International Ministries

Already and Not Yet

September 3, 2016 Journal
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Do you remember finishing a big project or high school or college? That expectation of being done and some days impatiently waiting for it to come? In this update, I am going to share some of our feelings on this topic.  We are about a week into our last trimester of language school.  We are speaking Spanish.  We are getting excited about shifting from a learner of language to a learner of the culture and people we are called to serve.  We have some exciting things that are coming but not yet present.

John 21:15-19 says, “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.””

When I reflect on Peter and Jesus walking on the beach talking about what is to come when he returns to the Father to await the restoration of creation, I think of the development of Simeon to Peter.  A fisherman to a fisher of men.  A man with the name meaning, “one who hears and obeys” to being Peter, “a rock”.  The disciple with brash feelings and denial to the apostle in charge of teaching the church. Peter’s life even in this instant is already but not yet.  He does love and will feed Jesus’ sheep. But we know as he grows and obeys what he hears from Christ, he also makes mistakes that the apostle born out of time, Paul, must correct him for. 

What is striking to me is not because Jesus asked Peter thrice nor is it that Peter’s feelings were hurt. It was in my view, a commentary on the already finished work on Peter and the not yet.  The hear, believe, obey of Jesus’s teaching.  The preach, prison, and prayer of Peter leading the early church.  The persecution, torcher, and death that was instore for Peter.  The life of Simeon to hear and obey turned to the rock to help build the church, a movement of people seeking to follow the way of Jesus.

At this point in language school, we are 2/3rds of the way done.  We are speaking at length with our teachers, taxi drivers, neighbors, and friends at church all in Spanish.  We have the heart and desire to continue to learn and get better.  We study every day and spent countless hours studying.  We spend time as a couple and family.  Yet, there is a sense of already and not yet.  We already are speaking Spanish and almost daily getting complemented.  However, our own incompetency and self-doubt creep in and we question if we really are there yet.

After 2/3rds of the year, what can I say?  We love Christ and will participate in His calling to equip and support pastors to feed his sheep.  We speak Spanish, already and not yet.  Yet most importantly, God is working in our hearts and helping us discern His direction and plan as we prepare for the last third of the year and look forward to starting the ministry He has called us to do. We are into our final trimester of language learning.  I am giving back to the community of the school by being one of the two student chaplains.

Prayer requests:  Peter had a few ups and downs with celiac and health but God is faithful and things seems to be on the mend.  Sarah had a hard last few months with Peter being so sick and needs a rest and break.  Elisabeth, Nathaniel, Samuel, and Elianna are learning more Spanish and feeling great about living overseas. 

Praises: Peter’s parents came for a 10 day visit and it was a great time.  Sarah had a medical procedure during that time unexpectedly but it was a blessing to have family here to watch the kids.  We continue to thank God for the big gift the surpassed our imaginations and dreams to meet our startup expenses.  In looking at our monthly giving, it seems that some of our on-going supporters have stopped giving probably due to the new chip credit/debit cards being issued.  Please check your statements to see and if needed go to or call to renew.  We on average have been facing a $2000 a month shortfall from individual and churches.  If you can start giving monthly $100, $50, $25 or even $10 it makes a huge difference in that ongoing support.  We are thankful for a few extra gifts that have kept us where we need to be but your help is always welcomed and needed. 

In funding, we are thankful that our God is a God of the already and not yet.  God has already provided through each of you and we just haven’t seen it yet.  God has already given us grace to learn Spanish and we have not yet gotten to the point we are hoping to be at.  God already has a plan for ministry in place and we have not yet lived into it. 

In conclusion, thank you!  I don’t think we can say it enough.  Your support and prayers spurs us on every day.  We know any financial concerns are already met in Christ.  We know if some supporters shifted support away from us, God already has someone in mind to take their place.  We know that in Christ we have a new body and in this momentary time the illnesses, surgeries or other things that may come are already in God’s hand. Join us in praise God for this already and not yet reality we all live in because of the gift of Jesus. 


God Bless,

Pete and Sarah