Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hope and encouragement in an email

I received this email the same day Kyle died. God knew this week would require extra grace and encouragement for me. What seemed "random" came at the right time with specific and strategic purpose. As I read it I get chills. I've been sitting on it all week and now, (with permission from sender) I get to share it.

To Tony Gapastione
Dear Friend,

I call you friend though we have never met, and I have prayed for you and truly thanked our Lord Jesus Christ for you many, many times in this past year. I'm sure you have no idea how blessed my life has been because of you and the impact you had on one individual some years past.

My name is Livie. I lived in Northern California nearly my entire life until one year ago when i moved to Poland to teach English at a Christian language school. I ended up involved in an international English speaking church where I currently serve as a ministry intern. I knew that coming here would impact my life, and that this was truly the path God had for me. But for all the blessings that God has given to me over this year, there is one that cannot be compared to any other.

Over the course of this past year, it was through working with the young adults ministry that I met an amazing individual leading that group who used to attend PCC named Krzysztof Piotrowski aka Chris Columbus to his friends.

Chris has been an amazing part of our church here in Warsaw, and often speaks of his time in California and makes mention of you and the impact you've had on his life. Apparently his time there did an awful lot to shape his perspective on ministry, the great commission and how we as Christians are to live that out. Chris does live this out. He also knows what it is to love people and care about them. These two things have made him such a vital part of our church and impacted my own understanding of ministry and caring for others in an unbelievably big way. Every Sunday he gathers people to go for coffee after service just to connect with them and get them talking about faith and life and helping to integrate these two things because this is what he saw an example of during his time in California. I spent over half a year getting to know him and his heart for God. These are the conversations in which he often talked about you.

So for this. Thank you. Thank you for letting God use you. Your impact on Chris's view of ministry and faith lived out has been really big and it has been used to impact not only myself, but also countless lives here in Poland

But there is something else I wanted to say thank you for regarding your impact on Chris's life, and it is perhaps a little more personal in nature. His attitude toward God-honoring relationships between men and women.
Chris says that you, more than any friend, relative, or pastor, has had a bigger impact on his views of relationship, purity, and marriage than anyone. He says that having been able to talk with you about what good healthy relationships between men and women look like, the kind that honor God and are something truly beautiful, made a difference in his perspective. But then also, getting to see that you lived this out in your life, he says really made all the difference in the world as far as wanting that. Willing to strive for that, willing to wait for that, and he has been.
It is for that, as Chris's fiancee, soon to be wife, I especially wanted to say thank you.
Thank you for your willingness to be used by God to touch Chris's life.

I, who have been a Christian nearly my whole life, have never been in such a Godly relationship as I have been with Chris. Never have I found anyone so committed to seeking to honor God with everything in the relationship, especially in Godly devotion to the other person and to purity. We both realize that honoring God comes first, and that by honoring and being committed to God we are able to honor each other and from that comes this amazing relationship and love that is something so beautiful. Every time we talk, we delight in praying together, studying God's word, and now are looking forward to the days and years ahead when we don't have to go home to different addresses. But for the time being, we are both so delighted at the joy that comes from having a relationship/engagement that is pure and right before our Lord.

Often we never know where the people God places in our lives will go, what will happen to them or even how we were used in their lives. Yet I wanted very much to be able to share this with you, the blessing that you have been in one Polish guy's life and those around him who've been touched by him because of that, especially the one he'll be sharing his life with.

So simply... thank you. God bless you for your impact on Chris's life and mine.

In Christ,


I don't share this to toot my horn by any means. I want to toot God's horn. It's all about what he did in Chris' life and how we at PCC got to be a part of it. (1 Corinthians 3:7).

I can't tell you enough how encouraging this email was for me. Getting an email like this is so rare. I replied back to Livie and have been back in touch with Chris. It gave me some added encouragement to keep doing what God has called me to do. Stories like this remind me to boldly speak and teach God's word for we can see some results here in our time as well as on the other side of eternity. I love challenging and preparing people for the future. I would have never guessed how God would use my meeting Chris in 2001. Not only am I stoked he's a Godly man and getting getting married to a Godly woman, but he loves ministry and coffee!


Candice said...

that's SO beautiful...I'm glad it was in the Gmail this week :)

Jenni said...

i remember Chris! So joyful and loved to share joy with others. That is such an awesome encouragement to hear how God's love goes a long way.