RESIDUALS: LETTER TO SHARON AND LAINA
Definition of a residual: a quantity that remains or is left over at the end of a process or after an initial investment.
Following is a residual from Phil Graf’s and my recent trip to train leaders in Brazil. It was sent as a letter sent to Sharon and Laina (Phil’s wife, our eldest daughter):
“Dear Sharon and Laina,We’ve just taken Linus and Phil to the airport for their last leg of another intense but happy and spirit-directed series of trainings. We will miss them!I wanted to let you two know how appreciated you are as part of the Divine Expedition, and how much Linus and Phil talk about you when they are here in Brazil (and Uganda.)Sharon: Yesterday, Linus had lunch with a couple from Sao Paulo, and was asked, “How is your wife?” He shared that while he has a deep gratitude toward God, that you, Sharon, are just totally in love with Jesus. He told us about the time when you were in intensive care and Jesus spent the night with you. He talked about how you and Linus are different but how much he admires you and loves you. He had tears of fondness in his eyes.
In church, Sunday night, he spoke on “Two Letters and a Text.” We all had lumps in our throats when he revealed what you had written in the first letter. Then he revealed that the little baby you described in your letter was Laina who wrote the second letter 49 years later on Father’s Day. It was such a sweet story that led into his message about how Jesus can transform us in our marriages and as parents.
At the end of his message he read the text about your waiting for him with a hug, and said, “And I get to get that hug in just 2 more days.” His transparency prompted our pastor to share that he had wanted to divorce his wife after 3 years of marriage before God changed them.
Laina: Phil brags about you all the time, evidenced by this comment, “I think Laina is the most fascinating person I’ve ever met. There’s nothing she can’t do.” (I actually hope he’s exaggerating — “nothing”? really? — otherwise I’d hope never to have to be around you — lol). Next to your dad, I’d say he’s your biggest fan.
Thank you, thank you both for being supportive of your men being away for so long — they are extremely conscious of what you carry on behalf of the family that makes their ministry possible.
From Uganda to Brazil they consistently embrace an arduous pace and lifestyle with such humility — long and late nights, uncomfortable beds, nonstop carbs, no fruit, endlessly being translated in conversations (but it doesn’t hold them back), nonstop demands for prayer and counseling (with translation), not to mention in Uganda food laced with typhoid and being photographed during the medical exam.
What’s especially impressive is how much they both love people. They never failed to remember names and stories and details of people all throughout the four cities and churches where trainings were held.
Linus and Phil are incredibly humble to empower and raise up younger Brazilians to carry on this ministry so precious to them. They roll with grace when balls get dropped amidst the myriad of details required to pull this off in so many settings and another cultural style, with so many personalities involved.
Every single person Phil and Linus meet (and I am not exaggerating) is drawn to Jesus in them that is packaged in leadership, warmth, and Christlikeness.
We all especially appreciate their sense of fun during the demands of the day, and when it’s all over being able to share a glass of wine, country music, and laugh (ask them about the feces).
You two are such a huge and essential part of the Divine Expedition. I wanted you to know that Phil and Linus are incredibly aware of that, and so are we.
With love from Sao Jose dos Campos Brazil,
RESIDUALS: FOR YOUR INVESTMENT
Thank you for being part of our ministry with Global Training Network. I believe that the fruit (residuals) of our efforts to advance the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus will be accounted equally to the accounts in heaven of those who have partnered with us on earth. It will be so joyous to celebrate together.
Because of His great grace and strength and your friendship,
Linus, Sharon, Phil, Laina, and the GTN Divine Expedition Team
P.S. In my next letter I will present some of the royalties already coming in.