The past 35 hours have been pretty rough.

I don’t generally like to blog about myself, but since my condition has been an object of prayer over the past few days, it ought to be an object of praise today! As John graciously mentioned in another post, I don’t really like to take breaks; unfortunately that was part of the problem.

The combination of a long day’s work on Monday, coupled with a little bit of jet-lag, working on the blog, and wrapping up some school assignments, Monday night came a little later than it should have. When I woke up Tuesday, I could feel it in my throat. Just that little bit of discomfort that was a telling sign of what was to come. The gracious moms here in South Africa and on this team were quick to offer remedies, drugs, and teas. At no point in the past day and a half did I feel forgotten or left behind.

Tuesday was another long day of work that, for me at least, concluded with an escort back to the house and a quick placement in bed. I’ve slept in four hour spurts for pretty much the entire day and a half, and finally upon waking up at 3:30 this morning, I’m feeling ready to go! A little scratchy in the throat still, but my head is finally feeling back to normal, along with my temperature, praise God!

I guess my primary reason for sharing any of this is to give an update and to say thank you. But I have to thank you for more than just your prayers. When I woke up at 3:30 last night, I was able to read John’s post about the day and see his specific inquiry for prayers on my behalf. When I looked at the GCO bulletin board, and the number of texts and messages that I had received, I was moved almost to tears. I came here to South Africa expecting to be my normal, healthy self throughout the trip. The thought of sickness never really crossed my mind before leaving. However, God has been so graciously reminding me and revealing to me that His church is here for me.

I know so many young people, friends of mine, who have left the church. It pains me to think about them, even right now, I can think of many who I thought would never walk away from the faith. I remember hearing Matthew Holbrook talk about how people get stupider when they go to college, and it breaks my heart to realize just how correct he was. I also remember reading statistics about people leaving the faith after highschool. “We won’t fit into that” I thought. “We’re Grace Church of Orange. We love the word, we have some of the best teachers in the world, we won’t be a part of that statistic.” Boy was I wrong.

As college came, faith seemed to disappear. Eyes that once shined so bright with the glory of the gospel were now darkened by ‘intellectualism’ and ‘alternative lifestyles’. Why does that all come to mind now? How does any of that have anything to do with me being sick in Africa? There is one thought that keeps ringing in my mind: Just as the church has prayed for me continually throughout the past day and a half…

The church has kept me in the faith.

That is not meant in any way to diminish God’s glorious keeping of His saints nor to undermine the supremacy of Christ in the church. No, that is simply to say “God, by His grace, has used the body at Grace Church of Orange to keep me in the faith.” It’s not of my own goodness, will, or intellect that I’ve been drawn back to repentance in seasons of disobedience. No, it is the grace of God, the faithful preaching of the Word, and real-life relationships that I have with so many of you that helped to keep me on track and pursuing Christ.

I am feeling so much better physically. Even now, I’m up, showered, and so excited for the day to start… and it’s only 5:30.

More importantly though, I’m feeling so loved and cared for by both my teammates, and the whole body of believers at Grace Church of Orange. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without the constant support and encouragement I have received from the church. Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. Please, keep praying for our team as we take part in Living Hope Church’s Fun Day! Please pray that God would use us to encourage the church and to be a blessing to the body here in South Africa.

Thank you, thank you, thank God.

“My God is so big! So strong and so mighty!
There’s nothing my God cannot do!”

Feeling much more like this as of this morning. Thanks for praying!!!

2 thoughts on “Personal.

  1. Hi Matthew, Glad you are feeling better. Enjoying the pictures and the posts. Take care, you are doing some amazing work.

    Love Aunt Eileen (in Atlanta)


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