“I thank my God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.”
I love to read. Let me say that differently. I love to read for pleasure! I don’t like to have deadlines to my reading, or feel any sort of pressure to finish a book if I don’t feel like it. So this year for lent I have decided to read the entire New Testament. So since Ash Wednesday I have been reading away and I will be done by sunrise on Easter morning, even if I have to stay up until then to finish!
The above quote comes from 2 Timothy 1:3-4, a pastoral letter Paul wrote to one of his fellow leaders in the church to encourage him in the ministry. I read this passage this morning as I was praying for the eight amazing students we have going to Russia with us in just a few days and I felt it speak to the relationship I have with these students as their youth pastor.
This spring we have the pleasure of having two pastors along for the ride! Suzanne H. (a first time traveler with Mission 1:27) will be the pastor to the adults, while I get to focus on the eight students going along. As a youth pastor of a large program, I rarely get to spend a week with just eight students and serve beside them. Words cannot express how excited I am.
When I was reading this line from 2 Timothy this morning I knew that it was not just me who was having these feelings. It was all the travelers who are returning to see old friends. I am going on a trip not with some great kids from Chapel Hill; I’m going to be fellow servants of Christ with some fine young people who are living out their faith.
I hope to encourage them in their work. Process with them as we cry, laugh, and love together. Be there to remind them of our work once we get home. To point out the living God whenever I see the Spirit working.
Join me in praying for our young people on this journey. Join me in encouraging them once we get home. Ask them questions. Treat them as adults who are journeying half way across the world to serve their God because that is what they are!
I hope God speaks many more truths as I finish the New Testament one more time before Easter this year and I’m excited that I will finish it in Russia.