Sorry for the delay! Recently, there hasn’t been much going on here in the X. Looking back at the month of January, there’s a stark contrast between the slow pace here in the X and political dissonance in America. Don’t be fooled, you can’t escape it even if you go to the other side of the world!

Since all of our friends left for the New Year’s Festival earlier this month, we haven’t been very busy. I’ve personally enjoyed the free time as a nice change of pace as well as a time for me to do some personal stuff like reading.

There’s one friend that I made a point of seeing before he left. His name is Ether and he, I was told, decided to accept Jesus at our last Christmas party. When I found out, I was very surprised and a little skeptical. I spend a lot of time with him and he never seems interested in what I’m selling. I met up with him to play some video games and get food. During our meal, I started asking him about his thoughts on our party and his decision to follow God. He told me that it’s very hard for his people to have beliefs after so many years of being told there is nothing. Basically, he told me that he hadn’t really wanted to follow God. The conclusion of our meeting was that Ether hadn’t taken the call seriously. We told him we would continue to pray for him as we continue our friendship. We also encouraged him to spend time over the break praying on his own. I’m not shocked by this experience. Unfortunately, it’s just a part of ministry. It also reaffirms what I see in the Bible about people taking God’s call seriously.

Meetings like this one aren’t uncommon. Recently, I’ve found myself putting in a lot of effort on behalf of my friends. God’s been pushing me to spend more time than ever before interceding on their behalf. Sometimes it can really be exhausting. But think about this. We know that works are a part of faith. In this case, I have faith that God can change hearts so I work on their behalf by praying, even though sometimes my friends demonstrate no spiritual self-awareness. Like Paul said, “I rejoice in my sufferings for you and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is the church. I have become its servant, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you to make God’s message fully known.”

Even though I put in a lot of work praying. In other words, we labor for others because they don’t labor for themselves. I’m learning to be grateful that we as followers don’t have to work for our salvation (as I spend more time working for others’ salvation!). We’re working so that our friends understand that it doesn’t have to be worked for.

Wow. My head is starting to hurt explaining this! My point is that you as my supporters do this for me. You pray for me and intercede for me and God has blessed me through you. So thanks so much. Let me know if you need anything, have any questions or want to share with me what’s been going on there in the States. I sure miss you all and I can’t wait to see you again!