Last year ended with new clarity and THIS year quite literally started out with a miracle! There are so many AMAZING details, so I’ve decided to revert back to my college journalism background and write this update in the format of a news article… I’ll start with the most recent, MAIN things and you can stop reading ANY time you choose… I love to tell the WHOLE story, so keep reading if you want it ALL!
I started the year with a burden and focused prayers for “PATIENT ENDURANCE” (see 2 Corinthians 6:3-10). My spiritual “goal” toward growth is to cease seeing this season as a “waiting period” and just EMBRACE all that God has for me NOW and on a DAILY basis despite my own perceived delay in God answering the prayers closest to my heart. I want to be focused on serving Him and be content with what He is doing in my life, persevering until the fullness of HIS time in providing a new season of companionship and joy. Because He is a GOOD Father, He decided to PROVE to me that I’m on the right track by literally dropping a dream in my lap unexpectedly… I’M GOING TO ISRAEL NEXT MONTH!
Immediately following church on January 1st, a friend approached me and asked me to accompany his mother on an apologetics and biblical trip to Israel. He had booked his mother’s lifelong dream trip, but overwhelming health issues and chronic back problems had worsened and it was becoming increasingly clear that he was NOT going to be able to travel with her. The way HE tells it, when I walked into church that Sunday (fashionably late AGAIN), the Holy Spirit CLEARLY told him that I was the one who was to go with his mom. I have since met Rachel a couple of times and we are indeed kindred spirits. They have BOTH said that it is clear to them that I am the one who is to travel with her. With all of my words, this honor renders me speechless.
You see, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to Israel, even from the very BEGINNING of my spiritual journey with Jesus. Only a couple of people in my life have known just HOW badly I’ve wanted to go; one of them is in Heaven already. Besides, I hadn’t even ASKED or PRAYED for such an opportunity! Honestly, I’ve only been jealous and envious of those of you who HAVE had the chance to go! I HAD mentioned in a tongue-in-cheek way that the upcoming FOUR-YEAR anniversary of Chris’ death is a big mile stone, after all, I could have earned another degree in this time! I had pondered something big, but never DREAMED of THIS! So, imagine my surprise when it was my DREAM trip AND at no expense to me. This trip has God’s fingerprints all over it, but one of the coolest ways He has shown me that He SEES me and KNOWS my heart is that I didn’t PLAN this trip, yet the departure date is THE VERY DAY of the anniversary of Chris’ death. It has given me something very positive to focus on with Archeology lectures, Bible studies, tons of reading, preparation, and packing leading up to the trip.
Please pray for every aspect of this journey:
- It will be intensely spiritual for me and, I’m sure, my dear traveling companion, Rachel. She is also a widow, her husband and love since the time she was 14 passed away 10 years ago. He himself had wanted to fulfill this dream for her. I have heard that Rachel is the oldest one on the tour of 54 people (she turns 80 in April) and I am the youngest. We’re both sure we’ll be perfect traveling companions, all the way down to our sparkly nails!
- Pray for my friend, Dave, who is sending us on this trip of a lifetime. We’re pretty sure that God has used his pain to guide and direct him, but his HEALING would be a tremendous relief and reward for his generosity and obedience.
- Pray for my KIDS who will be cared for by family and close friends here at home while I’m away. Feel free to spoil them if you run into ANY of them while I’m away!
- Lastly, please pray for me as I go STRAIGHT to speak at http://www.wintersummit.org/ LITERALLY on the way home from Israel. I will fly directly into New York, sleep one night, and then be the main speaker for this event. The theme, even BEFORE the Israel trip came about, is “BEYOND.” God has TRULY set me up to testify that He is truly BEYOND all that we can ask or imagine!
MINISTRY DETAILS! Since transitioning back to U.S. soil in July 2015, I’ve been able to reconnect with a number of you…The “you” represents family, friends, and partners in ministry who represent BOTH of those “camps” and NEW friends whom I’ve met as I travel around from place to place. One partner lovingly asked me to clarify my role with Africa Inland Mission and he had a very VALID reason for doing so. He wanted to make sure that his resources are still being spent to reach the unreached peoples of Africa with the Gospel… specifically, does what I’m doing NOW still contribute to that END goal. My answer was longer in person, but I’ll review it briefly here. My current role with Africa Inland Mission IS a critical part of the greater AIM “team” whose mission is “Christ Centered Churches Among All African Peoples.”
While I am based here in San Diego, as the Southwest Mobilizer, my territory covers seven states right now: AZ, CA, CO, HI, NM, NV, and UT. What that means is that I am in charge of following up with any APPLICANTS who are pursuing serving in Africa through AIM. I have the privilege of walking them through the process all the way until they get on the plane for their final departure. I am also expected to follow-up with missionaries returning FROM the field after completion of their assignments or for Home Assignment. In addition to all of that, I am charged with developing and maintaining partnerships between AIM and churches, mission and ministry training programs in my region, and other organizations where people are being raised up to GO. God has been gracious to reveal to me that this is the BEST way for me to use my gifts AND “crash course experience” in Missions to further His Kingdom in Africa. I’m ONE 50-year-old woman with the whole burden of finishing the task of raising the rest of my children AND serving Him, so my time and energy is used much more efficiently in MOBILIZING and DEVELOPING MANY young people in GOING than just me serving in a support role in Africa. There are MANY days my heart is painfully THERE, but I’ve learned that’s what makes me so passionate about getting people to the mission field! If you live in one of these states, let’s get together and talk Missions!
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