I fell in love during the fall of my freshman year of college. I went to school in Florida. Eric and I dated all four years I was in school, but because I lived in Ohio during the summers, and he lived in Illinois, we were apart for the summers. We both worked in camps and did interns so it was hard to see each other. During my senior year, he moved to Indiana. We dated 3 1/2 years, but we were apart 1 1/2 of those years. There was no internet or cell phones. Phones calls were quite expensive so we wrote letters. We actually each wrote a letter everyday we were apart. I loved getting the mail! I have boxes of letters that are more than 20 years old. As much as I loved opening and reading the letters from Eric, I hated being apart.

As I close the study on the book of Romans, I am reminded once again that it is a letter. It's written because Paul isn't with the people he cares for and loves. The book of Romans closes with the many people Paul wants to say hello to, and people he wants to encourage. The names of course don't come with a face to us as we read, and we only read a phrase or a few words about them. But they are all real people. Real people who had a story of a journey with Christ. Real people who impacted others. If Paul was saying hi to you, do you ever think, what would he say? Here are a few phrases: "tried and true veteran in following Christ", "What a worker she has turned out to be!", "my good friend in the family of God", "my dear friend", "she's a key representative of the church", and "they once put their lives on the line for me." How am I touching my community for Christ?

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