The block is over and we are pretty excited. It’s nice to finally get a break where I can focus my attention on getting to know Lauren and actually digest some of the material that we took in this semester. It’s amazing how much teaching the human body can take, haha. I, and many other students here, often say that classes are a lot like being force-fed. Sometimes you don’t want to take any more in but it just keeps getting pushed down. Amazingly, no matter how much I get, I just want more.
Please be praying for Lauren and I as we head into this time of rest, neither of us want to lapse into a time of spiritual complacency, but we also do want and need this rest. Please be in prayer that we will have wisdom in how to best use our time over break. I should also say that, despite the stress of classes, we have been having a really good time here. Lauren was recently over at our neighbor’s house cooking Christmas cookies (I think she’s trying to fatten me up) and iI’ve been experimenting with different Asian foods. I made sushi (with chicken and beef instead of fish), sticky rice (with the help of our Korean friends), and quite a few other “interesting” things. I think actually having time to cook is one of the things that we’re most excited about for the break. We also want to try and have a lot of the staff and student couples over during the break so we can invest in them and have them invest in us. I talked with my dean, Benjamin Hatton, and we agreed that we would have a devotion/bible study time during the break so I’m pretty excited about that!
I also wanted to say that I recently read through my last update and I noticed several things that were a little hard to interpret (or rather, they were easy to misinterpret), so I thought I’d take a minute to clarify what I meant by them. I mentioned “investment”, “financial”, and a couple other similar words, several times and I was told that the meaning of them could be misconstrued. When I mentioned investment I was meaning it in the sense of prayer and spiritual support. Lauren and I have been going through some pretty uncertain times financially and we both know that we will continue to have hard times throughout our lives. In fact, Scripture promises that we will experience hard times. A low income is a part of the life-long ministry that Lauren and I are going into, but we both know that God has and will continue to provide for all of our needs.
I’ve always been encouraged by Romans 8:28, “all things work out for the good of them that love God, of them that are called according to His purpose,” and Luke 12:24-28, “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you?…”
What I’m trying to say is this; Lauren and I are prepared for and expecting hard times. We know that God will provide for all of our needs because He has promised it many times throughout the Scriptures. But the one thing I do unashamedly ask for is prayer. Lauren and I could not have made it as far as we have without the vigilant prayer and spiritual investment of you all. We very much love and appreciate it more than we could ever say. Thank you all so much for everything and above all thank you for your prayers!
It’s such a blessing to serve God, what more could we ever want?
With love and gratitude,
Mark & Lauren
Ephesians 6:18 “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion, stay alert and be persistent in you prayers for all believers everywhere.” (In the context of putting on the armor of God in order to be strong against the forces of Satan).