a new chapter: journey into the unknowns of mission work

large family accepting God's call to mission field

large family headed to mission field

missionary kids at play in America

missionary family of ten headed to foreign land

I’ve been absent from here lately and not because I’ve had nothing to say. Mostly it’s because I’ve had so much to say that I didn’t know where to start or how to say it.

In a word, God has been busy. I guess that was four words, but who’s really counting?

Our feet have been set on a new, somewhat unexpected path. We’ve been nervous about sharing because it all seems so unreal and, if we’re being honest, terrifying. The known is comfortable, like a pair of well-worn jeans that just fits like a new pair usually doesn’t. The unknown, however, is a bit like wearing a mini-skirt when you’re used to wearing a sari. I’ll save my thoughts on mini-skirts for another day but now that we’re on the topic of saris…

I may actually need one.

Because we’re in the beginning stages of making preparations to enter the foreign mission field. At this point, our destination looks to be Thailand but nothing is in stone.

In fact, the situation couldn’t be more fluid.

The only thing we know for certain is that God has called us to prepare. For what, we don’t know. For where, we aren’t certain. For when, we’re unclear. All we know is that for months, years maybe, God has been calling us to change. He’s been calling us to set aside all the distraction, the fight for success as the world defines it, and listen for Him to direct our steps. We’ve had a hunch that might ultimately look radical but we had no clue it would be this.

But then we heard Him whisper to our hearts, each of us on the same day, in response to the same message on mission work we were hearing from two visiting speakers. That was our first clue.

Our second clue came when I was actually willing to entertain the idea.

Because…and here’s the kicker…we’d be leaving the two oldest boys here and that fact alone tears my heart out. They’re almost 21 and 20 and one is at University while the other is in trade school and working full-time. It is unthinkably hard to be asked to leave them at such a rapidly changing time in their lives. My mom heart wants to be right here to catch them if they need catching or to be a shoulder when it’s a shoulder they’re needing. The thought of being half a world away, consumed by foreign mission work instead of being near to them, is incomprehensible to me right now, but they’ve both encouraged us to go.

Our third clue came when we decided to ask God for confirmation that this call to the foreign mission field was truly from Him. We knew we’d need that strength of conviction in the weeks and months ahead as we met naysayers, not to mention our own doubts. And so we threw out a prayer fleece and we prayed for God to reveal Himself through that prayer. Because there was a trip to Thailand being planned in November and we felt led to ask God to open the way for Robbie to make the trip if this path was the correct one to pursue. But we also asked Him to firmly close the door on the trip if we were not supposed to continue to take the next steps.

Basically, there were 6 things standing in our way that would prevent him from making the trip, and within 24 hours all 6 obstacles had been cleared. All of them.

And so the beginning preparations for that initial trip have been set in motion. However, we’ve only just begun this journey. There are many, many, MANY things to be done and obstacles to be cleared to make the official entrance into the foreign mission field a reality. So many things and so many decisions that it literally makes my head hurt and my chest tight if I think on it too much. Pretty much I have to take deep breaths almost constantly and keep reminding myself that if this call is truly from God, which we already have the needed evidence that it is, He will open all the necessary doors and clear the way that’s currently blocked. {update: He whispered to me how we should actually be praying and I shared it here} He’ll soften the needed hearts and He’ll provide us the wisdom and strength to take each step as He leads us, with careful consideration of all those whom this stands to affect.

And so it is, with admitted fear and trepidation, that I solicit your prayers and invite you into our journey to into mission work. There is no escaping the fact that the battle between good and evil is ramping up and yet there are still so many people who have never heard the name of Jesus or, at the very least, don’t have a clue who He is or what He’s done for them. We can no longer sit here decorating our houses and grappling for increased wages and nicer possessions when there are people literally dying for lack of hope. And if the truth is to be told, we can’t stand by another year and watch this laodicean culture chip away at our children.

If we don’t respond to this call to radically alter the condition of our lives, we’re going to lose them and then look back and wonder where it all went wrong. We’ll see all the ways we gave them church and fed them Scripture and be astonished that it wasn’t enough. They need to SEE Jesus and we can’t help them see Him when their eyes are filled with themselves and the filth being shoved at them from every direction.

They need a sense of purpose. We need a sense of purpose. A purpose that isn’t about dollar signs or getting ahead or beating out the next guy. Whether God calls us abroad or into our community, we need to go with both hands and both feet and a mind and heart laser focused with singleness of purpose.

To live these few and fleeting days on this earth well. And to live them sold out for Him.

If we’re doing that, we’re all missionaries. Every last one of us.

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1 thought on “a new chapter: journey into the unknowns of mission work”

  1. Wow! This is HUGE! But I am so excited for you. I’m so glad you have the assurance and confirmation for this next big step in your lives because you will surely need it. I am so excited to hear more about where you will be going and what specifically you’ll be doing as you know more details! In the meantime I’ll be praying that they way is prepared for you. Please let me know if there is anything Nick and I can do for you and you’re family! We are so thrilled for you!

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