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As missionaries, we have been commissioned a few times in our lives.  The churches that we have come from have sent us out and prayed over us.  The actual definition of commission, if you look it up in webster's dictionary is this:  "Order or authorize to do or produce something."  Kind of generic in terms of things, yet in the missionary world it is on par with being told, "You have our blessing.  Not only that- you have our prayers and we are praying for you to have the power and the authority to go and produce disciples."  We know those churches stand behind us, pray for us and with us, encourage us, support us, and are a big part of what we are doing.  It's a special relationship.

But we have never had the opportunity to be commissioned quite the way we were last weekend.
                                                The kids with their great grandma Boda!

Shawn's grandmother turns 100 this year!  And in honor of her 100th birthday and in celebration of the amazing, godly example she has been and the heritage she is leaving behind her one day, we partied - 300 of us!  Shawn's family is huge - he has 33 first cousins!  From his grandparents on down there are 192 people and counting.  But it's not simply the size of the family that makes this so remarkable - it's the fact that such a huge percentage of the family follows and loves Jesus.  Grandma's prayers over the years have been answered in wonderful ways - she has several children and grandchildren in full time ministry, and many, many more that are serving Jesus in their jobs, families, and communities.  She is, at 99 (she actually turns 100 in September), a supporter of ours in going to the mission field in all ways!

                                                      Shawn with (most of) his cousins!

And she put actions behind her prayers - taking in grandchildren that needed a firm hand and a loving place to live, loving people and accepting them with all their faults, and sometimes speaking her mind!  She came from a place in her life that was not always easy, and I felt from the beginning of my relationship with her that she understood some of the things in my own life that I struggled with.

So to stand up front of these 300 people, have the family come and lay their hands on us and pray for us in getting to the mission field and then the ministry we will be doing there - it was a powerful thing.  We felt like it was yet another confirmation that God is working, and that it is his timing alone that is keeping us here right now as he continues to make things fall into place.

                                   Some of the family that are in full time ministry praying over us

I am so thankful that we were still here to celebrate grandma and to have this time with family.  While I am feeling extremely antsy to get to South Sudan - especially as the summer is flying by and time seems like it is speeding - I am learning to take joy in all the things that we can experience and know while we are still here.  


  1. Heather, this actually made me cry this morning. What a wonderful legacy she has! And what a precious time to be sent out that way.


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