Learning as we go

I don't desire this to sound preachy, so if it does let me know.
Part of the process of becoming a missionary is learning to let go of control.
Control of when the support will come in, how long it will stay.
There is also the kind of control that comes in the form of leverage.
Americans have leverage because of competition and because they are consumers.
If a service you pay for, doesn't live up to your standards, there is competition you can go to.

As a consumer, you have power and control.

Inside of a missionary organization things are different than inside of a company.
In a company, if they want you to train on something, they pay for the training, and typically it is optional but strongly encouraged.

In a missionary organization, the training is mandatory, and they don't pay for it.

Does it strike you in an odd way if I said, "you have to go to this class, AND you have to pay for it."

In my corporate America culture, that is an offending thought. I don't HAVE to do anything, I'm an employee with skills, I can quit and join a competitor!

Pay for it? Why would I pay for something YOU need me to do?

And so we have this sense of control, of leverage, of options.

I'm in the process of discovering how it feels to lose those ...options.

Admittedly, I have discovered that a lot of my trust is in my ability to creatively negotiate my options.
I don't like getting stuck in a corner in any way. Whether it's a service I pay for, or my career. I like to have possibilities.

It boils down to, finding the truth behind where my trust lies.

When I desire control, and I become upset when I can not have it, I discover that my trust lies in my abilities.

We're losing control. (not self-control). We're losing a lot of our ability to exert force over our environment.

It seems like a sad thing but it isn't.

We are discovering the truth behind putting our trust in Jesus (who is alive!).
Our hope is in Jesus. Not in ourselves.
The possibilities in Christ are endless, who can stand against Him?

Truly, this is a process of dying to self. It is not an easy process. Admittedly for the past week or two I've been emotionally struggling with the idea.

But in the last two days, I've changed from focussing on us, what WE lose, what WE are giving up, and instead discipline my heart towards praising God. It is amazing how, you think you figured it out before making the decision. You say "sure I can give up this, and this and this" and the growth doesn't really come from the easy things to give up, it's when you hit the parts that are harder to give up, the sneaky ones, the parts you didn't anticipate. Something as small as the fact that you won't have as much variety in life.

It was not until I was praising God that my perspective was altered, and I was transformed into a step of humility and understanding.

God is great, God is good. Christ is Risen!
Our trust is not in ourselves it is in Christ.
Our trust is not in our ability to make things work, but in God's ability to fulfill His plan.

still on the journey.


Status 8/29/06

News from the homefront is that the cost of health insurance has gone up, which changes our monthly goal from $3700 to $3900 which in turn brings our progress from 86% to 82%.

AT first what seems dissapointing (as if they moved the finish line while we were nearing the end of the race) is in fact another opportunity to worship God.

God is great. Christ is risen! Christ is alive. We don't serve a Jesus who is back in Israel 2000 years ago. We serve a Christ who is here, who is now, who is alive!

God can bring in the funds.

We have some pressing needs:
- we need to get to 100% by January, but I'm really praying for September.
- we need more contacts, more interested partners, more churches.

We've written and visited everyone we can think of, so now we need new ideas, new resources, new ways to get to 100%.

We are excited because we've made it so far so quickly and it's all because of you, our partners in this ministry!

Thank you.

As we continue to wait on God, we wait for some people to make final decisions as to whether or not they wish to support us.

We wait on God's timing as to when our Visa's will be completed.

In this society we live in, everything is HERE and NOW, instant, fast-food, microwave culture, learning to wait is something that is hard, but an experience we're becoming more accustomed to.

Praise God, His timing is perfect!


It's happening

pausing a moment for reflection
in the past week our support has gone up almost 8%.

As I look around now, we’re nearing 90% of funding, it’s sinking more deeply in that we’re leaving.

I’m having a great conversation with my dad and in my brain I hear “you won’t be doing this next year” and I start to tear up.

I’m looking at my nieces and cousins and having fun camping and thinking “you won’t be doing this next year” and choke up a little.

I’m hiding zucchini at my neighbor’s house and I think “this is my last practical joke in America for a few years” and I start to get melancholy.

The tragedy of this process is that it lets the pain linger for a very long time.
It’s like attending a wake for a year. No person should have to prolong these emotions.

There is a definite sadness to this process. I would be negligent if I didn't mention them in the blog.

You ask yourself questions like, "how long will it be before I see them again? What if something happens? Will I ever see them again?" In every person's case there are specific details and difficult to cope with emotions.

There is sadness on the side of those watching us go.

My dad explained it to someone like this "it's a joyful heartbreak."

This blog is about the process of becoming a missionary, and so I have to include these harder parts, even if they make it seem less...what's the word.. "glamorous" doesn't quite fit.

We aren't guaranteed that if we follow God's orders we will have a happy life. It is a temptation to believe that in following God all will be good. We know God desires good for His people, but we are prepared for bad to happen as well. Modern day martyrs are rare, but the heart still needs to be prepared.

So what do we do during these sad times? Do we complain to God, do we try to bargain with God and ask for Him to let us off the hook? No, because He jsut might (-;

We turn it, through discipline, into worship. Sacrificing our emotions of sadness and turning them into tears of praise because we know that following God is our goal in life. We don't know what the outcome will be, but we know, we need to be obedient, even unto a broken sadness that is leaving loved ones.... even further than that.

A mind like mine, asks "what if" a lot.
"what if you lost a child because of this?"
"what if you died and your wife was left in the country with 2 kids?"
"what if your grandmother got sick while you were gone?"
"what if your best friend marries and you weren't around to be the best man?"

but there is a what if question that trumps them all:

"what if, you didn't obey God?"

What would our lives be like if we decided to turn our back on what we know to be God's direction for our lives? We have very clear marching orders, He's confirmed it to us time and time again. To refuse to go, would be a clear case of ignoring God's specific will for us.

Living life after rejecting God in that way, would be a path we don't want to go down. God has set a banquet before us, and invited us, we're going.

We have fields and committments we're leaving behind, but that is the price we pay in order to live a life of obedience.

It's not all sad I don't mean to concentrate on that too much, it's mostly joy. Because knowing we are doing what God wants, is more comforting than anything, and it is also what comforts our family in our absence.

There is great honor and joy and comfort and hope and excitement and anticipation and love in knowing that we have been asked to do a small thing for God.