So – this week we went to meet with Pastor Art Dykstra. He is the missions pastor at CC St Pete. I was a little nervous and there was a side of me that expected him to say, “what? are you crazy?”. Honestly, I had considered how I was going to encourage Randy after we left – as I was just certain we might hear hard caution, resistance and whoa’s.
Please note this in no way is a reflection on Pastor Art – it’s a reflection on this middle aged, deep rooted Floridian couple considering a call “they heard from God”.
Well – I sat there quietly (believe it or not) as Randy shared all that God has done. Art asked a few questions that would prompt another vein of thought and remembrance of how God has revealed Himself and shown Himself and has whispered in his ear.
A bit to my surprise – Art was more supportive, more encouraging, more confirming than I really ever expected or could have asked. And just as we were finishing up… in walks Pastor Andy Falleur and Josh Gilman from Ottawa, who finished us up with prayer. We have had the sweet privilege to be a part of his ministry in Ottawa through much prayer over the years, along with lending him our son and his family for a year.
Today, we spoke with Pastor Jeff Jackson with Shepherd Staff, the missionary facilitator we were recommended to align with. Over an hour conversation, ending in a sweet prayer that honors the GOD that would allow us to be a part of His work.
This evening, Randy spoke with Pastor Dan Finfrock, the founder of Intensive Care Ministries and developer of the IBS – Inductive Bible Study, that Randy used this past visit to Kisii. Dan invited him to join him on a trip to Cape Haitian where he is doing an IBS Seminar. This is particularly special as Cape Haitian is where my dad has had a ministry for over 35 years. Randy has always wanted to go there and see the work that God has done. This trip is in September and we are praying about the opportunity.
Of course our own Pastor Brett continues to give counsel and encouragement along this rather fast moving path and helps in keeping our focus on Christ as so much is happening so quickly.
One by one, God is placing godly men and women, who love Jesus, are committed to Him and His kingdom to confirm this call.
It continues to blow my mind. It continues to take my breath. It continues to deepen my faith.
In 2008 I went on a short-term Mission trip to Peru with a team from Calvary Chapel Palm Harbor led by the one and only Jim Nelson. It was a great trip and we accomplished great things. We met some wonderful people and had some really strange meals. All in all we were truly blessed. Upon returning to the states I began to think that how cool would it be to get involved with a Mission that you could truly become part of people’s lives. I remember praying almost in a joking way “God if you ever wanted to use me in mission work— I’ll do it!” That was four years ago!
In the meantime God has sent me three times to Kisii, Kenya. The first time by myself with no real plan except to encourage 2 young Pastor’s that I met through Bible Senders. I told them about my Church and how we study the Bible chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Nothing more! They were intrigued and wanted some guidance. Two more visits with Inductive Bible Studies and Discipleship and I’m thinking this is cool. This is what I had in mind. A trip to Kenya every year to encourage and help how I could (and maybe a Safari or two). I was thinking God answered my prayer. I built a few relationships and all was good…. Then, this past trip in the midst of Inductive Bible Study with 8 Pastors and leaders we had a session in which I was just watching these guys digging into the word and having great conversation about the text we were studying when an overwhelming feeling came over me. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt. Excitement and emotion all at once. I literally began to sob uncontrollably (if you know me you shouldn’t be surprised since I cry at McDonald’s commercials ). All of a sudden it got real quiet and these guys were looking at me like I was crazy! I felt crazy! The next Saturday at Story Time with about 20 village kids it happened again. I knew then that the Holy Spirit was prompting something more… a lot more…. One morning I was taking my morning walk The Lord spoke to me as never before, not audibly, but his voice clear. He was telling me that in order to accomplish what He has for me to do it will take more than a few weeks or months each year. He reminded me of the prayer I said “jokingly” four years ago. How could I argue? Be careful what you PRAY for…Right??!!!
So here we are— 24 weeks from heading to Kenya for who knows how long. Pray for us, it will be hard leaving behind family and friends but I must tell you – God has given us an AMAZING peace going forward.
The tables have turned a little. Instead of going to Kisii to visit for a couple of months a year, God willing, we’ll be coming home to visit. Pray for us in all of this.
We had a great VBS last week at church and while I had NO RESPONSIBILITIES with it, I still felt the drain. The kids were loud, excited and full of joy with at least 3 decisions for Christ by these little ones. PRAISE GOD!!! Pray that God will preserve their little hearts, protect them and give opportunity for them to grow and grow. Pray for their families as well.
We continue to press onward. This week we are set with a skype call with Pastor Jeff Jackson with Shepherd Staff – the Mission’s Facilitator Group we are praying to align with. We are meeting with Art Dykstra, the Missions Pastor at CC St Pete. We are working on a budget for our first year in Kenya. We are making contacts as God opens doors. And, we are continuing to hide our face in HIS WORD and in HIS lap.
I will be very honest here and tell you that I continue to gasp for breath as we continue to walk in faith. It’s been a couple of weeks filled with emotion and fervent seeking of HIM.
So it would be that in my current study of “God’s Way” a study I am currently doing with about 40 women from CCPH – I would be in verses that remind me… that HE will guide me and teach me in the way I should go… That with HIS counsel, He will guide me and then He promises to receive me into HIS glory!!! I’m resting in the promise that HE is near, HE is my refuge, HE is my strength, HE will sustain me. HE will bring me comfort, rest, and help in the time of need.
We need God’s wisdom on some decisions and that is what I would ask for prayer tonight. We have reconsidered the sale of our house but are seeking HIS direction.
I would also just ask your prayers as we seek to honor and to obey our LORD. The reality of this is setting in and while we do not question His call for one moment, the expected waves are crashing in. Pray that we will stay fixed on HIM. That we will be still and KNOW He is God and that we will have ears to hear HIS voice. Pray that in our desire to be obedient, He will comfort our hearts and the hearts of our family.
The song below captures my heart so clearly. I heard it just as I returned from Kenya with a clear hearing of HIS calling. It has wrapped my heart in HIS LOVE. Andrew & Jenn did it beautifully this morning for worship. I pray it touches you!
Another deep breath as we continue these steps in faith…. We have submitted our applications to Shepherd Staff Mission Facilitators.
God willing as we seek HIS plan – we will be leaving the states in about 27 weeks. We have a LOT to do, to accomplish, to go through… and honestly, it’s a bit overwhelming. So we have sat down and tried to make a plan to accomplish everything in a timely fashion that doesn’t leave us crazy in our last month which happens to also be the holidays.
SO – I’ve decided to ask your prayers. I thought I would take you along with us on the journey here and each week ask your specific prayers on the things we need to accomplish.
We can not express how vital your prayers are to this mission and – it’s mine – that God will bind our hearts through your prayers in our preparations, that when we do go – you will be strongly conditioned to be praying for us regularly!
1. I must finish a bookkeeping task at church (numbers make my brain hurt)
2. We will begin clearing out, purging and otherwise weeding through the family room and living room of our 30 years together. (a “keep, give away, trash” type task)
3. Please pray as I also begin this week leading a 7 week study on GOD’S WAY (perhaps HIS perfect timing just for me!!!)
4. Pray as Randy begins a LONG list of people to contact and also works on one looming piece of business that we very much need God’s favor on.
5. Pray that we will acknowledge HIM in every step, every day – knowing that HE will direct our path. (this will be our constant prayer)
This list could easily go on and on – but I tried to list those things that are heaviest on our minds and hearts.
Keep us accountable – and I will let you know how we do!
Pressing on to the goal – that higher calling of our LORD!