"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. "When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. "When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed."
Pastor Habs said he and Mrs. Habs would be praying alongside us as we began to again prayerfully consider it. Right around the time this email was sent, I also started attending a missions seminar put on by Pastor Jolly. I basically went to it, because I wanted to have a better understanding about missions and I guess you could say I wanted to hear someone's point of view who was closer to our age. I couldn't have even began to envision where it would end up leading us.
Mr. Cinder and I began discussing Sri Lanka and also weighing whether it was just that God wanted us to go missional or if it was specifically to be Sri Lanka. More than once it was asked, "Why not Mexico...at least then you are still on the same continent...not so far from home...in far less danger?" After a lot of prayerful consideration, the response we heard from God was this, "What's the sense of deciding to go missional if you aren't going to go where I am prompting you to go?" Really, there's no disputing any conversation from God and He truly made a very valid point. If you are going to step out in true and complete trusting faith, then you have to lay everything aside and allow Him to completely do the leading, no matter what the path it might take you down and despite everything which might come with going down that path! In retrospect, it's a whole lot easier to write that line than it is to truly live that out. Throughout the decision process for this trip, we really had to deal with a lot of our apprehensions or fears, a lot of "what-if" questions, giving over of the reigns of control and the ultimate realization that God knows what's best for us and He also knows what we are capable of, even when we can't see it!
So, after a couple of weeks of pretty intense prayer and discussion and a lot of awesome information coming in from the missions seminar, the prompting continued to come stronger. The eventual bump to the next level came with a very simple question from Pastor Jolly..."Is the spirit of God talking to you?" You know, it seems like a pretty relatively simple question to answer, but the only response I had to it was..."I honestly don't know if it's God speaking or simply me prompting what I would long to see take place." At the time I wrote that reply, I still truly didn't know for sure if it was me or God prompting the vivid visions of teaching Sri Lankan children and basically just coming alongside people to offer them fellowship and friendship.
After another week of sleepless nights due to intense prayer, with a fairly simple request..."We need clarification...help make the roads meet and help to make the roadblocks disappear if it's truly a calling from You and not from self." He works in the most amazing ways and within very little time, He help to make all the roadblocks essentially go away...if there wasn't certainty before this, there was definitely 100% certainty following it. While there had been a lot of negativity in the winter when we examined the possibility, God had now paved the road in such a way that people around us were excited about thepossibilityy of going missional and brought support to us in a huge way. Where we thought there would be difficulties finding someone to look after our kids for the duration of the trip, it was quite the opposite. Family truly stepped up and said they would help to care for our kids, in order to make it possible for this trip to take place. Our kids now get to go on a little mini vacation of their very own...one week here and one week there and they are pumped to have this happen! People immediately in the fall began saying that they would be there to help us through prayer support, financial support and whatever other ways we needed.
I have to say that the winter and spring of 2006 have been extremely interesting and SO exciting. It truly feels like we are living in a dream right now! You know deep down inside it's reality and happening...I honestly can't bring it into words. I'm counting sleeps (I don't honestly know I've counted sleeps for anything in my adult life...WELL...okay, with the exception of the anticipation of becoming Mr. Cinder's forever sidekick 10 years ago), being awaken at night, partly because of the vivid dreams beginning to go through my mind (some would say this is the effect of the malaria meds...but really, who truly knows) and simply just because I'm prompted to be in reflection or prayer.
Time and especially summer has honestly flown by in the blink of an eye...it's seems like only yesterday and not 13 months ago, that we were making the final decision to leave what was familiar and take that leap of faith yet again. Only a few short months ago, we received the go ahead to be on this trip...now we've blinked and Mr. Cinder and I are only 9 sleeps away...Pastor Jolly and Padawan are only 4 sleeps away!
Well, this is where I'm going to end the prologue and now begin to pour out this God-venture...I'm going to close with this two very poignant passages of scripture, which God brings me to on almost a weekly basis...I think as a true reminder of who He is and also in terms of how much His hand is truly on us and this journey...
"God is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you. Don't be intimidated. Don't worry."