Kevin and Kristi Kneeshaw along with their kids (Caden, Victoria & Isabella) are in Rijeka, Croatia. At least we think they are still there.
Here’s the skinny… On January 25th, the Kneeshaw family and their team returned to Rijeka after two weeks of conferences in Hungary – Midyear and AOA time. They checked their mail to discover that the Post Office had tried to deliver two letters but because we were gone for so long they returned the letters to the sender. One Monday the 28th, they went to the Police Station and found out that basically all the singles were getting or had gotten their visas but the Kneeshaw's had to return to have a little meeting with the Police.
“The trip to the police station went OK today (Friday)”, Kristi writes. “The whole experience was a little surreal. We walked up three flights of stark stairs, walked down a dark hallway into a room with an unsmiling woman who made no eye contact with us. There were no family pictures on the desk, nor any pictures on the walls. It was a tiny room with two big desks with computers on them, but no sign of life anywhere. We were told they had been trying to contact us several times to verify that we lived at the address we gave them but we were never home. So they placed our visa application in the rejection pile and if we had come in even two days later our Visas would have been denied. We gave a legal statement explaining where we where and were told a policeman still had to come by and verify we live at our apartment. They gave no indication of when they might come. It could be a week or it could be two months. In the mean time one of us has to stay close to the apartment.” The
Kevin and Kristi and their team had been seeing God do cool stuff like when Mirja trusted Christ in November and then Mirja’s best friend, Bojan, trusted Christ in December. But now the reality of their situation is if they are denied visas they would have to leave for three months. Kristi says that they are not worrying too much about this yet but asked that we would pray that they would continue to trust the Lord for daily peace. Needing to stay close to the apartment makes it even more difficult to do the basic things like shopping and getting the kids outside for breaks from the apartment. (The picture is them all bundled up waiting for the police.) So they ask too that we pray that the police would come soon and that they would be home or if not the police would just knock on a neighbor’s door who would gladly verify that an American couple with three very active kids live in their building.
I have been reading Hebrews this month. Yesterday I led the weekly devotion/prayer for our office and just read aloud the whole book in one seating. I read it from a less-than-familiar translation and asked everyone to just listen and imagine they were in the early church when this letter was read. (If you are looking for a team study this week, you might want to try it too. It takes about 30-40 minutes to read. And for those who drift off off 5:11 and 12:25 rebukes them.)
The whole scenario of the Kneeshaw’s visa situation is like the old system of worship. Everyone was guilty even if they didn’t know they had done anything wrong. The Holy of holies had a big desk with signs of death: stone tablets and place for atoning blood. People basically just waited around for the priests to check them out year after year and see if we were worthy.
But… Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
There’s so much in this book but here’s a few gems for this week from chapter 10 as we live in this new life and lead others…
Dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house,
· Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
· Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
· Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
· And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.