PNG TIME

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6/29/2005

The Process #1

after initially talking to Wycliffe, getting to know the organization a little, meeting different people, we decided to apply for membership.

Our Current and Personal Goals are:
-Apply to Wycliffe
-Attend ACMC (conference at Calvary)
-Attend Perspectives (a class I'm told is very beneficial)


Applying to Wycliffe and Jaars
-First you fill out about 5 documents. Luckily they're all in online formats. You fill out a basic information document, then a skills questionnaire, and you write a personal testimony and a health questionnaire. Send all that in, and it goes through the process. About a week later you get a call.

-This call is an interview going over your documents, looking for red-alarms, answering questions about the next steps, etc. We had that call on Monday of this week an it went very well. We were worried about our only debt, our student loans, which we refinanced 2 years ago to drop the monthly payments way down as well as get the interest rate dropped. Both being Biola graduates we had 17k left in loans. Now, we figured Wycliffe had to have some sort of support for this because Biola is twice as expensive now, and I'm sure that Biola U. is a good stamp to have on your application... so we asked God to make that part work out. As it turns out, it worked out very well. Wycliffe allows up to 36k in student loans and 1200 in credit card debt (we shouldn't have any credit card debt to worry about).

-Now we are waiting 10 days to receive the APPLICATION.
The application requires more paper filling, a personality profile (MMPI2), a bible knowledge test, and request for referrals from several people. Depending on how long the referrals take to get in, the application process takes approx. 2 months.

That's where we are now.

How do we Know?

so the first question on most people’s minds is “how did you come to this decision?”
Which to me is a derivation of “how do you know God is calling you?”
I don’t see how I can possibly answer this question in a complete way because as I look around I see more and more confirmations that this is the right decision, and the story keeps growing. So I’ll have to keep in some generalities, the specifics of this process seems to be something that really only make sense to us, but I’ll try to share some of the more fun stories.

You know in Samuel how David inquired of God, “should I go to Hebron, will you deliver the Philistines to me?” and God said, “Go, I will surely deliver them to you.” ?
It was nothing like that for us. (-; I have definitely wished it was, I would love to hear God’s voice so clearly!

I believe the process of seeking out God’s will is a bit more complicated for us these days because we have so many distractions and prioritize our time so poorly. Being convicted of this some years ago, I’ve sort of put off removing distractions for a little bit, and then finally we began to shed all the unimportant things and I really spent quality time in the Word and not only in prayer, but in silent listening, in being still, and learning to wait on God. This is a process I’m still very much learning, but I find that it is a consuming interest as my specific prayer has been to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to cry out for God’s Word.

So there I am. Wow how far back should I go? Okay quick version, I was inspired to go to Papua New Guinea because I heard Geoff Russell speak months before about it and he was so energetic and my wife and I both felt a twinge that said “you should go.” Before that another guy came and spoke who used to work for HP and was going to Kierkeztan (sp?). I thought, “woah, there’s missions work for computer guys?”. Years later I’m in Papua New Guinea having the time of my life. To get there I had to condition my spirit to be a servant, and that is still my concentration. Spending time in the Word daily, and praying more than daily, almost minute by minute, setting my sights on God’s kingdom and not this world. I come back from Papua New Guinea refreshed, excited, feeling at home with the place, and I said ‘this is so good, it can’t be true, there has to be some huge problem with this, I’m going to put it out of my head for at least one year.”

So I began to ignore Papua New Guinea. I figured it was just adrenaline and I was responding to it. I figured most people who went on go teams got jazzed up, and I wasn’t about to make any life decisions in this state of mind. So for nearly 1 year after the initial meet and greets to talk about the go trip, I didn’t even think about PNG. I did remember Bob Hooker’s retirement party and how people said of him, he never said “no” to ministry, and that became my motto. But I was scared to tell people, because I didn’t want to be worked to death (-;. That year I was working in Awana, and getting odd requests to do little one off things. I started to see that as you open your heart and willingness to God, He starts to use you in ways you don’t expect. Ways that later, it turns out, would create relationships that would help guide me to PNG. God is so perfect in His planning it’s amazing.

I didn’t make it a whole year. Around May, 7-8 months later, someone nudged me and said “I’m going to PNG again” I let it go, and didn’t think about it. 1 Month later, he nudged me again, “I’m going to PNG again.” It is from that time, that I could not escape my desire to go to Papua New Guinea.

When I say can’t escape, I mean, this thought completely obsessed my mind, and when I tried to clear my mind, something would fill it again. Now here is where the line between supernatural and coincidence becomes blurred. We all know as science teaches us that if we are obsessed with something, everything will remind you of it. So I’m trying to keep that in mind, because everywhere I’m looking PNG is popping up. This is the trend God has always used to guide my family. He starts to work slowly in my head, putting a thought. Then I think on it for a while, try to put it out of my head, it won’t leave, I put it to God in prayer, and it still won’t leave, then it grows and grows, and finally when I think I’m totally nuts, I consult my wife who balances me, and usually confirms God’s direction in some way.

So I began to journal the list of “circumstances” or “providence” depending on your slant. The list began to grow. I was starting to have intense dreams about visiting Papua New Guinea. I was waking up in the morning wishing I was in Papua New Guinea and tired from tossing and turning. I was writing mental pros and cons in my head, I was searching the Word, finally I said “AAAH I can’t get this out of my head, I need a distraction.” I prayed that night for a distraction. The next morning for lunch a co-worker/friend said “I need to drop by the bookstore.” !!! GREAT I figured I’d pick up a distraction. I did. I’m a Michael Crichton fan and so I picked up his latest, simply asked the clerk if they had it, after ten minutes of going to the back room they delivered it. Having caused so much of a stir I bought the book without even reading the jacket cover. It was his latest, I hadn’t read it, that was good enough. That night I settled down in bed to read, a process which typically clears my mind so I can sleep. The first few chapters placed the story in…. drum roll please… Papua New Guinea. Is that a coincidence? I prayed to God, if not cried out, “Okay I get the point, you want me to go to Papua New Guinea! But how can I do it?” I decided then that I should start considering this, and that to confirm I was in the right, God would have to tell my wife the same message without my influence.

That was a bad idea. I had heard stories where both people knew they needed to go instantly. The only story I have like that was when Geoff Russell spoke at Shekinah years before and my wife and I in the car both said something to the effect of “something special happened in there, didn’t it.” We both felt God’s touch back then, but weren’t sure what it meant, other than we were going to go on a go-team in the future.

Okay so here I am waiting on God to tell my wife she needs to go to PNG with me. Keeping my thoughts to myself, which is VERY VERY hard for me (you know me, you know I’m a loudmouth). My heart starts to change, I start to dig even deeper into the Word and I’m hoping any day now my wife will say “you know I’ve been thinking…” But she doesn’t. This was a completely silly thing for me to expect because my wife is not like that, never has been. If I’ve ever met a I Corinthians woman it’s her, and she has never forced her will on me, has never pushed me to do what is right. Always gentle encouragements so as to make me think it’s my idea. Always kindly helping me to be a better man, but never being pushy. What I was hoping for now was a push, I wanted God to confirm it and tell me forcefully, but in doing so I started to realize I was really avoiding being responsible for a leadership decision. I consulted with friends who told me that not every calling works the way I was expecting. My eyes were open to how really na├»ve about missions (aka Global Outreach) I really was.

That night I told my wife, I had been thinking about Papua New Guinea. Not fully stressing how intensely or that I was thinking permanently. So she thought a go-team would be good. We began to look into that process and become familiar with Wycliffe.
This is where all the confirmation began to flood in. Once we had become unified with “yes we’re going in January for 3 weeks” Everything that came across our path started to confirm it was the right choice, except for the actual going. Wycliffe was a delight to work with, our spirits felt right, the Russells in PNG were excited, everything was going right except something still was happening in our hearts. We started to think about things in terms of as if we were already living there. The Wycliffe representative asked me about our go team and said to me “you experienced no culture-shock? You’re the first person I’ve ever heard that from.” He kept saying little things that were confirming to me God wanted me over there. As we talked more and more about it, we decided this go team was going to be an interview for whether or not we’d go there full time.

Interviewing Wycliffe, getting Kendal familiar with the place, was our two main goals. God was confirming for me by watching my wife process this. She was so, I can’t explain it. My wife has always wanted to become a missionary, but marrying me she gave up any global influence and decided to keep it local. To see her start to get pumped up about this was exciting. We talked and talked, created a list of things we wanted to accomplish by going to Papua New Guinea on this January go-team.

In my heart, looking around, I started to see my life without me in it. I looked around at people and felt sadness as I was already missing them. And yet we hadn’t committed in our hearts to go full time yet. I was missing seeing my little nieces and nephews grow up, I was missing my pals, I was missing seeing movies in large screen theatres… I was going through the emotional process of separation, and yet none of it deterred me from wanting to go. Then one night, Kendal and I discussed the list again. She started to say things like “well we really have already accomplished this one, and this one doesn’t make as much sense as it used to.”

We sat there, together, and I said, “we just eliminated the list of reasons to go in January. Did we just decide to go full time?” and my wife responded, “I think we did.”

We sat there silent, like the first time she told me we were expecting a baby. It was that much joy and trembling, and anxiety and surprise, all at the same time.

Of course up to this point there were several consulting sessions with Wycliffe and knowledgeable friends, a lot of conversations and prayers and still are. This is the quick version (this is quick?). We made two calls. One to schedule time with a couple to confirm whether or not we were crazy, and one to schedule a family get together to tell them the news should it turn out we weren’t crazy.

Well we met with the couple and they said “what do you need from us?”
“We need to know that going to PNG full time without a second go-team isn’t a crazy idea?” they responded “after talking to you, any benefit you would have gotten from a go-team, you’ve already received. It isn’t necessary, you aren’t crazy.”

That’s the best confirmation I think I’ve ever heard, “you aren’t crazy.” So we told our family the next day. THAT WAS THE TOUGHEST THING I’VE EVER DONE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

You know how God says He will not give you more than you can bear? I thought on those words as I wept alone, in my room, begging for strength from God. I felt as if I had single handedly watched the death of all of my family members. They reacted wonderfully by my heart was heavy. God started to bring me encouragement and prove faithful to me. He started to show me how He had been preparing this for a very long time.

I need to end this at this point. So here are my final thoughts.
It is indeed a privilege to be able to look back on your life and see God’s hand guiding you. Your steps, and every person who came into your life and how they helped God’s plan, were set already by Him. To catch just a glimpse of that, to see a small portion of the jigsaw puzzle that is my life, and while looking at it, with one decision, one moment of pure obedience to God see all the pieces snap into place, and form a picture.

Wow, just thinking about it again fills me with great emotion.

It is, as if, every moment of my life, has led me to this place I am at now. And I am committed to taking every step God shows me to take. Now that I am not wrestling against His will, the process is much more smooth.


(I would like for my wife to lend her perspective on how she knows as well....but we both know God's been calling her to this for her whole life, it's jsut been me and my thick skull that He's had to work the most on recently).

6/28/2005

Post #1

This is a private blog for now. Created with the intent of combining ministries between the sent, and the senders. Wycliffe calls the process of getting prayer support and financial support "partner discovery". I'm not sure why they call it that specifically, but I know why I like that term! Partners.... we're partners. If you're reading this then you're probably praying for our family already, and we need that. The partner part makes sense. We are teaming up to do something great for God! I'm jealous of your end of the deal. Lately God has really put it on my heart to pray and support others who go because it's like I get to attach myself to what God is doing and I'm blessed by it. It's purely a selfish endeavor on my part, because honestly I don't think God needs me. I think need is the wrong term, it is more like God chooses to use me. He created diamonds and rubies and the precious minerals of this earth that money is derived from, He really doesn't need me to cough up money or prayers, He is almighty, He is able to make this happen alone if He so chooses. But He gives me this chance for joy that I can attach my heart to what He is doing and sacrifice part of myself to it. That is why I'm putting so much emphasis on communication. I myself am always dying to know what's going on with the people we support, personally I think everyone should blog! (-;

The Discovery is the exciting part, because we don't know how God is going to make this happen. How is God going to supply what it takes to get us to Papua New Guinea? We don't know. What hearts is God already working in to join us in this endeavor? We don't know. We wait in anticipation to see how God is going to make this come together, because we know we've been called to do it. We know God said "here's what you need to do."

Now we get to watch the fun happen. We get to see God pull this off, and discovering how He'll do it is going to be incredible! Typically those being sent are the one who reap the blessings but this blog is intended to help you, those who care the most, get blessed as well by hearing of God's work.

This Blog is private because at this time, there are people who can't know these plans, and there are people who wouldn't understand or be ready for the things this blog will contain. In fact I'm not even sure if by keeping this blog I'm alienating myself from some secret pact of the "missionary." Until I'm convicted otherwise, this blog exists because we've asked you to pray for us, and we want you to know how to pray, and you are our inner circle of support.

As holders of this blog I ask that you not publicize what is inside this blog. What you read is for your eyes only, until such a time as we can make it completely public.

With all of that said, thanks for being here, thanks for reading, please keep us in prayer.
This blog will be wordy, but that is because we're excited.