Holidays: a Time to Remember
The holidays are in full swing and we are glad. Like many people, this is our favorite time of year. Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all provide us with great opportunities for remembering and gratitude. Advent and Christmas are important because they help us to focus on looking back on the coming of the Messiah, while at the same time drawing our hearts and minds forward in time to when he will come again for his people. In the Gilbert household, we try to honor God with our holiday traditions by remembering the many ways in which God has blessed us throughout the year.
One of the ways we do this is by giving each other a new Christmas ornament each year. Each ornament helps us remember something that has happened that year. For example, in the pictures below are two ornaments: (left) Simcha’s ornament to Jack the year he stopped pursuing a job in medicine to follow a call to full-time ministry, and (right) a vile of the water from Joshua’s baptism in 2017. Looking back each year at what God has done for us helps us to see that we are truly blessed and that he works in ways we could never foresee. What a blessing!
Grateful to See God at Work
As we look back on this past year, we have seen God’s hand in so many ways. One of the things we can point to is the loyal support we have from so many people. We have gained new financial supporters in the past few months, and we praise God for these and the encouragement they bring! We are also immensely grateful to and humbled by those who have been supporting us since the beginning of this now three- year journey toward disciple-making in Spain. Thank you for your faith in us and in God’s work in our lives!
We have had people support us in practical ways like coming to our house to give us Spanish lessons, loaning us cars so that we can have transportation during out of state training trips, hosting dinners, connecting us with potential supporters, and many other acts of kindness and partnership in our ministry.
We have also been grateful and amazed at the faith of others as they pray and encourage us. It takes a long time to raise enough money to fund a ministry and to move a family of five overseas, but we are surrounded by faithful givers and fervent prayer warriors. We are told all the time “I was praying for you guys this morning,” or “We’re so excited to see how close you are to reaching your support, I know it will happen soon!” Even in the times when we seem to be at a plateau in raising support, God prompts someone to call, email, or to stop by to say, “God’s got this!”
Not only are we grateful for the blessings we have received from others, but we also want to thank and praise God for the ability to serve him here even as we work toward Spain. This year we have been blessed to lead new believers to the Lord. We have been honored to counsel and disciple other Christians. We have been delighted to help a fellow missionary move into a new home, to pack shoe-box gifts with a local small church, and even today to help a friend dig out of a snowy driveway!
Jack has had and continues to have, opportunities to preach and teach at several of our supporting churches and to serve as an elder at our sending church. It is such a blessing to us to feel that we can still serve others even during this season of waiting and preparing. Thank you to all who have allowed us to serve you this past year!
Jack and Simcha Gilbert
Pray with us:
• We thank God for the opportunity to serve God and his people.
• Pray that we can make new contacts in our supporting churches in the coming weeks. We have reached the slow part of the year, but as others have said, we know that God will provide.