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Merry Christmas from Ireland! All the preparation is over the day has arrived, and we're celebrating Christmas. We've been in Ireland 18 month... it hardly seems possible. God has provided in SO many ways. He has opened doors and done miracles that are beyond our wildest dreams. We have met some wonderful people and are making what we hope will be lifelong friends here in Ireland. You might say it feels more and more like home.
I'm sitting in our living room and above our fireplace is a nativity scene... it's made of Olive wood from Israel. Annette got it when she visited Israel growing up. As I look again at this scene I'm speechless. Think about it... GOD sent his son into our world. Isn't that incredible? Doesn't it leave you scratching your head? I mean ponder the distance He traveled. He truly did empty himself.
There is no greater metaphor for missions than the picture painted by His birth. Talk about crossing barriers... HE did it! We should be challenged again to GO into our world, to enter the lives of those around us... and NOT with answers, but by laying down our lives... like Jesus with love.
As I think about 2013 my prayer is simply... Lord, help me incarnate YOU to those around me. Help me to be what YOU want me to be.
Can I be honest with you? I need your help... would you pray for me, for us. Would you?
Pray that while we might not have clarity all the time... we'd learn to trust Him more in 2013.
Pray for the new things that will begin with the new year, (i.e. a Parent & Toddler Group in the community where we live, Wicklow.)
Pray for Ted & Sarah Voigt as they join us in January.
Pray for the CHURCH in Ireland, that we would rise up and BE the people of God.
Thank you... again! Thanks for reading, for praying, for partnering with us in this great adventure. Thanks also for the cards, support and Facebook posts... we love you!
Blessings & Merry Christmas!
Stephen & Annette, along with Matthew in Ireland(and our daughter at MNU)