I'll start off by backing up a little bit since it has been forever since I've written a real blog post. I've barely managed to post on Facebook let alone my old blog. So the old blog was rolled into this one, and additionally Marion will be writing here as well. We are on this great adventure together, so will our stories along the way be together. Marion and I have been facing many upcoming changes and decisions lately. For the last few years, missions work has been a direction that we want to head. When we first started feeling this way, we weren't sure where that call would take us. It seems that in the last 2 years there hasn't been any real direction, only real opportunities to do what God has asked of us, still leaving us wondering what is next?
While the answer may be no closer than it was last year, both Marion and I feel that the knocking is getting louder, and we currently have been talking with a few different missions organizations that both would like to use our skills to support missions work from where we are. I know most of you may be thinking, how can you be a missionary if you aren't going to some far off place. The short answer is that the people who are going to those far off places can't get there without the support of stateside "missionaries". While our tasks would not directly put us in contact with those we seek to reach, our abilities here make sure that missions organizations continue to gain new support, new missionaries, and new ways to reach the unreached.
I'm not sure if it will be any easier being a missionary here or being one overseas, and I don't mean that either is easy. Overseas presents some pretty dangerous situations ranging from disease to serious religous persecution. We are extraordinarily blessed to live in a place where we can currently worship and gather and praise God freely. Many other parts of the world are not so tolerant. The one benefit of being overseas it seems is that raising your monthly support is a little easier. It makes sense that they need to be funded so that they can go and share God with those who have never heard!
On the flipside, staying stateside puts us in a relatively safe position. We are rarely as exposed to disease, we don't have third world problems. Food, supplies and clothing are readily available and very affordable compared to most places. We do however still have to raise our support as a missionary. (Yes, these are not regulary paid positions.) We will have to find enough people that find God's cause as important as we do, and support us through monthly contributions so that we can do the necessary work and still pay our bills. I know some of you might be thinking, why can't you just keep doing this work as LEVEL design for the particular mission organizations and bill them and, then you'd still be doing God's work. As much as I wish this were the case, most of these organizations have very few paid positions, and no budget for things like web design and marketing. They rely on stateside missionaries to raise their own funds, and provide the necessary work. This is a tough thing when we are staying here. People don't necessarily understand, nor do they get excited about paying for me to do a job that I could normally get paid to do here in the US.
This doesn't make it any easier for us to make this decision to slow down our work for corporate customers while we raise support to do missions work. It is scary thinking that we have to rely on other people to meet our needs. It doesn't matter how good of a job I do, or how quickly I do it in this case, it makes no difference to what comes in... Ok, on to the point.
God is bigger than my problems. God is bigger than my needs. God is so much bigger than my tiny brain can fathom, and yet I've spent a lifetime putting God in a little box. I've also spent a lifetime (at least most of it) asking a lot from God, when I should have been seeking Him and asking Him what He wants from me. I am going to address these two things separately.
I believe the Bible to be the truth, and that God is our creator.
I believe that when they say He created the Heavens and the Earth, that He literally created the universe, and everything contained within. How amazing is God that He can create something that is truly so vast, that we can barely comprehend the scale in which our lives exist. Praise God for still caring about each and every one of us. We get to have a relationship with a God who defies any scale that we can understand. Do I really think my needs are that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things? I used to. To be fair, I still have a hard time letting go, but I'm trying to do better and trust that in God's timing, I know he can overcome any of my problems. Raising funds to do God's work should be no problem for Him as long as I am being obedient to Him.
God commands us to be obedient to Him and only Him.
I know you may have heard that God is a giving and gracious God. He is, but He has asked us to be obedient to Him first. I'm pretty sure that I have been praying the wrong way for quite some time. I ask God for all kinds of things, and just expect that He will or will not make those things happen. I have never sought Him out in a way that says "Thank you for allowing me to be here, what am I to do for you while I am here?" I don't believe that God needs anyone to do anything for Him, with the previous statement of He is bigger than everything I am pretty sure He has things handled. I do know that He asks us to do things for Him, and we should be so priviledged.
On the way home from swimming, I found myself this morning trying to wrap my head around all of this. I feel tired and stressed out from the amount of work we have to do, the amount of bills we have, and the desire to want to serve God, and not knowing how to get to the next step. What I am starting to see is that I have been getting in the way. I keep asking the wrong questions. Instead of God, show me the answer, or God, help me get the bills paid, God, help me get through the day, God, help me find some free time in the day, I should be going to Him with, "How can I serve you today, and glorify you?"
In my prayers this morning, I feel as though He said to me that if we take the time to put Him first everyday, ask what we can do for Him, He will answer us with opportunities throughout the day, and He will make the things that need to happen fall into place. Don't get me wrong, I don't think this is a magical answer that is just going to make everything perfect and easy. I expect it won't be easy at all. With obedience will come other spiritual struggles. In addition to this, I've been trying to figure out how to not feel so overworked or tired. I'm not 100% sure what the answer is there, but I feel that part of my exhaustion is due to the fact that when I am not serving Him completely, that I am just spinning my wheels and wasting energy. In my prayer, I again felt like He answered with, listen to me first so that your day is not wasted and I will build in the appropriate time so that you can be not only spiritually healthy, but physically and mentally as well.
My goal in all of this is to be a more faithful servant, rather than a faithful beggar. The path that we are choosing is definitely not going to be the easiest, but I know that through God, it is possible.