Monday, December 26, 2011

GUATEMALA 2011: (38) Perseverance Outruns the Wind

We often give up too soon. 

This blog is a reminder to myself over the next 2 years that I will not give up.
(Written in August...posted at year end)

I have been desperate over the past several weeks to communicate my convictions of my heart to the people of Guatemala and to the missionaries who stand boldly bridging the distance. This all began as a small bundle of damp tinder a year ago, and now I am wholly consumed by the flame.

The night at Journey Church was when I first became keenly aware of this direction. With the opening note of Neulore, my heart was seized and my body was yanked to attention. There is a level of belief in God and the passion that accompanies it that I had doubted any longer existed. 

Over the past several weeks I have seen it. It shone out at me like a beacon from Adam Agin of Neulore, from Estella (the band from Guatemala), from the worshippers at Ramero's church, from the eyes of the children of Cerro Alto, and from the entire family of the Greene's. 

It is not enough for me to see it. I feel like Thomas... you can call me a doubter, but I call him  the one who had to experience Christ for himself. I don't want a Christianity of faith alone, I want to sink my hands into the wound in His side, feel the holes of the nails in His hands and feet, and trace my fingers along the thorn tears in his brow. I want to fully know and experience Christ. 

You remember the parable of the sower? The ground is fertile in Guatemala. 

I am hearing clearly. I am seeing clearly. There is no longer questions of purpose in my mind. My eyes have found their narrow focus. How can I profess to be a follow of Christ, and not be compelled to take action? My belief in God and my faith in Him compels me.

We are radically changing our lives. 

  1. Complete the adoption of our daughter in China.  After 5+ years we are nearly ready to bring her home. We are within 6 months of travel. It could be very soon. (At the time of this post, we have our referral & pray to all be together within 8 weeks.)
  2. Come home to Middletown for a period of transition. We will take 4-6 weeks to  recover from the adoption, finalize the paperwork and citizenship, and find a new pulse to our daily lives that includes our newest family member.
  3. Place our home on the market and sell it. We will continue to live in the home and go about life while we work to sell it. We will also begin downsizing our personal belongings and addressing debts. (This process is underway.)
  4. Move our family in with Parents, and take a year to pay off debt, fulfill auto obligations, save money, and focus on transition details in Guatemala. I will begin talking with area churches to gain support. (This has also begun...thank you Uncle Stephen!) We will also secure income and education requirements for our 3 children.
  5. By early-mid 2013, board a plane with what we can carry and move to Guatemala. This will involve the resignation of our jobs, and I will become a full time missionary in Guatemala, working with Catalyst Resources International.
There are many more details involved... but you get the main ideas. In the meantime, we are working on Passports for the kids, and plan a full family visit in the summer of 2012. I also intend to visit Guate as much as possible in the meantime, at least 2-3 visits per year. (As of this December, 3 trips are on the books!)

It is my intention to commit to an initial period of 5 years. After that time has passed, we will need to furlough back home for a period of evaluation and next steps planning. (As we walk further into this process, the vision we hold far exceeds 5 years.)

I am sure that many of our family and friends will be shocked. Some with a smile, and some with sheer terror, convinced that I have lost my mind and am taking the whole family down with me. Others who know me better, will not be surprised, and will celebrate that I have found a direction. Frankly, I am comfortable with all reactions. I love you all, and I do not require you to understand. I ask that you visit us. Come and see.

Please pray for us in the meantime. We will need your love. We will need your support. We will need your contact. We will need your visits. We will even need your generosity. (We will soon seek 250 friends & family members to commit to giving $100/year.) I am sure though, that if you chance yourself to give, you will find... as I did, that even though money may leave your hand... you are the one receiving.

We go because (ah... check out my blogs ;-) we believe that true religion is providing clothing, food, and shelter to the least of these. We believe that God specifically calls us out to take care of orphans and widows. We believe that we are all pilgrims in a foreign land who are seeking to get home.

I do not consider myself a person who is going to save a people, or to make their lives better, or to teach them how to be better Christians. I find that point of view despicable, arrogant, and very unlike the example of Jesus. Rather... we go to walk beside those who have staked their lives on the belief of Jesus Christ as the only way to get to God. We have found a fertile soil... and we intend to plant our lives in it. We are stunned to find those who live their lives believing that suffering is an honor and evidence of a relationship to God.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

James 1:26-27

King James Version (KJV)

 26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Matthew 25

King James Version (KJV)

 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Don't let the storms slow you down. Don't let the winds blow you off course. Don't leave quite yet. You can make it better. You were created to do just that. Walk with me. Walk with us. Trust in the God who created us to shelter us under the shadow of His wings. I would rather be crushed in service to Him that live a comfortable life without meaning.

Pray for Guatemala. Pray for the girls of Mimi's House. Pray for the Greene's. Pray for Edgar and his family. Pray for Ramero and his family. Pray for us. Pray for Kellie. Pray for Caleb. Pray for Aleksandra. Pray for our new daughter. Pray for me that I hear God's voice and do not lose sight of who I am.

Here is how you can help us...  begin praying now about what God would have you to do. There are incredible opportunities!

I look forward to meeting you at the airport, and taking you to meet the life that walks beside you.


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