“Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’” -Luke 18:16
This was the instruction given to the descendants of Aaron as they served the Lord through regular offerings in the tabernacle and then in the temple. While burnt offerings are no longer a part of our worship as Christ is the final sacrifice (Heb. 10:10), this verse is still helpful advice for our spiritual lives. In one of our worshipping communities in Dayton we would sing the song “may the fire on my altar never go out…. Lord, make me a house of prayer.” If you have ever tended a campfire or wood burning fireplace, you know the intentionality needed to keep a fire stoked & steady. When we camp we make it our personal challenge to use a small amount of wood & keep it going for a really long time through careful tending. This is how we wind down at night after getting the kids to sleep in the tent.
Likewise, the fire of our faith needs careful attention to stay steady and strong. We don’t want to quench the work of the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19) but rather to fan into flame the gifts God has given us (2 Tim. 1:6). While we want to tend to the fire of our faith daily, we have found it fruitful to also have some intentional time away from the distractions of everyday life to tend to cultivate the flame. Mid November we had the chance to do that as we celebrated our 13th Anniversary on Nov. 13th. In the midst of a chaotic and emotionally challenging fall we were able to have a few, precious, concentrated days resting in God’s presence, enjoying Him through worship, prayer and Scripture reading. We decided for our Scripture focus to read together through the Gospel of Luke and talk about how we saw God communicating to the people. It was also a refreshing time for our marriage. Serving together in ministry is such a joy, yet there are certainly unique challenges in having every area of life, work and family yoked together.
A number of our MAG teammates have had some significant challenges this year. By no means least has been our dear friend and teammate Abrielle’s battle with Leukemia. She had been doing really well with the aftermath of a bone marrow transplant and then after day 70 (the first 100 days after the transplant are most critical) new cancer growth was discovered in her body. This particular form of cancer is especially aggressive and she was given a really heart breaking prognosis. We are still praying for a miracle in her body of complete healing and ask that you would join us in prayer as we ask God to cover her and her husband Joel in His strength, mercy and love. Just a week or so before this news Sean was blessed to visit their sending church and Pastor during our brief stop in Spokane during our Washington trip. Prior to Abrielle’s cancer diagnosis they were getting ready to move to Honduras as Airplane Mechanic (Joel) and Nurse (Abrielle).
Even with changes abounding God is still providing for ministry in our Honduras Rus Rus base. Carmen is slotted to go again to Honduras the second half of January to take part in the annual VBS team. She is looking forward to connecting with the kids there again and sharing in some of the preaching in the village church. This year’s January team will also have a construction emphasis as we plan to put a new roof on the Rus Rus school. While education is not the focus of our ministry in Rus Rus it is a huge need in that community. The school is just one cement block room for all ages and unfortunately the assigned teacher has been sick for much of the past 2 years so not much education has moved forward as there are no substitutes like we have in the U.S.. Still, a new roof for the school is a critical need. We also use that space for our VBS as it is the largest indoor gathering space in the village. Construction materials for the new roof will cost $1,000-1,200. This would be the perfect project for a small group or church to sponsor over the Advent Season. If your group is interested in tackling this important need please let us know- we can get you more pictures and information.
We are grateful for all of your prayers & financial support as we serve with MAG. May you be blessed by the warmth of Christ’s love this season and always.
Carmen & Sean Garrigan