19 Nov A Heartfelt Calling
In 2005, I distinctly remember praying about going on a missions trip. I know I was interested in missions before then, but this is the first time I specifically remember praying about going.
As it turns out, I didn’t go, and I was devastated…yet at peace with my decision. As opportunity after opportunity passed me by, I felt like it was a continual death of my vision – did God never have missions for me? Why the desire, but no opportunities?
The past 10 years have been a journey of faith, growth, peace, and change as God has dug deep into my heart over this idea of “missions.” Have I gone? Yes! Since 2011, I have received multiple stamps in my passport, seen God work in incredible ways all over the world, and have endless mental, emotional, and literal hard drives full of images and stories of God’s faithful lovingkindness. I would never trade the value of learning to wait on God, seeing Him radically provide, and developing a worldview thanks to my experiences and changed perspectives. Really, my view on God and the Church has been dramatically shaped, and that is invaluable. But, the biggest change, and perhaps the one with the most long term value, is that of my philosophy on missions.
I would never trade the value of learning to wait on God, seeing Him radically provide, and developing a worldview thanks to my experiences and changed perspectives.
Ezekiel was called by God to live in a different country, be engaged in that culture, and speak and live God’s message to the people. This, my friends, is what we have been called to as well. This world is not our home, but this is where God has allowed us to sojourn, so that His Gospel may go forth, His message of redemption, to all people. This is a calling, it is a mission. It is not for the brave or radical, or those gifted with language. It is for every believer, every person who claims the name of Christ. Some of us are called to stay in the city of our birth, some called to move to other states, cities, or countries. To some, this call means learning a new culture and a new language, or learning to not say “y’all.” But to some of us, it means learning how to connect with the people right in front of us where we have always lived. For all of us, it is a call to connect, to engage, and to live missionally; rubbing shoulders and doing life with our “neighbors” in whatever corner of the world God calls us to. We are individuals, and our call will be individual, to an individual.
For all of us, it is a call to connect, to engage, and to live missionally; rubbing shoulders and doing life with our “neighbors” in whatever corner of the world God calls us to.
Ever since stepping foot into the warm and hospitable country of Ecuador, my heart has felt tugged and drawn there. I love it. The color, smell, sights, sounds, friendly welcomes, barefoot runny nosed kids, the women sitting outside shelling peas, the men smoking their pipes. And so many times, I have prayed about moving back to live there. Every time, God has asked me to stay where I am. To engage and connect in the lives of the people where I work, where I live; in my current city of “sojourn”.
For as long as I can remember, God has put on my heart to care for the impoverished, the hurting, the broken (Isaiah 61:1-3), you know – people just like me, who desperately need Jesus. And in this journey of faith and perspective, I have been praying about what God has for me in this season of “single and stateside.” And what He has led me to is one of the most exciting, humbling, stretching, and rewarding steps of faith to date: foster care.
Every one of us has a story. A life to live. And I believe, that all of our life is one beautiful narrative of God’s pursuit of us. My desire is to be a piece of that story for impoverished and hurting children in my city; so that they may practically see and experience the love and rescue of Jesus.
And what He has led me to is one of the most exciting, humbling, stretching, and rewarding steps of faith to date: foster care.
Am I crazy? Probably, but I am praying for revival in the hearts of the Church in Greenville, SC, the “Bible Belt,” and in America. That we would not be so caught up with our comfortable lives that we miss the call to live on mission. And God’s answer to my prayers? He so clearly responded with, “It must start with you.”
When I was in Myanmar last year, I was so impacted by their “foster care” – because it was the Church that shouldered the weight of it, not the government. Whether its foster care, or any other aspect of ministry, my prayer is that we the Church would be so consumed with loving Jesus, that it would compel us to radical faith, missional living, and caring for those in need. How will they know that we are His disciples except by our Love for one another? Not just the lovable, any man can love someone who loves him, but loving the unlovely, THIS is taking on Christ’s life.
Whether its foster care, or any other aspect of ministry, my prayer is that we the Church would be so consumed with loving Jesus, that it would compel us to radical faith, missional living, and caring for those in need.
Some have commented that this is a big change or have asked if I will still travel, to which I reply – yes and no. Yes, it will require lifestyle change and giving my life away in a meaningful way daily (not just on month long missions trips), but the heart of what I am doing is the same. The only change is the city that I am doing it in, and that often changes by trip anyway. As far as whether I will still travel, as God opens doors I will walk through them. My heart in international missions is to help blaze trails for others to walk through, and to continue to equip and train the next generation of young people to share their faith all over the world.
The heart of what I am doing is the same. The only change is the city in which I am doing it.
I am still waiting to complete the licensing process, and am unsure if we will even make it past inspections. But I know that God is faithful to that which He calls us, and I am moving forward in faith as He leads.
What a joy it is to be part of bringing about the Kingdom of God, sharing the hope of the Gospel, and putting God’s glory on display throughout the entire world, including Greenville, SC. He alone is worthy!
Isaiah 63:7, “I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that He has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.”
How you can Partner:
Prayer: We live in a world of battling spiritual forces. Pray for God’s message of redemption to be clear to every child that stays in our home, for inspections to be passed, and for increased faith and strength for the daily challenges of life in a broken world.
Practical: We have smoke alarms that need installed and furniture that needs to be put together. Feel free to stop by with a screwdriver and pitch in!
Provide Support: We are only a piece of this child’s story, and get a small part in helping shape them with the Gospel. If you want to help pick up from daycare when I have to work late, babysit, or hang out from time-to-time to have an opportunity to speak into them; all help is welcomed.