Greetings to all of you, our Brothers and Sisters in Christ! I write this to you less than two weeks from the Big Day (March 8) when the moving truck arrives to ferry our belongings to the parsonage. We are busily packing and dreaming about where we will put everything. We do so, knowing that you have put SO many hard hours cleaning, painting, and making the house a welcoming space for us. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for the many
expressions of love and care you have already extended. Knowing what strenuous, tiring work you’ve been doing, we marvel that you’ve done so with smiling faces and joyful hearts.
We also want to express our thanks and admiration to your Interim Pastor Bram. We have
watched several of your online services to prepare for what’s ahead, and his love for you is plain to see. He has such affection for you; I know it will be bittersweet for him to end his time of service. He sent me a gracious letter, so full of welcome to us and glowing descriptions of you all. He has said this to you in person, so I feel safe in telling you that he has been touched by your generosity, openness and compassion. I know that you will shower him with your love as he prepares to depart. For my part, I look forward to experiencing fellowship with him and benefiting from his wise counsel.
All that we have heard about you, from the Regional Pastors, from Pastor Bram, and so many others, remind me of Paul as he wrote to introduce his ministry to the believers in Colossae. In 1:3-6, it is clear that he had been deeply impressed by descriptions of their faith:
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.” (NIV)
Likewise, the few precious hours we have been with you, along with so many testimonials of your love and faith, have already endeared you to us. We can observe the hope in your faces, the faith with which you are ready to shine your light for the city to see. It kindles in us an eagerness to work by your side, together to discover and pursue what the Lord has in store for days ahead. I will be in active consultation with the Regional Pastors, who want to give you every possible tool and cheer you on in this process. And most of all, I am impatient to enter into close friendship with you, to know you, your stories, and how I can lift you in prayer. I’m so keen to learn how I can best serve and equip you. As Paul expressed to the Church in Rome, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Rom. 1:11-12 NIV). May God speed the day, and give us a long journey together!
Your Brother and Servant,