Acts 4:32 NKJV
32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
God really has me thinking about community. It has been a theme that has been circulating over and over again in my brain and it has come up in multiple conversations and meetings. When I think about the first believers and the early church, I am drawn to the unity and oneness that they exhibited. They shared all that they had and owned, and no one claimed anything for themselves. What an example that is!
Our family’s communities can be a bit complex. They aren’t complex because of the people that are in them, but they are complex because we have communities located in two different areas. Our communities are made up of two different cultures. We have our Pennsylvania community with multiple subdivisions: family, church family, small group, friends, etc. We have our Dominican community with multiple subdivisions: church family, Dominican friends, Dominican co-workers, North American co-workers, other North Americans living in San Juan (just a few), short term volunteers, etc. Sometimes the subdivisions overlap.
We are so incredibly thankful for our communities. I think that without both of them, we would fail miserably as believers, and we would fail miserably serving abroad. Being part of a community does require me to sacrifice. I do have to let go of my fierce desire to be independent. I also must be willing to give up that my ideas and ways are always the right ideas and ways. I must be vulnerable. I must share about the good times and my struggles and weaknesses. I must take time to get to know people on a personal level. I must be intentional and go deep. I must focus on the things that unite us and let go of the differences.
The first believers came from different families and upbringings. They had different possessions, levels of wealth, knowledge, and perhaps even spoke different languages/dialects. But they were willing to JUMP ALL IN to the community that Jesus invited them into. They shared. They lived together. They walked together. They listened to one another. They learned together. They felt disappointed together. They prayed together. They served the needy together. They loved one another.
We will be sharing more about COMMUNITY and what it means to us at Buffalo Valley Church of the Brethren on Sunday, August 28th at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Come and see us or listen online.
Yes! If we are sharing at Buffalo Valley COB, that means that we are currently in Pennsylvania. Ethan, Miriam, and I flew in on July 11 and Jason stayed in the DR to work with construction groups until July 30th. We have been connecting with a lot of people within our Pennsylvania community and finding ways to reach out and serve as well. There are always kids to play with, gardens to tend, sweet corn to help pick, husk, cut off the cob, and bag, walks to be taken, babies to hold, and conversations to be had during summer in Pennsylvania. We continue to communicate with our co-workers in San Juan and know that a busy fall season will be upon us soon.
Miriam and Ethan got to enjoy a week at Camp Eder and this week they have been doing swim lessons every morning. We are expecting a visit from family from Wisconsin for a few days and we will be hosting a 50th anniversary for Jason’s parents this coming weekend. Jason plans to work on a couple projects at our rental property/apartment (where we stay) and do some projects for others that have asked for assistance as well
Thanks for being a part of our community! I have an attitude of gratitude. I will leave you with a few prayer requests and then some photos.
Please pray for:
- Our time with our Pennsylvania community. That we could imitate the example of the early church. That we would love one another well. That we would be compassionate, full of grace, vulnerable, humble, encouraging, and life-giving to one another.
- For Ethan’s teeth. We have had multiple orthodontic appointments since our arrival on July 11th. The goal is to get his braces removed before we travel back to the DR early next month. He has a large gap between his bottom two front teeth and they are tightening things as much as possible to try to close it. If it doesn’t close before our travel date, the braces won’t be able to come off while we are here in Pennsylvania. Ethan loves his orthodontist in Pennsylvania and didn’t have a great experience with an orthodontist in the DR, so he has some fear around the whole idea of finding one there. Please pray that we would be able to complete the orthodontic treatment here in Pennsylvania.
- For the start of a new school year. Ethan will begin 8th grade and Miriam will begin 5th grade at Freedom Project Academy on August, 29.
- For our upcoming fall ministry season that includes several surgical teams, medical, and construction teams.