"Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." Luke 1:38
"Do you trust the Spirit enough to say: 'I am your slave; take me; use your omnipotent power to put me where you want me, when you want me there, doing what you want me to do'? Do you know why we can entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit? Because he exists to exalt the glory of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if the heartbeat of your life is the glory of Jesus Christ, the Spirit will empower and help you with all his might. Let's live and speak so that men and women might know that Jesus Christ is a great Savior, the Son of the Most High, and the never-ending King of kings. That's the passion of the Holy Spirit. To be full of that is to be full of him." -- John Piper
God has used this year to stretch us and grow our trust in Him. From trying to raise support in a struggling economy; to seeing two new missionaries approved to join the Global Youth and Family team... From wrestling with how to do marriage, family and relationships while ministering around the globe; to watching God raise up national leaders in eleven different countries hungry to be equipped in reaching youth... From dealing with illness and injury abroad, to experiencing the strength of God and the power of prayer... From caring for missionary kids and families in crisis, to seeing third culture kids embracing their gifts and callings.
Thank you for standing with us through it all! We know God has used the prayers of our friends, family and support team to make all the difference. Piper asks (above): "Do you trust the Spirit enough to say: 'I am your slave; take me; use your omnipotent power to put me where you want me, when you want me there, doing what you want me to do'?" Apart from the work of the Spirit in response to your prayers and support, we would not even begin to be able to trust Him and abandon ourselves to this mission.
Please pray for...
1. The launch of the first two International GYFI (Global Youth and Family Institute) sites this coming year (2009): training national leaders and indigenous churches for youth ministry in their context. We need wisdom to know the most strategic location for these pilot sites.
2. John & Saras Chung (Karis and Jaron), and Ruthanne Burch--newly approved MTW missionaries for our team--as they raise their support in hopes of joining us this year.
3. The 400 missionary kids and families we're called to care for around the world as they face the challenges of adolescence and the compound stress of cross-cultural missions.
4. The upcoming Area Retreat (April 09) for our missionary families from across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. We will be recruiting and leading a team of 20 youth ministers and counselors to run a program and build relationships with MKs.
5. For the Larsen family as we continue to embrace our calling and look to the Lord to guide us through the stress and strain of cross-cultural ministry, heavy international travel and separations, and the demands of pioneering a new ministry.
6. For our financial support: we currently stand at approximately 70% of our total monthly commitment needed.
All of us have been hurt at some level by the economic downturn. Word just came that MTW will be cutting all staff and US based missionaries by 5% beginning January 2009. That will be tough for our family of 6, but we are grateful to be employed. And we are confident that God will supply all our needs according to his riches in Christ. Your financial giving continues to go to our support account, but the amount apportioned to us in salary will be 5% less, and the adjusted amount apportioned to our operational/ ministry budget. None of your giving is being redirected to other missionaries, ministries or to MTW as a whole, but continues to directly contribute to the Global Youth and Family Ministry. Thank you!
This Christmas may you and I be able to say with our whole hearts, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said." As John Piper writes, "Let's live and speak so that men and women might know that Jesus Christ is a great Savior, the Son of the Most High, and the never-ending King of kings. That's the passion of the Holy Spirit. To be full of that is to be full of him." May you be filled with the Spirit of Christ this Christmas as together we proclaim with passion the love of our Savior to the nations and the next generation.