Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 2 Cor. 1:3-7
We have such a remarkable God. Even in times of distress, He shows us His care and protection. And in times of joy and celebration, He again cares, protects, and brings us blessing. In every situation, He remains steadfast in His love and care for us. On the other hand, we tend to go with the flow of whatever is occurring and respond to crisis with panic, or to joy with relief. Our great God teaches us and blesses us through trials and strengthens us so that we can be a blessing to others. And in conflict, He teaches us how to bring Him glory as we strive for reconciliation. Unfortunately, due to our fallen nature, we will always have conflict to deal with. But in His faithfulness, our Lord is always with us.
Well the time has arrived and we said our farewells today to Bruce and Kathy Zagel. They have received approval of their position from Australia and are waiting on the clearance of their background check. The last leg of the wait is to spend a week of vacation in Idaho, including a few days with Bruce's parents. From there they will travel to Portland to spend some time with their grandson Zander (and yes, his parents Adam and Leah will be there too, but of course Zander is the big draw.) They will wait for the final approval in Portland and then depart the country. We pray for God to bless their travels, speed the final approval, and bless their new adventure in Australian ministry. Go in peace, dear friends.
Since my last posting, Ted has taught Church Reconciler Training in Minnesota. We thank God for the receptive participants and the growth that God has given. We pray these men will be greatly strengthened in their ministry. Ted has also taught two events in Canada, one was a practicum on conflict coaching, the other on responding to sexual temptation in a hightech society. Both went very well and we pray will continue to be a blessing for those present. Ted also met with the board of the new Ambassadors of Reconciliation-Canada. There are many decisions to make as they get established. We pray for God's direction and wisdom as they make this exciting beginning. Ted will travel to Nebraska next week to teach another Church Reconciler training. We pray for God's blessings on the those traveling to the event. Also we pray God will bless the teaching and learning that will take place. Ted has been extra busy this month since Bruce has been gone. We are grateful for the slight increase for case work that we've had. Our financial situation is still serious, but slightly improved.
Ed continues to tackle the physical therapy prescribed for him. He is regaining some range of motion and strength in his shoulder. We praise God for the improvement and continue to pray for Ed as he heals. Ed recently taught a leadership seminar in Kansas. We thank God for his skills and for the conference going well. We especially thank God for Ed being able to continue teaching since his injury. Ed is quite busy and we are very thankful to have him on staff.
I had a delightful vacation in Canada. We traveled there to take care of two grandchildren during our daughter-in-law's sister's wedding in Hawaii. With Mum gone, Grandma and Papa were the primary caregivers. They are 4 and 5 and yes, we slept very well while there. We find that the grandkids are the prize for all those years of sleepless nights and endless athletic games, etc. of parenting. Since being back, the office has been pretty busy and I am thankful for such a fulfilling job and meaningful work. It is always good to come to work. The variety and challenge of each day is a blessing.
Thank you, dear friends, for your partnering with us in this ministry. Your faithful prayers help to sustain us in ministry for our brothers and sisters in conflict. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Cor. 1:20-22 We need never fear for God has given a guarantee to us in Christ. May you be sustained and emboldened to further service and ministry for Christ. We pray for you as well.