Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Catching Up

Wow! It's been a while since I last posted. Let me first say thank you for your kind words of encouragement and faithful prayers. We continue to be amazed at how incredibly supportive you are! Your words so often literally breathe life into our day and give us the strength and courage to stare down one more dark moment of discouragement.

Your prayers... well, as James says, they are accomplishing great things. I just wrote to a friend and told him that we are so grateful that we don't have to know what it's like to walk thru this valley without constant prayer support from people like him... and for that matter, like you all. The book of Revelation paints a beautiful picture of prayer... it says that the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before [Jesus] the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song...

The worship scene before the throne of the God of heaven includes the prayers of the saints, kept in precious golden bowls. And those prayers are like incense, a sweet aroma to the God who, as the psalmist says, listens intently to our cries for help. What a picture! Our prayers don't go unnoticed. They don't fall on deaf ears. They don't just fade away. They aren't forgotten. They aren't discarded or recycled. No, they are preserved and brought by heaven's worshippers to Jesus.

Maybe we will actually see our prayers one day. Maybe it's all just symbolic. Whatever the case, know that your prayers are precious to God, precious to us, and eternal in significance. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

On another note...

We spent last Wednesday thru Sunday in Michigan with Nicol's family and we had a great time. It was kinda busy... ok, more like non-stop, or so it seemed. We were there for a benefit concert for
Laban Ministries International (Nicol's parents' ministry in Congo, Africa). Selah did a full concert and everyone in the family participated in some way. It was an incredible night! $38,000 was given to the ministry by those in attendance and another $60,000 was given by Selah to the ministry from money that they had been collecting during concerts over the past 2 years. Almost $100,000 in one evening! The money will go to normal, everyday operating expenses and, believe it or not, while it is a tremendous amount of money, it will not last all that long. Laban supports upwards of 400 people in Congo, has 3 Bible schools, a radio station, and a medical dispensary, does regular evangelism trips, and more... each of which requires a significant amount of money. There are also several new ventures on the front burner, which will of course require new sources of funding. If you're not familiar with the ministry, click on the link above and check it out!

One highlight of the weekend was going to the Michigan-Michigan St. football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. It was my first time there and it was AWESOME. Todd, Nicol's brother, shares season tickets with a couple of friends of his and last weekend was his turn in the rotation. It was actually a total surprise for me. I thought he and Angie were going... actually, that WAS their plan. So on Saturday morning I made a run to Dunkin Donuts and when I got back to the Smith's house I was greeted at the door by Todd, who had a big smile on his face. I thought that was somewhat strange... not that he was smiling, but that he was smiling so widely and just because I walked thru the door. But whatever. So I had a cup of coffee for Angie and he told me to go give it to her, which I did. I walked into the living room and everyone started talking about some sort of problem with me watching football that afternoon... I had already made it clear earlier that morning that I was planning to stay at the house and watch games while everyone else went out and did their thing. Nicol's dad said there was a problem with the TV and there was all kinds of chatter going on and I was thinking, "No problem, I'll just head back to the hotel and watch games there." And that's when Angie said, "Hey Greg, wouldn't you rather just go the the Michigan game with Todd?" or something like that. Truth be told, I can't really remember what she said, all I can remember is watching her pull a ticket out of her pocket and hold it up in the air. Her grin and the shiny gold "M" at the top of the ticket was all I needed to know that she was serious and that I was going to my first Big Ten football game! It was a great time. Thanks Todd. Thanks Ang. And thanks Jack... you are too generous! (That's an inside joke for Nicol's younger brother!)

An update on the house...

There was a showing last week and our realtor is hosting an open house today for local realtors. So we continue to wait, and wait...

Blessings to you all. And thanks again for your thoughts and prayers! You are loved!

15 comments:

Cheryl said...

I'm glad that you had fun at the game. Still praying about the house.

Angie said...

Hope you had a great time at the game. We were just up in Ann Arbor last week as well. Such beautiful colors. Glad to see you had a nice time.
Ang

Lisa-Cinti,Ohio said...

I am glad to see your post, I have been checking daily, and praying for you and Nicol to find some sort of peace in something, somewhere if just for a moment. I think that prayer was answered if I read the excitement in your post correctly. I am glad to hear that her families ministry was given such a great donation that was remarkable. I have just recently been listening to so Selah cd's with Nicol on them and I must say what a truly talented family. There is one song, that I dont know the name but I think its something like...I need thee every hour, that has helped me visualize God doing remarkable things for me...when I think I'm going under, part the waters sea, something about when the waves surround me, calm the sea...I'm sorry I dont have it here with me to listen as I type but the beginning where she says one thing then its seems as if its God's response to her cry to him...I have had some really rough things going on and I have learned a great deal of God's love and grace through it all with the help of a dear friend in my church guiding me and the beginning of this song is just very moving to me-thank you Nicol. I am still praying for your family, for the sale of your house, for you to see the path that you are to be on right now.

lisa

georgia tarheel said...

So glad to hear from you again! And Congrats on the football game...scoring big tickets is always a plus in my house... only it usually centers around basketball (I know, that is almost sacrilegious to say at this time of the year and in the middle of SEC territory!)!

We are still praying for you all.

Anonymous said...

So glad that you are back safe and sound. Glad you had a wonderful time with your family!

Hope to see Summer tomorrow night in class.

Laura Wills

So Blessed said...

So glad you had the blessing of going to the game in person...what a nice gift. Prayers continue for your family.

Anonymous said...

It is so good to hear you and your family having a happy time! Sounds like the concert and game were great fun! I do pray you have lots more fun times ahead, and that your house does sell soon.

Mandy said...

I'm glad you were able to enjoy a moment (or moments) of time with your family and fun at the game. You are in my prayers. Please give Nicole a hug for me. Every time I hear a song of hers on the radio I pray.

Erin said...

Nice to hear that you are having some refreshing time with family & friends! I've been praying each time I checked your blog for an update.
I'm a Michigan alum, and love games in the Big House, well, except maybe for this "rebuilding" season. :(

maggieallen123 said...

Greg and Nicol,
Wow! What a wonderful week! A beautiful concert, time with family, and a fun college football game to boot! Fun! Praying for your house to be sold soon. Praying for more fun and sweet memories! Praying that you will continue to know that you are being lifted up by alot of people in prayers and that God uses people's gifts and talents to help you everyday in ways that you will never know.
Becky

Anonymous said...

So happy for you to attend the football game! Brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Thank you so much to Todd and Angie for the thoughtfulness that not only touched you but a whole lot more people. Kindness just keeps on giving. We heard all about the game from our Michigan family who just happen to be loyal supporters for Michigan State. Guess that happens when you graduate from the school. :)

How exciting for God to provide for Laban Ministries through the concert and Selah's gift. Would love to have been there.

Still praying for the house to sell. You are loved and deeply cared about by so many.

CIRCLE OF LIFE said...

WHAT A SUPER NICE SUPRISE THAT WAS SO COOL AND YOU REALLY DESERVE A DAY TO HAVE FUN BE A BOY AND ENJOY THE SITES AND TEAM OF THE MICHIGAN FOOT BALL. YOU KNOW, GOD DOES NOT WANT YOU IN A BUBBLE HE WANTS YOU TO LIVE YOUR LIFE AND CARRY ON , KEEP THE MEMORY THAT IS A MUST AND A RULE HOWEVER YOU MUST ENJOY WHAT TIME YOU ARE STILL ALIVE AND LIVING AND WHAT BETTER WAY THEN A FOOT BALL GAME YOU GUYS WOULD SAY RIGHT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN JELLY BEAN LOL WHAT A NICE SUPRISE THANKS TODD. THAT WAS THE MEDICINE THAT YOU NEEDED IAM SURE.

Misty Rice-Baniewicz said...

How fun!!!! I love moments like that. I love surprises, I love making people smile, I love seeing you all smile. What fun!!! Thanks for the story. I was smiling while reading. Your words were light and with a glimpse of the joys ahead in life.

God Bless my friend.

Julie doody said...

Glad to hear that you guys had such a great time and visit with Nicol's famlily. I can only imagine how excited you were to go to that game!! That is AWESOME!!! I hope your visit home will also provide great times and great rest for you both!! Will continue to pray for your house and your healing!
Love in Christ, Julie D.

Bethany said...

I'm so glad that the concert went well! We had planned to go (live about an hour away) but my youngest obtained Strep Throat the night before :( Bummer! My Aunt and Uncle went though and said it was wonderful! (they are very old friends with Jim and Nancy)
We'll keep praying about the house situation!!
God Bless you guys :)
Bethany in Michigan