MY Part of the Spear

Reflections on my position as a Mobilizer one year in…

 (Photo Credit:  Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp)

In the greater missions community, we refer to the most remote, unreached places of the world as “the tip of the spear” and, though it is an intensely difficult, risky, and often long-suffering service to the Lord, it is the “place to be” if you have a burning desire to participate with God in taking the Gospel “to the ends of the earth.” One of the biggest adjustments to leaving the remote village of Molumong, Lesotho to serve in a support role at RVA after Chris went Home and THEN to return to the States and accept an assignment “on the home front” with the home office has been leaving a PERCEIVED “key role” in a village setting AMONG AFRICAN PEOPLE to be a part of the SAME TEAM far away from Africa. After a full year in this position, though, I can FINALLY see clearly how God is using me here as a key part of the GREATER mission. As partners with me, please read this knowing that YOU are also an important part of God’s kingdom plan! Here is how one of the RVA parents (serving in Northern Kenya) put it a couple of years ago for a Teacher Appreciation week:

My wife and I picture missions as an indivisible spear forged from one alloy.

This spear is not made up of two steel ends and a shaft like a typical Maasai spear.

This spear is one unbreakable, indivisible metal.  This spear is aimed by the Holy Spirt

on a trajectory of Apostolic Function – that is planting the church among unreached peoples.

            Within the missions family we have different roles that contribute to this trajectory, we are different parts of the spear.  If the Church Planting Team is the spear head, those who work at RVA are the united shaft. You work in Apostolic Partnership with those who pioneer the church among the unreached. If you did not lovingly care for our children we could not be where we are doing what we do.” 

I AM SEEING PEOPLE GO! One of the key roles of this position is to FIND (or respond to inquiries of) people whom God is raising up to serve in Africa, walk them through the application process all the way through appointment and “deploying,” and THEN to receive them and follow-up with them when they return either for Home Assignment or at the completion of their term of service. Since I’ve only been doing this a year, I’m JUST NOW seeing my first “wave” of people GO and it is SO exciting! We have a little phrase we like to focus on as a team, “WATCH GOD WORK.” What a thrill it is to get to see Him in action EVERY day! A lot of the time I won’t be able to publish where these workers are going, but I can tell you they have VERY diverse gifts, degrees, and talents to bring to their teams all over Africa (an entrepreneur, a nurse, a manager at Chik-Fil-A, a psychologist, a fitness coach).

I AM SEEING THE WHOLE BODY OF CHRIST UNITED FOR THE NATIONS! An important NEW focus we have as a Mobilizing Team is the “INITIATIVES” we develop and nurture with the goal to create genuine relationship and partnership, nurturing teamwork among the whole Body of Christ. It is so refreshing to work for an organization that is FULLY committed and invested in church planting among Unreached People Groups in Africa, submitted to the SOVEREIGNTY of God, and determined to work WITH others to achieve the same purpose. It’s messy and not easy at times, but WORTH IT. I am SURE we have more power TOGETHER and that God is glorified by it. It has been such a privilege to see the Holy Spirit pull together key players from mega churches, mission training organizations, discipleship schools, universities, ministries, and even business to accomplish the task. I have been saying lately that it feels like I’m chasing God at a break-neck pace most of the time. He continues to guide and direct me into places I don’t see on my own and make surprising connections.

ALLOWING GOD USE ME IN MY BROKENNESS CONTINUES TO BEAR FRUIT… This last week I had a super encouraging e-mail that affirmed a purpose given to me WAY back when Chris was in the hospital. I was praying specifically that, “God would prepare us for whatever testimony HE had for us.” When Chris died and I was left to serve solo, I knew I was the one who would be responsible for testifying. Later, God gave me a SPECIFIC word for that purpose: “I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, LORD, as you know. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I SPEAK of your faithfulness and your SAVING HELP. I do not conceal your LOVE and your FAITHFULNESS from the great assembly.” PSALM 40:9-10

            Here’s how the sequence of events went that led up to this recent affirmation… Because I am on the speaking “line-up” at Mexico Caravan Ministries, I have opportunity to live out that purpose frequently, even WEEKLY in the summers. One particular group from the high desert who heard me speak asked me to speak for a special missions emphasis night to over 400 youth. When opportunities like this are OUTSIDE of my job with AIM, I consider it my personal “ministry” and purpose and very willingly do it (as long as it possible with family and work responsibilities). There was a young woman I met that night who has completed the application process, been accepted to our GO program (a two-month discipleship program for young adults, facilitated by experienced missionaries and national leaders, that seeks to develop Christ-like character and instill basic skills for outreach among unreached people groups), and is about to have her first official training in Missions IN AFRICA. What an affirmation of the fact that God is USING ME HERE and that He is using BOTH my role as a Mobilizer with Africa Inland Mission AND my speaking ministry TOGETHER for His purposes!

So, to keep with the spear analogy, I guess I’m a TRAJECTORY for the WHOLE spear, being used by God to encourage, CHALLENGE, equip, and mobilize workers for the harvest. What a joy and privilege to still get to be a part of what HE is doing in Africa. I LOVE my job, I LOVE my team, I am HONORED to work for AIM, and I will continue to live out my CALL TO OBEDIENCE, going when He says GO and STAYING when He says stay. THANK YOU for partnering with me through EVERY ONE OF THESE different roles! I have been told and reminded how EXCEPTIONAL your support of me is! Please KNOW that it is still very much NEEDED and APPRECIATED. Again, I’d love to meet with you in person, answer any questions you have, and tell you some of the victory stories! Not to mention, my life could be a drama series… We’ll save the personal stuff for another time.

Please CONTINUE TO PRAY for each of my kids as they navigate transitions, adjustments, development, and one parent who is continually stretched to the max. A mom in menopause and four teenagers is more than anyone should have to handle WITHOUT all of the other stuff!

I’ve closed with this before, but it STILL perfectly applies, 3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…” Philippians 1: 3-5a

For HIS renown and glory,

Michelle

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