And then there were 3–Aliya’s birth story

Connie wanted to share Aliya’s birth story, so I told her she could write it on this blog :) Enjoy!

I love a good story, so thought I would write out the story of how our daughter arrived. I heard SO many women’s birth stories while I was pregnant and was always amazed at how each one was different, and how not one of the births went as expected!

Backing up a little bit to my feelings approaching the birth – well, they were not always positive. Of course we were excited to be parents, but I often felt like I wasn’t ready. When people asked if I just couldn’t wait to be done with pregnancy and to meet our little girl, I would often reply with ‘no, she can take her time! I’m not ready!

I loved looking at baby girl clothes and was excited about becoming a mom, but was also nervous about the delivery and overall had a feeling that the pregnancy was going so fast and I didn’t have enough time to do everything before our daughter arrived. I was happy with our current life and couldn’t wrap my head around the huge change that was about to take place!

In the weeks approaching our due date, Ben and I became very wary about when we might go into labor. I suspected that I might be overdue just because that seems to be the case with most first babies, but I got told nearly every day by co-workers and strangers alike that they didn’t think I would make it to my due date, so that was in my head as well.

The Monday (6 days) before my due date, I remember feeling… weird.

I texted Ben at the end of my workday saying that I was having constant Braxton Hicks contractions. I knew it wasn’t real labor, but my stomach was repeatedly tightening way more than usual.

I went grocery shopping after work, and bought a ton of food (each of my last few trips had been big because I never knew when my last trip before baby was going to be!!) and being overall distracted because I felt weird and wasn’t sure if I was in the beginning stages of labor. That whole evening I felt different, but couldn’t really pinpoint what it was. Then around 10 PM, I felt my first contraction in the shower, but thought it was just a fluke. I felt another contraction in bed at 10:30 and asked Ben to check the time. He promptly fell asleep, but I stayed awake as my contractions continued to show up about every half an hour.

It was somewhat surreal, and I can’t even completely remember what was going through my mind. I think I was trying to mentally review everything we had learned in birthing class, and trying to do the techniques I had learned to relax during contractions. Ben woke up around two or three, and took some time to process when I told him that I was pretty sure I was in labor. At that point, I was thinking I would probably be in labor for a long time and had read many stories about labor that started and stopped, so I told Ben I planned on walking our dog Molly and vacuuming the floor in the morning to keep labor progressing. (Spoiler alert: that didn’t end up happening.) :)

From that point on, Ben stayed awake and helped me through contractions, and we tried to get rest in between. Throughout the night, I remember the contractions being uncomfortable, but manageable. Right around 6AM, the contractions got really bad. They came more frequently, dropping from every 7 or 9 minutes to being less than 5 minutes apart, but weren’t consistent. I was trying to text my boss and my family, and it took me more than an hour to send the texts due to all the starting and stopping with the contractions coming on so fast!

I called the doctor to ask what I should do. I said my contractions weren’t a minute long, but were coming really fast and seemed inconsistent and difficult to time. The on-call doctor said they really like the contractions to be a minute long, and asked if I’d like to head into the office to have my progress checked. I remember being confused- I thought I was in active labor and felt way too uncomfortable for a visit to the doctor’s office, but now I was doubting myself!

Ben was supposed to coach his soccer team’s district game that day, so had to run some soccer equipment over to the school so the team would have it. I remember the contractions getting even worse, so it was difficult for me to move forward with brushing my teeth and getting dressed. I got a call from the regular medical staff I was working with asking if I’d like to come in to the office and get checked. I remember panting into the phone something like ‘heck no, we’ll see you at the hospital!

Even though we determined around 7 or 8 that we NEEDED to get to the hospital, we didn’t get there until 9- it was just so hard for me to do anything! My hospital bag wasn’t packed, so I remember Ben asking what he should put in it and me having trouble focusing on making any sort of decision. (Lesson learned for next time- I’ll have a bag packed far in advance!) ;)

We had taken a series of birthing classes called The Bradley Method to help prepare us for the labor & delivery process, and to prepare me to do the birth without any pain medication. Ben attended these classes too and was trained to be my ‘coach’ and help me through contractions. I remember telling Ben at home that I didn’t think I could do this, and that if I got to the hospital and was only 2 or 3 centimeters dilated, I’d have to get something for the pain. However, we got to Holland Hospital (finally) and found out I was 8 centimeters dilated! I was relieved to know the majority of it was already over and that I could deliver naturally as planned. It only seemed to be a few more contractions before I was ready to push. Our doctor broke my water and then the pushing began!

I pushed for 40 or so minutes, and then Aliya Joy Marshall was born at 10:20am, less than an hour and a half after getting to the hospital. She was 8 lbs, 6 oz, and 21 inches long!

The whole process seemed to go by so fast. I remember telling Ben during labor that we’re adopting the rest of our kids ;) but it’s true what they say- you really do forget about the pain after it’s over!

img_4907Already I’ve learned so much as a parent. First of all, thankfully, all my feelings of unreadiness and not wanting the pregnancy to end disappeared when Aliya arrived. All my fears about sleepless nights, baby blues, and not being ready became irrelevant when I met the little girl that had been inside me for the last 9 months! I also quickly learned that I could no longer control the image I put forth to other people– when Aliya came, my house wasn’t guest-ready, my hospital bag wasn’t packed so I left the hospital in an old t-shirt and sweatpants (not the cutesy homecoming I had pictured), and I couldn’t control if Aliya was peacefully sleeping or crying her head off when guests came.

I’ve learned I have to be okay with my house being imperfect and slightly messy, as now I choose to spend my time snuggling Aliya rather than making my house as clean as I’d like it.

I’ve even gained a new perspective on God’s perfect and steady love for us, as I aim to love my daughter the same amount whether she’s smiling at me in the daytime or won’t stop fussing in the middle of the night.

So, that’s our birth story! More than anything, Ben and I are thankful that our baby is healthy and happy. Now we’re looking forward to all the fun and challenges that await us in parenthood!

A Chance to Lead

Politics naturally divide. It’s Republican v Democrat v Independent and on and on. Looking at the numbers of votes, our country is very divided. Many millions didn’t want Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. Many millions didn’t want Hillary Rodham Clinton as President of the United States. 

Whether you like it or not, whether you voted for him or not, Donald J Trump IS the President Elect of the United States of America. 

Whatever feelings that brings up in you, whether fear, excitement, dread, expectancy, hatred, hope… The fact is that Donald J. Trump is going to be our president. 

As American citizens, it is our responsibility to allow him the opportunity to lead. We may not agree with him being our president, we may not be excited about it, but even Hillary Clinton admitted that we have to give him a chance to lead. 

Our country is deeply divided. We are divided across political parties, across religious beliefs, across races and socioeconomic statuses. And yet the very name of our country bears the word “united.”

One leader said this: “Whoever wins the presidency, half the country will have disagreed. Wise leaders never mistake wins for unanimous agreement.” – Rob Cizek. This is so true. We naturally won’t all agree on the elected official, but protesting and riots won’t change the outcome. 

There is so much hate, on both ends of the spectrum. Can we pursue something better? Can we pursue peace? Can we extend a hand of love and kindness across the aisle?

It is now the responsibility and opportunity of America’s citizens to once again be united. That is the challenge. And challenging it will be.

A reflection on Halloween

Happy Halloween! Whether you celebrate it or not, you can’t get away from Halloween. The candy in the stores, the spiders and cobwebs and skeletons in shop windows, people all over the place wearing costumes… it is a holiday that many do celebrate.

Regardless of the origins of Halloween and all the opinions on both sides about whether we should celebrate or not, there’s something intriguing about it.

As I was thinking about it today, there is something about dressing up in a costume, putting on a mask, and pretending to be a superhero or villain or Walking Dead zombie that gets people excited (there’s also that guarantee of tons of free candy!). What is it about dressing up to be someone or something else that excites?

I would love to be a superhero. When I was a kid, I would dress up as a Ninja Turtle or Superman or a Power Ranger, because I thought they were awesome and I wanted to be one! I still love superheroes and secretly wish the Ninja Turtles were real. But, sadly, they aren’t.

Maybe I’m overthinking things, and that’s very possible (I often do), but I wonder if there is something inherent in our psyche that strives to be someone we aren’t. We want to perform better, be more popular, have a better job or house, be better at a sport or instrument, be a more talented singer or businessperson. There’s a constant strive for something other than what we are right now.

Is Halloween the only time we put on a costume or mask and pretend to be something we aren’t? I don’t think so. We do it when we hang out with our friends or talked to someone on the phone or tell someone about our work. If you’re anything like me, we tend to overemphasize our strengths and exaggerate the good parts of our lives and personalities to make ourselves feel better about the not-so-good parts.

But the cool thing about life is if we open up to someone, we take that mask or costume or false sense of self off, and are truly vulnerable with someone else, it completely changes things.

It’s almost counter-intuitive, but when we share an insecurity with someone we trust, it can actually help increase our security in who God has created us to be. Sharing a shortcoming or insecurity, being vulnerable, can actually help strengthen and ground us in who we are as God’s creation.

On this Halloween, who is someone you trust that you can share something with? We started a new series on the life of Joseph this week at church (Joseph: Live Differently). Living differently is the point here, too.

We hold so much in and stumble on alone, when we could thrive in honest, loving, God-honoring, Christ-centered community. What’s holding you back? Let it go and push forward. Do something a little different today.

 

How can we be known for our love?

Jesus says in John 13:34-5:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

As followers of Christ, I think we are called to be known more for what we are for than what we are against. I’ve written about this before, but I think it cannot be overstated how important this is. Too much of the world knows the church for a religious, legalistic center who is against many things. That’s not what Jesus was known for. That’s not what His disciples were known for.

They preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified rather than a complete set of do’s and dont’s. The young adult group from Calvary is in New York City right now, and were able to visit Hillsong NYC on Sunday evening. While there, one thing was very clear. They did not take political or societal stances. They stood on the side of Jesus and gave an invitation for people to surrender their lives, their pride, their selfishness, and give it all to Jesus Christ.

There were homosexuals and transgenders in the crowd feeling loved enough to show up to church. And they heard the full Truth of the Word of God, that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. The tone was grace and truth. We need a Savior, His name is Jesus, and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

How can we be known for our love for others?

The key is to love God.

Love Him first and most.

The more we love God the more we will love others. The more we love God, the more He gives us the desires of our hearts.

I think that the more we love God, the more we will love others because we will love them as God loves them.

We will see them as God sees them; we will want what is best for them, which is not always what they think is best for them but what is actually best for them.

We’ll be determined to not give up on them, but will constantly be willing and able to show grace, love, mercy and forgiveness.

If we love God and pursue Him, we will become more like Him. If we want to be known and defined by our love for others, we must first love God.

Our love for others is not blanket acceptance or approval of actions, but it is all-encompassing, truthful, grace-filled love. The same type of love that God has shown us we are called to show others.

What do you need to do today to start being known for the love of Christ that is evident in your daily actions?

What’s so Amazing About Grace?

I want to share an excerpt from Philip Yancey’s book What’s so Amazing About Grace? I just finished reading it and wow. It is a challenging book. It is a book that challenges my understanding of the depths of grace that God gives to us. I would highly encourage everyone to read it.

While reading it, I was slightly disheartened at the way he describes the responses of many Christians in regards to culture and the way our society is going. The vitriol of some Christians writing letters to Yancey and others simply astounded me. As followers of Christ, we must be better able to engage the culture with grace and truth. The truth that is not balanced with love can be unloving. Sometimes we can be so focused on pointing out the bad news of someone else’s sin that we forget to also communicate the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ. Realization of the bad news should lead us to the good news, but too often we communicate only the bad news, which is truth. But love shares the whole story. We are a complex creation, and we need to treat every single person, regardless of his or her actions, as the image of God. We understand and defend this regarding unborn children, but can too easily forget it when, for example, we are across the aisle from someone from the LGBT community.

I hope and pray that you will read these words and consider next time the way that you interact with someone reveals to them who Christ is. Are you proud of the reputation your actions (whether on social media outlets or in person) are making of Christ?

“Jesus came to found a new kind of kingdom that could coexist in Jerusalem and also spread into Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. In a parable he warned that those farmers who concentrate on pulling up weeds…may destroy the wheat along with the weeds. Leave matters of judgment to the one true Judge, Jesus advised.

The apostle Paul had much to say about the immorality of individual church members but little to say about the immorality of pagan Rome. He rarely railed against the abuses in Rome–slavery, idolatry, violent games, political oppression, greed–even though such abuses surely offended Christians of that day as much as our deteriorating society offends Christians today.

When I went to the White House to visit President Clinton, I knew well that his reputation among conservative Christians hinged on two issues: abortion and homosexual rights. I agree fully that these are important moral issues which Christians must address. But when I went through the New Testament I could find very little related to either one. Both practices existed then, in a different and more egregious form. Roman citizens did not rely principally on abortion for birth control. The women bore their babies, then abandoned them by the side of the road for wild animals or vultures. Likewise, Romans and Greeks also practiced a form of same-gender sex: older men commonly used young boys as their sex slaves, in pederasty.

Thus in Jesus’ and Paul’s day both these moral issues asserted themselves in ways that today would be criminal in any civilized country on earth. No country allows a person to kill a full-term, delivered baby. No country legally permits sex with children. Jesus and Paul doubtless knew of these deplorable practices. And yet Jesus said nothing about either one, and Paul made only a few references to cross-gender sex. Both concentrated not on the pagan kingdom around them but on the alternative kingdom of God.

For this reason, I wonder about the enormous energy being devoted these days to restoring morality to the United States. Are we concentrating more on the kingdom of this world than on the kingdom that is not of this world? The public image of the evangelical church today is practically defined by an emphasis on two issues that Jesus did not even mention. How will we feel if historians of the future look back on the evangelical church of the 1990s and declare, “They fought bravely on the moral fronts of abortion and homosexual rights,” while at the same time reporting that we did little to fulfill the Great Commission, and we did little to spread the aroma of grace in the world?”

This was written in 1997. I think the message is timeless.

Can we remain unshaken?

We are reading through the Bible in a year together as a youth group, and we have finally made it to the book of the Psalms. Reflecting this morning on the reading in Psalm 16, one particular passage stuck out to me. There are different times and different seasons where certain verses or passages or even whole books of the Bible seem to impact a little more than they had before; they seem more applicable to the time. Here’s the verse:

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8 ESV).

David had a foundation that was unshakeable.

“Because the Lord Himself was the main focus of David’s attention and satisfaction, he knew no one would shake him in any major way from his stability in life” (https://lumina.bible.org/bible/Psalms+16).

I found this encouraging in the wake of all the violence that continues to get so much prime time media coverage. It is a daily occurrence. More police officers have been shot and killed this week. There was a truck rampage attack in Nice, France. There was an axe rampage on a train in Germany. There have been bombings, shootings, threats, robberies, and many other things that have not even been reported on. And to top it all off, Pokemon Go is getting almost more news time than some of these.

Then there is this whole “politics” and “election” thing going on. The Republican National Convention just seems to be a joke. They have perfectly set themselves up to be the laughing stock of our nation and have walked straight into the jokes seemingly unaware? Melania Trump giving Michelle Obama’s speech, a room full of white people talking about race problems, and on the list unfortunately goes. Many popular TV Talk Show hosts and TV personalities are ridiculing and making fun of the Republican party, and it looks like Hillary is a shoe-in to win.

Wherever you stand on the issues, I think we need to remember to keep the main thing the main thing. The right perspective on these issues can eliminate anxiety and worry. We know the One who is in control. We know the One who created the heavens and the earth; the One to whom “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov. 21:1). The One who “changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding…” (Daniel 2:21).

If the Lord Himself is the main focus of our attention and satisfaction, we can know with confidence that whoever is elected, whatever happens in the world, cannot shake us from the stability of our foundation. Let’s build our house on the Rock, instead of the shifting, sinking sand of societal opinion which changes without warning and is as fickle as the weather in West Michigan.

Put your hope and focus on the right thing. A political candidate will not fix everything. A new law, or series of laws, will not fix everything. New mandates will not destroy everything we hold precious. It will, however, make it more difficult to be a bold, outspoken, true follower of Jesus Christ. But hey, we can have confidence because “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4) and, as Jesus says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Every life matters

Yesterday afternoon I got in my car to drive home and was immediately bombarded with the most recent piece of news regarding yet ANOTHER shooting. This one hit a little closer to home, as we live in Holland, MI and this happened in St. Joseph, MI. Three more people died in this shooting.

This recent wave of active gunmen has sparked so much debate, hate, and ridiculous opinions on who is right, who is wrong, and why. Sadly, there were some who call themselves “Christians” that were a vocal minority celebrating those in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando got what they deserved because of the lifestyle they were living (Just a quick side note: No murder should be celebrated. Ever. No lifestyle should be so vilely opposed that one should wish they would go to Hell. That is not a Christ-like response).

Then there came the killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. It is sad and disconcerting that it appears that cops are more quick to pull the gun and shoot when faced with a black man than a white man. That isn’t okay.

Yes, there are corrupt Police Officers. Yes, there are Police Officers who act wrongly, who react too quickly with deadly force, and who make the wrong judgment call and a black life is taken, like the above examples. Yes, too, there are Police Officers who don’t react quickly enough, or aren’t expecting deadly force to be used against them, who die too often in the line of duty, even during routine traffic stops.

After the killing of Sterling and Castile, there was the Dallas shooting where police officers who were providing security for a protest that was protesting police brutality were being fired upon by a sniper. The sniper killed 5 officers, wounded 7 other officers and 2 civilians.

This is where the polarizing opinions come in. They have been coming in since the first killing. Blacks versus cops. One side or the other. No space in between.. Trevor Noah, who hosts the Daily Show on Comedy Central, weighed in after both Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed and very wisely and intelligently communicated to his entire audience that we don’t have to be forced into following the loud polarizing voices of our society.

Noah says, “It always feels like in America, it’s like, if you take a stand for something, you automatically are against something else.” This is a good quote for everyone, and one that we need to keep in mind regarding all of the polarizing topics today in our society.

Just because I stand for something, doesn’t mean I hate the other thing. I like Coca Cola more than I like Pepsi. It doesn’t mean I hate Pepsi. I stand on the fact that Jesus Christ is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. That does not mean I hate any single person who opposes that view. In fact, it means I love them all the more. Because that’s what Jesus Christ, the One I seek to model my life after, would do.

In the wake of murders and snipers and hatred and polarizing forces, we have to stand up and say, “Enough.” As a Christian, I need to have the courage to stand up and speak loudly and boldly that whether white, black, civilian, police officer, straight, gay, transgender, Christian, non-Christian, every individual is made in the image and likeness of the Creator God and therefore every individual has inherent value and worth. I will not love one person and hate the other. We cannot fall victim to the mentality and attitude that we have to join one side or the other in this fight.

The thing that truly matters is pursuing every single individual with the love of Jesus Christ. The only solution to the brokenness, the hatred, the hopelessness, is the Person of Jesus Christ who makes a way for us to be with God and to live in a peace that surpasses all understanding, a joy that is not based on situation, and a hope that is eternal.

Let freedom ring!

Happy fourth of July, and happy 240th birthday America! A lot has happened since 1776. We have cars, air conditioning, a “unified” country of fifty states, and the freedom to do pretty much what we want when we want to. Yeah, we have to obey laws and stuff, but we are still free to do what we want. We just have to pay the price for doing what we want if it happens to break a law.

Freedom is really a special thing. Not everyone in the world gets to experience it, and those of us who do often take it for granted. It can be too easy to forget those who have paid the ultimate price so that we could experience freedom. Days like Memorial Day or Independence Day help us as a country to remember, but in normal day-to-day life, unless we have a loved one who recently served, is currently serving, or who paid the ultimate price for our freedom while serving, we don’t think too often about how we are able to live in freedom.

Today, of all days, let us celebrate well and joyously our country, and those who have given us the ability to live in freedom. Our soldiers have made possible the freedom to worship in the open whoever we want, to walk down the street without fear of a car bomb or being at home and not worrying about a terrorist group rolling through the street taking us captive. We are free to pursue education and careers that many don’t have the ability to do. We have the freedom to sit at home and play video games all day, read books, watch TV or go to the movie theater if we choose. We have the freedom to vote for our leaders and to have a say in how our country is run.

All of this is made possible because of the sacrifice of normal men and women doing extraordinary things.

This is all for our physical freedoms. There is One who paid the ultimate price so that we could be spiritually free. Jesus Christ came to earth, died on a cross for you and for me, and rose again from the dead three days later so that we could have the freedom to choose not to sin. He died so we could be saved from the wrath of God and so we could live in freedom from the power and penalty of sin. He died and rose again so that you and I could receive the free gift of eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. – John 1:12

But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Acts 2:21

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1

Christ has set us free so that we could have a relationship with God and have eternal life with Him when we die. He also set us free so that right now, living on earth, we could live in freedom from the slavery of sin and so we can live the full, satisfying life that Jesus promises (John 10:10).

Remember today why you and I get to live in freedom. Remember those who have paid the price for freedom. Remember the Ultimate Sacrifice that gives us the ability to live in spiritual freedom for eternity. Remember. And let the remembrance lead you to thankful action.

Grace, Fruit, and Free Gifts

This morning I just want to encourage you with some Scripture. This Fall we are studying through the book of Romans for Youth Group. As I was reading and studying through some of it this week, I was just hit by the simplicity of this passage and I want to share it as an encouragement and challenge:

“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:15-23

We reap the choices that we sow. We experience the negative or positive outcomes of every decision we make.

Let us today accept the free gift of God through Jesus Christ, believe in Him, and begin reaping the fruit that leads to eternal life! There is literally nothing in the world that can bring as much satisfaction, fulfillment, joy, or belonging as being a child of God and following His way every day.

The Progression of the Great Commission

This is a follow-up post to last week’s “The Strategy of the Great Commission.” Not only is this responsibility, this command, for every disciple of Jesus Christ strategic, it is progressional. How? Here’s what the Bible says in the book of Acts:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (ESV)

The progression is in the location of Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, and then to the end of the earth. Jesus gives this progression to His followers basically saying, “Start where you are and share Christ right there.”

We don’t have to go on mission trips to different cities or foreign countries to serve and share Christ. We are actually called to first start where we are. Start in your family, with your friend group, in your neighborhood, at your job or your school. Start where you are.

Then, after starting where you are, go a little further. Maybe across town at a homeless shelter or a neighboring city.

After going a little further, going a little further still. And all the while behind you, leaving a trail of sharing Jesus. Everywhere we go, in everything we do, we should be intentionally engaged in sharing Jesus Christ. It is the only thing that truly matters in life.

When we share, we don’t just move on and never go back. We must teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded in the Bible. We must disciple and train and make disciples who can make disciples.

But, before we can move on to the ends of the earth, we have to start right where we are. Who is one person you cross paths with on an almost daily basis whom you can share Christ with today?