We had the privilege of sharing at Lake Tapps Community Church a couple of Sundays ago. This is the church that Emilie grew up attending. In it we share who we are and what we hope to do in the Dominican.
Over the last month that we have been raising support I have gone through a myriad of emotions. I have felt joyful, overwhelmed, anxious, thankful, humbled, excited, discouraged, encouraged… I am not sure if all those are actually emotions but it is how I have felt. But through all those emotions the main thing that I have felt is blessed.
How amazing is it that the Lord has allowed my family to prepare for the mission field? It is this incredible gift that the Lord has given us. We get to be used by God to go and make disciples and teach other people in a different country about our Lord and Savior.
Every time that we have received a support gift I feel so immensely blessed. I try and explain in words how I feel ever time I find out about another person supporting us, but I am not sure that I can. Every time I hear of someone else supporting us I feel like falling on my knees in humility and gratitude and praising the Lord (but people might things I have lost my mind if I did this). It is an amazing opportunity and privilege for someone to tell you they have chosen to support you. How great is the Lord that he has impressed on different people’s hearts to give to us (well really the Lord) their hard earned money. I don’t feel worthy, but the Lord is using other people to send us out on the mission field. It is a blessing beyond words.
Another blessing is getting to hang out and talk to so many awesome people. Raising support makes you be all the more intentional about hanging out with people. I have realized that I desperately need other people’s partnership to be successful. I have been so blessed by our friends and family as we have shared with them what the Lord has impressed upon our hearts. I have been so encouraged by you all!
Thank you all who have given, are planning on giving, or are praying about giving, you have been an amazing blessing to us. I praise the Lord for your generosity!
I’ve been studying the book of Matthew lately and have been struck by the three missionaries in chapter 12. Here’s the reference:
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
While these were three real historical people, they represent different current views of proclaiming the gospel. Let’s look at them one at a time shall we?
Jonah: Jonah was told to go and proclaim repentance to a certain people group, not any people group mind you, the most miserable and roten people you’ve ever heard of. A people who probably were the cause of a ton of strife in Jonah’s life. He probably knew people who were greatly mistreated, beaten, and even killed at the hands of these ruthless Ninevites, yet God called him to GO and proclaim repentance among these brutal people. We all know the story, Jonah went the other way, was swallowed by a giant fish, offered up a bogus prayer of “sorrow,” and ended up proclaiming repentance for around 4.6 seconds in a ginormous city, only to see the entirety of the population come to fear and know the Lord, but how long did that last (see the rest of the Bible concerning Assyria)? Jonah is the missionary who goes (willingly or unwillingly) to a people, helps out for a bit, preaches justification, and takes off or moves on without any care for the rest of their lives.
Solomon: Solomon’s dad just so happened to be the ideal king of a people group that was supposed to be the example to a fallen world, and while his dad was the ideal king, Solomon had the ideal kingdom. Everyone wanted to come see what he was up to. People came from all around to ask, “Bro, what’s your deal that God would bless you so much?” You know how your middle school/high school youth pastor told you to live a life in such a way that people would be compelled to ask you, “How can I be saved?” And how it was just that easy, all you had to do was to avoid the big three: Smoking, Drinking, and Premarital Sex and you wouldn’t need to have any awkward conversation with anyone, but that they would bang down your door wanting to be just like you? Solomon may be the only guy that actually lived that type of life. All he needed to do to spread the gospel was to be awesome; to do awesome things and to build awesome stuff. Nothing out of his comfort level, just do you’re own deal and people will inevitably come to you.
Jesus: The last of the missionaries we’ll look at didn’t have huge numbers of converts, didn’t (eventually) have anyone come seek him out to follow his lead, and pretty much ended up as poorly as you can imagine with 12…make that 11 followers who, to a man, ended up deserting him as He died a criminals death exposed before all to see. Jesus had to find his own followers, He had to call them out of their comfortable lives into a life filled with uncertainty and hardship. He had to take them from unknowing to knowledgable, from dimwitted to enlightened. He had to struggle with their struggles and didn’t have much time after their successes to celebrate before they made huge morons of themselves (see Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ only to be called Satan four verses later).
With hindsight and name recognition on our side, it’s easy to see who the hero of the three missionaries is, it’s Jesus. Jesus with his ragtag group of half-retarded fisherman followers. Jesus, even though he died a sinners death naked and alone. Jesus, even though his list of greatest achievements were all allocated to His Father. Jesus is the example we need follow. This is what we hope to do in the Dominican Republic. Please don’t expect to hear about some crazy big tent revival with a billion people professing repentance, don’t expect us to be the only civilized people in an otherwise barbaric land who have half naked tribesman coming out of the woodworks asking us why we are so different, no we aim to attack a country of otherwise dead sinners the same way Jesus did, by making disciples.
Jesus, the true God/Man spent three years making 12 disciples with a 91.6% success rate. We hope to be in the Dominican Republic for the rest of our lives. We’re 32 now, let’s say we have 30 good years left in us, now accounting for the lack of miracles and that neither of us are the fullness of deity dwelling in the body of a man, let’s divide the full number of disciples by three, round up, and multiply by 10; that means we’re hoping to change the lives of 40 people. That’s it. Forty people. Assuming we never need another cent than the $2,500 a month we’ll currently need, that comes to $900,000 we’re asking for the entirety of our mission, so we can intimately be involved with 40 people, or $22,500 a person.
So here it is, the bat meets the ball, the snot touches the Kleenex the fingers lay atop the keyboard (and other hopefully creative ways to avoid the cliché “the rubber meets the road”)…Will you help us? Will you give us $25, $50, or even $75 a month to us so we can proclaim Jesus, make disciples and otherwise be the change agents in the lives of 40 people? Sure, I could go into how disciples make disciples and how really your monthly pledge will go on to change the lives of countless people, but those generations of disciples are someone else’s blog post to write. We’re focused on 40. That’s it, just 40. Will you help?
Two weeks ago we moved into our friend’s guest house. It is one big room with a full kitchen and bathroom. We are so thankful the Lord provided this space for us through our friends. We are able to live here rent free and save lots of money for the Dominican. Some people have said, “Well at least it will help prepare you for life in the Dominican.” Well, the funny part about this is that we are going to have a house larger than we have ever lived in when we are down there for less than $400. But, for now we are here living in this small little house so that we can save every penny possible to get to the Dominican as soon as possible.
People keep asking me, “How is it?” I can honestly answer that I love it! It helps that the kids have more than enough space to play outside, ride their bikes and explore. Randy and I have sectioned off a place in the corner with a dresser and bookshelf that is “our room.” All four kids are in one bunk bed, we don’t have a dining room table, and there is no way to escape each other but I can honestly say that I love it. We were able to severely downsize which was great. Who doesn’t like getting rid of all the junk you have been carting around with you for years? I also remind myself that even in our new house we are living in more space than most people in our world live in.
We also love living in the country. It is quiet at night and we have even been woken up at night by coyotes. Claire has a dog to love on and the view all around us is amazing. We also live between two hills that I can run up and down during nap time.
It has actually made doing school way easier. I need to have something to keep the kids on schedule so they don’t tear apart the house. I like spending more time with the kids. I feel like I am getting to know them even better. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Getting to know them better shows you the areas that they excel and the areas where they need a more discipline. There is no hiding in our new place.
This is not to say that there hasn’t been any rough times. Today after school I forced everyone to go outside and eat lunch because I couldn’t stand anymore mess, noise, and craziness. I wouldn’t let them inside unless they sat on the couch or in their bed so they couldn’t mess anything up and I could clean. Mess happens much quicker when there is only 500ish square feet to put stuff in! I was about to lose it today.
I am thankful for this time that the Lord has given us, and anytime that I feel overwhelmed or claustrophobic I can look back at this blog post and remind myself to be thankful for what the Lord has given us.
View from the bathroom window
Most of the house. Everyone gets one of those green bins for their clothes.
It is amazing how God works in amazing ways at just the right time. The last couple days I have felt growing apprehension about raising support. It really does seem close to impossible to raise the amount of money that we need to raise in the time frame we want to raise it.
I look at our circle of influence and think, do we even know enough people to raise enough money? Am I really brave enough to ask people for money? Are people going to get annoyed with us asking for money? Will raising support change friendships? Or even I hope people realize that they can support us in so many more ways than financial support.
It is really hard putting yourself out there.
But, that is not what I want to write about today. What I want to write about is how God gives us gifts when we need it it. Gifts from God when he prompts people to give to us. There are so many stories to tell but a few of these gifts are when God prompts a 17 year old girl who has her first job to start supporting us monthly. Or this morning when I pray “God I am feeling discouraged, would it be possible to find out one more person is supporting us today?” Then I get a text from Randy that another person has pledged $50 monthly support.
I am so thankful for the ways God works through his people. Every gift we receive is such a huge encouragement to us.
My faith is so small and God is so big. I pray that I will continue to have faith in who God is.