“Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
We have seen God do an amazing work in our lives through this whole process. It began with a dream that seemed too big to come true––study Hebrew in Israel (I know, not the kind of dream most people have!). But as God began growing this desire in me, and with the support of my wife, we began taking steps toward this unknown opportunity. They were steps of faith since we had to make costly decisions before we had near enough money for the whole trip. As God began providing, it became more and more obvious that spending this summer in Israel was not just a dream, but God's sovereign purpose for our lives.
God has shown us that he answers prayer! As we began praying for this massive need, checks started coming from people we know did not have the means to give the way they did. How humbling this has been! Seeing the body of Christ work the way it has has been a real eye-opener for us. God works miracles through his body, the church. Thirty-eight different people gave to us to meet our $14,000 need. That's an average of $368/person! But like Paul said to the Philippians, "Not that [we] seek the gift, but the fruit that increases to your credit." We recognize each gift is a "fragrant offering, a sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God." It is fruit, or evidence, of the Spirit's work in you. Of course, God is the Giver of all things, so we want to give him all the honor and glory. "To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."
We will keep you posted throughout our journey!