For we Southerners, at least, we’re having a cold winter—heating up my gratitude for our wood-burning stove which not only generates warmth for our home but also just the right sacred space to ease back and reflect upon the year of 2017. It takes setting aside intentional time and quiet space to grow deeply aware of the many ways God has been constantly at work in and through us—when at the time, we may have been completely unaware. Advent always calls me into that quiet, sacred space. Perhaps, that’s why we so often sing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,” as fresh fallen snow not only lulls us with its beauty but also creates a still cushion of silence for the Holy Night to soften our hearts. Transfixed by the glow, allured by the warmth, and flickered into the pop and hiss of remembrance, I am humbled—realizing that I have even less to offer than the Little Drummer Boy. Having no music, I give only gratitude for the journey.
I’ve just returned from a powerful trip to Taiwan where many hearts were warmed and set ablaze by the fire from our widows and orphans’ stories. At the same time, we also celebrated our second high school graduation under the leadership of James Lual Atak at New Life Ministry—a second round of graduates to be heading off to university soon! I’m still surprised by the grace of it all—God’s unprecedented, inexplicable love.
Even as I sit watching the embers within our wood stove, reflecting on the warmth of love so many of you have provided again this year to make these far-fetched dreams come true, I feel 2018 rapidly approaching. March will mark Make Way Partners’ 15th anniversary. Fifteen years ago, I had no imagination for where this journey would take us—nor did I dream of such amazing connections you and I would make. I certainly never dreamt of a thriving and growing network spanning every state in the USA and 52 different countries.
An African proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” While in Taiwan, Scott and I watched a funeral dirge making its way down the street. Each person in the long, music-playing procession held a cord that kept them all together. I asked our young travel mate what that symbolized. She said, “It is their reminder that not only are they all connected, but even the one who death has taken is still connected to them forever.” Amen!
As I read your letters of support, prayer, and encouragement throughout the year, I know that Make Way Partners could not have gone so far—nor can we carry forward on the long road that still stretches before us before achieving ultimate peace and restoration in Sudan and South Sudan—without the connection with you, no matter in which state or country you live. We are truly all connected, and are becoming transformed ourselves as the alter for the world upon which the Kingdom is coming, through us, one restored orphan at a time.
Please download our newest year-end newsletter celebrating this beautiful mystery and the journey we are on together. May it warm your hearts as wood stoves and furnaces care for our bodies and homes.
After you’ve read, please share the link with all your social media outlets offering friends, family, and the world a beautiful opportunity to participate in transforming lives in 2018!
May the Peace of the Advent warm your hearts and homes this Christmas.