A young girl sitting in a movie theatre watching the latest chick-flick stares with adoration upon the projected screen of a girl torn between two men. The one man has been in the fictitious character’s life the entire time and they have a deep and established friendship. But the girl is infatuated with another guy that she has somehow idolized. The girl pursues her idol to only realize later that her established friend is now in her sights, but in a different way, a romantic way. What to do, what to do? The girl is so torn and stressed. She cries, there are fights between both men, and at the last minute she makes her decision and reconciles with one of them (all of the viewers hoping it will be the steadfast friend).
Another movie shows a husband and wife fighting. Showing they no longer have sex making people think that is the norm in real life (even though real life statistics show married couples have the best sex lives). They begin to hate each other. They split or divorce. They find their rebounds and they realize they still love each other. So they emotionally begin cheating on their new rebounds with their x-spouse. And they eventually come back together or they decide to stay split thinking it didn’t work before, so it won’t work now.
This makes for wonderful drama-filled entertainment, but this scares me. The fact of the matter is that many times in life, what we see on a movie screen we sometimes try to apply to our own lives. We try to Hollywood-up our lives a little bit. Our relationships become about us and what we can get out of them. It becomes about personal satisfaction rather than dedicated loving commitment. We make drama happen in our lives and ask God, “Why did you let this happen.” When in reality most of us invite those romance stressors into our lives. We have friends with benefits that really should be called, “I secretly love you but I have commitment issues.”
I say this is scary to me because if this was applied in my own life, I don’t know that I would ever be able to truly love the girl fully and trustfully knowing she was torn between two men. I don’t know that I could trust the spouse who didn’t take her vows seriously and who was willing to trade me in and out as she felt led by her desires. These types of relationships sound like an exhausting emotional rollercoaster to me. This type of romance is only good for a drama on a theatre screen.
I still find the greatest romance to be that of love, trust, devotion, and commitment. My wife and I recently got married. And I married her not because I was torn between two women and she won the pros and cons contest. I married her because I am fully committed to her and her to me. There’s no doubt of unconditional love. There’s no fear of divorce. There’s no fear of cheating. There’s none of that. Why? Because of the love, trust, devotion, and commitment we have for each other. Our love is steadfast. There’s no doubting that. I knew I loved her quickly after getting to know her and she loved me the same. At that point in our own hearts, we were single minded about each other. And that has remained the same even through some really rough bumps in the road to marriage. In my relationship, there is no fear. After all, “perfect love casts out fear.” Granted, it won’t make for an exciting movie as it won’t have all the drama that captivates viewers. But it’s true love. Love that doesn’t fade. Love that is based on a decision to love. Love that is not based on feelings or emotions. Love that says, “I don’t feel like loving you right now, but I’m choosing to love you no matter what.” That’s the romance I like. It’s a safe and secure love. And if we all think about it, that is what most people want. We want that secure love.
Here’s another problem. People spend all their time trying to find that perfect love in another person. Truth be told, humans are flawed creatures and since we are flawed, when we begin to interact with people we are bound to make a mistake and hurt another person at some point in time. And then we start believing what much of the world feeds us, “Well, you shouldn’t be with someone that will hurt you like that.” So if a person buys into that, they quickly find that another person will also hurt them in a different way at some time (there are some legitimate cases where people should get out of relationships like when abuse in involved). So begins a viscous cycle of trying to find Mr. Right. I have hurt my wife and she has hurt me. It happens. But we choose to love each other anyway. Why? Because we love each other. We aren’t always looking out for our own self interests, but we look to each others. It’s a selfless love rather than a selfish one. We aren’t saying, “Which person is best for me?” Rather we say, “Am I being the right person for them?”
My wife and I both knew the kind of love we were looking for and looking to give. We knew this because we had a relationship with God before we did with each other. We continue to put our relationship with God before each other as well. But since we had experienced true, perfect, undefiled, selfless, pure love from God we knew what we should give to each other. It brings new meaning when I read Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” That verse combined with the Kenosis Hymn in Philippians 2 talking of Jesus’ humility and servant-leadership brings to light what love is. Love is selfless. Love gives everything even if it hurts. Love says, “Even if you hurt me, hate me, slay me, I still love you.” Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Now that is love.
So my type of romance may not make me a romantic by the world’s standards, but I wound up blessed with the most amazing, the most beautiful, and the most loving woman in the world: my wife. So my view of romance may be old school and it is. It’s as old as eternity past. Something that has worked for that long is still bound to work today. Its principles are eternal. Its modes may change. I still had to date my wife and still do. I still have to be creative. I still have to pursue. But I know that even if I didn’t, my wife loves me enough that she would take up the slack. When we didn’t pursue God in our wickedness, He pursued us, He died for us, and He lives for us. Now that’s romance.
Dumela (Hello) Everyone, I hope this letter finds you well. I have been quite busy this side. Botswana is such an amazing place and the people here have been so welcoming. I am learning the language little by little. I am learning some dance moves, learning how to be culturally sensitive, and how to pastor here. Learning all these things is so amazing and I find that God is making me a better person as a result.
The past month has been a difficult one for me in regards to my health. I have had a severe muscle strain, a really bad flu that landed me in the hospital for a night, and I had a very painful kidney stone. But I can say that God has brought me through it all! Our God is the Great Healer! Thank you to everyone who spent countless hours in prayer for me. Your prayers reached our mighty God and He healed me. God is my strength in deed!
(Me, Pastor Mmeke, Pastor Sony, & Elder Setoro)
I have recently returned from a trip visiting the branch churches between Maun and Popa Falls, Namibia – all up and down the Okavango River Delta. While in Etsa 6, I was able to talk with a traditional doctor and we had an interesting conversation about spirits and God. He did not accept Christ, but I gave him a lot to think about. I also preached at the church in Popa Falls, Namibia on a Tuesday night and the Holy Spirit really moved. I was so blessed to be able to do that. I was able to meet with some of the branch church pastors and some of the churches’ elders. We worked on logistics for the Camp Meeting coming up in August (held in Maun). Due to many reasons, we were not able to hold a pastors training that we wanted to, but I learned a lot about the churches and the needs in all of them. I love my position here working with and supporting the branch churches as well as raising up future pastors for these churches and planting new churches. I am training the pastors to be amazing tools for our Father. We are joining the body of Christ across Southern Africa!
(Missions International Goodbye Meal at Bon Arrivee)
I have also been keeping busy with outreach season. The first outreach team from Missions International came and ministered at the mission and in the schools of Maun. Coming later as friends of the Missions International founder was Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, some of his band members, and security! When I came back from visiting the branch churches, the outreach team blessed me by decorating my house, painting a mural on a wall, and adding some wicker furniture. This was such a blessing to come home to and I can’t thank the team enough for it!
(Me with Joe Jonas)
I have also been having a great time teaching at the Love Botswana Bible Institute. I am teaching Survey of the New Testament on Monday nights from 6pm to 9pm. My students are amazing and passionately seeking after God. It is so encouraging to teach such amazing students. I have been able to spend a lot of time with the youth at the All Nations Village Church here in Maun. The youth group is about 200 strong and growing. There are many youth that are coming to God for the first time, returning to God, and burning on fire for God. Friday nights here is Fire by Night which is the youth service. I was able to teach last Friday evening to the youth about how God can use their gifts to bring glory to God and to build the church. God really moved that night and it was amazing to see what God did in people’s hearts from big strong adult men to youth just old enough to be in the group.
I have received several packages from several people and I can’t thank you enough for those. Gifts from home really help lift my spirit.
I have also been busy writing more radio spots. This is quite an amazing challenge. I love to write and writing stories that the people of Botswana will relate to, and adding a Christian message with it on a public, secular radio station is truly a blessing from God.
(A youth Reach For Life School Event)
Please be in prayer for the mission and the members of it that labor for Christ here. The enemy is coming against the mission hard. But we are standing firm that we are on the offensive and not on the defensive. God’s Word says that He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. If you have made monthly commitments or you want to make a monthly commitment or if you want to send in a once-in-awhile gift please send support to: River Pointe Church 970 Dell Dale Channelview, TX 77530 Add “John Emerick” in the memo portion of your check.
This ministry would not be possible without your prayers and support. Thank you all so much. I love and miss you all.
After making it to Botswana, I have been in the process of making this place home.Making new friends and seeing old friends is such a blessing.Seeing all of the friends I made here four years ago is so moving especially when they greet me with a smile and hug.Making Maun home is a bit of a process, but it is exciting.Things like opening a bank account, learning where everything is, adjusting to driving on the left side of the road, and so on, have been some of the things I have been doing here.
I learned that I will be teaching a Survey of the New Testament class at the Love Botswana Institute.I am thrilled about this as I love teaching, but I also get to study God’s Word in preparation for teaching the class and I love reading His Word.It is life to me.The first class starts on May 17, 2010.I am writing the curriculum for this class right now and this is a long task, but a very enjoyable one.
I was able to go to Lobatse this past month near the capital of Gaborone for a missions conference called Joining Hands.The goal is to unite missionaries all throughout Botswana to help all the organizations work together to win this nation for Christ.I went with the co-founder of Love Botswana, Jerry Lackey, and we had the task of facilitating a discussion on church planting.I gained a lot of wisdom from listening to these people who have been laboring here for years and from listening to the Botswana pastors that want to win their own nation to Christ.While at Joining Hands, I was able to meet many new friends and I was able to see some more old friends that are now working in other parts of Botswana.At the end of the conference I was able to address the entire group of 50 – 60 people.I explained to them, “The goal of raising up pastors is so they can raise up other pastors and plant more churches.We are suppose to work ourselves out of a job.And eventually, I hope that one day a Botswana will be raised up to be a missionary to my country [USA].”
I also got to meet an amazing Nigerian man named Daniel Yang.I will be working with Mr. Yang a great deal with raising up pastors in the Okavango River Delta up to and in Namibia as well as supporting current church plants in this area.He has an amazing testimony and God is using him here in Botswana to help reach this nation.I look forward to working with him.
I plan on working with the youth and young adults at All Nations Village Church in Maun.I will soon start helping with prison ministry to the Boro Prison, not far from the mission, as soon as I am able to purchase a 4x4 vehicle, because with the road conditions, a four wheel drive vehicle will be necessary.I also want to start a pottery studio and give people here an avenue to use some artistic creativity, but it would also serve as a way to help people support themselves.
I am very excited about what I will be part of here in Botswana.If you would like to be part of this ministry through prayer, financial support, or if you would like to come to Botswana and be part of this ministry first hand, please let me know.If you have already made monthly support commitments, thank you so much for those commitments.If you would, please remember to start sending in your monthly support as I am now living off of that support.Or if you would like to give a once-in-a-while gift, please let me know of that as well.All support can be sent to:
River Pointe Church
970 Dell Dale
Channelview, TX 77530
Add “John Emerick” in the memo portion of your check
If you would please be in prayer for me as I am still adjusting to a missionary life.Please pray for God to use me to win this nation to Christ.Please pray that God would prepare people for us to build up as the spiritual leaders of this nation.
Thank you all so much for your prayers, love, and support.
As I make my final preparations for moving to Botswana I wanted to just let you know how grateful I am for your support. God has sent people like you to make this ministry possible. You are a vital part of this ministry whether you have supported me financially, with prayer, with encouragement, or all the above. Thank you so much! If you haven’t heard, 100% of my monthly support has been raised in commitments. God is so good!
While making these preparations for leaving, I have thoughts about missing my family, friends, church, and everyone that is part of my life, but I also think about the great things that God has in store in Botswana. God is going to do so many things and you will be part of it. People will be healed, souls saved, lives changed, and leaders developed.
I am so close to leaving and where this day once seemed so far off is now right around the corner. Three years seems like a long time, but in the scope of eternity, it’s not long at all. I will probably be in Botswana long term (whenever God calls me away) being that the work I’m going for will take some time to complete. I have committed for three years for now and will come back for a visit then, but my heart is committed for a lifetime if that is God’s will for my life. My love for the people of Botswana has grown so much recently. I desire to serve them in every way that I can. I want to share God’s love to them, I want to live out God’s love to them, and I want to show them the love you have for them as well.
I will be sure to let everyone know that I made it safe as soon as I can after I arrive. At that point, my correspondence with everyone may slow down a bit as I will be busy getting settled in and busy with ministry. I plan on sending out a monthly news letter via email, facebook, and my xanga blog. Of course, getting emails, letters, packages, etc. from family, friends, and supporters is always welcome.
If you still want to commit to a monthly donation, you can. Anything over and above my monthly needs can be used for more ministry; I will be able to make more trips to the branch churches. If you want to make a monthly commitment, you can message me for the information needed for a monthly commitment. Once-in-a-while gifts will be very helpful as unforeseen events do occur (i.e. vehicle break down).
Thank you so much for all the love, prayers, and support shown to me. The next update you get from me will be traveling through the internet from across an ocean to get to you! I love you!
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