Monday, January 20, 2014

To Missions and Beyond

So I figured it was time for an update on my life because 1) people have verbalized their frustrations with my lack of updates to where I now feel part guilty and 2) I most definitely want to recruit some prayer warriors as I begin this path that God is leading me down.

The Lord placed a huge impression on my heart several years ago when I fell in love with a small group ministry that I led. After coming from a really broken time in my life, I was able to truly learn what it meant to have the Spirit equip you despite your inadequacies. It was beautiful. From the start, I felt God leading me towards international missions. that point I had never been on an airplane. So I was like "That's crazy God. Is this me? It's gotta be me cause that's crazy."

The beautiful thing about brokenness is that it brings you to a place of complete surrender. The Lord had brought me to a place where I was able to finally realize that I was nothing without Him. My plans meant nothing if they were aimed towards anything but His glory. At the time my plans mostly pointed towards my own success, power, and society's approval. I realized, I didn't want any of it if it was apart from the will of God.
When I let go of my own plans, my own dreams, my own desires - I found a very wonderful thing. I found the very heart of Jesus. 
When I came to a place that I was able to simply enjoy the presence of God I was transformed deeply. So yeah, I still thought Him leading me towards ministry was crazy, but sometimes what might seem crazy on the surface is in fact a deep-rooted plan created by God before you were even born. He uses the unexpected, the ill-equipped, the willing, the broken  and equips them with His words, His action, His power. Not for their own glory or the approval of man; but for His glory, for His Kingdom, for His plan.
“And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15
So in obedience, I said yes - I wasn't sure how everything would pan out but I trusted in His sovereignty and as I daily experienced His presence I further trusted that He knew best. Flash forward several years and the Lord has led me in ways I could have never imagined. He has used me to lead others, to love other cultures, to be mentored in ministry, and to continue to prepare me for this path that He has for me.

As a disclaimer, I want to clear something up. I believe that to pursue ministry, to become a missionary, or a pastor, or whatever - is no "higher" a calling than to be a businessman, or a nanny, or a garbage man. Is the expectation higher? Yes, according to Scripture it should be - but the level of righteousness is not higher. You don't have to go to Africa and serve in an orphanage to be the most "righteous" Christian. I strongly, strongly believe that we are all called to be missionaries - yet God leads us all uniquely, according to His plan, whether that's to serve within a secular workplace, within your own home, or within the slums of the Philippines.

So I want to clear that up because I do believe that even missions can become selfish. Our human hearts are prone to evil (Genesis 6:5). We must be on guard against the attacks of Satan even within our own churches, even within the work that at it's foundation is meant to glorify the Lord. To follow God's path is a matter of a heart aligned with His, not your own checklist which attempts to achieve strong faith. 

God has placed me on this unique path towards ministry, towards vocational missions; and I am continually humbled that He could use me to serve others and to share His love. It's really as simple as that. What I have learned through my ministry experience is that people are people, and sin is sin all over the world. Yes, it looks different; yes, cultures vary; yes, certain kinds of sin may be more rampant in certain places - but nonetheless, God is God and His people need Him - here, there, everywhere.

I have been preparing and praying that God may send me according to His timing. That if He called me to go I would go, if He called me to stay I would stay. After a lot of prayer, consideration, and mentorship I have decided to commit to an organization called BVS, the service branch of the Brethren denomination which accepts all denominations. In exactly one week, I will attend a three-week long orientation outside of Orlando, Florida where I will form a community with others being sent out and will ultimately be assigned my ministry project. BVS has placements both domestically and internationally, and they will work with me and pray with me as we seek God's guidance to what location and ministry I am to serve in.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
I would love love love if you all could pray for me within this process. It is an exciting time, but my biggest desire is that I may simply be a vessel for the continuing work of God.

Will you pray for me? That the Lord may provide me wisdom as I consider the various ministry projects and locations. That I will take time to be still, to listen, and to discern where He is leading. That I may form strong relationships with the others who are being prepared to go so that we may build a support and encouragement system for one another. That all those who are currently out serving both domestically and internationally would be renewed day by day. That the ministries would not become something focused on works or perfection, but would continue to be centered on the presence of God and would bear fruit by His hand. That through these ministries people may ultimately experience God and desire to know Him more, that His Kingdom would be expanded and that His sovereignty recognized.  

I am so excited for this next step and fully believe in the power of prayer and the body of Christ. I would love if you would support me as I begin this journey that God has ordained. May He receive the glory, always. 

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