Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Things!

Ah, I can hardly believe that in two weeks’ time we will have been here for eight whole months! It still feels like we have only been here for such a short time. We have been on a few adventures recently so I thought I would start this post by sharing some of the lovely Scottish landscapes with you. There is something about this country, the beauty in it, that just captures my heart! :)


These pictures are from a recent trip we took to the Highlands (which is where Ali’s Nana and Granddad live). We drove up through the mountainous west coast of Scotland and were just so amazed as we drove through such breath-taking sights. We were totally delighted to see such beauty. Driving at the bottom of those mountains was quite a new experience for me, as you could imagine being a Texas girl (everything is SO flat), they were so big and I am so small. They are majestic and reflect God in a way that only they can. Those mountains are so much smaller than even the size of His finger! What a mighty, majestic and grand God! He deserves the utmost praise, glory and honour!

Anyway, while this country is so beautiful, more and more I am beginning to really miss family and friends and am longing for “home”. I am finding that what’s underneath this longing for home is not so much a place as it is a longing for relationships in which I am known and loved. I think loneliness then is the opposite, it’s when I am not in relationships in which I am known and loved. So, I suppose I have been feeling quite lonely, and it makes sense that during these lonely times I most long for home. But even as I write this I am reminded that wherever I am, wherever I go, I am always at home, though I often forget. Jesus is with me, He has not left me. And, with Him I am known like no other and loved deeply and perfectly.

It reminds me of what I was reflecting on in John 14 just a few days ago, when Jesus begins speaking very clearly with His disciples about what is going to take place, namely that He is going to die and then be raised. But He will leave them to go to the Father. I imagine they must have been terrified thinking, “But Jesus, we can’t do this without You. You’re our Lord, You’re our leader, You’re our teacher. We need you!” Jesus, perceiving that their hearts were totally troubled and fearful, as you could imagine, He says to them, “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you,” as He proceeds to comfort them with the amazing news that they will be indwelled with His Spirit forever. They will never be without Him, they will never be alone. For indeed, what amazing and comforting truth to know that the One who knows me and loves me is with me always, even to the end of the age! And it’s in these words I put my hope and my trust, and only in these words that I find peace. How grateful I am that in the gospel, the lonely can be known…forever!

Updates and Prayers:

Mom:  My family continues to go through a difficult time with my mom’s sickness. They are currently trying to decide on a good treatment option, but have many obstacles in the way ranging from practical things (like difficulty getting to doctor’s appointments), financial things (the cost of treatment), and spiritual things (there are spiritual forces of darkness that do not want my mother to get well). Please pray that God would provide the practical and financial help my mother needs in order to get treatment and pray that God would deliver my mother from the power of the enemy.

Marriage:  God is doing such an incredible (and miraculous) work in our marriage. So I know that you all must be praying! :) To be completely honest, most of the change is happening in me (Erica) and it’s having a huge impact on Alisdair. God has been showing me the areas in marriage in which I have believed the culture rather than Him, and the destruction that’s caused in our marriage. Through help from God I’ve been able to see these things and seek forgiveness from Alisdair and approach things differently. It’s changed everything! It’s been SO good and has given me a fresh desire to teach women more about what it means to be a wife who knows and believes that what God says about marriage is truly best. Please keep praying for us in this regard because I feel like this is only the beginning!
  • Roles (wife/helper suitable, husband/leader head) – Please pray that we would become even more aware of the ways in which our cultures have defined how we view our roles in marriage. Pray that we would reject the cultural views of marriage and that we would be able to see and experience God’s design for marriage. Our prayer is that our marriage and the marriages in the church would be a very real picture of Jesus’ relationship with the church to a broken culture.
  • Gospel-Centred conflict – We are realising more and more that we both have learned how to (and just naturally do) deal with conflict in weird and hurtful ways. Please pray that we would learn to communicate and deal with hurt in a godly way. We are praying that a new pattern would begin to take place in our marriage: that we would take our hurt first to Jesus, experience repentance and renewal through the gospel, and then go to each other with it. This pattern, when it’s done is so refreshing! Please pray that God would give us wisdom beyond years in regards to marriage.

Co-Workers:  SO much is going on here and we are filled with joy! I just started a new job in April with a small team of six girls working in HR. It’s a temporary role for up to four months with a potential to be extended. I have already gotten the opportunity to hear what some of the girls spiritual beliefs are and I am so excited to know more! Please pray for me, that God would give me supernatural interest in these girls, to know them and learn about what they believe. Please pray for favour and the ability to connect. Ultimately, please pray for opportunities to share Jesus with them, I am only there for such a short time.

The Lord is doing such an amazing work through Ali’s relationships and has given him so many opportunities to share the gospel with people and to chat about spiritual things. He’s gotten a chance to get to know many of his co-workers on a deeper level and is considering how to build the relationships further. Please pray that as Ali gets to know his co-workers more he would have the discernment and opportunity to speak the gospel directly into what’s going on in their lives. Please also pray that Ali would not lose sight (it’s so easy to do!) of the fact that he is entering into a mission field each day.

Church:  We are continuing to serve on the prayer team and it’s been so much fun to grow in edifying the church in this way. Please pray for us that as people come and share what they’d like for prayer we would have discernment and wisdom to see how the gospel directly applies to their situation. Pray that we would speak God’s words and it would bring great refreshing to the church.

Also, our wee Bible reading group is going really well! Each week we lead a group of young people through the word of God and point them to Jesus and the gospel as often as possible. It’s great fun! :) We are interested in getting to know each member of the group better and are seeking to establish closer one-on-one relationships with each person. Please pray for direction with this group and with each individual coming. Pray that God would help us know how to encourage each person spiritually and help them grow.

Next Steps:  We have been seeking God for direction about what is next and feel clarity on two things:
  •       Preparing for a family (specifically in the form of financial provision)
  •    Opportunities to shepherd, teach and make disciples

Please pray that God would open doors for both of these things and show us what next steps to take. Very exciting! :)

Thank you for praying for us. Let us know how you are; we’d LOVE to hear from you! Love to you all and glory to God.