I was reading through Philippians today (one of my most favorite books) and was struck again by how this book so encapsulates - like my big word :o) - many of my feelings toward you. chapter 1 verses 3-5
I thank my God upon every rememberance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy. For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.
It goes on, but those words are so true. Your friendships and prayers, the things we have learned together, the ways we have served together, and now many years down the road from then, I know you stand with me, and you are in my prayers.
We had a great month last month as we saw God provide for our needs and many of our friends give sacrificially ( we hear how expensive the gas is there and are in shock) Even those who couldn't give now, expressed their care and concern, and prayers. So many of you, knowing how much I miss home, and how disappointed I was not to be able for us all to return to the states for the summer as we had originally thought we would, sent packages, full of goodies, and yes, things we needed. How do I express my thanks??? How do I share how much this means to me, and how I feel that I am able to be here and serve with a full heart because of your part in our lives and ministry???
Paul says it so well in chapter four, I just have to quote him. Verse 10 stood out to me in a way it never had ( I don't know how many times I have memorized these chapters) He says
But I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. He goes on to say that with or without he has learned to be content - this is my prayer!!! And verse 18b is the best part.. He says
the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. I can't imagine being in prision like Paul and what it was he missed the most, but that those around him were able to shower him with their love and concern and what that meant to Paul.
So from the bottom of my heart, I say thanks!!! and most importantly
Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen (v22)