Jaseph (Uruguay) Update – January 2022 #2


A letter to God’s people from Pastor Phil Jaseph

Your missionary, serving the Lord in Uruguay

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3 ESV)

January 10, 2021

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, our Lord,

Greetings to you at the beginning of this, which is still a new year! Hopes, dreams, excitements, and plans are still new and fresh at the front of our minds, even amidst the viral pandemic. The end of December and beginning of January seem to be the time at which we hear the word “resolutions” more and more, or perhaps even see renewed action or efforts toward some goal.

You might be wondering “why is Pastor Jaseph writing to me when we have already received a missionary newsletter?” It has been a custom from of old in the Church for pastors to write letters to their parishioners addressing certain challenges or with the changing seasons of the church year. I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but the parish which I have been called to serve as a church planter does not yet exist in any organized form! However, there are so many parishes and members with whom Deaconess Rachel and I remain in contact as we prepare to deploy and while we are on the field. Composing a somewhat regular letter seemed to me a loving way to reach out and reflect a little more than we are usually able to do in our newsletters.

So, to the business of resolutions. Resolutions really concern two aspects of life: who you are, and who you would like to become. We know that we are made human beings by our loving Father in heaven, existing here in a specific time and place, for specific purposes. Who we would like to become is often wrapped up in resolutions, career goals, academic studies, maybe even in hobbies. We think about this from a young age when we ask children what they would like to do or “be” when they grow up. But this is the New Year, and we are in the season of Epiphany. These questions of identity are just as important for us to ask in our daily lives as they are for us to think about our identities in Christ as we reflect on God’s revelation of His Son to all peoples and cultures in the world.

Questions of identity are at the front of many minds right now, and they may even pose a challenge for us. “Who am I?” “What will I be one day?” “Is there any purpose in God making me a woman or a man?” “When did my life begin?” You can imagine or perhaps have even experienced conflicts revolving around these simple but incredibly profound statements. Perhaps the better question is “whose are we?” We are both who God has made us to be in our vocations for this earthly life, and yet we are also who and what God has made us to be in Holy Baptism, such that we can now call Him our loving Father in heaven. This is exactly what St. John the Apostle speaks of in his first letter.

God’s love is so great that it has overcome the sin of our thoughts, words, and deeds, and even the sin that exists within our very nature, that we cannot shake off no matter how hard we try. His love is so great that He would make us to be as we ought through the washing of regeneration made powerful for us through the saving death and resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, that we might be counted as His family, as beloved children of our Father in heaven. We do not know what the future holds. We stand on the precipice of a year filled with unknown challenges, with surprising joys, with startling growth and opportunities. We do not know where our Father in heaven will call us to live, where we will serve, whom we will love. But we know that He is our Father, and we know that He has made us new in Him, our identities secure in His faithful giving and promises, and in the sure and certain identity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What location, then, is “too far” for us to go? What work is “too difficult” for us to do? What person is “so different” from us that we cannot learn to love and understand them, both inside the household of faith and even far off? These things are too impossible for us, born into the sin of our flesh and the world and under the divine and purifying Law of God, but made new under the free gift of baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection. Nothing is too impossible for God who has made even our stony and hardened hearts to be new, loving to our neighbors and obedient unto Him. Perhaps, then, the question of who we would like to become is not really a question for us to entertain, but rather an invitation to explore who God has made us to be as the body of Christ here on earth, and the gifts and passions with which He has equipped us.

Take heart, dear brothers and sisters. If any Christian could speak of suffering and challenges, St. John the Apostle was well qualified. Though he was not martyred as so many of his friends and colleagues, he continued faithfully to love the “little children” of God throughout his long life, even from a distance. What he would “become” in the life of faith was known only to God, and to us who now read his correspondence. He also could have courage and comfort in what he “was,” what God had made him to be in his baptismal identity. This is the water that does not dry up; our being drowned into true life; an awakening from death so that we might be men and women fully alive in Christ Jesus.

Our Lord who has called you His own in Holy Baptism, who feeds you at His own table with all the Church on earth and in heaven, and who encircles you with His angel legions and the life-changing forgiveness of the name of Jesus is your God this year and always, unchanging. May this certainty be your hope and your identity even as you become conformed to the image of the Son of God.

Peace in Christ,

Pastor Phil Jaseph



Be a part of the NEW 2022 Missions Unpacked by registering here! This is a great way to learn about how God is working through LCMS missionaries around the world, and may even give you some fresh ideas for loving those in the mission field right outside your door. New videos and activities highlighting the 4 regions in which you, as a member of the LCMS, have missionaries serving, will be released each week. Participate on your own, with your family, a group of friends, or a Bible study group from your church. We’d love to know who from our mission support family is participating, so feel free to let us know!

Missions Unpacked for Kids resources may be found at this link. We hope and pray these videos, activities, and resources would be a blessing to you as you learn about God’s work around the world! 

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