by J. Randal Matheny, editor
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Since last year, our three children and their families have been a part of your congregation. We have visited the Mt. Juliet congregation a number of times over the past three years. After our day with them and with you this past Sunday, I was prompted to write to you.
We’re grateful, first of all, for providing us with a daughter-in-law who grew up in your congregation. Our prayer has always been that our children would marry faithful Christians, with whom they could form holy relationships and homes devoted to the Lord. You played an essential part in her Christian development. She learned what it meant to be a member of the body of Christ at Mt. Juliet. In you God answered our prayers, in large measure.
We’re also grateful for the warmth and love with which you have received all of our children. The elders’ visits, the friendships formed, the concern demonstrated to them all have helped them feel like they are truly a part of the Mt. Juliet congregation. That is no small task, considering they grew up in another culture, are third-culture kids, and went from small congregations on the mission field to one of your size.
We’re grateful for your faithfulness to the gospel, even as you grow in size. Large churches sometimes become looser with God’s truth. You seem to have navigated such challenges well as God has blessed you with growth. Our children have been encouraged by teaching and preaching that is dynamic and loving, real-life and true to Scripture.
Years ago, I once told our children to pay close attention to the teachers and preachers that we had in our local congregation, because they would be hard pressed to find teaching as good as theirs. They not only taught the truth, but they also brought a high quality of communication to their task. Mt. Juliet has provided for them that same strong combination of truth and vigor.
We’re grateful as well for your commitment to missions. That commitment surfaces in many ways. Your communication and visits with Nick and Amy Fowler in Belem, Brazil, are exemplary, as are your weekly prayer sessions on their behalf.
The missions day this past Sunday at Mt. Juliet was another manifestation of your deep engagement in the Lord’s task. The preliminary total offering of over $122,000 for a church building in Ukraine, far past the goal of $70,000, shows that your involvement has legs.
As well, your involvement in South Sudan, shared Sunday evening with the congregation by Don Humphries, is yet another motive for thanksgiving in this area.
We’re also grateful for the demonstration of interest, the hospitality, and the many kindnesses that many of the Mt. Juliet saints have shown toward my wife and me, for our children’s sake. Many of you have made our trips to the U.S. more pleasant and positive. You have no obligation to us, no financial commitment, no ongoing relationship, yet we have benefited from the overflow of grace in your midst. For that we thank you.
For all these reasons and more, we praise you for your life in Christ and your dedication to doing the will of the Lord. You have been a blessing to our children in so many ways and to us as well.
We give thanks to the Lord for you and pray that he may continue to bless you in every way.