Thursday, September 4, 2014

Leslie's 2014 Summer Whirlwind

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:10-13)

I feel a bit like Paul may have when he finally returned to the Philippians. For whatever reason, he was delayed in returning and that delay caused a bit of cooling in some relationships. That's natural, right? Out of sight, out of mind. But the rejoicing truly begins when we realize we were not forgotten, we were missed, and we are still loved.

I can't begin to describe the sense of deep joy and true relief I felt at seeing so many of you (and a bit of sorrow for those around whom I didn't get to wrap my arms). I am something far greater than content with my life in East Africa, but at least part of that contentment is drawn from a place deep within where I know I'm still important to you. Greater still is the joy at knowing that what the Lord is doing through Surprised by Hope is still important to you. What an honor to serve a God who takes us just as we are (in my case, a little rough and bruised) and uses us for his glory.

My very short six weeks at home (U.S.) allowed me to visit all three of my children, lots of friends and family, and several pastors whom I so dearly missed. But what I didn't expect was all the beautiful new pastors and friends I would meet. God multiplied my blessing through you and well…I love those kinds of surprises. More importantly, I was able to share with you what God has been doing through Surprised by Hope and to reveal a bit of his vision for our future …a future of growth and expansion by way of countries and teams as well as a more in-depth focus on community development for pastors.

My first week home (Uganda) was a time of rest and reflection, a time of pressing into the Lord to hear what he would share about my little whirlwind in the States. And well…he affirmed a number of hopes that have tossing around in my heart for a while. I look forward to sharing them all with you in the very near future. For now, know that I am so incredibly thankful for you, for your warm welcome, hugs, and for the many gifts that will enable Surprised by Hope to do what God has created us to do.

Big hugs,

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