Harvests {Day 27}

By Tuesday, October 28, 2014 0 0

Sometimes when I am raising my eyebrows at the mountain of support we still have to raise to get to the field and asking God to do His thing and call people to partner with us, I remember that He has multiple harvests to bring in. Not that the number limits Him in any way, but my perspective shifts when I remember the bigger picture.

First in my mind, there’s the harvest of generous people, the Church, who must fund missions. We’re always on the lookout for people who want to be part of what God is doing in missions around the world, and we pray that God would prompt people to give generously and sacrificially to missions for the sake of the Gospel around the world.

The only reason God even has to call such people to join our team is because we answered a call of a different kind: the call to serve. So while we are traveling around, sharing how dark it is in Spain and how God has called us to shine the light of Jesus there, we represent two great needs: our need for support, and the world’s need for missionaries to share the Gospel. While we are praying that God would call people to partner with us financially so that we can go, God may also be using our story to call others to serve Him in missions. Indeed, a primary focus of ours should be calling people to live missionally wherever they are or may be called!

Simultaneously, God is drawing people to Himself who have turned from Him or who have never met Him, through the Good News.

I must get out of the way. God has work to do! His sole purpose is to bring glory to Himself, and He does it by simultaneously calling people to eternity with Him through Christ, calling people to eternal reward from Him by serving Him in missions, and calling people to share in the fruit of the labor done by missionaries by supporting them.

Good thing He is big enough for the job.

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

A Legacy {Day 21}

By Tuesday, October 21, 2014 0 0

Before and after the Israelites make their escape from Egypt (don’t believe your Bible map for a second. It’s based on loose theories, old archeology and church “tradition,” and check this out instead), God gives detailed instructions for how to celebrate the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The point is to remember how God brought His people out of Egypt with a strong arm and pass that legacy on to every generation after.

This week I have been spending time remembering God’s faithfulness in my life; how he has delivered me, brought me out of difficult circumstances, and provided when the situation seemed impossible. I have needed these memories because I find myself needing God’s strong arm again.

This is the legacy I want to pass on to my children: not grumbling, anxiety and fearful whining, but hanging the faithfulness of God between my eyes (Exodus 13:16) if that’s what it takes, and celebrating how God already delivered us through His son Jesus Christ (this is enough!) and how He will bring us through our trials for His glory.

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

Bumbles and Blunders {Day 18}

By Saturday, October 18, 2014 0 0

Ok. Here’s the honest reason this post is so late. I’ve had in my head for days. But it has been a battle of courage to post.

God gave me this scripture passage recently.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

(Proverbs 9 ESV)

Such a fascinating passage for me. Although the translations vary greatly in word choice (for example, words used for “reprove” in other translations: rebuke (NIV), reason with (MSG), correct (NLT). Words used for “scoffer” in other translations: mocker (NIV and others), arrogant cynic (MSG)), I don’t struggle to understand the meaning: wise people receive criticism gracefully.

Recently it has felt like we have made one mistake, bumble or blunder after another. I feel like we look like fools to everyone we meet, particularly those with whom we’re sharing our ministry. At low moments, it has felt like I am foolish even before God.

When God was calling us to missions, I prayed often that I would learn to walk in the Spirit like I never had before. I asked God to give me wisdom and discernment in areas I had never considered needing it. I sought to make all my decisions by consulting the Lord first. My desire was threefold: I wanted confirmation of my calling at every turn, I didn’t want to waste a moment that God might use to prepare or bring us to the mission field, and I wanted to be an example to those watching of what it means to walk in the Spirit.

James tells us that God answers every prayer for wisdom. I can see a growth in my life in this area of wisdom and spirit-led thinking. And yet this month I have struggled greatly with feeling stupid, unequipped, unqualified; feeling like I have misunderstood God, misunderstood my role; and wondering if I can trust what I believe God has said to me.

So far we’ve handled criticism with grace. I wouldn’t say we have loved it, but we’ve seen the value and adjusted and made amends as best we can. Others have extended grace to us as well. And I am extending grace to myself, as I know my Heavenly Father does. These feelings of insecurity are probably from the enemy. A wise mentor advised me to write down the messages I believe God has given me that I am doubting and count the ways He has confirmed Himself. So I am working on that, and repeating Galatians 1:10 to myself. The first verse I ever memorized.

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? For if I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Jesus Christ approves me because of Who He is and what He did. He is creating a new creature in me and the metamorphosis is hard, but worth it.

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

“Do It Now” {Day 14}

By Tuesday, October 14, 2014 0 0

You know that cheesy quote, “it’s not the destination, but the journey?” Sometimes I really hate that quote. But the journey is pretty important too, in our case, and I have been thinking about how the mission field, like marriage, can amplify problems. If you worry a lot at home, you’ll worry a LOT on the field, for example. Here are some more I’ve thought of and we’ve heard from veteran missionaries. And of course, it’s a process. We don’t have any of these down perfectly or Jesus would already have come back.

If you don’t have a devotion time now, you won’t when you get to the field.

If you don’t share the Gospel with people in the States, you won’t share it with people in Spain.

If you don’t know how to answer hard theological questions in English, you won’t be able to answer them in Spanish. Even once you have a handle on the language.

If you don’t know how to budget with a steady paycheck, you won’t succeed on a missionary income.

If you don’t take time to rest and take care of yourself at home, you won’t do it abroad.

If you fight with your spouse or lose your temper with your children at home, you’ll probably fight more and have less patience under stress.

If you don’t have time to talk to your neighbors now, you won’t have time to meet them when you get to the field.

Can you think of any more “if you” statements that might apply to ministry?

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