On January 1st I wrote that I believed that this would be a really meaningful scripture for us in Links in 2021: 

'Those who sow their tears as seeds, will reap a harvest with joyful shouts of glee. They may weep as they go out carrying their seed to sow, but they will return with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness as they bring back armloads of blessing and a harvest overflowing!' (Psalm 126:5-6.)

This was following a very painful week, in which we lost our close friend Herbert in Uganda and also an extended family member in Colombia to COVID. I had no idea that the next two weeks would be as difficult as they have been.

Firstly two close friends in Colombia, Lina and David, were admitted to hospital, one with pneumonia and the other with COVID symptoms. Together with many, we began to pray and believe for healing for them. As they were both young we were full of faith that things would be OK. However, they both seemed to go downhill very quickly. I’m pleased to be able to say that, after a real battle, David overcame the pneumonia and was able to leave hospital on Sunday and is now recovering at home. Please keep him in your prayers. However, it breaks my heart to have to say that last Friday night Lina went to be with Jesus. She was 43 and left behind her husband John and two young boys, Juan Diego and Andres.

The next day we received the news that my wife Carolina’s closest uncle, Hector, had just had a stroke and was in a critical condition. So again we joined in prayer with the family, believing for a miracle. He held on until yesterday. The miracle that came was not what we had prayed for, but no less wondrous, as he moved into the glory of God. He is going to be so deeply missed by us all. Please pray for Carolina and all the family in Colombia.

We know that all of these wonderful friends and family members, who have impacted our lives, are now more alive than ever and now join with that great cloud of witnesses that the writer of Hebrews tells us about. Though it feels more than ever like we are limping into 2021, we know that they continue to cheer us on towards the prize.

Take heart

I’ve felt strongly over the last week that God is saying that a word for 2021 for us is simply going to be “Take Heart!” In Greek Tharseō, it’s translated as “Don’t lose hope”, “Be courageous”, “Don’t lose your joy”. Like most ancient languages it is pictorial and essentially means lift up your head, put your shoulders back, fill your lungs, be strong. 

'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33)

Your heart may feel heavy and you may feel broken right now, but know that your Heavenly Father is close to the brokenhearted and that the same breath of life that He breathed into the lungs of Adam is available to you and I. So "Take Heart!" Breathe deep, rest all that you are in the arms of the Father; ‘take heart’ friends, don’t give up! God is still God and He is always good. Though there’s pain and tears as we sow our prayers, we will 'return with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness as [we] bring back armloads of blessing and a harvest overflowing.'

Much love to you all,

Joe & Carolina xx