A Picture of Disciples Making Disciples
My relationship with Mark began at a Starbucks. I was the only one drinking coffee because he had some health issues and couldn’t drink any. His wife, Kara, had been participating in our missional community for a few months and had also been through Journey Groups (which I help lead). Mark shared some of his story with me and I could tell he was hurting. He was a great advocate and support for his wife, but he was wounded. Over the next few months, we would interact occasionally over text and after a while, he started coming intermittently to our weekly missional community meals.
Over the course of the next year, he joined a DNA with two men in our MC that I had spent the last few years discipling. That DNA spent a lot of time together and shared struggles in their marriages, in their jobs, and in their own personal lives. And after many months of conversation, meeting together, and sharing the gospel with each other, a change happened!
Suddenly Mark was devouring lots of scripture every single day. He was engaging in active conversation with the rest of our missional community (so much that my daughters noticed the dramatic change in behavior!). He had a different countenance about him. It was like a shadow had lifted from him. He was now fighting for his marriage, for himself, and for his soon-to-be-born daughter.
In short, Mark was giving his life over to God and the Holy Spirit was filling him in ways that fundamentally changed him! We watched as Mark demonstrated greater leadership of his family and more vulnerability as he reached out for help and was more open and honest about his life.
Mark’s beautiful daughter, Willow, was born in March. Her arrival coincided with Mark's desire to get baptized. He had hoped to do so on Easter Sunday, but with a newborn, he thought it would be better for his family to do a smaller baptism outside. And, that's just what we did! Mark was baptized on April 18th in the Snoqualmie River at a public park in Duvall.
Our community gathered that day, along with Mark's family, and the two men who had been walking with him in DNA got to baptize him! Although the water was shockingly cold, it was a great opportunity to witness and attest to the change that happened in Mark’s life--not only to his community, but also to total strangers that were sunbathing nearby at the park. What a privilege it has been to see this couple experience God’s grace through community. This is Mark and Kara's first real Christian community and it has been a joy for the rest of our missional community to get to be a part of their lives!
I love baptism. On Easter Sunday, I had the privilege of baptizing several people, three of which were the children of men that I’ve been walking with for several years. One man, in particular, was meaningful, because I was the first one they met when they came to a church service several years ago. I've walked with he and his wife through some really tough experiences and many conversations … so to now be able to share in baptizing their daughter with them was such a joy to me! Each of those baptism stories are testimonies to the work God has done in and through His church to those men, women, and their families.
Doxa, I hope that you know and experience how much we, as your elders, love you and are for you no matter what you are going through. One of the fruits of the Spirit is faithfulness, and just as God our Father is ultimately faithful to us for our whole lives and every high and low moment in between, we hope we reflect that to you as well.