We spent a year in survey work in Germany, and then in November 1993 moved into the Czech Republic with Tyler and Caleb, born in January '93. Claire was not yet a twinkle in our eye!
But twenty five years later, this faithful body of believers commissioned our Claire into missionary service with Josiah Venture!
And in God's supreme sovereignty, arranged for a wedding in Peoria so that we would be in the Chicago area on THIS SUNDAY, the day they would do this same commissioning for Claire as they did for us long ago!! Can you believe that??
We were privileged to hear Claire speak about God's calling on her life, and what she'll be doing as she serves with us back in Czech.
The pastor then invited Dave to come and share a few words about what her work with the JV Kids will mean to us as team who are "family on mission" (A LOT!!!), and then asked him to stay while they prayed over Claire, sending her out as they did us all those years ago.
This body of believers has been HOME, in every sense of the word, to Claire all of her years at Moody, but particularly in this past year as she's lived in the Wheaton area while raising support.
The church family opened their homes to her as she lived with multiple families throughout the year, including with this elder and his wife...the very one they asked to pray for her.
As you can imagine, it was VERY moving to be there on this day, to share in a commissioning service of sending Claire into missions...to serve with us, which is still just one of the most amazing gifts I could ever imagine! What joy to see Claire walking with God, into his perfect plan for her life!
She lived with this family for the past five months, long time friends of ours who were in the church 25 years ago when we were commissioned!
|The Ristine family, along with Claire and Karis (on the far right)|
They are a beautiful family, with the blessed gift of hospitality, who not only were family to Claire these past months, but two years ago hosted Karis as well, one of our JV missionaries who is now serving with us in Slovenia! Grace is her home church too, and she just happened to be there on this Sunday.
So it was a celebration of family on this Sunday, seeing this group of people love on Claire one last time, as they have loved on her for nearly five years.
May there be special blessing over Grace Church and its body for caring for Claire so well, and loving her so deeply these past years. We are absolutely grateful to the Lord for how he displayed his love for her through them.