, my mind finally got quiet. I began to live in the moment, taking in the smells of the wet forest and the beautiful fall colors, just marveling in God’s creation. I sat on the porch of the Pratt Cabin and went to the Lord in prayer.  I told Him I was tired; that I was emotionally and physically spent. I shared my anxieties with Him about the leap of faith He has led my family to, but in that moment I felt the Spirit reminding me of the verse from 2 Corinthians 12:9,  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  

I have been blessed with a lot of time in the outdoors this summer. My first solo overnight trip at Pine Top in the Guadalupes, a Guadalupe Peak summit, a llama packing adventure with Briana and Truma, my first 14er summit of Pikes Peak with my brother, and a group backpacking trip in the Pecos Wilderness. Each of these trips refreshed my spirit in different ways, but most notably on my trip to the Pecos on Labor Day weekend.

The Pecos trip was with a multigenerational men's group from our church called Iron Men. What a wonderful and necessary ministry to develop relationships with men in different age groups. As a young man, I am grateful for the mentorship and also the great jokes. I hope the wiser (read older) guys enjoy it half as much as I do. Berry, Clark, and I hiked Truchas Peak (elevation 13,100'), the second highest peak in New Mexico. We had a great day together and we all felt like champions for making it to the top, sore and tired champions. 

On the last day, coming down the mountain, I was talking to God, looking for reassurance amidst the major changes He was calling us to make. As I walked in awe of His creation, the Spirit brought a phrase to my mind, “Don’t worry. I am going before you”. No this was not the audible voice of God, but more of a prodding to remember the promises laid out in His word. Deuteronomy 31:8 says “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Over and over again, the scriptures command us not to fear; that God is sovereign and sufficient in all things, we just need to trust. Easier said than done I admit.

Some days I am filled with excitement about the mission God has placed on our hearts, but to be candid with you, some days I am overwhelmed. This calling is far too big for us to accomplish in our own power and when I look at the mountain set before us, it is daunting. On the days when it seems impossible, God stirs my spirit and reminds me that we are not doing this alone, and it is better that way. You see, since this calling is impossible by our strength, all of the glory will be His as He walks with us down this road. Nobody will be able to explain how the impossible will be made possible. It will be a miracle, pointing people to God. We are not going alone, He goes before us.

Not only is He paving the way, He is also raising up people to walk alongside us. We are greatly encouraged by members of our church, friends, and people in the community that are being placed in our path to join us as we follow the Lord. We have a great number of people praying for us and encouraging us everyday and we are SO grateful for that support especially when things get hard. We are experiencing divine community; the God given community we long to have with our brothers and sisters on the streets.

Living in survival mode, our homeless friends are emotionally and physically tired. They have been looked down upon, cast aside, unloved. However, those on the street who have a relationship with Christ have shown us that no matter the circumstances, the peace and joy of God cannot be taken away. Their walk encourages us and it drives us to give our whole selves to be instruments of Christ’s love. We desire that those on the streets who do not know Christ will see that the reason we love them is because Christ first loved us, so much that He went to the cross and made a way for us to be heirs to His Kingdom. We can never repay what He has done for us, but we want our lives to be an expression of our gratitude and love. As we begin lifting our homeless friends into community, our goal is to point them towards the only true source of rest and redemption, Jesus Christ.

Please continue to pray for us as we seek to be faithful. Our specific requests are as follows:

·      That our house sells soon so that we can really focus on the call set before us.

·      That our nonprofit paperwork is approved quickly.

·      That our hearts are prepared to serve and be served during our time at Community First!

·      That the Lord provides land and a way for us to support our family when we return.

We would love to hear from our readers. Please feel free to reach out on the contact page to offer encouragement or if you are interested in partnering with us in prayer or financially. One thing we haven’t shared is that the Community Corps program is not free, and we humbly invite you to help send us to participate in the Lord’s will. Thank you for taking the time to keep up with us. Your support means a great deal.

John-Mark

“Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”- C. T. Studd