I hope that this letter finds you well as you recover from the Thanksgiving feast and look forward to the Advent season, Christmas, and the new year, which all seem to be appearing just above the horizon. It is a joyous time for sure, and I truly hope that you have the opportunity to give thanks, rejoice, and spend time with close friends and family during this season.
The premier thing that God has been revealing to me throughout my time spent support raising thus far is his faithfulness to his promises. I have learned patience and trust and am continuing to learn dependence and desperation for the Lord in prayer. Ultimately, I have learned how to trust him as the righteous, covenantal, and faithful God – and for this I am extremely thankful.
I think that God reveals to us similar aspects of his character as we reflect on the incarnation this advent. I have been reading Deuteronomy and Joshua lately and in Joshua 21:45 it reads “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled”. God is the one who made the covenant with Abraham, chose Israel to be his people for the sake of the nations, rescued Israel from Egypt, and gave them the land that he had promised them. God was utterly faithful to Israel in these ways and ultimately we see God’s faithfulness in the face of Christ. Israel often waited waveringly for this promise to become a reality, but God was of course faithful to this promise and Paul says it best when he writes “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20). All the promises that we long to be fulfilled are met in the Christ who came in human form.
I am so thankful for the gift of Jesus. God has given generously in Jesus and we can only respond with thanksgiving and rejoicing. I hope and pray that joy and celebration of the incarnation are characteristic of your advent season this year.
I am thankful and captivated as I recall this reality, but also burdened when I contemplate all the false promises that our culture feeds young people. College students tend to gravitate towards all the counterfeit promises that our culture promotes . Our culture promises life through the mediums of sex, power, and greed, but these created things were never intended to be faithful to those promises. It is only when we lose our life that we find the abundant life hidden within the majesty of the Messiah and it is this trustworthy promise that I hope to promote as I respond to God’s call in my life to give my life away to college students.
I am consistently reminded of God’s covenant faithfulness to his people as I hear about God’s power in the lives of the students I know and care about. One of these students who our congregation recently heard from is a woman from New Zealand named Erin Hawe. Here is some of Erin’s story that reminds me why we do what we do:
Freshman year, one of my teammates encouraged me to attend H20 with her. I didn’t know anything about Jesus but out of love for my teammate Sarah, I started attending. It was a challenging time but by the end of Fall semester I was so compelled by the life & love of Jesus and the kindness extended to me by his people, I ‘gave my life’ to Christ. The next two years of my life here, despite having ‘given’ my life to Christ I wasn’t living in such a way that suggested what Jesus said was actually true. – I was deeply lonely, and so often led by my feelings – I thoroughly exhausted everything that presented immediate gratification; namely drugs and sex…I was made so aware of my impuissance, my brokenness and need for a Savior. And so patiently in the midst of my wandering, God so gently asking me if I lacked anything. He placed an in-escapable truth at the forefront of my mind, which was the reality of the hurt and need and suffering of close to 30 million of my neighbor’s worldwide who are held as modern-day slaves. He lay on my heart the testimonies and stories of the oppressed, the brutal realities of their lives in brick factories, in rice mills, forced by the share power of violence to work on fishing boats or as slaves in the sex trade; with girls as young as five and six, who are sold and raped for profit. And this brought me to my knees both in repentance and prayer. I don’t think that God gives us an appetite in vain; I knew that He was calling me higher. I heard about the work of International Justice Mission, this group of Christians who with noble hearts follow Jesus into the darkest places of the world to shine His love – by seeking justice, rescuing the oppressed, defending the orphan and pleading for the widow. I’ve been fortunate enough to secure an internship with International Justice Mission next year, serving for a year in their Bangalore field office in India. I believe I have been given this opportunity not because my heart is so awesome, but because I serve an awesome God of justice, who is ready to move in power, if I am willing to move in obedience.
These are the stories and the reasons that continually convince and captivate my heart for the ministry that God has called me into. I am convinced of God’s utter faithfulness in the Messiah and I am captivated by stories like Erin’s that exemplify God’s faithfulness to his people. Stories like Erin’s remind me that God truly is Immanuel even as we go out into the world to make disciples of all nations. This season I am utterly thankful that God has called me into ministry alongside you and I hope and pray that you are as captivated by this call as I am.
God has been providing for me in amazing ways as I am actively in the process of full-time fundraising. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! As the end of the year approaches, I am so thankful to God for providing people like you to support GCM on my behalf! However, I still have unmet needs that I wanted to ask you to prayerfully consider:
- A special year-end gift. An additional gift of $500, $300, or $100 is a tremendous blessing at the close of the year to help cover some of the lacking funds from 2013.
- Increasing your regular giving amount. I still need to raise an additional $1,500 in new monthly support to be fully funded.
- Giving via LifeLink. If you give regularly by mail, would you consider a switch to this automatic and secure service? It saves on administrative costs, ensuring that more goes to gospel work.
Any of the above can be accomplished at www.gcmweb.org/anthony.giambroni or check out the enclosed slip for further instructions. As always (but even more so now during the holiday season), I am so thankful for your heart for our church and His Kingdom! Your prayers and financial support help make stories like Erin’s possible!
With Love, Anthony