With my 70th birthday fast approaching this year, and being reminded that I’ve spent exactly half of my life, heading up this ministry, Christa and I’ve also learned what it means to grow in gratitude!
When we started out; a young starry eyed, mid-career couple, with dreams of conquering the world for Jesus, we had no idea what we were in for! Very soon, and with hardly any means to support ourselves, yet with an indelible conviction that God had called us into full-time service, we began to learn the lesson of what it means to “Live by Faith!”
But, living by Faith wasn’t easy then, and it isn’t easy today! Nevertheless, in hindsight, we won’t exchange for anything, what we’ve learned and received from God along the way. Chief among these lessons was the admonishment from an elderly Missionary Statesman, during that first most difficult year at Bible School. Sensing how fearful we were about how we would make it through School, let alone through the long lonely years of ministry ahead, this man of God sat us down and spelled out for us: “When God guides, God also provides!” And for that advice I am most grateful, for it has kept us, and this Ministry going, far more than all the academic training that followed.
And so we’ve learned to be grateful in all things, constantly growing in gratitude. We’ve learned that its gratitude that changes our natural resentful and demanding hearts. While everything around us tells us that we need, or deserve more, we learned that consciously expressing gratitude would remind us that Christ is our sufficiency. In our years of living in one of the poorest areas of the world, Africa, we’ve been struck by both the generosity and the gratitude around us. Just observing our African neighbors across this continent, has helped us grow in gratitude. With what little they have, they seem for the most part, happy. For what little we can offer them, in both physical and spiritual nourishment, most are elated.
Gratitude rarely shows up on a list of spiritual disciplines. But, we have learned from those we serve, how to be grateful. Further, we’ve learned that when we genuinely practice gratitude, it becomes a part of us and we actually become grateful people. When we live from a grateful heart, we receive each day as a gift from the hand of God, who has given us everything. So, with this letter we want to express our sincere gratitude to you, our friend and partner! Your prayers and partnership continues to mean the world to us!
Johan and Christa Combrinck