Tuesday, March 24, 2020
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Dear NOVA Fam,
During this time we as your Execs wanted to reach out to you to share our heart and vision for our community moving forward.
Leaving Princeton abruptly was hard. And for those who are still on campus, it’s a fundamentally different place without all the people we love. All of us have been forced away from the community that we thought we’d be with for at least two more months. It didn’t help that the flurry of leaving came in the middle of midterms week, when classes were already pushing down hard! And now we are living through a global health crisis unlike the contemporary world has ever seen.
A lot of us probably feel like exiles right now. We’ve been forced out of our normal lives and into new, unwelcome circumstances. And while we long to be with our friends and community from Princeton, our physical circumstances have placed many of us with our families, in our home cities and communities. We’re living in a tension between being present and faithful in both our school and home communities. That is no easy thing to do!
Praise the Lord for His Word, and the wisdom that it gives us for exactly this moment. In Jeremiah 29, verse 7 of which is quoted above, God speaks through his prophet Jeremiah to the people of Israel who’ve been taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. The Israelites are angry, confused, and frustrated. They’re angry at God and the Babylonians, confused by the sudden and complete change of circumstance, and frustrated by the tensions between being an Israelite and being in Babylon.
The Lord steps into their difficult situation with a message of grace, hope, and promise. “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you,” He says, “for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (v. 7) And then the famous promise of comfort “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (v. 11). What amazing direction and promise for us today.
Though we are physically separated, we want to emphasize that we are still a family. As such, we want to continue to grow together during this time. It’s been on our hearts to earnestly seek God in this unexpected time and how to grow together in the midst of it all. We want to support one another spiritually, emotionally, and practically with the tools to live within this tension. We also want to encourage you to care for your families and your communities during this time of exile, to be present in your home communities and be on the lookout for ways to serve, love, and bless people wherever the Lord has placed you right now. We believe that each aspect of our ministry has a vital role to play during this time in knitting our NOVA community together, and each one of us individually has a vital role to play in the places the Lord has led us.
We may not have our standard gatherings and fellowships in person, but we believe that our family will continue to thrive during this time! We are going to continue to develop relationships with each other virtually. Our communications team is working diligently to expand our digital platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and our website (cunova.org)) to become places where we can interact with each other more deeply. These platforms will clearly outline what’s going on in the ministry and how each of us can be involved.
We will be sending out weekly newsletters (like this one!) to update you on what God is doing in our community, to bring encouragement, and to challenge you in your faith!
As we are working all of these things out please have patience with us and all the team leaders and ministry fellows. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas please do reach out to one of us. We love each of you so much and are excited to see how God grows each of us into more mature sons and daughters. It is His love that brought us this far, and it is His love that will carry us in this season.
Josh Eastman, Nicole Williams, Lily Olsen, Brian Foster
BIG CHALLENGE: Christian Union 40 Day Fast
For our first challenge, we would like you all to consider joining Christian Union and fellow believers around the world in a 40 day fast in response to COVID-19. This may be giving up 1 meal a day or it could be giving up food entirely. However you choose to participate in the event, we ask that you use this time to pray and seek the Lord. Christian Union will even provide daily devotions to help you in this goal. More about how to sign up can be found below on this link: Click here
MINI CHALLENGE : Attend virtual 12:1!