Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Shifted Paradigm

(NOTE: For the pilots reading this, hang in there.  It will be relevant to you as well, if you read through it all!)

God has been very good to us.  As Sarah and I reflect on everything, we see deeper truths that He has put before us, hoping that we’ll see it and have a change in how we look at the world.  And His work has been successful, we are seeing Him more in a new light.  And as we’re preparing for our mission in Chad, we know that it is not the ultimate goal.

The first shift God has shown us is coming to understand God’s grace in a real, tangible way.  It is not just a word, it’s not something to take lightly.  It’s deep.  It’s life-changing.  It’s transforming.  He sees us as perfect because Jesus was perfect, and because He took our sins for us on the cross.  Everything we did that was not good is gone!  So the death that we were going to die, we died through Christ.

Christ rose again!  And He is now living and working in us, “justifying” us (lining us up to fit perfectly in His likeness, as we were created to be).  If we took part in His death through baptism, we also take part in His resurrection. So as He works in Heaven’s Temple as Mediator for our sins, He is working in our bodies to cleanse us of the sins that are rooted within us.  We have seen this work, and we see how we are being changed more and more into His likeness (we are still sinners, and constantly have to rely on Him.  Now we see that He is refining us for His coming).

God is so good to us.  Although we have been in the church for quite a long time, we never realized the significance of God’s grace, and how transforming it can be in our lives, if we let it be.  And the truth of it all is that it’s available for everybody!  But just like winning the lottery, you only get the benefit if you choose to claim it and accept it for yourself.

As we are busy preparing for Africa, we are finding that things keep staying ambiguous.  We do not know when we are leaving.  We do not know where we will be staying a month from now.  All we know is that we have been given this time to prepare for what is coming ahead.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’ve been gathering supplies for our trip.  We’ve also been selling all the junk we don’t need, so that we can afford the supplies.  All our focus and attention is on getting to Chad, and more immediately on doing what we need to do now in order to be ready for when God comes to us and says, “It’s time to go.” He has given us opportunities to speak and share with others our trips, and to invite them to come as well.  We thought we would have left already, but praise God He has not called us yet!  If He asked us to leave now, we would be so unprepared.

In the same way, God has given us the promise that we (believers in Christ) will, very soon, be going to heaven.  Thank goodness He has given us time to gather the things that we’ll need in heaven: A pure character, obedience to Him, faith in Him, doing what He did on this earth; that’s what will have value where we are going to live. And some He gives us freely, others we have to buy from Him.

It’s just like flying.  Here in the US we train others to fly here, in the US.  We teach them all the rules, and we train them to fly according to instruments, so they are prepared when they advance to the highly-structured instrument world.  And that structure is necessary here, because there are many dangerous things that may occur.  In Chad, however, the rules will be changed, because there is no longer a need for the same safety concerns.  The flying will be more dynamic, more adjustable to meet the needs of the situation.  And because of the various difficulties, pilots will have to be good at thinking on their feet and adapting as needed.

I don’t want to continue flying and training in a stiffly regulated world, I want to be preparing for the world to come, where there are less dangers to worry about.  As we prepare for that world, we must still abide by the rules of this place to stay safe for now, knowing they will not be the ultimate end.  All that the world has to offer is empty.  Ultimately, I don’t care if I can fly 777-300ERs the rest of my life if I’m so busy doing that that I miss out on what is guaranteed to be much more rewarding by going where God is leading.  He’s leading us to heaven.  Are we ready to go?

I believe we’re not ready yet.  There is still work that must be done.  Everyone must hear where we’re going, and be invited to join us. Everyone must be given the opportunity to share in the life, and life abundant that is ours, if we just claim it through Jesus.

But we are getting ready to go.  We are gathering what we will need there.  We are testing our supplies.  We are doing the work we must do before we leave.  We are telling everyone we can about it.  Where are you going?  What life are you preparing for?  I pray that it will be your decision to follow us to Chad, because it is a symbol of our decision towards heaven.  Please join us!

 

 

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Blessings

As we jet out of Chicago bound for Southern California, I have been thinking about all the blessings that God has been giving us. This past year has been incredible, and such a journey of faith, and we both know that we haven’t seen anything yet. The coming years will push us, grow us, change us, and refine our character more than any other time in our lives, but we are excited and anxious to go into service for our Lord.

Looking back, for Sarah’s internship, we were given 2 options: Florida Hospital or Kettering. We had applied for Florida because we knew I would be able to get a flight instructor job there, then we were asked to choose Kettering. “What’s in Ohio? Will I be able to find a job?” We only had 5 hours to decide, so I rushed to a computer and started job searching. After a couple hours checking the whole area around Dayton, I had no word of any job potential besides a school that I couldn’t contact. Try as I might, they weren’t answering phones that Tuesday morning.

The time came for us to decide. “You know what,” I told Sarah, “Let’s take a leap of faith and go to Ohio!” To keep this post from becoming a book, the short story is that God gave me the job 2 months later, less than a week after I became a flight instructor. He also gave us a nice place to stay, at a central location.

Dayton doesn’t have mountains, it doesn’t have a beach. There’s no particular geographical points of interest that are exciting to someone living there. But it does have people. People who invited me over for lunch the first Sabbath I was there (and every Sabbath thereafter). People who essentially guarantee jobs to people not qualified. People who build up our faith, people who become very close friends. Even though there were some very sour grapes, the blessing from Ohio came through the true relationships we built there.

Where would we be without Jeremy and Brooke Wong, who became our very close and dear friends? And how would our walk with God be without our weekly CARE group, with Tom, Mike, Laurel, Carisa, Landon & Rachel, Becca, John, Lauren, Justin, and Ken & Stacy? They all not only spiritually built us up, but gave us a social outlet as well. Their friendship has meant the world to us, and we hope to see them all again soon,

In preparing for Africa, God has put some amazing people in our lives, whose generosity has helped us prepare for our mission in Africa.

There’s the family who gave us 3 solar panels, 5 fans, plenty of high-strength, rechargeable batteries and the equipment and education on how to work them all in the field.

There’s the family who let us stay at their house over the summer, after our lease expired.

There’s the family who promised to pray for us every week during their outreach ministry.

There’s the families who donated substantially to the mission fund.

There’s the anonymous individual who left supplies at the church for us (who obviously read our blog :D).

There’s all the pastors who let us speak at their churches.

There’s the elders at Centerville who have all been especially supportive.

There’s my boss who got me extra work to help pay the bills.

And so many more!

That’s not even to mention our families, and the people we knew before moving to Dayton, who were uplifting and such an encouragement to us as well.

God has been so good to us!

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