It was almost 6 years ago, now. 6 years, since Melissa and I answered the call that God had placed on our lives, to go tell the world about Him... that He is the only thing in this life worthy of giving your life to.
At the time, I was in school for my Social Work degree. By the time I had graduated in 2012, though, we'd already been accepted by our new agency, and were making plans and preparations to go to Africa. I just needed "a job" to pay the bills until we would leave, 1.5 years later.
And that was how I came to work at the Open Door Mission (http://www.opendoormission.org).
If you're not familiar, here is my summary:
Sold out followers of Jesus giving their lives to serve the poor, addicted, brokenhearted; working to provide long term solutions to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, and see those living in the dominion of darkness brought into the kingdom of the Son of God.
I can't really adequately describe the good that goes on at the Mission. I see it as the front lines, and God is at work there. It has become home to me, and I love it.
Yet, as much as I love it... as much as it 'fits' everything that I want to do with my life... I know that God has called me elsewhere.
I struggle with that -- a lot.
Let me explain -- At the mission, I see how much good comes as a result of our efforts. I see God at work in hearts. I see lives changed. I feel purpose, and joy to be part of such an amazing place... and so much more!
On the other hand, going to the mission field is not easy. For us, it means:
- Leaving everything we know
- Going to a place where we can't even speak to people without 1-2 years of study
- Working to see break through in one of the toughest countries in the world
- Being unsure -- of where we'll live, of exactly what we'll end up doing, of our finances, how the move will affect our children, whether we'll still have friends when we return, etc etc etc....
I hope that you can see the difficulty. I feel it deep in my bones. I am here, in a place where I find purpose and joy, but I KNOW that I am called by God to do something which looks and feels uncomfortable to me.
It requires me to not only step out in faith once, but again, every. single. day. Over and over again, call after call, meeting after meeting. I have to believe every day that a) He is GOOD and b) He is FAITHFUL. I have to know deep in my heart that God knows what he is doing by calling us to leave the known and comfortable, and to step out.
I don't think it's a decision that a rational person would make... yet, the Word says that we are called to Trust in the Lord -- NOT to lean on OUR UNDERSTANDING, but to instead ACKNOWLEDGE Him in everything we do, and when we do that, it says that he will make our ways straight.
And so, we move forward in Faith. Knowing that what we do is about serving HIM, more than it is about my longing to have a sense of purpose... more even than it is about helping others.
And, if we're honest, it is a tremendous struggle at times. But every step of the way, we learn a little more about how GOOD He is and how FAITHFUL He is.
And so, yesterday, I once more began taking steps towards stepping away from my position at the Mission. I'll continue on there all the way up until we leave for Japan, but each day we make more preparations to go, and we find ourselves not 'fully here' any longer.
It's not easy, and if I'm honest, it hurts a bit. I'll certainly leave a piece of myself here when I go. Yet, the grieving that I feel already comes out of knowing that such a good place exists, and I had the joy and pleasure of being here... even if only for a bit. I hope that moving forward, I'll carry it with me, and take that same serving and loving heart with me to the field.