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The Browns – Tom, Ali, Crescena, & Bez
July 23, 2016 7:44 am
Published in: Uncategorized

The radio frequencies were eerily silent. The normal flurry of constant transmissions between the tower controller at Juba International Airport and aircraft arriving and departing was absent. For once, instead of trying to get in touch with the controller for 10 minutes, I got through on my first call. The absence of other planes in the area was even more evident as I was cleared 15 miles out to “report established on final” – meaning I was first in line to land with no-one waiting to take-off. Typically, I would expect a complicated array of instructions involving circling somewhere just out of the way, while watching for other planes coming in and out of the airport, but today, there was hardly anyone else to watch out for.

It was the first of many signs of the toll that had been exacted on this city the several days prior. Two days before this flight, I sat in Nairobi monitoring the news as the battle between two arms of the government wreaked havoc in the capital of South Sudan. This flight was to evacuate the support staff of a Christian organization that conducts ministry across the country. They had managed to survive the fighting, made their way through a variety of security checkpoints and been cleared through the airport to meet me and board the plane which would take them back to Kenya – home country for most of them.

We had received confirmation before I arrived in Juba that things continued to be relatively calm since the cease-fire had been declared 36 hours prior, but I was alert as I waited by the plane for my passengers to arrive. There were only a few other aviation operators in Juba at this point – none of the commercial airlines had started service again, and I learned that most of the crews I saw milling about a few planes were looking for damage. A few planes had bullet holes that had been left as one branch of the military had swept across the airport during the fights.

I pulled out my cell-phone to call the local contact and confirm that things were still going as planned only to find that the cell towers weren’t allowing foreign registered phones access to the network. Thankfully, I had my sat-phone with me, a precaution all of us pilots take since communication is so vital in this part of the world. After finding a satellite connection, I started dialing when a small motorcycle carrying two plainclothes security personnel veered over from their path in front of the plane towards me.

They jumped off the motorcycle shouting “What is that? Is that a Sat Phone? Who are you calling? Where is your ID? You can’t have that on airport property! Maybe you are calling rebels hiding in the bush!” As I lifted my hands in the universal expression that I wasn’t a threat, I greeted them appropriately and started reassuring them of who I was, and what I was doing. Unfortunately, they were a bit too interested in the sat phone and decided to confiscate it by removing it from my hand. One of them left to investigate my story while the other stayed behind and watched me from a distance. Over the next two hours as I waited for my passengers, I chatted off and on with the security guy about this, that, and the other, including his desire for me to buy my phone back from him once they concluded that I wasn’t a threat to national security. Dissatisfied with my lack of willingness to be extorted for my phone, he eventually left, promising to return later – which didn’t happen of course.

My passengers did arrive eventually; tense, visibly anxious, and ready to get going – something I was quite ready for as well.  We loaded up quick, and I was pleasantly surprised to be cleared for takeoff as soon as I was ready. A few minutes later, a quick glance back showed a plane full of people all looking out the windows at the ever-shrinking city with a mixture of sadness and relief. Those emotions seemed quickly to give way to excited giddiness as we returned to Kenya and it was clear where people were from as they pointed out the familiar hills, roads, and towns where they grew up.Loading a motorcycle

 

Over the next several days, I was privileged to be a part of several other flights like this, one of which included a motorcycle that had been ridden up from South Africa! Thank you for praying as we are two weeks into these flights and have seen good protection for our planes and personnel. Please continue to pray for us and for those we are here to serve as each of them evaluate the next phase of their ministry in South Sudan.

May 19, 2016 11:20 am
Published in: Uncategorized

Tom just completed a 3-day course on Crisis Management and Inter-operability with 19 other leaders from our, and another like-minded, organization. One of the key skills needed in a crisis is the ability to recognize a change in the circumstances and adapt to the new reality in an effective way.

It’s actually a good comparison to life in general, and something that we all do on a minute-to-minute basis without even thinking about it. Sometimes though, these changes are significant enough to warrant significant thought and that is once again where we find ourselves as a family.

As you know, Tom was appointed the AIM AIR Acting General Manager back in December 2015 while the leadership at AIM worked out a longer-term plan. We came into that role totally surprised

Tom, Jerry (new Director of Operations) and Lindsey (new Chief Pilot) being prayed over

Tom, Jerry (new Director of Operations) and Lindsey (new Chief Pilot) being prayed over as the new roles become official.

and fully expecting to move back out of that role after a year or so when a permanent General Manager had been identified. As it would turn out, Tom is actually the one who has been chosen to be the permanent General Manager. We were approached a few months back and asked to stay in this role long term. We requested some more time to seek the Lord, get used to this role and get a better idea of what it entails and whether it would be a good long term fit for Tom and for our family. After a few months of praying and seeking counsel, we told the AIM leadership this past week that we would be honored (excited?) to accept the role!

Fortunately, Tom still makes it up in the air as the General Manager; here is Tom on a flight which required supplemental oxygen

Fortunately, Tom still makes it up in the air as the General Manager; here is Tom on a flight which required supplemental oxygen due to the high altitude

The significance of this change has a few implications for our family. First, Tom will be the first permanent General Manager AIM AIR has had for 4+ years. While the last 5 months have allowed some aspects of the role to be established, there is still a lot of work to do in sorting out all the aspects of this role and the day-to-day of the job. Second, we agreed to a four-year term in this role, at which point we will all re-evaluate to see how God is leading AIM AIR, and our family, for the next season. So, while we will visit the US on Home Assignments during that time, we expect to continue serving with AIM AIR for at least the next 4 years.

Thankfully, these changes are not the result of a crisis nor do they put us in crisis, even though it means adjusting to a new reality. Thank you for continuing to pray for us as we seek to be obedient at each step along this journey on which He is leading us.

December 31, 2015 5:44 am
Published in: Uncategorized

1 airplane; 2 days; 24.5 duty hours; 15.5 flight hours; 12 landings; 2081 miles; 3 tons; 2 hours bush maintenance…success!

15 rolls of chain link fence, 1 generator, a 50 gal drum of fuel among other things...

15 rolls of chain link fence, 1 generator, a 50 gal drum of fuel among other things…

I wiped my sweat and dirt-caked forehead after unloading the last box of fist sized handheld radios into a missionary’s waiting arms. These particular missionaries who work with the un-reached people of this region distribute small single-channel radios tuned to a station that broadcasts a message of hope and truth in a land that has been ravaged in recent years by civil war, famine, and death.  Their old four-door, white Land Cruiser, commonly prized in Africa for its off-road capability, backed it’s way to the large opening in the rear of my Cessna Grand Caravan.  They had a half-ton of cargo bound for another village fifty minutes away.  I looked over the incoming cargo with the other pilot to determine the best way to load the generator, rolls of fencing, and other miscellaneous items essential to life in the bush and gave a quick glance at my watch to see how the day was progressing.

We were half-way through the second day of a tightly packed trip, and I was pleased to see that we were right on track with the planned schedule.  That morning, six am had come early as we prepared to depart from Entebbe, Uganda, where we had spent the night after a long first day. Due to some weather in the area and birds on the runway, our projected 13.5-hour day looked like it might stretch to fourteen before we had even made it off the ground. And, as we had seen yesterday, when we spent two hours doing engine troubleshooting and repair for another organization’s injured airplane blocking our takeoff path, there is plenty of potential for delays.  The remaining 5 stops of this 2-day trip all needed to go just right in order for us to get back to Nairobi today as planned. Normally, we’d be limited by sunset, but since Nairobi has a night airport, we just had to be airborne on the last leg before nightfall. Today’s limitation was our duty time – the maximum number of hours that an aircrew can be on duty at one stretch. With two of us as pilots on this trip together, our limit was fourteen hours and we were going to cut it close.

After pulling the last knot tight on the array of ropes that were threaded through karabiners to pull the cargo net snug over our load, we said our goodbyes and hopped in the two seats up front. With heart rates still elevated from transferring almost two tons of cargo, we closed ourselves inside the hot cockpit for the few minutes it takes to get the engine running and the air flowing, which took my sweat pores to fire-hose status. I looked out over the blue-nosed cowling and through the spinning propeller and scanned the airstrip and surrounding area to look for goats, people, bikes or anything else that might hinder a smooth take off. IMG_2672The low green shrubs from recent rains stood in contrast with the red compacted earth of a bush airstrip in remote South Sudan, making it easy to see the runway layout as the cloudless blue sky above beckoned with the promise of cooler air.

Finally, after completing our last checks and radio call back to AIM AIR, I wrapped my hand around the black handle of the power lever and smoothly pushed it forward. The sound of the accelerating turbine blades in the engine, the pressure of my back against the seat, and the read-out on my gauges all confirmed a normal acceleration and take off roll. We reached that magical speed where invisible air that you can pass your hand through lifts a 4-ton hunk of aluminum, steel, and wires and we left the ground. As the vibration of wheels on dirt stopped, I saw out of the corner of my eye the hut that we had expected to become airborne at zip past my window, and I felt the satisfaction of seeing the numbers of theory meet the practicality of real life just as expected. We continued to accelerate upward until we reached our stabilized climb rate and eased into a gentle right turn to point the nose southeast toward our next destination.

What a day!

February 9, 2015 7:58 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

IMG_2293On a walk with the kids I saw this sign: “Nairobi, Kenya 7,822 miles.” My heart leapt to see Kenya’s colors and to see something that acknowledged how far we feel from “home.” We are currently at JAARS in North Carolina for Tom to take a Pilot Supervisory course. This is the fourth state we’ve visited this year, and we will be in nine states total (FL, DC, MD, NC, MO, AR, CA, WA, CO) over our 6-month Home Assignment. If you live in or close to one of those 9 states- we hope we get to see you- Get in touch with us!!

Though we are enjoying almost every minute of the US, Kenya is our home now and something inside us longs for home. As I write that, I am reminded of a different longing for home- home with the Lord for eternity. Several books I have been reading note we should live with heaven or eternity in mind; I should live in light of my final destination. Sounds amazing, and spiritual.  To be honest, my heart is still wrestling with what that means, how it plays out, and adopting it as habit.

When people ask about Home Assignment, I often describe that we will be in 9 different states in 6 months with a chuckle. Under the humor there are questions stirring: How will this constant transition affect our family? Will our kids be ok? Have we built in enough margin, or will we eventually “hit the wall”… what will “hitting the wall” look like? How do we convey our deep gratitude over and over again in a way that will be received? How do we answer questions about our life in Nairobi to people who only know about life here?

Are our children extra whiney because we are asking too much/pushing them too hard, or because they are becoming spoiled and we need to hold a firmer line? Or, are they missing “home” too and they just don’t know how to express it? (probably all of the above- Oh Lord, please grant us wisdom and grace how to respond) Crescena at the dinner table expressed: “You know, we have food at our home in Nairobi too.” Clearly our 3 year old (4 this week!) is trying to process things.

Sleeping in different beds and living out of a suitcase is not the highlight… fellowship is. All the people we get to spend time with drives us to put up with the challenges of being US missionary nomads for the first half of this year. We look forward to being blessed by you, and we pray fervently that we are a blessing to you as well.

December 2, 2014 11:57 am
Published in: Uncategorized

Please enjoy a clip from Crescena’s Pre-school Christmas concert here in Kenya – we bet you can figure out which one is her….

We know life is busy; if you would like to support us with a gift as the year comes to a close, we want to make it easy.

Check: If you wish to send in a gift via check, make it out to Africa Inland Mission.  Please do not write our names anywhere on the check, but include a note designating it for Tom & Ali Brown.  Send to: AIM, PO Box 3611, Peachtree, GA 30269

Credit Card (one time or recurring): Go to AIM’s Online Giving page, follow the instructions and you’re all set.

*Note: Personal gifts (made out to us; e.g. special occasions) can be sent to AIM to be deposited directly into our bank account.  These gifts, though a blessing to us, are not tax deductible.  If you want to send this kind of gift, just include a note to that effect.

We wish you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year in the Lord!

November 6, 2014 7:39 am
Published in: Uncategorized

A small village on a hillside in Africa…



June 23, 2014 9:13 am
Published in: Uncategorized

Imagine for a moment that your social network/community consisted of 20 people. Now, if you are like me, you are starting to select in your mind who would make the selection of 20 to surround you. In this scenario, however, you don’t get to choose. In fact, most of the 20 you don’t know. These 20 are different ages, have different theology, come from different social-economic classes, and have differing views on parenting, marriage, finances, worship, etc. One common thread binds you together: faith and a willingness to “go share the gospel to the ends of the earth.” Today as I took my weekly solitude time, I spent a bit of time reading a book that is now required reading for our mission: “The Call to Joy & Pain” by Ajith Fernando. (Go buy it and read it!)

In a chapter entitled: “A Theological Blindspot?” the author writes:

“Later we will see that it is commitment to people that causes much pain in our lives. Many church structures are fashioned so as to not leave much room for such pain. There isn’t an opportunity for people to grow uncomfortably close to each other and get frustrated with each other.” (my emphasis)

I was used to structuring my “community” in such a way that if your kids annoyed me, I’d find someone else to hang out with… but what if your child is one of two close to my child’s age? I am often at a loss to explain life here. One aspect that this quote helps me identify and communicate is that we are in CLOSE proximity to a group of people; close enough to annoy and hurt one another. We work together, we do holidays together, and we are the pool from which we can invite fellowship for a vacation. When someone has a need, I am one of the few people to turn to; when I have need- these are the few people I can turn to. No spreading out my favors like I was used to in the US! In college I chose a small group of friends to be my community out of the thousands of students at Whitworth. Post-college, we chose our community from those we liked best from our work and church environments (hundreds of people to choose from). Here, we are on a team of about 12 other AIM Air families- chosen by God.

In “Life Together” Bonhoeffer wrote:

“If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian community in which we have been placed, even when there are no great experiences, no noticeable riches, but much weakness, difficulty, and little faith—and if, on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so miserable and so insignificant and does not at all live up to our expectations—then we hinder God from letting our community grow according to the measure and riches that are there for us in Jesus Christ.”

I am keenly aware that I have been placed in this community, it was not of my choosing. And, I am learning to thank God for it. I celebrate that there are great experiences and noticeable riches. Still, this struggle with the expectations I have of the community and the pain it sometimes causes is an aspect that God is using to refine us and draw us to Himself, and it brings me to my knees often. Pray for us as we allow this aspect to grow and teach us as we live intimately in the body of Christ.

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May 28, 2014 1:09 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

The latest story we are adding to our book of miracles is one we share with immense joy and celebration!

Many of you know that we have been praying for more children (in fact, I just read 1 Samuel and the first chapter describes Hannah’s anguish over longing for a child- what a fresh reminder of my calling out to the Lord and the state of my emotions often over the past 2 years).

**The following was written in February 2014

Due to the stress on my (Ali’s) body caused by Graves Disease, doctors asked (stressed for) us to not get pregnant as it would add additional stress to my body.  Ali went through RAI in December 2012 and was asked to not get pregnant until her levels were deemed stable on replacement hormones.  As celebrated on our blog, in October 2013, I was deemed “stable” (exactly 2 years to the month from when I was diagnosed).

We have been trying and praying to get pregnant since October.  In December and January, urine ovulation strips and basal body temperature showed NO ovulation.  Discouraged about the present and fearful of the future (whatever “fertility” interventions we might have to try), I especially have had a downcast heart.

[ I pause to express that there have been some interpersonal issues and needs at AIM AIR that have taken LOTS of our time and energy (especially spiritually and emotionally).  We have been quite “silent” in regard to correspondence because of this… but far from silent in the sense that we have been interceding and wrestling in prayer… possibly more than ever! ]

We went away the last weekend in January to the cabin we like to escape to that has NO internet or cell service.  We had extended time to talk to one another and to God.  What came to the surface through a book we read was my (Ali’s) fear.  Fear I might never get pregnant.  Fear of Crescena’s relationship with siblings as they would be “so far apart” if she ever was blessed with a sibling… and fear of what infertility medication would do/mean if it came to that.  Also, fear that the timing of pregnancy would disrupt our plans for home assignment in 2015.  We acknowledged that fear comes from the enemy and is the opposite of FAITH; this awareness was key.  Time spent reading, in prayer, and in the Word lead me to replace the fear, doubt, and bitterness in my heart and mind with TRUTH, HOPE, JOY, and FAITH.

It was with heavy, burdened, empty, and exhausted hearts (for many reasons) that we went away to the cabin.  I expected to spend time grieving my current barrenness, the departure of Noni (Ali’s mom) after a meaningful visit, and the difficulties some of the families are having here right now.  WE DECLARE GOD’s GOODNESS – Instead, Christ met us through His Word “on the mountain” and we returned home rejuvenated, uplifted, rested, hopeful, and FULL.  The Lord truly carries our burdens.  His yoke IS easy!

We came home believing that the Lord would (eventually) answer our prayer in agreement for more children.

On Tuesday after our trip, I was at day 38 of my cycle, and though I “knew” I had not ovulated, I wanted to put my hopeful (seemingly irrational) heart at ease.  So, I took a pregnancy test Tuesday morning … to my delight, shock, awe, amazement, and wonder… the test showed TWO LINES… PREGNANT!  I excitedly woke Tom up!  How could this be?!  We are still praising the Lord for this miracle!  We are IMG_1926celebrating this GIFT and we want to invite you to celebrate with us!

I was previously told by our Dr. that as soon as I thought I was pregnant, I needed to have my thyroid levels checked.  A second praise- they were stable & normal.  I also confirmed the pregnancy with a blood test.  Per protocol, I will have to get monthly blood tests to check my thyroid levels throughout pregnancy.  Pray my body would regulate itself and meet the needs of the baby and my system.

** An ultrasound done shortly after the above was written in February showed a due date of October 5! We are now 22 weeks… time has flown by.  Ali threw up morning, noon, and night for almost 7months with Crescena.  Her mild nausea whenever her stomach is empty, this time around, seems like nothing comparatively, and we continue to celebrate Ali’s health and the health of the baby. Continue to pray over Ali and baby. We are often asked where we will have the baby (a logical question). Ali plans to deliver at a hospital here in Nairobi, Kenya.

Thank you for your prayers, listening ears, and love over this journey of my health and our longing to have children.

To God be the glory, honor, and PRAISE! I get to rejoice like Hannah and declare: I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27

PS – At the most recent ultrasound, the Dr. asked if we wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl.  When we answered unanimously “yes” he proceeded to inform us by writing the word “(censored so this doesn’t go in your spam)” on the ultrasound screen next to the body part in question – we still chuckle at how we found out.  We have a fun little video clip of Crescena saying “It’s a boy!”

March 17, 2014 6:14 am
Published in: Uncategorized

What does it mean to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of heaven?  No, I’m not arrogant enough to think that I have the answer to that question; in fact, I pose it because it’s one with which I am wrestling.

Luke 9:2 – “And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God….”

Luke 9:60 – “…but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God….”

The Bible makes it clear that part of being a disciple of Christ is to proclaim the kingdom of God.  The hard part for me is trying to figure out what that means in each of the different circles which form the context of my life.

What does it look like when I am working with other believers?  What about with people who know about Jesus but don’t believe, or those who’ve not even heard His name?  How about with my relatives, my friends, my wife, my daughter?

Something we’ve been learning as we talk with other missionaries and read the Bible is that a big part of proclaiming God’s kingdom involves sharing the stories of what He has done.  History is full of situations where http://www.thewritersworkshop.net/classes_fiction.htmGod dramatically, and sometimes not so dramatically, revealed Himself to humans.  Some of these stories can be read in the Bible, others in history books or biographies, and some can be told from personal experience.

One of the things that we have decided to do as a family is to record these stories.  We recognize that just like the people of Israel, we easily forget what God has done for us and for His people throughout the ages.   I expect to see God do a lot in my lifetime, and I know there is no way I’ll remember it all.  Not only this, but we want our children to grown up in a culture of remembrance of God’s many characteristics that are shown in each move that He does in our lives.  We want them to understand the good news of the kingdom of God.

For us, we decided that the best way to record these stories is in a book that we keep in our living room.  It’s really more of a binder that zips closed and has a stack of sheet protectors inside that are slowly filling with stories.  Sometimes it’s a handwritten account, sometimes a printed email that tells the story, or a picture; anything that will communicate a way that we have seen God at work in our lives.

Confession time – I’m not very good at taking the time to write these things down.  I don’t always remember them when an opportunity presents itself to write them and I am easily sidetracked into other projects.  I guess that is all part of why this is important to me.  The book is woefully short of all the things that should be in it, but every story written is one more we won’t forget.

We hope that this book will fill and that we, our children, other visitors to our living room, and perhaps even a few generations down the line will be encouraged to hold faith in a God who is always faithful.  We hope that as we read and share these stories, the good news that the kingdom of heaven has come to earth will be proclaimed in yet one more small way.

December 12, 2013 11:50 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I believe in God.  I believe in Jesus Christ His Son. CelticCrossMeaning I believe in the Holy Spirit.  I believe the Bible in every part.  I believe what Jesus said.  I believe that not everyone who calls Him Lord, and who does works in His name will enter the kingdom of God.  I believe that if we ask Him anything in faith, that He will do it.  I believe that the Holy Spirit lives inside my body.  I believe that Jesus is the only one who can support these beliefs.  I believe that Jesus is the only one who can fulfill these beliefs.  I believe that the truth of scripture trumps all experience.  I believe that I don’t have to believe in my ability to believe, but only in Jesus’ ability to do what He has said.

What does it look like to actually believe everything I read in the Bible without over-complicating things?  Of course, what I believe has to agree with the whole body of scripture, but beyond that, why make it harder than it is?  For example, the body of scripture supports the belief that, if we believe, we can ask anything and it will be done.  A few of the places where this is seen are:

Matt 17 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”  

Matt. 21 21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” 

Mark 9 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

I have, up until now, functionally not believed that.  I have intellectually assented to it while practically rejecting it through the application of layers of complexity and caveats that aren’t actually biblical, but rather, are man-made contingencies to preserve the validity of our experience as the ultimate authority.

I have bowed scripture to my experience on so many occasions by choosing to believe what my eyes see instead of what God’s Word says.  What a fool am I to think that Jesus’ words need validation from my experience.  Is He not God?  Does He not speak with the ultimate authority?  Why is it so hard to believe what He says?

It’s because there is a spiritual battle being waged for my mind by an enemy who knows that belief in Jesus’ words has transformational effects.  It’s because my flesh has a vested interest in limiting the power of God in my life and is all too eager to listen to, and believe, the lies that would preclude believing Jesus.  I have demonstrated with my actions that I have believed a lie that would give more credence to my own experience than to what Jesus says.  The sin within me doesn’t like the words that Jesus has said.  It doesn’t like the truth that He has proclaimed, for truth leaves no room for my flesh to be indulged.

I see it play out when I am physically sick.  It’s easier, and at some level more enjoyable, to sit and refuse to work; to have an excuse not to love my wife and daughter as a husband and father should.  My flesh is indulged as I justify my lack of gospel living and proclamation with the convenient excuse that I “can’t get out of bed.”  This is fed by my experience which says that prayer often doesn’t help.  The truth of scripture is that a prayer in faith brings an end to sickness, and with it, the satisfaction of my fleshly desires to be selfish and with-hold good when it is in my power to give it.  James 5 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  And so my flesh wages war against my spirit, always seeking to undermine, or even destroy, the belief in truth.

I am tired of giving my flesh the chains with which to bind me to dis-obedience through my unbelief.  I am tired of reading scripture that tells me to love my neighbor, and then failing to do so by refraining from engaging them in Christ, simply because I have allowed myself not to believe the truth of their value, of Christ’s empowering, and the gravity of that command.

And so today, I have chosen to believe that what I read in scripture is true.  I have chosen to believe that the Holy Spirit in me empowers me to live, work, love, serve, & pray the truth of the believer’s life.  I have chosen to believe that the words Jesus spoke don’t just show a good way, but the way.  I have chosen to believe that I must work out my own salvation in fear and trembling.  I have chosen to believe that when I pray in faith for my wife and my daughter to be healed, that it will be done.  Not because I deserve it.  Not because I am special.  Simply because God is gracious, and in His grace, He has promised to do it.  And in my simplicity, I believe Him.