day 40/40: #40shoutouts40days


Here we are. The day before Easter Sunday.

When I began this initative on February 10th I had few preconceived designs of how this would play out. All I knew was that my heart was full of wonder and gratitude and I didn’t want the opportunity to express it pass by any longer. Many people, many moments have been gifts that have molded and impacted me.

The appropriate response to a gift is a word of thanks. It seemed fitting that I seize the forty days leading to Easter to actively express my gratitude for the people whom God has used in my life to inspire, guide, and humble me.

It has been a rigorous forty days. The busyness of daily life tends to squeeze out time for important matters. It’s easy for urgent things to take precedence and one must be on guard to protect the time needed to nurture the valuable things in life. I have so much to learn about this discipline. Just ask Steve. There have been many late nights and many cups of coffee. It’s been a juggling act.

In addition to this challenge, I have also been juggling a new job, something that fell into my lap on Ash Wednesday of all days. The job is an incredible answer to prayer and I am so grateful. Managing it all with integrity has not been a cake walk though. The exercise of this forty days has highlighted the importance of using my time wisely. Thankfully, this season in St Andrews has allowed me the luxury of more time than usual. Time in itself is a gift and I know it won’t always be this way. That is why I decided to run with #40shoutouts40days this Easter.

This may or may not come as a surprise but Easter is in fact not about chocolate and bunnies. Sorry guys. Easter Sunday is the appointed day in the Christian calendar that celebrates God’s ultimate gift to humanity, Jesus’ resurrection, the fulfillment of a promise made long ago, a moment that forever changed the course of history. There is so much I could say here. Even as someone who has been a Christian for years, I am still humbly discovering the ramifications of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tim Keller sums it up nicely. “The gospel says you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, but more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope.

On the morning of February 11th, the second day of Lent, as I was working in our kitchen and tending to the kids I let my mind wander into the depths of my memory. I asked God to show me the people with whom He had used to enrich my life, form my heart, and shape my understanding of the world and of his love for humanity as demonstrated in Jesus. And then the unexpected happened. Just kidding. What happened next was as natural as rain. I began to weep.

I wept because the magnitude of His goodness floored me. Every time a person leapt to mind I traced the events of history leading to each particular moment of influence and without fail, at the end of each path, I found God. I simply do not deserve the gifts I have been given.

I did nothing to deserve being born into a family that sought to humbly and imperfectly model Jesus’ love for me, that strived to honour God in word and deed and raise me accordingly.

I did not earn the right to live in a land where persecution is not rampant, where I am not living in fear and where the culture has allowed me privileges others do not have access to.

I am not owed ears that hear, eyes that behold, and tastebuds that relish the beauty and goodness this world has to offer.

The health I enjoy. The company I keep. The husband I hold dear. The children who run circles around me. These are all good and perfect gifts from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17) It is entirely humbling, something I desire for each and every person that walks this earth.

Today is the final day I am formally cataloging these gifts and I have no idea what to write about because it is impossible to choose. So instead of electing one final person, I will instead simply leave you with the words of a familiar hymn that is often sung around this time of year.

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross was first published in 1707 by a man named Isaac Watts. Does that ring any bells? We did not set out to name our firstborn after this influential person – that is another story worth sharing – but I believe our son’s serendipitous name was not an accident and we look forward to seeing how our Isaac engages with the world around him. This is true for Lucy too. I digress. Here are the words that express my heart.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Amen. Thanks for reading.

day 39/40: #40shoutouts40days


To my friend Brother Lawrence,

Greetings from the digital era. You’ll be pleased to know you have your own Wikipedia page now and you’ve managed to impact my daily routine despite living a partially concealed life of service in 17th-century Paris. Consider this a round of applause for living your life well and teaching me a few things.

You’re wondering how we met. Someone preserved your testimony by recalling conversations with you and compiling them along with letters into a little treasure chest called The Practice of the Presence of God. It’s been a while since I read it but I seem to recall that he didn’t ask your permission; he likely waited until you died and couldn’t protest. The thought makes me giggle. It was Father Joseph de Beaufort (who, for the record, does not have any Wikipedia love.) Now the world has the pleasure of peering into your heart through the pages of your book.

Your life was not much in the eyes of the world, hardly glamorous. You spent time bustling in a kitchen as a priory cook, preparing meals and cleaning. Apparently you did so with reverent humility and peace because you saw every dimension of your work as an opportunity to serve God. We both know the pace of a busy kitchen. You obviously had a lot of time to practice over the years.

Your tranquil presence caused people to wonder what set you apart. You made it clear: there was no work separate from prayer. You were spending quality time with God in each passing moment of everyday life. He was at work in your heart, imparting wisdom and pouring out love.

I am not a priory cook but some days it seems I hardly leave the kitchen. This season of motherhood is a mosaic of sticky spills, food scraps, dirty dishes and hungry children. Despite my best efforts there is also Lego constantly scattered across the kitchen floor (which I have not washed in days, let’s be honest.) It feels like relative chaos is the norm most afternoons. Over time it gets to me. It’s not a pleasant working environment and some days it feels like I can’t wait for “the other real stuff” to begin.

It wasn’t always like this. I used to pride myself on culinary gymnastics and keeping my kitchen orderly. Now the menus are humble. Sometimes the kitchen is contained but mostly it’s not. I’m learning to be okay with the pandemonium. The evidence is all over my home around 3:00pm.

Containing the mess monopolized my free moments when Isaac was young. I’m talking both literal and metaphorical messes. Clutter was everywhere. I mourned the loss of quality time in solitude and prayer. I felt guilty, like I was disappointing God or hiding. I believed a lie. I remember asking my pastor Carol to pray for me and she lovingly did so, recognizing my longing for communion. She then reminded me that God was pleased with me and the work I was doing with Isaac and though I might not spend time with Him as I once did, He was not absent and I was not out of His sight. He loves you deeply, she said. This was a mighty encouragement. This got the ball rolling in the right direction.

Then I eventually met you, Brother Lawrence.

You taught me to redesign my household operations. Now I see them as opportunities to spend time with God and serve others in the midst of the trodden Cheerios. I’m also learning to see myself reflected in the state of my kitchen. I can look at the hot mess and proclaim, “Yes, you’re filthy. But the work is not over!” Then I tidy it up and offer up a hearty, “Hallelujah! My kitchen has been redeemed!” and pour myself a drink. The never-ending cycle reminds me that God is also forever at work in my spirit – His kitchen – tidying, trimming, polishing, rearranging, pitching the waste and producing hearty things worth sharing. I like to think that God and I are sharing counter space and having a laugh.

This way of life does indeed take practice. I’ve realized that in the seasons when my mind and heart ricochet from God, all that is necessary is a simple “Sorry, Lord, I’m back” and not a long-winded journal entry full of self-deprecating drivel. That’s not what God wants to hear. God just wants my company and he doesn’t mind the mess. My time in the kitchen is not lost time. Thank you for showing me that.

I do plan on publishing books but it’s nice to know that if something prevents that from happening, someone else might finish the job on my behalf. I doubt my insights will resonate with people centuries down the line but I guess either way I’ll never know. Who cares, right?

Okay. The kitchen’s calling. Goodnight.



day 38/40 #40shoutouts40days


“Well,” he said frankly, “those are exquisite orchids.” He tilted his head and an unwarranted look of skepticism spread across his bearded face. His words and his expression were incongruous. I would eventually recognize the look on this man’s face but at the time, I didn’t know what to think. Leaning in, he squinted to get a better look. “Mary Ruth, have you ever seen those before?”

A loud voice called back. “What’s that, Loren?” She looked mildly confused. The volume in the crowded room was testing her hearing.

“The orchids.” He pointed at my bouquet. “Have you seen that variety before?”

“No,” she replied simply. “I don’t think I have. They’re magnificent though.” She turned to me with a glowing smile. “Do you know what they’re called?” I shook my head. “Well, they are truly splendid. Please tell us if you find out.”

This is a loose interpretation of my first vivid encounter with Loren and Mary Ruth Wilkinson, two of Regent College’s beloved faculty members. They attended our wedding in November of 2007.

Years ago when Steve was studying at Regent, many students escaped Vancouver to find solace at Loren and Mary Ruth’s home. They live on a considerable plot of farmland on a tiny island called Galiano off the coast of Vancouver. Steve’s peers spoke about the Wilkinsons in wide-eyed wonder and with good reason. I eventually discovered it for myself.

I said in a earlier shout-out that my sewing teacher’s generosity was one of my favourite wedding gifts. Loren and Mary Ruth’s was another. Besides a basket overflowing with homemade treasures from their farm, they invited us to stay with them on Galiano. I had no idea how lucky we were at the time.

You must know that Loren and Mary Ruth’s reputations precede them for good reason. They are delightful characters, real salt-of-the-earth people. The way they meticulously care for the environment inspires many. Together they wrote a book on the subject. They also host Regent’s ever popular summer course called FOOD: Communion, Community and Creation. It’s on my bucket list. (Here’s a little video teaser if you’re curious.)

Their family home is nestled near the coast. The property stretches inland from the rocky beach, wrapping the house in thick grassy pasture and then rolling way back into wooded trails. Cabins of various shapes and sizes appear along the narrow road winding through the farm. Sheep graze in the distance. It seems as though everything on the property is homemade. Loren and Mary Ruth have lovingly tended to the land for a couple decades and it shows.

Their home oozes character. It is lined with books. I imagine this is common when academics build a life together under a single roof. Books on walls, books on shelves, books on tables. Books in stairwells and in cupboards. Everywhere you look, books cataloged neatly, eager for the next curious mind. The spacious sitting area floods with daylight and the kitchen is home to a commercial gas range that makes my mouth water. If only their cast-iron cookware could talk. So much of the food they serve is homegrown or sourced locally. Everything is beautiful to me because everything is real. Everything has a story. I get goosebumps when I dream of their home and I know for a fact I am not the only person who feels this way.

Steve and I finally took them up on their invitation ten months after our wedding, shortly after the car accident that turned my career on its head. We abandoned the city for a long weekend, boarded a ferry, and met Loren on the other side. My spirit was heavy, my body weary.

Staying on the Wilkinson’s farm was therapy. The sublime setting allowed my soul to breathe. I remember carrying my Bible and journal into the sitting room and collapsing onto the sofa. I scribbled in the margins and composed my pain into prayers. I asked God a lot of questions. I dreamed of new life. I patiently listened and cast vision for our future. With hot tea in my mug and hand-knit socks on my feet, I visited with C.S. Lewis, Alice Waters, and Banksy all in the same afternoon. Steve and I even rolled up our sleeves and earned our keep as farm hands. We feasted on homemade pasta. I savored every minute and washed it all down with a healthy amount of wine. By the time we left the island, God had restored my spirit.

We returned to Galiano to celebrate our third anniversary before the move to Scotland. I was four months pregnant and still recovering from my draining summer at lululemon. Once again, their homestead was a little slice of heaven where I met with God. Our third visit was an unexpected tour while visiting Canada from St Andrews. We brought wee Isaac along for the ride, tossed rocks into the Pacific together and lounged on the patio eating grilled cheese sandwiches made from homemade sourdough. (I’ve included photos below. Oh, that bread! I’m still drooling.)

Loren and Mary Ruth, thank you for inviting us to Galiano. Your home is holy ground. On your farm, it seems God’s creation is more radiant because of your gentle care. You have created a space for people to gather and enrich each others lives. Together you have generously sown seeds of knowledge, wisdom, and love both to those at Regent and the community at large. I am but one person God has blessed through you. I long desperately to follow your lead in ministry.

God doesn’t abandon us when things get chaotic in the city but it is much easier to enjoy His presence in stillness, in places where trees dance and waves sing and the Holy Spirit’s work in people’s hearts is evident in their words and deeds. Your environment illustrates this to the letter.

Thank you for carving out time to visit us while you were briefly in St Andrews. I wish we could have returned your generosity with a warm meal and some impeccable wine but that will have to wait. It’s a shame you’re not on Facebook to read this but I’ll make sure it finds its way to you. You’re likely sorting recycling or catching up on writing or tending to the farm anyway. I won’t interrupt you.

Love and thanks,





day 37/40: #40shoutouts40days


Dear Tim Keller,

My husband and I chose an unusual passage of scripture to be read at our wedding. You know when Jesus discusses how God provides food for the birds and dresses the fields with lilies? Then tells his audience to chill out and quit fretting over what to eat and wear? How romantic, right? (An aside for those who are not familiar: feel free to read the passage here.)

We chose this section of The Sermon on the Mount for several reasons. One, we both grew up in humble homes and had experienced God’s provision in the midst of scarcity. Two, we planned on eventually leaving Canada for Steve to pursue grad school. This meant a serious leap of faith to trust God with our needs, both during and after St Andrews. (Medieval historians do not pull in huge salaries, in case you were wondering). Three, our happily-ever-after was anything but defined and we wanted this passage to serve as a reminder to seek God before the details in our married life.

I don’t remember exactly when I came across your sermon on our wedding passage, Treasure vs. Money. It must have been in 2009 sometime, maybe early 2010. All I know is that Steve and I were swimming uncomfortably in debt at the time. Thankfully we were not drowning, but still.

When I landed a healthy promotion, we thought things were looking up. But six months later, after cutting costs and increasing revenue, things had hardly changed. Bad habits die hard, friends. Our frivolity and apathy caught up with us.

Around this time I listened to Treasure vs. Money. I was riding the 99 B-line along Broadway when your exposition of Jesus’ teaching sunk in and forever changed my relationship with money.

You talked about how greed blinds our eyes spiritually, how one of the chief symptoms of greed is that we think we’ve got it mastered. Isn’t that the truth? Some sin is obvious, like adultery, but Jesus has to tell us, “Watch out! You might be greedy!”

Your words that day had me pondering my perceptions of rich and poor people and where I saw myself on the continuum. They exposed that which I truly treasured. I finally understood the importance of following Jesus’ example of sacrificial death within the an economic context. It confronted my stingy generosity, how what I perceived to be a humble lifestyle was actually incredibly posh. It inspired me to be financially promiscuous.

In a world that idolizes riches and celebrity, Christians have an enormous opportunity to witness to the world around them by using money differently. Your teaching crystallized that for me. God used you to free me of so much bondage I didn’t know was holding me back. He miraculously rescued us from debt then and we’re counting on Him doing it again. This time, He’s really going to show off because I don’t know how on earth we’ll pay down these international student fees. Ugh. Each day has enough trouble of its own, right?

With humble gratitude and hope for the future,


Friends, I want to type the whole sermon out for you to read because it is SO AMAZING. Please listen to it. You can also track down all kinds of other sermons on the Redeemer Presbyterian website.

day 36/40: #40shoutouts40days


Dear Terry and Michelle Willows,

Do you remember when you risked piloting your leadership course on me, Celeste, Angela, Shaun and Jason in 2003? Bless you. That was pure fun, vital therapy. Considering all the time you spent with us, I practically owe you thousands. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I could legitimately finish today’s shout-out right here but that would be cheating you out of proper praise.

First of all, thank you for asking me to participate. It was an honour.

Second, thank you for kicking off the workshops when you did. The timing could not have been better. I was in the thick of processing a failed relationship. I had just quit dancing and subsequently fallen into a bout of depression, something I was out of touch with in the first place. I felt like an alien in my own skin. This realization was painstaking for me. For once my reflection was unfamiliar. I couldn’t be honest with myself and dare to lock eyes with the stranger in the mirror. The course was a spiritual intervention.

I don’t remember exactly how it came out but eventually I told you both that I hadn’t been faithful to journal much. I pretended it was a non-issue. Instead of responsibly owning my actions, I actually blamed my emotional state and writer’s block on a notebook, or perhaps a lack thereof.

At the time, I was obsessed with a particular brand I found at Winners (which, for my British friends, is like TK Maxx. TJ Maxx if you’re American. It’s all the same company.) I forget the make now but it was genius.

First of all, the cover was red. More Cindy Crawford and less RuPaul. Bonus points. She held a pen, had crisp lined pages and opened flat. She wrapped herself elegantly with a magnetic closure and fit beautifully into my handbag. We were inseparable, Little Red and I. She even had an internal pocket for keepsakes. After pouring my soul onto the pages of a few volumes, I couldn’t find another one like her. Conveniently, this happened precisely when I was having trouble addressing serious issues of the heart. I hit a wall.

Instead of recognizing my pain and daring to process it in writing, I hid. Then instead of taking ownership of my apathy, soldiering on despite an imperfect journal, I threw up my hands in defeat. I pathetically blamed Winners for selling out of my prized notebook. “Oh, I would be journaling but I’ve run out of pages and can’t seem to find another one that meets my high standards. I can’t write in just any book. I need Little Red. She’s perfect.” Bullshit, Elissa. You’re hiding under perfectionism and an illusion that you have it together. All this came out over a spiral-bound notebook.

You two, Terry and Michelle, very graciously helped me see the error of my ways. You also boldly spoke the truth I desperately needed but didn’t want to hear. My perfectionist DNA allowed me to hide and pretend it was noble. I was proud and afraid. I thought I was justified in waiting to do everything “right” – waiting for the right journal, the right words, the right state of mind – but you exposed my vice. Everyone is flawed, you said. Anything hidden cannot heal. You pointed out that leaders are not impermeable to pain.

Healing follows confession. We must confess to others and we must confess to God but first we must confess to ourselves. It was uncomfortable to be seen so vulnerably by you but our conversation brought about new life in me. Finally I could confess and heal. Redemption began after our workshops concluded.

I’d like to think that my perfectionism died after our time together. It didn’t. I have to continually ask the spirit of God to reveal my blind spots. Pride never dies completely. But thanks to you I am at least aware of myself and my vice. Thank you so much for giving me that priceless gift. I wish I could deliver you some of this imperfect banana bread to say thanks.

Much gratitude,

Elissa Joy

day 35/40: #40shoutouts40days


It’s Holy Week and I’m in a pickle.

Today is Day 35. This is when my eyes bathe in happy tears and my heart explodes and I have a lot to share. This is the important stuff. (Not to imply that charcuterie and Indian food are not important- they are holy in their own right – but you know what I mean.)

Here’s the catch. Time is not an infinite resource. We’ve got 24 hours each day, right? You know me. After downing that fourth cup of afternoon tea and sipping my evening gin I could write for ages after the kids are in bed BECAUSE I AM ALONE AND I AM FREE!

The trouble is, as important and fruitful as this challenge has been over Lent, it has cost me precious evening time with Steve. Easter is celebrated once a year and I would like to do prepare and reflect whilst reading and writing in bed, cuddled next to my man and far from my computer screen. That which matters most should not give way to that which matters least. So this week’s shout-outs must be pithy.

I’ll cut right to the chase. Go to Camp Firwood. No, wait. Before you do, hit up Casa Que Pasa for a potato burrito. Then treat yourself to a pint of something tasty from Mallard Ice Cream and then go to Firwood.

Park your car and hike to South Cove. Stretch out on the pale sandy beach next to the towering trees. Breathe it all in and try to forget that while it feels like you’re in Eden, you’re actually a stone’s throw from where parts of The Ring were filmed. (Surprise!)

I spent three consecutive summers working at Camp Firwood. It’s nestled down on Lake Whatcom in Bellingham, a university town half an hour south of the Canadian border. I, like several summer staff alumni, am a different person because of the place. And perhaps the foremost reason why is because of its leadership. A round of applause please for the Director of Camp Firwood, Rob Lee, and his sterling wife Val.

It’s pretty obvious why I’d choose you two. You’re a dynamic duo who love beyond measure. Your hearts are unusually hospitable. Your ability to mentor young adults and stretch their capacity to lead is inspiring. You are only able to do so because you’ve let God shape you. You know God’s character and His heart for people. You follow Jesus’ lead. Plus, your Christmas tree is made from wine bottles. Seriously. Enough.

But everything I’ve expressed above is secondary to why I’d like to acknowledge Rob and Val. I learned all that tender stuff about these two when I was on staff. Now I’m on the other side of the world and I’m a wife and mother, preparing for an undefined and relatively uncertain future.

I won’t pretend to know the intricacies of the Lee family history but what I do know is certain. Rob had a sweet job before he said yes to humbly leading staff at Firwood. Ready, ladies? The man was a womens shoe buyer for a little family business called Nordstrom. That was sixteen years ago. That’s a lot to walk away from when you have bills to pay and three small children. Secure jobs are answers to prayer- believe me, we’re praying for one. But jobs are also stumbling blocks when they get in the way of God’s call.

I know for certain you were called away from Nordstrom and you obeyed. That, my friends, is the most important part of the story. Acting in obedience to God’s call is easier said than done. Rob and Val (and Forest, Sierra and Kenzie) thank you for uprooting your lives to move to the lake and serve at Firwood when it would have been cushier had you stayed with Nordstrom.

Without your decision to walk away and obey, you wouldn’t have impacted my life, let alone the lives of 100+ summer staff members each year over sixteen consecutive summers. And that’s not considering the campers either.

Rob and Val, I’m sure you had moments where you looked at each other and thought, “Yikes! Did we make the right choice?!” Of course you did. You know that. But I wanted to remind you anyway.

May this summer be the sweetest one yet. See you in July!





day 34/40: #40shoutouts40days


The teenage years. Such an awkward time, right? Butterfly clips and body glitter and boy bands. No thanks. Adolescence was dicey in the nineties. I’m glad I never have to navigate those stormy waters again. Thank God the digital landscape was nearly uninhabited back then. It’s exponentially more complicated for teens now since social media paved paradise and took over.

There’s practically a generation gap between me and the undergrads I’ve befriended here. The nuts and bolts of our high school years are not compatible. I wrote notes and they sent texts. I had Destiny’s Child. They had Beyoncé. I traded class pictures. They posted and tagged stuff online. It only took a decade for the adolescent experience to transform radically.

Now that I’m up to my elbows in Duplo I forget about teenagers most of the time. I don’t spend time with them here. If it weren’t for our friend Chong, I would feel completely disconnected. I would feel completely like a parent.

Andrew Chong used to work as an editor for a hockey magazine. He felt God calling him to a different line of work so he stepped out in faith and quit his job. Now he hangs out with high school students for a living. Andrew is North Vancouver’s Area Director for Youth Unlimited, a Christian outreach organization that seeks to simply love teenagers. Periodically he sends us newsletters so we’re up to date with the work/play he’s doing. It’s my window into the teenage world. Giddiness gets the best of me when I see those little white Youth Unlimited envelopes waiting for me on the doorstep. I often weep as I read his newsletters (which by now should not come as a surprise.)

Most of his letters glow with stories of redemption and hope. God is actively restoring lives on the North Shore. But at the same time, his updates weigh on my spirit because I remember being a teenager. It’s wasn’t smooth sailing. I want to hug the kids he spends time with. I get that there is nothing new under the sun but from the outside looking in, it seems the issues teens face now have spiked. Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. So many are grappling with their identities. There’s online bullying and substance abuse, broken families, broken hearts.

God often reminds me that these young people are not out of His hand. I’m grateful that Chong and his team serve as Jesus’ hands and feet, reaching out as mentors to love teenagers in North Van. I know the impact they are making because I had the same kind of people in my life growing up and their presence made all the difference.

The older I get the more I treasure the mentors I had as a teen. Adolescence is often a time of secrecy and hiding but for me it was a time of being seen and loved, free of judgement, thanks to the older people I interacted with at my local church. They were my anchors.

We had a lot of fun together and I’ll spare you the details. It was the nineties, remember? Just think body glitter and boy bands and far too many slurpees. I have loads of fond memories but more than that, I gleaned a lot of precious life lessons.

They taught me the importance of spiritual friendships and prayer. They modeled mutual encouragement, accountability, confession and vulnerability. They demonstrated how to practically live as a Christian, looking for ways to love and serve God by caring for other people. They pointed me to the Bible. They listened. They cared. They taught me how to properly apply mascara.

Youth ministry was not a smooth ride then and it isn’t now. It is physically, spiritually and emotionally draining. Tonight I would like to recognize the people who served the teenage population in South Delta way back when. I know I am not the only person who was profoundly impacted by Grant Frederickson and Jon Imbeau and their teams of youth leaders in Tsawwassen.

I know this is over fifteen years overdue, at least in writing, but thank you for bothering to spend time with us. I’m sorry you had to lose so much sleep in the process. Thank you for asking hard questions and listening to our responses. You invested your whole selves in service, planting seeds and trusting that in God’s time something would sprout and bloom. Guess what? God is faithful and He answered your prayers. I owe you all so much more than an internet high-five but it’s what I have for now. *High-five emoticon*

And to Chong and anyone else currently working hard to love teenagers in the midst of all the blustery hormones and foul weather, well done you. Keep on being Jesus.