Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
TISSUE ALERT!- Anyone who is a parent may cry. It is a 3 on the tissues scale. I warned you.
A little background. Jon and I have parents (like everyone). They are incredibly supportive of Jon and I entering the mission field because they are wonderful believers. Ok, here you go.
An Open Letter to our Parents
While I was away on the women’s retreat, God showed me something really cool about you guys. See I am reading in 1 Samuel and I was on the chapter where Hannah prays for Samuel and then dedicates him to the Lord. She saw him once a year, when they went to worship at the temple. Then He led me to a verse that my parents have shared in my life before: 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” I truly believe Hannah missed and loved her son, but I also believe that because she loved God she had no greater joy than seeing Samuel raised up in the service of the Lord.
THEN He took me to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” We all know this verse, right? But this shows the heart of God in a way that very few people on earth can relate to. God cared so much for seeing souls saved that He sent His Son into the world. Does that sound like anyone you know? It does to me.
We know that we have asked you to do the impossible, to willingly send out your kids. But we also know that you do not hesitate. That you have constantly have to explain to people why you will not attempt to talk us out of this endeavor. More than that, you have gotten behind us to support and encourage us in God’s will for our lives. Because more than our safety, or fiscal security, or comfort or even our happiness, you desire to see us walk in God’s will to be used to see souls saved. We believe that you understand the heart of God in a way that only missions parents can. God so loved the world that He gave His Son; you so love the world that you give your son/daughter. We believe God will bless that immensely. We believe that He will give you a deeper fellowship with Him because you know intimately the heart of God.
We know that you pray for us every day, multiple times a day. We know that you cry at the foot of the cross for us, and beg God to keep us safe if it is possible. We know that you plead with Him to use us to make His name known. And we know that it hurts more than we could ever imagine to give us the blessing to go, but you give it anyway.
We pray for you. We pray that people come alongside you to love and encourage you when we can’t get in contact. We pray that people will come beside you to hold your hand when we are sick and you cannot come care for us. We pray for encouragement when holidays and birthdays come and go without us there. We pray for courage when you hear news that causes you to worry for us from around the world. We pray that you will be surrounded by people who genuinely love you and care for you. Because we will be aching for all those moments, just as you do. And we have people who are in support of us, but we pray that you do as well. You are sacrificing so much for the sake of seeing God’s will done, and we pray that He blesses you with support, peace, comfort and love. We pray that when it is hard to watch parents and kids together because you know we are 8 months away, that you have people around you to love on you and pray with you. But most important, we pray that you seek refuge and comfort in the arms of the Father who understands in a way no one else could. God understands the hurt of seeing His child far away, of seeing Him suffer, of seeing Him give His life to see souls reunited with God in redemption and salvation.
We love you. We thank you, because moving forward in this with you begging us to stay would be infinitely harder. We will call often, and when we can’t we’ll still try. We will work more fervently knowing that you are behind us. We will work in such a way to make you proud, but more importantly to be worthy of the call of God in our life. Thank you for loving God and loving us.
Jon and Kristin
So, there's this new thing in blogging that has become popular: open letters. It is where you write a letter to someone, but do it in a forum that anyone can see. I have several in the works (we'll probably make a little mini-blog series out of it). So here is the first: an open letter to our church. However, I think it is really an open letter to any faithfully supporting church from any faithfully supported missionary.
An Open Letter to Our Church
Dear Calvary Chapel Cherry Creek (C4),
As you all know by now, Jon and I are less than two months from moving across the world to pursue God’s calling in our life. As our sending church you have had bake sales, fundraisers, you’ve bought hoodies, signed checks and lifted us up in prayer. We know what we are asking of you as our sending church: we are asking for you to give and support and pray for two kids barely into adulthood who say with certainty that God has called us to give up our lives here and go there, relying on the giving of His church to send us. This is scary for us, but an exercise in allowing God to show Himself faithful (spoiler: He always has). But I imagine it is also a little scary for you. We know that you have given and given and given, you have gotten behind us without hesitation. You’ve dedicated yourselves to seeing God use us in Uganda. You are trusting two young people with your love, prayers and money. But you’re doing so much more than that. You’re trusting God with all of those things, you’re trusting that this is His will in our lives, and you are trusting that investing into the Kingdom of Heaven is worth it. I assure you, it is.
You have united as an army to battle against the gates of hell. All of you. The wonderful, amazing, loving children in this church have even joined the fight. I couldn’t possibly express the encouragement and blessing it is to watch your children get excited to be a part of God’s work, whether it’s the bake sale, the cards they made to bless us, or having more kids than I know of beg and plead to come on mission trips to visit. This tells me without a doubt that the parents in this church are raising their kids to have a zealous love for God. What could possibly be more important than that??
The road we are walking as we prepare has not always been easy (though the support of our friends and family has made it infinitely more so). Jon and I have chosen to be faithful in God asking us to sell our home, quit our jobs, sell everything we own, pack up, leave and go fight for souls halfway across the planet. We are leaving friends and family behind. It is easy to feel discouraged, afraid, doubtful, lonely, self-pitying, and even a little insane. God is growing our faith and showing up in huge ways. One of the biggest ways is by surrounding us with people who love Him, who love us, and who encourage us constantly. I cannot imagine being a part of a church where we did not have the love and support we do here. You have truly been and continue to be family to us and we love each of you very dearly.
So I guess the point of all of this is to say thank you. We know we have asked a lot of you as our sending church. We know that it is hard sometimes. We know that it has required sacrifices we can’t imagine from each of you. We know that sometimes hearing our name or Uganda in the announcements may make you cringe. We know that you take the responsibility seriously unto the Lord. And we know that each of you has stepped up to join the work of God without hesitation and unreservedly. Having you, as our church, as our family, step up behind us to send us out with power, joy and love allows us to go confidently. We do not need to fear that suddenly the prayers will stop, the communication will cease, and we’ll be forgotten. I know each of you has determined that it will not be so. I can’t tell you the difference it makes in our lives. The difference it makes when the attacks come, or we’re told ‘no’ again from other churches, or when it just gets hard to pack everything we own into a trunk that isn’t even full. We are supported by people we love, that have our back, and who have given us to the Lord in prayer innumerable times. I can’t ever tell you how much that means to us. I can’t say thank you enough. Just know: that the Lord knows, we know, and each and every life that is touched in Uganda will know and feel the power and love coming from you as a church body, as a family.
We love all of you. We could never say thank you enough to or for you.
God bless. Matthew 25:40
Jon and Kristin Coupal