Peet DickinsonHow many of us are making a new New Year’s Resolution? How many of us are making the very same New Year’s Resolution we make every year hoping that one of these days we’re going to fulfill it? I have always admired those people who have the kind of discipline to fulfill their New Year’s Resolutions perhaps because I don’t seem to have that kind of discipline. I do think that making commitments to improve our way of life is an admirable thing to do, and the turning of a New Year is a particularly appropriate starting point to do that. I do, however, think that we can overdo this practice of New Year’s Resolutions, and all too often, instead of improved, we find ourselves frustrated. What’s an alternative?

I think we all might want to consider making a resolution to respond to the One who has shown his infinitely resolute nature toward us. God was resolute when he created the universe. He was resolute when He ordained that humanity would be created in His image. After the Fall, He was resolute when he decided that he would restore his creation to glory and His image in mankind. He was resolute when he finished that work by the atoning sacrifice of his son, our savior Jesus Christ. And he has continued to show that he is resolute in his love for us as he leads and guides us into all truth and righteousness by the power of his Holy Spirit.

Now, what is our resolution? I propose that this year and every year, we adopt the resolution to respond to God’s resolution by answering when he calls. Pay attention to those nudges from the Holy Spirit, and out of gratitude for God’s resolute saving grace, obey those nudges.

Recently in our worship services we highlighted three couples who are living according to this kind of resolution: Joy and Howard Holl, Lynn and Bob Lawrence, and Debbie and David Adams. They heard the call of God and with resolution answered that call to go and be God’s heart for those in need around the world: the Holls in the D.R., the Lawrences in Ethiopia and South Sudan, and the Adamses in Nicaragua.

We at the Cathedral have been called to a vision of Being the Heart of God for the Heart of Charleston and well beyond. That’s our “Every Year Resolution.” Read below as the Holls and Lynn Lawrence write of how living according to that resolution has blessed them and those that they have served. After reading these accounts, ask the Lord how he is nudging you with a call to live according to this “Every Year Resolution.”

Peet+

 

Joy and Howard, What evidence did you see of growing God’s Kingdom and fulfillment of The Great Commission?

 By attracting patients to the church, providing prayers, medicine, reading glasses. People who might not otherwise come to the church are exposed to both physical and spiritual healing and experience the love of Jesus Christ. The strength and dedication of the church members who help us with the clinic is inspirational. We also saw the Kingdom in the team as we were a team of people from different places, different churches, even different denominations all working together with common motivation, obedience to our Lord.

What is God calling you to do in response to your trip that will enhance the Cathedral Mission of “Being the Heart of God for the Heart of Charleston?”

 Part of being the “Heart of God for the Heart of Charleston” is to reach out beyond our city. To extend the great commission to people in other countries. Each time we go on these trips, we come back spiritually renewed and hope that our enthusiasm for this will attract others to reach out to those in need right here in the heart of our own city.

What did you experience on the Mission that leaves you forever changed?

 Over the past 9 years, we have been to the D.R. 18 times. We have seen the health of the patients improve. We have experienced the joy and love of people who live in shacks, and don’t always have enough to eat, who don’t have pure water and are without electricity for 12 hours each day.

 

Lynn, What evidence did you see of growing God’s Kingdom and fulfillment of The Great Commission?

 +Growth in both seminaries where we taught (Gambela, Ethiopia and Juba, South Sudan).

+The witness of The Rev’d. John Chol Daau and Bishop Abraham Yel Nhial who are living away from their families in order to serve where they are called—John has started a school for the refugees called The Good Shepherd School and both men have a heart to serve the people in refugee camps–both of which spent time in a refugee camp and met their wives in one.

+The witness of Bishop Grant and Dr. Wendy LeMarquand as well as The Rev’d. Johanne and Louise Vanderbijl is phenomenal as they live lives in difficult places yet joyfully serve.

What is God calling you to do in response to your trip that will enhance the Cathedral Mission of “Being the Heart of God for the Heart of Charleston?”

 +I am still very much in prayer about this, but for a start, we immediately came home and jumped into completing my HART-US project of sending Kuaniyal Chol to South Sudan and will finish all the preparations this week of being able to after having raised $9000, send KC to Bishop Abraham to use his youth ministry college major and do a 6 week internship as well as see his mother for the first time in 17 years;  I am continuing as an ARDF trustee to put a face on ARDF in the Diocese of SC and the Diocese of the Carolinas, to enable others who want to give and to pray for others, to have a way to do this.

+I am financially supporting a SAMS missionary now.

+I will continue the conversations that I have started with Bishop Grant and others of how we as a people, a church, a diocese can better serve them as they serve.

+I am praying about ways that children can be exposed to missions within our city and beyond so that the Great Commission becomes real to our children, their parents, and all.

+By sharing what I am doing, helps to expand the mission of The Cathedral as giving examples of what one person can do, hopefully encourages others.

What did you experience on the Mission that leaves you forever changed?

+I have traveled to the continent of Africa numerous times, and never have I encountered the poverty, the strife that I saw in Juba, South Sudan.  Yet, the faith of the people, despite their struggles was amazingly strong and such a witness to me.  These people follow a God that they have seen as a God who suffered for them and so they take their struggles and suffering as a part of their faith.  Those of us here, myself included, have a tendency to whine and complain when life gets tough.  I am now willing to suffer and to persevere, knowing that God loves me and will be with me every second of my journey.