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February 16, 2003

Greetings, dear Shannon,

I am praying that you will come spend a few days with Jason, Ryan, and me because then you would see with your own eyes how we are seeking to live God-centered lives. Being members of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) has been such a blessing and delight to us because it provides a context that promotes biblical living in every aspect of our lives. In addition to our involvement in church and Christian ministries, we are simply seeking to follow Paul's advice: "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) God has been so good to us. Jason and Ana are expecting a baby in August, so you will soon be an aunt. They bought a house at the intersection of Fourth and D Streets, SE, just off Pennsylvania Ave. Ryan quit his job in December and began a 6-month internship with CHBC. Lord willing, he will then join the staff as a Pastoral Assistant for a year and then begin seminary studies. I'm still teaching ESL at Prince Georges Community College to African immigrants from Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, and other places where civil wars and religious persecution against Christians have raged. I love these students so much. I work a lot at home since we provide room and board for six Christian renters in our home at 114 Third Street. Ana's mother Marta lives with Jason and Ana and helps me with cooking and cleaning at Third Street, which is a real blessing. The thing that characterizes our lives more than anything else is a love for Jesus. In the 1800's, J.C. Ryles wrote some simple words challenging people to consider if their faith is genuine: (1) If we love someone, we like to think about him. We do not forget him, or need to be reminded of him. He comes into our minds many times during a day. In the same way, if we love Christ then, by His Spirit, Christ may dwell in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17). (2) If we love someone, we like to hear about him. We take notice if his name is mentioned. Those who do not know our loved ones will take little notice when they are mentioned. It is affection which is the secret of a good memory whether among human friends, or between the believer and Christ! (3) If we love someone, we like to read about him and to know what he has been doing. Much pleasure comes from a letter from a loved one. It is just so between the Christian and Christ. True believers are delighted to read the Scriptures because there they read about their Saviour. (4) If we love someone, we like to please him. We find out what he likes, and what he dislikes, and we try to act accordingly. So Christians make every effort to please Christ; they discover from the Bible what his will is and then seek to do it. (5) If we love someone, we also like his friends. When we meet his friends we do not feel we are complete strangers. So, all Christians, all Christ's friends, are our friends. We love the same Saviour as they do. (6) If we love someone we will defend him. We do not like to hear anyone talking against him and will immediately defend him. As Christians we will be hurt to hear anyone speaking against Christ, and we want to speak for him. (7) If we love someone we like to spend time with him, talking with him, listening to him, or just simply being close to him. However shy or silent we may be toward others, we find no difficulty in being with and talking to a close friend. So the true Christian finds no difficulty talking with Christ.

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