Bridges

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. — 1 Peter 2:4-5, ESV

Dead Stones
When I was growing up in New England, I used to walk along the top of dry-stacked, field-stone walls that seemed to weave through the woods for miles. I never knew why they were there nor was I curious. They were simply fun to walk on. I later learned that they were once border fences for cow pastures in the east end of Woonsocket, R.I., now overtaken by neighborhoods and a few patches of maple and oak. The walls are badly dilapidated and breached. The stones have become more and more disorganized through the years, and their purpose has been reduced to a mere silent witness to a time forgotten.

Living Stones
I love stone. I love all the shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. I even love the smell that is produced when you bang two rocks together. The uses of stone are endless. God used it as the foundational material for our planet, and as his image bearers, we follow suit and use it for nearly every facet of life: dwelling structures such as homes and temples, property markers, grave stones, walls, bridges, roads, tools, jewelry, and the list goes on.

In God’s wisdom and artistry, he has chosen to use stone as a metaphor throughout Scripture for who he is, who we are, and our purpose. There is so much in 1 Peter 2:4-5, but I would simply like to focus on Peter’s identification of Christians as ‘living stones.’ Think about that metaphor for moment. We are stones that are living — not cold dead material, but living, breathing, personal stones that make up the ‘spiritual house’ in which God delights to dwell. We live, move, and have our being in Jesus Christ, ‘the living stone rejected by men.’

Building Bridges, Crossing Boundaries
Jesus is the name that will be known by every tribe, tongue, and nation. His kingdom is transnational. Boundary markers and walls cannot stop it. As I watched the video below, I pondered how the Lord puts us together and uses us to expand his kingdom to new territory. In his plan, God the master builder uses his living stones to reach cold dead stones from all over the world. As the church, we are multiethnic and multicultural–all colors, shapes, and sizes. All of us are carefully placed, interdependent, bearing the load together. None are insignificant. Each of us has an important role in missions to cross barriers and reach those who are lost that they may know the Living Stone who died to reach them.

We Are Still Here!

We are still here! There, I said it. It is apparent that many folks are still under the impression we went straight to Cherokee back in May. “What are you still doing here?” or “Hey, I thought you were in Cherokee” have become standard greetings from so many people we run into. Regina and I have  lost count on how many people who were surprised when they would see us on a Sunday morning. Let me clear up any confusion, we don’t get to Cherokee until we reach 100% of our funding. Support raising is the first and never-ending part of missionary life. It comes with the territory.

The end of May concluded my time with Saint Andrew’s as the director of education and youth ministries, but that  was not our start date for Cherokee. Throughout the summer, I have been finishing my final seminary classes while raising support since March when our missionary status officially began with MTW.

The best way to know what we are doing is to check our blog, Facebook, or, better yet, give us a call. For the next year or more, we will continue to visit other churches as well as Saint Andrew’s Chapel. I am very excited to report that this fall we will be visiting my first church back home in Woonsocket, RI. We are also having home gatherings to share our vision with small groups of people who would like to know more about what we are doing. We will also continue to send letters to our friends asking for help as well. Please remember that most of a missionary’s support comes from private donors, rather than churches. Hence you see why it is important for all our friends to know that we are not yet in Cherokee. We don’t get there until we have raised enough pledged support to keep us there for a four-year stay.

For those who have received a letter already, but have yet to receive a follow-up call from us, please forgive us for that. We have been mighty busy these past few months, but we still would like to talk to you. If you would like to support us, but you are not sure if you are able, please remember that no amount is too small. Really. We truly appreciate any pledge that comes our way. It is a huge encouragement to know friends are striving with us as we seek to serve the Lord in Cherokee.

So where are we now financially? Currently we are around 20% of pledged regular giving. We are told by the home office that that is actually good considering the fact that it is summer. God has also graciously poured in a lot of one-time gifts as well. Only 80% more to go!

Until next time, keep checking our Prayer Journal page.  Go ahead and hit the widget on the side of the pages that automatically sends you updates to this blog when they occur, and most of all pray for us.

All for the Kingdom,

Patrick