Eleven years ago was a long period of searching for truth about God to feed my own soul. I’d lost my grandpa. My (now former) fiancé had called off our wedding four months before we were to be married. In short, I was in a state of life- altering confusion.
One night alone in my room kneeling by my bed, when I was at a point of final desperation, I cried out to God, tears waterfalling down my cheeks.
I can’t do this anymore. I have tried to live my life my way and all I have is a mess. Lord, I want you to take charge of my life. I am sorry for all the bad things I’ve done, the self-centered person I’ve been and horrible decisions I’ve made. I want a different life now if it’s not too late.
Early the next morning, just as I was beginning to awake, my eyes not quite open yet, I heard it.
Moving to Africa was like seeing a new version of my husband.
Sure; in some ways it aged us and strained us in ways we could have never experienced. But it was also extremely cool to see my husband as the guy tooling around an African metropolis, learning to navigate the streets to care for his family. I would have never anticipated the overwhelming generosity he possessed; the crazy-cool gifts of cultural understanding and helping Africans through heartbreaking conflicts and difficulties. What if I’d never seen the African version of him? And as I at last realized my dream of moving overseas, we laughed out loud about the “Afro-disiac” it was for our marriage!
While living in Uganda, we paid a trusted African friend to watch our kids while we went on date nights. At first, she looked at us like we’d grown horns.
“He still takes you out on dates?”
She opined aloud that if I were Ugandan and had borne four children, my husband would probably be looking for another woman to…entertain him. So believe it or not, our consistent dates and happy marriage were a fun and refreshing testimony to those watching us.
One of the biggest stresses on my engagement wasn’t really the normal stuff–the wedding planning or whatnot. It was a phrase I’d rerun over in my head a hundred times: I don’t feel called overseas. Evangelism is not my gift. My husband-to-be surpassed the one I’d been looking for so many times over. And it really did seem God was leading us to marriage.
But was he?
Was I…selling out? I’d been headed in an overseas direction for years. What was I missing?
Surveys can tell you what you already know. You’ve felt it slip down your back, constrict your chest, look away in mortification, slide beneath your fake smile. The #1 obstacle to entering full-time ministry?
Fear of fundraising.
Um. But–a lot of people have raised money for short-term trips. Why wouldn’t they stick their necks out there for long-term global work?
The Bake Sale Approach
To answer that, let’s look at some traditional ways people raise funds for short term stuff:
Yet another reason why we dig Jesus: Every person was an individual to him. He’d step away from the crowds to hear that one person crying out–and to ask them specific questions about where they were, right where he found them. It’s why Go. Serve. Love is keen on global work that isn’t McMissions. People are more than a one-size-fits all McMethod.
Working with the poor is a whole different animal when it comes to effectively planting churches and sharing our faith. Are we willing to accept the personal risk, risk for sending churches, and build truly effective national strategies?Acts29 asks wise and heart-provoking questions in this post on The Gospel & Class: Risky Business.
Arriving in your host country, you’re eager to get started. But it’s been six months, and language learning has been killer. Your new language has three different n sounds made with varying positions of your tongue.
It’s exactly what happened to me as I relocated to West Africa. I recognized that a deep sharing of Jesus as their sin-taker and life-giving Savior with my new Muslim friends was going to be more like a marathon than a sprint.