International Ministries

May the God of Hope ...

December 19, 2007 Journal

"May the God of Hope fill you with all Joy and Peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 NIV

The first candle of Advent represents Hope: our God of Hope; the Hope we have in Christ; Hope like a light that shines in the darkness.

Getting together occasionally for encouragement, sharing and prayer, my friends and I met during the first week of Advent. We lit the first candle of Advent together: the candle of Hope. As we sat around the Advent wreath at my home, we sang some Christmas carols and read parts of the story of Ruth.

We thought about how God used the faithfulness of Ruth to help bring Jesus, our Savior and Hope, into the world. We thought about our hope in the faithfulness of our extraordinary God, who uses ordinary people, like us all, to accomplish His plan.

My friends are some of my missionary colleagues. They come from the countries of Mizoram and Nagaland in India, and Japan. They represent many different ministries in Nepal: ecological projects, education, nursing, pastor and lay leader training, and women empowerment through discipleship and skills training. We are all mothers, with children ranging in years from 2-31; we've lived in Nepal for 3-12 years. We were encouraged by the thought that God uses us, where we are, to accomplish His plan, no matter what we are doing. With those words of Hope, celebrating the first week of Advent, we looked towards the Hope that the celebration the birth of the Christ Child brings and the anticipation of His return.

After sharing prayer requests, in keeping with the Nepali custom, we prayed out loud, all at the same time, for each other. We prayed for each other in our own mother tongue. I stopped praying for a moment to sit quietly and listen to all the different languages of the prayers! What a privilege for me to share with them; to be praying with my friends in the midst of so many languages and know that God hears and understands all of our prayers!

Being encouraged by the singing, the sharing and praying, the words of Hope the story of Ruth brought us, we began this Advent season together.

As the celebration of Advent leads us towards celebrating Christmas with lighting the other candles of love, joy, and peace, my prayer for you is that the God of Hope fill you with all Joy and Peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I ask that you pray this prayer for my colleagues, their families, and all Christians in Nepal. Thank you.

Celebrating in God's hope, love, joy and peace of Advent,

Carole Sydnor