Dear Friends and Family at Grace Redeemer,
In his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul unabashedly oozes with love and affection toward the believers. He writes, “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”
This verse captures in many ways how Liz and I have felt as missionaries supported by Grace Redeemer Church. To be partners with us in investing the gospel of God on campus through regular prayer and financial support in our work with DiscipleMakers would be encouragement enough, but you have breathed life into our ministry and family by sharing your lives as well! Over the past four years, this has both refreshed us as we pour out on campus, and has sharpened us in our ministry to students by modeling how to share our lives too. Here are a few examples where the church has not simply told us that we were dear to them, but where you have shown us.
When our family came to Camp of the Woods last summer as the conference speakers, we never once felt like we were the “outsiders” trying to fit into a new community. We were taken in as part of the family from the moment we arrived. Peter and Cedar took us out for dinner at a local restaurant; a nice treat after a long ride. Later that weekend, a family who had many children of their own, offered to watch our three boys at mealtime so that we could grab our food. And after hearing that some of our boys were sick, a number of moms shared medicine to care for our family.
Whenever I, Brian, have come up to speak or when we bring the family to share an update at the church, we are met with so much hospitality that we have had to turn families down in terms of staying the night. That is a good problem to have I suppose. Families in the church have cooked for us, taken us out for ice cream, welcomed us into family devotions, invited us to children’s sporting events, drew us out in discipleship, prayed for us, and blessed us with special gifts.
These brief examples don’t begin to capture the numerous emails, calls, notes, and responses to our prayer updates which are regularly responded to out of a heart of genuine concern, warmth, and joy! To conclude with another verse written by Paul, he writes in Philippians 2 about Timothy that, “I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.” Thank you for being zealous for God to raise up faithful disciples of young men and women on campus, but also for taking a genuine interest in our welfare, family, and spiritual health! Liz and I praise God for you!
Affectionately in Christ,
Brian and Liz Parker
Brian and Liz are Team Leaders for campus ministry in the Lehigh Valley.