We were once asked, “if you know you’re called to Spain–that God wants you to be serving the church in Spain–then why aren’t you in Spain?”
The question was meant with respect and spiritual challenge, not flippantly. And as a financial partner, our friend had every right to ask.
I think about this question every day. Why aren’t we in Spain? God has definitely called us there. A series of events and circumstances brought us to this point. And a calling is just that: I feel as though the telephone of my life rang in 2008, and when I picked up, God said, “Go to Spain. Serve the church in Spain.”
So, what are we waiting for?
Well, we’re waiting for God. Our timing is not His timing. He has plans for us on prefield that will make us more effective on-field. More effective, longer lasting, and most importantly, more God-glorifying.
Here are some things He is doing while we wait:
- Education: Chris has sat in the chairs of a Bible-preaching church for a long time, seeking a deep relationship with the Lord. As a result, he knows a lot about the Bible. He can talk about it, defend it, and even preach from it effectively. He knows the plan of salvation and can tell someone how to become a Christian very easily and confidently (this is not something the average Christian is able to do, folks). But there is so much more to learn, for both of us. ABWE uses a model of teaching the Bible that shows how the Old and New Testament are woven together intentionally to build a complete picture of Jesus Christ. This is something Eastgate has been emphasizing as well. So our textbook learning and our church learning, which is what we typically use to apply to our lives on a daily basis, have been in sync.
- Trust: every day we learn to trust Him more fully for provision of our daily bread. This is something we have always thought we were doing, but never truly were.
- Perseverance: the youth group we have led over the last few years has been small and needy. We constantly have to step out into the community to meet kids in order to reach them, because they’re not always already in our church. And they deal with a lot of junk. They don’t know much about the Bible or faith or what it means to follow Jesus. Sound familiar? The kids we’ve ministered to since 2009 have been just like the ones we’ll meet in Spain. We’ve been fortunate to be able to disciple some college-age kids too, and we may be leading a college study when summer is over.
- Ministry: We’re optimistic, but we’re not disillusioned. We know that to do ministry in there, we had better be doing it here. We know that we have a lot to learn about running a church sharing the Gospel, and discipling people. So every day, we seek the Lord and ask Him to give us people to minister to. People to keep our hearts beating for Jesus’ glory no matter where we are. And he answers, probably more often than we are even aware, and we are challenged to be obedient even though we are tired, busy, or scared. We know we will be tired, busy, or scared in Spain too.
- Partnership: One day, we’ll be far away from the people and churches we depend on for support. So during this time we aim to get to know our partners well. We are enjoying coffee dates, emails and dinners out with the team of people that God has designed (and is still growing) to partner with us in ministry in Spain. We’re learning from them about overcoming challenges in ministry. Our newest partner was on staff with Cru for many years and I look forward to picking their brains and hearing their heart for college students and the unique people to whom they ministered.