Greetings from “chilly” Florida. We left home on Tuesday afternoon, where we were receiving some flurries of snow and it felt great to know that we were heading south! It is still cold down here in the northern part of Florida but it has been wonderful to see the sun shining so brightly. On Monday evening, the motorhome was finally able to be picked up from the garage and it was wonderful to drive it down here with no problems like we had on our last tour with it. We praise the Lord for His provision!
The Florida prison crusade is currently in progress and we are requesting your prayer support as we share with those behind bars. Today ( Thurs., Dec. 1 ) is our first prison service. There are over 180 volunteers here from many different states to assist at the services. The ministry teams and evangelists will be sharing in 12 main prisons and 8 work camps. Please pray that God’s Spirit would work in a powerful way and that many men and women would be drawn to the Lord in these next few days. Our family’s prayer is that we would be empty of ourselves but filled with the love and power of God. On many occasions we have discussed how we are no more effective in “public ministry” then how we truly are in our “private” lives and especially in our daily relationship with God and each other. True ministry is only an over flow of what God is currently doing in our lives.
As we drove to the motel where we are parked and where the volunteers are staying, it brought back emotions that we were feeling last year while we were here. It had only been approximately five weeks since Austin had passed away and we were still feeling so raw and broken from our loss. I told Duane that it is comforting to see the way that healing has been taking place but then along with that comes the painful realization that we are beginning to learn how to function and go on without Austin. This also hurts! So many people ask us how we are doing….Sometimes I’m not sure how to answer this question. We continue to shed tears and every day I wake up thinking about how much I miss my dear son. The other day, I decided to face another “first” and put up our Christmas decorations. It was a tough day for me! There were times in previous years, that I was wondering if it was worth it to put them up because of our traveling schedule, and Austin was always the one who would say, “Mom, I’ll help you. It just won’t seem right if you don’t do it.” He enjoyed it probably more than anyone else in our family. It had been two years since I had decorated for Christmas. Last year, no one was in the emotional state to even think about it and the previous year was when we were in the hospital in Atlanta with Austin. I told the girls that even though it was an emotional time for us again, we need to do it in memory of Austin.
We have been challenged and encouraged as people have shared with us how God has used our books or CDs to encourage and inspire them in their walk with the Lord. I can very clearly remember the time, years ago, when people would share how God was using our children’s health challenges and experiences to draw them closer to the Lord. I remember wanting to scream and say, “God! Please stop using my children! Use someone else’s child this time. They have went through enough!” How shallow and self centered! Why should I question the ways of the Almighty God? Didn’t we pray for God to use our children to bring honor and glory to Himself? Why do I grumble and complain when God uses them in a greater way than I even imagined? I was so focused on asking God to deliver us from the situation and developing a greater trust that we would be delivered. I should have been asking Him to make us what we should be while in the midst of the suffering and difficulties. When God doesn’t seem to calm the storm, we need to ask Him to calm us and shape us more into His image. Our prayer should be….“God, help us not to waste the pain that You have allowed to come into our lives but allow ministry to flow to others as we respond in a godly way to this pain.”
One family recently shared with us how their little boy who is handicapped and can’t walk, has a favorite song from our new CD that he plays and sings repeatedly. It is the song that was one of Austin’s favorites. It is the one entitled…”Gonna Hit the Ground Running”. It is a song that expresses the enthusiasm that we will feel when we get to Heaven. Austin is now experiencing this and one day it can also be reality for this dear little boy.
Rejoicing in the hope of eternity,
Cindy (for The Mullett Family)