As always, I pray that you are all well and really experiencing the life God has for you. This life may not be a life always filled with riches and success and peace and happiness, but the life we live in the presence of God is always a life with purpose. We discover everyday a little more of what it means to be his children and what it means to be loved by him in all our seasons of life.
For many of us, this has not been an easy season. As many of you know, last year we lost a close and beautiful friend, Tania Leigh, to cancer. She was only 40 years old, and everyday, her family and friends try to figure out life without her.
|Tania and Ola on their wedding day|
More recently, we lost our dear friend, Marilyn King, to cancer. Marilyn had shown her support to us as missionaries in numerous ways over the past few years. Her encouragement helped to remind us just how loved we are even though we are so far away from home. We were so blessed to see through Facebook how all of you honored her and her family by giving her a beautiful goodbye celebration. She, too, leaves behind a family who are just beginning to comprehend what life will be like without her. We pray that each day, they can experience the Lord's comfort and the support of their church family.
|Marilyn and her family|
|The Lucas Family|
We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and we cannot prepare ourselves for all the possibilities, even though we exhaust ourselves with trying. We are in the hands and at the mercy of a fallen and broken-down world, but praise be to God, that world is in the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is truly bigger than our brokenness, bigger than our failures and tragedies. The only sure place for our feet to stand is on him. He is our hope that, one day, all things will be set straight. One day, we will see our loved ones again. One day, we will not wrestle with constant fear and pain. One day, our freedom will be complete in his arms.
In the meantime, we are here, and we keep fighting. We fight with prayer and sacrifice and grace. We fight to bring about good whenever possible and in every situation.
Work and Hobbies
I have noticed over the years a tendency among Christians to put their lives into categories. We have our work life, our family life, our leisure life, and our church life, and often times, like food on a plate, we don't like it when anything is "touching". We compartmentalize. We are all guilty of it on some level. But as we read the Bible, we see that God would prefer that we just mix it all together into one big heap. He wants our lives to be integrated.
As Ronã and I have started here in a new city as church planters, this is a concept we have taken very seriously. We want who we are--all of who we are--to be expressed in every area of our lives. Our approach to this has been fairly simple: Take the things you love to do and do them with other people. One of the things that I have enjoyed doing for a long time is hair styling. I don't have any professional experience, I have just picked up some things over the years. So, since we are in a new place and we are trying to meet new people, I decided to sign up for a professional hairstylist course! I have been going for about a month now, once a week, and I love it! And beyond enjoying what I am learning, I am trying to be very intentional about building relationships with my colleagues.
|My Teacher and a few of my classmates|
We often underestimate the amount of influence we have over the people around us, but our attitudes and actions have the power to change the atmosphere of a place. We can bring love and grace and integrity into an environment that is full of competition and gossip and back-biting. We can be a trusted friend in a place where no one trusts anyone else. We can make decisions to do the right thing in a situation where cheating has become the norm. We can pay attention and notice when someone is hurting or going through a difficult time. We can be a source of encouragement and hope.
As Kingdom people, we are called to use our sphere of influence to bring about Godly change through our service to others. We are not all called to be pastors or church planters or missionaries. Many of us are called to be cashiers, engineers, teachers, computer techs, delivery persons, sales persons, real estate agents, food servers, and yes, even, hairstylists. Our work or our hobbies can and should be our ministries, the place where we bring the influence of the Kingdom of God in whatever capacity we have.
Please, pray for me as I continue to just love on and grow closer to these beautiful women. Pray that God opens my eyes to who I can help and how I can help them.
We thank you again for your constant support and encouragement to us as a family. We hope that you feel like you are truly apart of our work here. We need your prayers that God would guide us daily and use our lives to bring about the realities of his kingdom here on the earth as it is in heaven!
We love you!
The Moura Family
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