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When Families Say “Yes” by Emily Loper

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This Sunday, I listened to a sermon on sanctification . . . in Creole. Or I should rather say, I saw the passages being used on the screen, flipped there in my Bible, and did my best to follow along, praying that the Lord would teach me something new regardless of the language barrier. And He did! The first verse that stuck out was 1 Thessalonians 4:3 – “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified . . .” I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I have a tendency to shy away from sanctifying moments, believing the lie that I’m probably doing fine as I am and fearful of the process ahead of me, because let’s face it, sanctification can be hard and messy. But God’s Word says plainly that sanctification is God’s will and will make us more like Jesus. Passing up opportunities to be sanctified means missing out on a whole new level of knowing Jesus.

This past week, I was allowed to tag along on the family trip to Haiti. In Haiti, I saw 16 Watermark families boldly lean in to every ounce of sanctification the Lord had waiting for them through Mission of Hope. I saw kids in 3rd through 11th grade walk into villages drastically unlike anything they’ve seen here at home and love their peers in completely new (and what could be nerve-wracking) ways. I saw parents step out of their comfort zones by giving their kids the freedom to play with and connect with the Haitian children wherever we went, seeking to know men, women, and children in Haiti, and sharing the hope we have through Christ alone. And I saw the Church at work in both parents and children asking thoughtful questions about how we can step up and better love and serve the people of Haiti as well as those we encounter in Dallas.

These families said yes to what they knew would stretch and grow them in ways that are hard and messy. But we also know that sanctification doesn’t just happen in Haiti. The pastor at church on Sunday closed with Jesus’ prayer for His disciples in John 17, just before His death and resurrection. In verses 17 and 18, Jesus prays, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” Regardless of whether we’re in Haiti or in Dallas, God has given us His Word as a source of sanctification, especially when we’re living out the calling it gives us to live as those sent into the world to love (John 17:26), serve (Mark 10:43-45), and boldly share about the hope we have because of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). I am confident that our trip to Haiti was life changing for the 16 families represented. And I’m even more confident that it will continue to spark conversations between parents and kids about our mission as the Church.

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