Daniel 7:14 – “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
Hello friends, family, and other readers! We wish you a late Thanksgiving and an early Merry Christmas.
The month that has passed since our last update has been one of great highs and great lows! We started off right with a wonderful Thanksgiving visit to family in Virginia. For the first time in quite a while, my (Jacob) siblings and I were able to gather together with our families under our parents’ roof, along with other wonderful family members. And one of the greatest joys was being able to introduce our new son to his extended family. 🙂 It was truly a time where we saw our blessings before us in every moment.
Sadly, we could only visit for a short while. I was due to teach the book of Daniel the very first day that our students’ break was over. Miraculously, Benaiah handled the 14+ hour car trips, to and from Virginia, much better than we had ever hoped or dreamed, and they were made with minimal loss of sanity. Until…
We were met with unexpected misfortune about 5 hours from home, when we ran over an unidentified metal object. Thankfully, we were kept safe and saw our tire going flat when we were already stopped on the side of the road (Praise God!). We ended up needing to spend the night in Georgia, but thankfully we had left a day early, and we made it back in time for me to teach my two classes on Daniel.
Getting ready to teach the book of Daniel was easily the most trying process of preparation I’ve ever experienced while teaching for Emmaus, and was probably just as draining on Samantha as it was on myself. And yet, Daniel quickly became one of my (if not my absolute!) favorite books of the Bible. There are many opinions and endless debates over details within the book of Daniel, but one of the lessons I learned while studying was to not let the details overshadow the message, and there is a wonderful message in this book. The story of Daniel’s life takes place during exile of Judah into Babylonian hands. While this exiled people are looking for hope and answers in the midst of their ruin, God’s sovereignty is stamped on every page of that book as a salve to their wounded hearts and broken dreams. Daniel witnesses the rise and fall of multiple kings and nations throughout his lifetime, including his own, which leaves him and the remnant of Israel with a looming question: Which kingdom can we place our hope and trust in? The answer presents itself most clearly in Ch. 7, where Daniel witnesses an everlasting kingdom and dominion being given to the Son of Man and his people, the saints, while even the most imposing and terrible kingdoms of the earth fall hopelessly short.
I’d gladly go on, but I can feel your attention waning. 😉 Suffice it to say that I loved this book and it was a privilege to teach! And never did we need the message more than this past month!
We followed this class with some Christmas decorating and other shenanigans with our students.
Alas, our troubles didn’t end with the flat tire. The next day, Benaiah (who was already exhibiting some cold symptoms) began to develop a terrible cough and difficulty breathing. Over that night and the next, we made 3 visits to the ER and ended up having Benaiah admitted into the children’s hospital with a bad case of RSV (respiratory virus).
What we had hoped would be an overnight stay turned into 5 days at the hospital, due to Benaiah’s continued labored breathing. Thankfully, Benaiah’s life never seems to be in great danger, it simply turned into a long and uncomfortable road to recovery. On the 5th day, we were able to come home again. And while Benaiah is still on the mend, he’s doing much better! And he also got a special visit from Nona (grandma) out of it 🙂
Thank you everyone for your prayers! We’re so grateful!
– Family: We continue to ask for prayers over our family members whose child is experiencing very rare and terrible medical conditions. Samantha’s eldest brother and his wife (Jamie and Courtney) have a beautiful 5 month old daughter named Ellie who has been facing seeing/hearing impairment along with severe seizures. Please pray for Ellie’s conditions to improve and overall encouragement for them as a family.
– Travel: Because we’re gluttons for punishment, we’re driving to Virginia again over Christmas break in just two weeks. Please pray for our safe travel and no flat tires this time 🙂
– Finances: While Samantha and I are loving the new apartment we’ve been blessed to receive, it has definitely increased our need for further financial support. We’ve been able to make ends meet by working additional hours outside of our work at Emmaus, but it would relieve much stress and pressure to be able to focus all of our attention on what we believe God has called us to here at Emmaus Ministries. If you are interested in learning more about what we do, we’d love the opportunity to share more about our mission and ministry with you! If you’re interested in making a donation, click here! Thank you!
– The McRae Family