Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 1: The sled perched on the hilltop

I see our missionary journey as a sled, perched on the hilltop, ready to tilt into motion. (I must have been born in Winnipeg to feel that metaphor.)

We begin the day, sitting in front of young people who are wondering aloud: "Don't you sometimes think, 'Am I enough for this? Will everything I try fail?'" One gal admits, "I had nightmares last night about crashing when we go to ..." Hundreds of us sitting at the chapel during the first lectures of pre-field orientation can relate.

The director of AG World Missions, Greg Mundis, shares principles for missionaries. These include keeping healthy spirits, bodies, minds, and emotions; planting indigenous churches with teams and local partnerships; proclaiming Good News holistically, within the cultures and world views of the people to whom we're sent ... all of it EMPOWERED by the Spirit.

W's life and missions timeline
Then the Communications Director, Randy Hurst, speaks about AGWM's mission of Reaching, Planting, Training, and Touching the world. "You're not a missionary if you're not sharing the gospel. It may only take 2-3 people to make a church... Call it what you will, a group, a gathering. You should be disciplining or mentoring someone. We do not evangelize in a vacuum. Remember, even the stoniest ground has been prepared by the Spirit of God."

He reminds us that the Spirit has gone before us, will go with us, and will be there after we leave. We pray together for the Spirit's power to rest on this large group of missionaries and associates. It's a moving moment for W and me. We trust that God's power and direction will continue to be clear to us.

My life and missions timeline
The Missionary Associates meet together to cover some logistics before lunch. Jennifer Pulley is a hoot. I don't know how she can make the overview interesting, but she does.

Over lunch, we meet others going to our region. One couple has planted churches and pastored: they're our age and are excited about going to Tonga. During a breakout session, we hear stories from young people going to SE Asia. Everyone takes colored markers, a blank sheet of paper, and draws a timeline of their calling. Then we talk about why we're sitting together, using our sketches as media.

Finally, we sit in on a session about MKs (missionary kids). The presentation is funny and engaging. The realization hits me like a blow again. Our grandkids will meet us online rather than in person. They will grow up far away unless their parents come into missions near us.

Verlon and Melodee Fosner; Troy Jones; Jeffery
Portmann; Chris Corbett (@NCU, formerly
children's prof at NU); W and I, Dave
Cole, and Craig Gorc

God gives us a special supper treat at Bambu, a Vietnamese restaurant: we meet with the NWMN cohort who is finishing their coursework at the seminary this week. We love these men and women and trust them as ministry partners and coworkers. Dave Cole pauses when most have left to offer a prophetic encouragement, a word from God dispelling our fears and questions. "You've been prepared for this time by everything you've done. God is in it so don't be afraid."

"Just what we needed," W and I say to each other on the way home. Dave's words match the confirmation of the whole day. This is the right time and we have a sure calling to do this.

Our homework tonight is designing a 3-minute presentation calling others into partnership. (Giving is a delightful and godly privilege: we'll serve on behalf of those who support God's mission through us.)

Lucky us to have supported others in the past! Lucky us to be going! Lucky you to be sending us! What joy we have in working together as servants of the King.

Read more:
*But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.  1 Chronicles 29:14 (NKJV)

*Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday sun. Psalm 37:4-6 NKJV

*Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 1 Peter 4:10 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Lord of all wisdom, you have given us many gifts; gifts we should offer to others in service and in love. Help us to be your good stewards always. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment