Saturday, April 6, 2013

Finding Joy in the Journey to TEOTE!

So maybe you’ve secretly been wondering, “Are they ever moving to Kyrgyzstan?”
After 7 intentional years of moving in that direction some of you are surely beginning to wonder. Did this trip help move us any closer to understanding better the time frame that God has for us? The answer to that question is a big resounding YES! But when? We still really don't know, but we'll share what we do know.
I remember sitting in the youth room in Atlanta in the spring of 2004 and feeling the first earth shaking realities of Mike Taylor's talk on missions and the bowl of names of peoples that had no Bible written in their language yet from the presentation by Wycliffe and wondering why I even cared. I had a wonderful family, a beautiful house, a great youth ministry, an amazing senior pastor and a network of friends that was amazing. I remember Marghie and I asking Mike if it was normal to feel this way. He paused for a moment and then said, "No, it's really not. If I were you I would take some time to seriously consider what God is doing in your heart."
Nine years later our family has certainly looked pretty weird to most folks. The decisions we've made regarding kids, training, relationships, focus, investments, everything really has been affected by this realization that God was doing something new in our hearts. At the time I couldn't really put it into words except that I knew God was calling us to something new and that we had to be willing to lay down everything we knew and just follow him. By the spring of 2005 it was actually physically uncomfortable for us to stay in Atlanta. We had this growing sense that if we stayed any longer we might grow a callous heart towards what God was calling us into and so we did the most horrifying thing as a family we’ve ever done – we announced that we were moving back to Ohio to be with family, finish my schooling and spend time asking, seeking and knocking. Everyone was shocked, but probably no one was more shocked than us.
For more than nine months I went through what I refer to as a dark knight of the soul. In general I felt like a slug. The evil one kept trying to convince me that I had just made a terrible decision and that I wasn’t really follow God but my own selfish desires. It was confirmed it seemed over and over as we poured our hearts out to God and heard nothing. It was if God had turned his back, closed his ears and walked away.
It was like a void, barren wasteland.
[this is the first in a series of posts about: Finding Joy in the Journey to TEOTE!. Following the Lord to the ends of the earth is a joy! At the same time I must state that at times it does not feel like a bed of roses and skipping hand in hand with God. In fact, there’s been an amazing amount of sacrifice, tears, surrender, repentance, rebuke, correction, hardship and frustration. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last 9 years it’s that joy is not primarily an emotion but a character trait and a choice. We hope that these posts will help spur you on towards deeper abandonment to God’s story of love for all nations and stronger resilience to walk in the good deeds of God that he prepared for YOU before the foundations of the world.]

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