Running Wind Sprints in Heaven

By Sunday, September 3, 2017 0 0

As a missionary, one of the biggest areas of sacrifice that I face is leaving family behind. Of course, I don’t mean the immediate family of my wife and kids, but the rest of my family – my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law and my nephew. This is an area that will probably always be difficult in my life as I live in another country and try to follow where God leads.

Not enough is often said, though, of the sacrifice of leaving church family. I grew up in Eastgate Bible Fellowship and spend a lot of time with the people that made it a church. I watched parents raise their children. I saw how various men treated their wives. I watched how people worshiped and struggled with their faith and was able to see how God used them in various ways. I also gained a number of role models.

This brings me to David McBee, our friend, ministry partner and financial adviser, who passed away this week. I knew that David lived with many physical struggles in his life. But I didn’t know because he shared it with me or because he complained about it. I often wonder how I was aware of these things because, truth be told, in his serving Jesus Christ, David didn’t really let on that he had those physical struggles. David taught a Sunday school class every Sunday morning without complaint and was always prepared. He led with humor and humility. He arrived on Sundays ready to hear how other people were and how he could pray for them. I could always expect a warm smile and usually a hug from David each time I saw him.

From David, I learned how to put my discomfort aside and look to other people first. I learned that a little levity can go a long way. I learned that being honest about your failings and limits allows you to praise God’s power all the more. I learned these things watching David simply live his life within our church family.

When we return from Texas in December I will certainly notice David’s absence just as I will notice pastor Brad’s. My spiritual family has lost another one of its brothers here are earth. A sister has lost her husband. I know that she is in good hands with our Father God and with her brothers and sisters in Christ at Eastgate. God has and will continue to work in and through Debbie’s life as he carries her through this loss.

I thank God for the time that I had with David here on earth and I look forward to when we are reunited in Heaven. It will be fun to spend time with the David I never knew here; the one who will probably challenge me to a wind sprint and beat me handily.

Serving in Colville, Washington

By Monday, May 4, 2015 0 0
Last weekend we had the privilege of serving at an event near Colville called Bonfire. The founders of Singing Waters Ministries host Bonfire each year as a way to introduce teenagers to vocational ministry. On their large property they set up 8 challenge courses. After registering and getting organized in the lodge, the kids eat their sack lunch and get ready to start the challenges, which take the rest of the day. In teams, the teens go through the courses, practicing team building and working together to accomplish each challenge. At a few of the challenges, the teens sit down to hear from a missionary. Chris camped out at a friendship chain, cheering teams on as they linked arms one by one and tried to walk on a wire from a platform to a tree and then to another tree. When a student lost his balance, he had to go back to the end of the line and the teammates had to fix the connect their chain.

2015-04-25 15.24.22

Sometimes it feels like our testimonies are unique among missionaries. We came to the game kind of late, we don’t have seminary in our background, and we weren’t involved in church planting prior to the call to missions. But as Chris shared his story, or God’s story in his life, with the teenagers, it struck me that God may be using our unique stories to call others to ministry. The fact is, we weren’t walking the path. Nobody, least of all us, expected this path. And even as we walk it, so many unexpected things have happened. But we were willing, which is what Bonfire is all about – reminding students that if they are a true disciple of Jesus Christ, they will be willing to consider how God wants to use them to advance His kingdom. It might not be full time ministry, but it absolutely will involve supporting missionaries, evangelism, and sacrificial living of some kind. I can only hope we played a role in diminishing fears or doubts for students.

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After the challenge courses were completed, everyone went to the lodge for chili dog dinner and a speaker. Finally, the night ends with a bonfire bigger than a house (not kidding!).

Some MK perks our kids experienced on this trip included a family road trip, stopping at a rest stop near Blue Lake to study the map (homeschooling on the road!), exploring the beautiful property that belonged to our hosts, and making new friends everywhere they went.

A Ministry Vision Update

By Saturday, March 21, 2015 0 0

A photo posted by Rosalie (@mrsduryee) on

How often do you think about joy? Hopefully it’s often, and not only in the context of wishing you had more joy. Hopefully you are joyful. Hopefully people are glad to be with you and you are glad to be with others. Although by God’s grace I grow in joy every day, I was not always a very joyful person; joy does not always come naturally to me.

I am reading a book called Joy Starts Here: the transformation zone. It’s changing my life… by changing how I approach relationships. The skills I’m learning include ways to make my relationship with a person more important than a problem between us, even (or especially) in distress. God is the ultimate example of making the relationship more important than the problem. Sin and the resulting separation was the problem, and God sent his beloved son to die for our sin so that we could have a repaired relationship. Relationship > problem.

Wow.

As Mama to a preschooler and a toddler, I’m practicing these skills a lot! The book emphasizes growing joy in the home, church and school – three places people spend most of their time.

One section in particular impacted me regarding our ministry as church planters. We must cultivate a healthy group identity in order for the church to thrive and continue to grow.

No human community is free from dysfunctions related to sin and iniquity, but living in the transformation zone corrects many of our deformities as joyful maturity grows. We see a decrease in fear and fear-bonded relationships. Spontaneous vulnerability increases because we feel safe, respected and protected. The strong and the weak rest together. Protectors pass their skills to the next generation. Weak people find courage to create belonging and joyfully create places for others. Joyful relationships cultivate a “glad to be with you” lifestyle. We will find days for rest, help for the poor, creativity, generosity, diligence, maturity, honesty, hopefulness, investment in the future, training, curiosity, play, and other virtues when joy is central to a group identity.” – From Joy Starts Here, page 80

That is the kind of church I want to plant. As I disciple young Spaniards, I want to see God cultivate the virtues listed above in their hearts, because I know that will lead to satisfying and healthy relationships, which is the central theme of one of the scriptures that motivates me to want to plant churches in dark Western Europe, 1 John 1:6-7.

We want to see the Gospel transform the lives of people in Spain, churches planted and disciples multiplied. Joy is the heart behind our desire, because the true joy given through believing the Good News can change a whole community.

Knowing the Gospel {Day 16}

By Thursday, October 16, 2014 0 0

This may be redundant for some of our readers who also follow our missionary friends in Ukraine, Caleb and Christina, but it’s that good.

In particular, I love the section beginning at 4:13, about how the power of God has been sucked out of our “proclamations” of the Gospel. He asks, What’s happened to our church today? America is not even on the map of church growth. What’s happened to us?

Some clips that really spoke to me:

“The Good News is not a suggestion to the world. The Good News is not good advice. The Good News is not asking you to give Jesus a try.”

 

“We don’t need people to fill a spot on a stage, we need people who are ready to give their lives in missionary sacrifice and to die for the sake of the Gospel!”

 

“If you come to serve Jesus in ministry don’t come for the sake of the stuff and the building, come for the sake of the lives of the lost.”

Take 45 minutes to watch this sermon, if you care are knowing the Gospel so that you can share it with others.

The ending is particularly poignant and I feel much more prepared to share the Gospel with Spaniards (and my neighbors!) having heard this sermon.

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com

To Know and Be Known {Day 9}

By Thursday, October 9, 2014 0 0

WordPress had a little glitch and so my scheduled posts for day 7 and day 8 didn’t post at 6 am pst like they were supposed to. They’re up now!

Interests

God really blessed us this weekend as we spoke at a church up north, near Bellingham. We were especially excited to speak to the youth group on Saturday evening, and God even provided babysitters for us – friends who had moved from Bellevue to just a couple minutes away from the church where we were speaking. It was lovely to be able to focus on the teens and know that our kids were safe and happy. We received a warm welcome on Sunday and Chris preached a moving sermon. It was one I’d heard before (missionary problems), but I felt like he was preaching right to me!

Our hosts were angels. They fed us delicious food, gave us a warm bedroom (separate from our kids!) and a comfortable bed, and offered support to us the whole weekend. We introduced this couple to Susanna and Ms. Penny and Mr. Jerry, but by the end of the weekend Susanna was sitting on Penny’s lap and calling her Grandma.

Although the pastor was out of town, there were some familiar faces – kids and parents who had been at Family Camp with us – and that added to our comfort in this unfamiliar church.

During our Sunday School presentation, which covers Spain and our ministry there, we talked a lot about building relationships and how we’ll meet people and share the Gospel with them. We have a slide with some photos of our interests – a camera and some shots of party printables I’ve designed for me, and small aircraft and motorcycles (a sort of new interest) for Chris. As we share some of our interests, we pray that God would show people how He can use their own passions to reach people with the Gospel. We try to convey, “if you find someone with whom you share a passion, you’ll quickly reach a point in your relationship where you can move past small talk and speak about important things. Share their enthusiasm for a hobby or interest, and ask God to give you opportunities to talk about the One Who is passionate about them.

And that’s the way that God blessed us most. I felt known in that church.

Our host, Jerry, is a pilot with a small aircraft and he is looking forward to taking airplane-obsessed Chris up next time we’re in town.

They have a little granddaughter about Susanna’s age, and a whole closet full of toys that entertained our kids for hours.

A man came up to Chris after our presentation and said, “you like motorcycles? I have a collection.”

A group of guys laughed more than politely at Chris’s jokes about how much teenagers eat and how we answer the common question, “are you going to run with the bulls?” (Emphatic NO. But we might watch if you come visit).

A woman thanked me for sharing my testimony and we prayed for her granddaughter who might be coming to live with them. Those sacrificial grandparents come out of the woodwork everywhere I go, it seems. She asked my dad’s name and I know she’ll pray for him.

I sat and listened to a special needs gal ruminate on her name… Susan Margaret.

How does this relate to preparing for the mission field? I have great confidence because we are prayed for by people who know us, to a God who knows us intimately. None of us is anonymous in the kingdom of God.

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com