The Importance Of Our Church Family.

Yesterday morning was emotional and joy-filled. Our pastor and church family sent us off with a prayer during both of the morning worship services. Bellevue has been Josh’s home since he was born and mine since I was nine years-old. We’ve been saying all along that apart from our biological families, our church family will be the hardest thing to leave. Yesterday was just the goodbye we needed.

One of the greatest blessings of being a part of the Bellevue family was growing up under the teaching and leadership of Dr. Gaines and Mrs. Donna. I’ve heard Mrs. Donna say, “Passion is caught, not taught.” She and Pastor live out that statement. By watching their example, Josh and I have caught a passion for prayer, evangelism and biblical truth. They’ve taught us how to diligently pray scripture, share Jesus like it matters, and intentionally study scripture. Without them we would be far less spiritually prepared to face the challenges that will come with serving as missionaries. (Editor’s note: If it were not for the Gaines’, I fully believe we would not be on the path we are on now. The Lord has used them mightily in our lives and we are extremely grateful to them for staying the course through all of these years.)

Another blessing of Bellevue is our Young Marrieds Life Group. Our Life Group has been one of our most constant sources of prayer and encouragement. When we’ve been sick they’ve served us, when we had our girls they celebrated with us, when we needed someone to walk along side us they were there. They have become our closest friends and sweetest confidants. The blessing they’ve been to us cannot be overstated. We will miss them tremendously and are praying some of them may be able to visit us in Malawi.

We are thankful for our church’s partnership with us and we’re praying that they will be able to send a missions team to work with us and the precious children at Malawi Children’s Mission. They’re prayerful send off yesterday meant more to us than we can express. The way Dr. Gaines, Mrs. Donna, Derek and Shirynn Ewalt, and so many other church family members have poured into us has made a lasting impact on our family. We are forever grateful. (Editor’s note: There are countless names of individuals and families we can name here but this post would look like Matthew 1. Truly, we would not be who we are today without the influence of each of you on our lives. We look forward to continuing these relationships even in Malawi and beyond. Praise the Lord!)