My son Ryan is leaving for Prato, Italy this coming Tuesday to work for 18 months as an Apprentice Missionary. I wrote the letter below to him in preparation for his departure.
In the Old Testament fathers would often give their sons blessings. The most significant example of the Father’s Blessing is Jacob speaking to his twelve sons in Genesis 49. Much of what Jacob said to his sons was prophetic. While I am not a prophet, m y heart is full of thoughts that I want to share with you; even though I may not have the words to adequately express those thoughts.
Ryan, you have grown to be a man of God. You are a student of God’s word; you are a follower of Christ seeking to please Him in all you do. I remember when you came into the house and Mom and I were sitting on the couch. You had a serious and determined look on your face and you said, “I need to be baptized into Christ.” You came to that conclusion on your own that you wanted to be a disciple of Christ. I was filled with joy as you made that commitment. I have seen you grow in remarkable ways these last two years. You have determined to mature in Christ and you are on that journey toward maturity. I was so proud and encouraged as you got involved in the house church and you began to “own the community of faith.” You were taking responsibility for its growth, expression of faith and how you all were seeking to touch people with the love of Christ. You began to take responsibility for your life, your finances, your direction and decision in life. It was hard for me to let you go, but you gave me great confidence as you took responsibility for your life and walk with the Lord.
I remember in Guadalajara the summer after you graduated from High School. I made the comment when we were talking to Chadd and Joe that “we will see what Ryan does” when you mentioned that you might want to be a lawyer. I was concerned that you might have taken that as negative so the next day I told you, “Ryan you can do anything you set your mind to do that glorifies the Lord.” That is when you told me that you wanted to go into AIM. Honestly, I was surprised but so encouraged by your commitment. I was also amazed at your intentional plan to go to school and work for one year to “mature” and get ready for AIM.
I have seen you grow beyond what I can imagine during the last 10 months in AIM. You have grown in your knowledge of the word of God, but more importantly in your commitment to live out the word of God. You have grown in your confidence in God’s power to work through you. You have also grown in your skills at expressing yourself through writing. I now not only have a son, who I am very proud of, but I also have a co-worker, a fellow disciple to travel with on our journey of being transformed into the image of God. I have a friend who encourages me and teaches me. I have an example of faith, love for God and love for those God desires to redeem. Thank you for being my coworker and friend in the mission.
When you started AIM I shared with you and your class a challenge. As your about to leave for your mission field, I share it once again with even more conviction and confidence. “Do all that you have in mind, Go ahead: I am with you heart and soul.” (1 Samuel 14:7). I am honored and humbled to be your armor-bearer! Keep your eyes on the Lamb and dive into the waters to experience the grace, love and powerful movement of God’s Spirit in our world.
I Love You,