‘Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…’ (Heb. 12: 1a)
Mercy flows from the Head through the Body; Jesus shows unfailing love to us through our fellows. Some have long passed but await us in heaven. I draw encouragement daily from these saints, amazing men and women whose radical commitment to Cross and Church (the only way they endured the Church’s ambivalence to them was through the Cross!) blazed a trail for me.
How much more do I draw mercy from the saints still on earth who stand with DSM/LW? True friends emerge from the fight. The world and worldly church do everything in their power to discredit our efforts; blinded to their need for mercy, they make miserable those who see sin’s misery in sexual and relational brokenness. In the fire, God is forging alliances. Out of the bitterness of Christians for whom ‘love means never having to say you are sorry’, we at DSM/LW are experiencing sweet fellowship with likeminded saints.
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We share a commitment to the flourishing of God’s image in humanity, as well as a realistic view of how deeply we languish. Deeper still we agree on the power of Jesus and His Church to set us free to be good offerings for one another.
Take our alliance with Restored Hope Network and its Executive Director, Anne Paulk. Anne is a merciful fighter. Unstopped by a lesbian history and the loss of a traditional marriage due to a spouse’s homosexuality, she has forged a network that unifies and equips ministries like DSM/LW to offer transformation to the broken. She prays like a boxer, and leads like a classy, merciful woman. We are proud to support her and pray for all the ministries of RHN during this fast.
Christopher West introduced me to John Paul ll’s Theology of the Body (TOB), a book that centered me in life-transforming Catholic truth. West is among the foremost mouthpieces of TOB and beyond. He combines Catholic reverence with candor and innovation. He is a treasure to the whole church: to know him is to know Jesus better in the ache of one’s humanity. We are privileged to pray for his Cor Project during this fast.
Father John Harvey started Courage the year I started DSM. His forged a path for Catholics with SSA to lead chaste lives touched me deeply then and now. (In the last year of his life, 2010, I sought him for wise counsel.) A priest of extraordinary integrity, Fr. Paul Check, now leads Courage with vision and deep heart for men and women wanting Jesus more than their ‘gay lives.’ We shall also lift up Encourage, their support system for persons being converted through learning to love a family member with SSA. What a privilege to stand with and pray for this most timely ministry in the Catholic Church.
Lastly, we prayerfully uphold the legacy of Leanne Payne, seminal influence upon me and all of DSM/LW. We do so by supporting Gino Vaccaro, leader of Ministries of Pastoral Care (MPC), which seeks to distill the essence of Payne’s work and make it available to hurting ones in a profound and tender Way. Gino has loved me well and deeply; he recently challenged me in some areas with a kindness that broke me for the best. He embodies a kind of mercy that transforms lives. Praying for him and MPC is to pray for Jesus to multiply His ministry of healing.
We at DSM/LW are surrounded by mercy due to these merciful saints. Please join us in the next 20 days, starting now, to pray that our unified efforts would release drafts of mercy to a hurting Church and world.
‘…let us throw off everything that hinders us, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’ (Heb. 12:1b)
Day 1, Wednesday November 6th, 2013
Desert Stream/Living Waters: National Living Waters Leadership Training, November 16-22. Please pray that many would come and be encouraged to lead new groups throughout the US!
Restored Hope Network: aboutHope, Arkansas, Jan and Ted Schneider Directors. Specialty: ministering to grieving parents.
New Creation Ministries, Fresno, CA. Russell Willingham, Director. Specialty: overcoming sexual addiction.
Courage: All men and women with same-sex attraction (SSA) may receive the grace to discover and commit to a life of chastity in body and soul.
Cor Project: Spiritual protection for Christopher and Wendy West and all staff, associates and their families.