Thursday, July 6, 2017

What Happened to Your Mission Plans

First Published on January 24, 2015

Our friends moved to Malawi, Africa, last year, and most of you know we planned to go with them. We took the idea very seriously and, after much prayer and fasting, made the decision to go. We gave our plans to God and expected that He would bless us with support. When we found ourselves working against the grain in every aspect of preparation, we began to rethink the idea. We were willing to do whatever it would take to answer God’s call, we just weren’t sure He was calling us to that particular mission. Eventually, we were sure He wasn’t—at least not then. But the desire and stirring never left either of us. Then we opened our eyes to another possibility.

Other friends and former mission team members in Porto Alegre, Brazil, had been hinting that we might consider returning to that city. Our team has changed greatly since we left shortly after Andy was born. There are only two families still living there and they are each involved in separate ministries, both dealing with drug and alcohol rehabilitation—very different than the traditional church plant we were a part of in 2002. After more prayer and fasting, we felt sure we needed to consider that work. This time, we even had verbal commitment from a few key individuals at a prospective supporting church. It seemed they would at least send us on a survey trip, so we got our passports renewed and began planning our trip. In the end, that church decided not to begin a new work in a country they didn’t already sponsor, so our survey trip was cancelled. Though it felt like a punch in the gut, we didn’t blame them. We felt that God was once again saying no.

You may call us fickle, but that would imply we keep changing our minds. We don’t. We are absolutely prepared to move our family anywhere God calls us. We were completely committed to join the work overseas, regardless of which part of the world God chose for us. It would take the space of an entire newsletter to explain how the doors were shut on both destinations, but for now, suffice it to say we apparently have more work here in Springtown, Texas, to do. So, it would seem, our mission field is right under our noses. You can see a picture of it and the church that has developed from it on the front page.  

We love these folks and the opportunities The Gem has afforded us: employment, recreation for us and our kids, a homeschool group, and friends that are more like family. And—most importantly—we are blessed to have people around us who are hungry for God’s word. You may remember Dave, who was baptized last summer. Well, his son Luthor has been a part of our studies and decided to get baptized just before the holidays on his thirteenth birthday, reminding us that the local harvest is still full. (That’s Ben studying the event from poolside.)
Here’s Luthor and his younger siblings, with three reasons we’re glad he chose to follow Jesus. (This was taken last 4th of July.)
So, I guess the answer to the question about our plans is that we are learning to live out God’s idea of mission above our own. It may not always be what we had envisioned, but if souls are being saved, we can be sure it’s from Him and right where we need to be.

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