I was cleaning out my office recently and came across a file of our old newsletters. To read letters stretching across the past twenty-three years…to remember all the people and events that have filled our lives…I was amazed to wonder at God’s grace. It was also fun to notice how so many of the people mentioned in our letters are still part of our hearts and lives. Those letters contain stories of tragedy and loss, suffering and trial. They also contain stories of grace and perseverance. But the threads that run through everything are the hope and love of God that has had and continues to have the power to redeem all things. We press on as we live and work and move in that amazing love which keeps us building the kingdom here in Minneapolis.
For us, this is a great season of rejoicing. In the past couple of weeks, we attended the graduations of Tyler Moore (University of Wisconsin-River Falls) and Thomas Ford (Minneapolis Community and Technical College). Both of these guys have had to overcome obstacles and persevere through trials to reach that graduation and we could not be prouder of them for their achievement. The college years of challenge and struggle have been used in their lives by God and they have grown and are continuing to grow as men of God. We love them so dearly and are so happy to have shared this milestone with them.
In the next weeks, we will be celebrating the graduations of our seniors. One of those young men is Pierre, the son of Julia and Darcy. Chris first met young Julia and her brother when they tried to roll down the hill and bump him off the sidewalk in front of Park Avenue Church about twenty-eight years ago. Across all these years and many ups and downs, we have had the privilege of loving Julia and her family and watching God bless her to offer her own children a stability and foundation that she herself never experienced as a child. Pierre is graduating from Brooklyn Center High School and will be going to Augsburg College in the fall. He is an extremely motivated and conscientious young man whose drive was recognized by receiving an ACT6 scholarship that will pay for all four years of his private school education, room and board. We are excited to watch Pierre tackle these new challenges and adventures that college will bring.
Among this year’s graduates is also our youngest son, Ezra. My heart is bursting with joy and gratitude as we prepare to watch him graduate (and give his school’s graduation speech). Ezra’s life is such a marvelous testimony to the power of God to redeem all things. When Ezra was in first and second grade, we began to learn that he had quite significant learning disabilities-many nights I laid awake worrying about how we would find our way through . God used all of that to teach me many things about myself and life that I needed to learn. And along the way, I have had this marvelous, first hand seat to observe how God works in a way so different from the world—in a way where weaknesses create strength, where something that is broken makes room for the growth of other beautiful things, where seeming failures produce things of great value, where God makes ways all the time, when it would seem there is no way. The intelligent, kind, persevering and helpful young man who is heading off to Augsburg College in the fall is a testimony to God’s grace and a reminder that nothing can stand in the way of the plans God has for each of his children.
We will be celebrating with an open house for our high school graduates in June and hope that all of you who have supported and prayed for our ministry over the years will come and rejoice and celebrate with us God’s great faithfulness. If you are in the metro area, we hope you might be able to come.