Friday, November 17, 2006

Rick and Gail Northen

This morning, twenty-five adults and teens left from Woodward Park for Mexicali, Mexico to live out the mission of God by serving the needs of people. They are devoting Saturday to a full-day of connecting with the lost and devoting Sunday to encouraging and strengthening the church in Mexicali.

In your prayers today, and throughout this weekend, keep our missionaries in your prayers as they work for kingdom growth.


I was out of blogging commission yesterday, but for good reason. Two of my dearest friends, Rick and Gail Northen, stopped in for a visit on their journey home from Cambodia for the holidays.

Rick and Gail are special friends, and incredible examples of faith and devotion. Last year, they sold a lucrative dental practice in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas in order to devote their full-time energy and focus to kingdom growth. After surverying the world, literally, and seeking the guidance of God, they cast their lot with the Mekong River Boat Project, a mission endeavor through Partners in Progress, in Cambodia.

What I have learned from Rick and Gail is a lesson about discipleship. Sure, the comfortable, convenient thing would have been to stay in the Village and continue working, earning income they could hand over to others who would go into all the world. But the Northen's determined not just to send others into the mission field (as they'd done so often in the past) but to give themselves. Their five-year commitment to the work in Cambodia has turned into a life-long dream for church planting up and down the Mekong River. To hear their passion and listen to their dreams about the future work of God in Cambodia is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

During our seven-year stint in Hot Springs Village, Rick served as an elder and as a mentor. Rick and I became especially close, sharing our love for Jesus, the lost and the Texas Rangers in common. Gail became a mentor to Mandy. So much of our lives today has been influenced by the impact Rick and Gail have had upon us.

Long ago, Solomon wrote, "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18.24). I'm thankful that in my life God has given to me Rick. A friend. A brother.