A letter from Stan Bower to the businessmen in the St. Louis region:

Stan Bower

Dear Friends:

I am making my way through this process known as ‘sabbatical’ - having experienced the beauty of the shorelines of the east and west coasts of America, Laura and I headed to L’Abri in the Netherlands for two weeks, to be followed by one week in Paris. The sea of people we met seemed like wave upon wave and it was clear that each culture has its own problems. However, the understanding that God was directing us and taking care of us as we traveled was evident.

Watching and studying my wife was my unique observation point. She loves to meander and have people with her in the process of life, which she deeply enjoys - I learned more about her than I knew before this trek. The L’Abri experience itself was different and very rich for both of us. The first L’Abri community was founded by Dr. Francis Schaeffer and his wife in Switzerland over 60 years ago and now includes 8 branches around the world. (L’Abri is the French word for shelter.) The people who come to these communities are all sojourner’s seeking God and a deeper understanding of who He is – honest answers to honest questions.

As a result of this sabbatical, I have been filled with the deepest level of compassion that I have ever known. Jesus said, “ … I desire compassion, and not sacrifice …”  To feel compassion in the heart is overwhelming. After seeing the paintings of Rembrandt, Von Gogh and Monet, Rodin’s statues like The Thinker, countless museums, Victor Hugo’s home in Paris, I experienced a whole new level of emotion. The most poignant time for me was our visit to the home of Anne Frank – I was deeply moved by her compelling story. Sadness overwhelmed me because of all she went through, as well as the enormity of the holocaust itself. I cried deeply at the sadness of WWII, the loss of millions in Europe and also because of the impact of Anne’s life. What man does to man is unthinkable and I felt a deep sense of loss for all of those lives. I imagine each life as a drop, which represents each soul in the world, which combine to symbolize the oceans of people who are hurting and who desperately need the compassion of Christ.

My heart has been changed and is filled with more of what really matters to Jesus. I pray I do not strive as I have for the past 20 years, but instead, walk in His rest as He has promised. What is important to me is you. You have been placed in my life for a defined period of time and purpose. The Americanized definition of love is far short of what God has intended for each of us. One has to experience it to know it. My words fall short but my heart has grown.

Join with me in this process. From God’s perspective, dig deep to genuinely understand those you love, empathize with your co-workers, see the lostness in the hearts of mankind. Feel the heartbeat of God and enjoy His presence as He reveals Himself to you. He will take care of the rest.

Resting in Him,

Stanley A. Bower
Area Director

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