"The LORD had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.'" Genesis 12:1
Our pastor from our little church in Sanford, NC, Joshua Dickinson, and his family (wife and 4 children) boarded a flight on March 28th to Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa. They will spend a year in French language school before moving to a more remote location and living with the Mandinka, an unreached people group in Senegal.
Our pastor from our home church in Collierville, TN, Ernie Frey, announced a couple of weeks ago that he and his family (wife and 3 daughters) will be leaving the pastorate for full time mission work in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, beginning in August of this year.
We have been extremely blessed to sit under the teaching of two pastors who share our passion for missions and who live what they preach. They always encouraged their congregations to listen to God's will and calling on their lives, and then go do whatever He says. It just so happens that both of these families were called to full-time missions in Africa.
I can't wait to read the next blog post from the Dickinsons! And I have watched the podcast of the Frey family addressing the church about their calling to Ethiopia several times already (each time I’m in tears!).
I am excited for these new adventures and opportunities for these families. I am thrilled that they have heard clear direction from God and are taking action to accomplish His will for their lives. But, in many ways, I am jealous that they are “on the field”, doing the work that God has set out for them, while I’m “stuck” in Sanford.
You see, I already know that Ethiopia is where God has ultimately directed my family. We are just in a holding pattern as we finish a few things God directed us to accomplish in the states before returning to Africa.
I struggle almost daily with wanting to hurry things along. I just want to get to where I think God really wants me – to be ministering to the street kids IN Ethiopia. “Why are we still here? Why are we not back in Ethiopia?” “Come on, God! Let’s get to it.”
I believe God has a really good sense of humor. I also believe (or should I say believed) that He is gentle in His rebuke and correction of my thoughts and behaviors…
A couple of ladies from my church and I recently began a Bible study. Our leader, Sarah, decided to use the Priscilla Shirer Bible study The Resolution for Women based off the movie Courageous. The book encourages women to make 13 resolutions that will positively impact their relationships with God, their spouses and their children (if applicable), and the world around them.
Sounds really great, doesn’t it? When Sarah contacted me with the book she had chosen, I thought, "Awesome! I love Priscilla’s studies."
Then I read the first chapter and the first resolution:
I do solemnly resolve to embrace my current season of life and will maximize my time in it. I will resist the urge to hurry through or circumvent any portion of my journey but will live with a spirit of contentment.
SAY WHAT?! I thought God was gentle with me! There is no way I can sign my name on THAT dotted line.
Since returning to the US (probably even before), I have lived in a spirit of discontent, constantly wanting to get to the next thing, cross something off the list, and get something done. All along I have not fully engaged in the world around me. I’ve been anxious to get to the next thing – anxious to get back to Ethiopia.
Doing God’s work in Ethiopia is a wonderful calling. Not always easy, but wonderful nonetheless. However, God has lessons, experiences, opportunities, and moments for me RIGHT HERE in Sanford, NC. These are the things I am missing as I long for “the land [he has shown] me.”
There is a reason and a purpose for why I am here right now instead of there. I did eventually sign the dotted line. I resolved and committed to be satisfied in THIS place at THIS time.
God, help me to embrace where you have me, living and ministering in the here and now.