We are very thankful to the Lord for His blessings and goodness to us each and every day. How true are the words of Jeremiah included among his lamentations for the destruction of Jerusalem, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22, 23) Our family is particularly thankful for the Lord’s goodness to us with the birth of our second child, Serena Spring Francis, on Sabbath, March 27th. As she came into the world a healthy, vibrant little girl, it makes me pause to think about the very miracle of life itself. When we look into her little face, feel her little fingers wrap around one of our fingers or tickle her little toes, we are amazed at the miracle God gives in such a precious little gift. As marvelous as is the miracle of new life in a little baby, the miracle of continued life is just as special—the wonder of God’s continued, sustaining breath that every new day the miracle of life may continue. How true that His mercies are “new every morning.”
As I hold this child, just a few days old, and ponder the miracle of life, my mind also turns to the solemn responsibility that comes with the great joy of parenting. Our children, so young and innocent, have entered a world of sin, a dangerous world. As parents, it is our responsibility not only to care for these treasures but, most importantly, to direct them on the pathway to a better land. It is our charge to teach them that we are “strangers and pilgrims” here in our own home. (Hebrews 11:13) It is our responsibility to show them that the secret of all happiness in this life and the preparation for the next is to “by love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) It is our high calling to illustrate to them that wherever we are, we are to “lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35) While the joys are great, the responsibilities are much higher, for one day soon the question will come to every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle and church member, “where is thy flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?” (Jeremiah 13:20) May the Lord give us each the grace to recognize our responsibility and be faithful to the trust to which He has called us.
We are also very thankful that the Lord gave us the opportunity to return back home just a few days before the birth of Serena. For five weeks we had been in Oregon opening the Word of God to the community there, and we are praising the Lord for the work He has done and is continuing to do on hearts there. Since it is a very rural community, there were not a large number of people coming, but those who were coming were very interested. Those who came to the meetings are thinking very seriously about the issues involved. We had advertised the meetings in the local paper, on the radio station and by mailed-out invitations; but we wanted to do more. Before the meetings began we were going door to door in the community reminding the people and giving them invitations. Near the end of the street, there was a house that looked like it was being worked on and might not be a residence, but we knocked anyway. The man who came to the door recognized my picture from the invitation and said that he had thought about coming. We encouraged him to come, and he indicated he would try. We were very happy to see him early on the first night, and he kept on coming and then started coming to church, also. While visiting him in his home, he made a commitment to surrender his life to the Lord and strive to follow the Lord every day in prayer and Bible study. This was a large commitment for him, but he knew that the Lord was calling him, and he responded to the call. Thank you for your prayers and support that make conversions like this possible, and we ask for your continued prayers for the work there and around the world!
Yours in His service,