I am a missionary.
It has taken some time for me to articulate this fact because I am not a traditional career missionary living in a foreign land 24/7.
While I’ve been a little hesitant to use the term I have at the same time been gearing towards full-time ministry for some dozen years. Easing in bit by bit and coming to the point last summer when I packed up my house and home into 15 boxes, my furniture fitting in at my folks, and me living out of small spaces gifted by those who invite me to stay with them.
I now live in North America the same way that I live when I am overseas. I sleep where I am told and I eat what I am given.
My expenses are now quite low in order that I’m not supporting big living expenses (I live in one of the most expensive places in North America) while I am out of town, overseas, and on the road.
All of this has been intentional. I and my team have been working to get me in position to be ready for the overseas work to take a larger portion of my life.
In case you don’t know I work alongside and through indigenous rural pastors. I bring spiritual refreshment (core weariness and strongholds loosed off in the power of Jesus), leadership development (growth in integrity and character), and ongoing discipleship (made into the image of God).
I was last in Mozambique in the fall of 2013, and am in the midst of planning a three-month trip back to Uganda. After that the options and invites are to another five countries.
This three months to Uganda is in my heart and mind for June, July, August of this year.
Coming up. Real soon like. Around the corner.
Now when I am in North America my time goes into continuing correspondence with our overseas pastors and leaders, into written projects that arise as training needs are highlighted in response to requests, into the ongoing discipleship material that goes out a couple times a month, and into the small but critical tasks of keeping an organization and team in sync with our core vision and each other.
And as I gear towards another trip, feeling the quickening of the Holy Spirit in all areas of my life (this always increases in preparation as I get nearer to ministry time overseas) I feel as though the Lord is telling me to pull back, to ease off of the work load.
Now, this is completely counter-intuitive. I am a naturally hard worker and put in many hours every day, often more than I should. Gearing towards a ministry trip would naturally have me upping my efforts a notch, of putting my shoulder to the task (even more than normal), and increasing focus by way of ensuring things come together.
But God is saying to me, challenging me, compelling me, to take my foot off the pedal so that He can put his foot on the pedal.
In any other context this would be crazy, but within the Kingdom of God things work in a flipped around sort of way. This I know.
We have 10% of our necessary Uganda 2014 budget raised and I will be doing less?!
I am gearing up the courage to take my foot off the pedal that God might take over.
I am nervous as heck and excited all at the same time. What I do know is that without a miracle of provision I won’t be going to Uganda in June. What I also know is that no matter how many people I speak to between then and now I will not by the power vested in me… raise the necessary funds.
I am pretty sure of my inability. I’m quite sure of God’s ability.
And whether I go to Uganda in June or not these next few weeks are about entering deeper into the glory of the Lord where all things are made new, where I am secure beyond all normal reckoning, and where this vision of equipping indigenous pastors, though it is my project is indeed the Lord’s work.
I’ve learned already that the Lord’s work is best accomplished as I enter into His rest.
These next few weeks I’m taking courage to enter that rest even more deliberately.