For the past several months, Zack and I have been living in limbo. After multiple transitions in December and January plus a bout with Influenza A and B, it has taken a while to recover. Being out of a routine, not sleeping well, not being able to find things because they are packed away in boxes, and feeling held captive by the movement of our monthly support percentage has been tiring. For some reason, even normal errands seem to take more effort. Each month, we’ve been able to increase our financial support by at least 10%, which in support raising trends, is really great, but for some reason, it doesn’t feel like it’s enough because it’s not the 100% we need for departure clearance. There’s a near constant anxiety of being so close and yet so far!
During this time, I’ve been challenged by what it means to have faith. During the moments where nothing seems to be happening and the percentage isn’t moving, I’ve felt depressed and discouraged. When we get an email or text that we’ve gained a supporter, and we see the percentage go up, there’s a surge of excitement. I’ve been frustrated at myself for being so emotionally reactive to my current circumstances, not wanting my mood or trust in God to be dependent on whether I think we are making progress or not.
Zack and I have been meeting with Asher Sarjent, the Global Missions Pastor of Cole Community Church on a regular basis. For the past several years, he has been mentoring us and walking with us as we pursue our calling to the Czech Republic. The other week, he helped us keep things in perspective. He reminded us that at this stage we are experiencing life hyper-focused on our immediate progress since we no longer have the requirements of our full-time jobs. There is a bigger picture and this last quarter of support raising is only a small part of the process.
Meeting with potential supporters and bible studies, Zack and I have had the privilege to share how we came to Christ as young adults. I actually accepted Christ on a short term mission project to Mexico during my senior year of high school. A pivotal moment occurred on the trip, when our group of high school students and adult volunteers were gathered on the beach in Mexico to celebrate having completed the construction of a small house. We were singing worship songs around a bonfire when one of the adult volunteers, Bob Kline, had a heart attack. He collapsed and after some initial confusion someone began CPR and we broke into small groups to pray. I didn’t pray. Mormon lingo for prayers is a little different than Christian lingo for prayers and not only did I feel uncomfortable praying aloud, I was shocked and confused. An ambulance came to take Bob to the hospital and somehow the adults gathered us back together in a circle and everyone resumed singing praise songs again. I thought, “what is wrong with these people? Why are they singing worship songs in a moment like this? How can they have peace when they don’t know what’s going to happen?” Peace was something lacking from my life, especially at the time during adolescence when my father and step-mother were divorcing. Eventually we loaded us into the vans to return to our base camp.
I remember looking out of the van window and seeing a huge moon shining down on me. It must have been a super moon. At that moment, I felt a surge of peace and a sense that God was in control. Past present and future. Even all the atoms that made up the paper and ink in all the books in all the libraries holding all of mankind’s knowledge and wisdom. Whether Bob Kline lived or died, God was in control.
A few hours later, they gathered us together to inform us Bob had passed away. Several days later on the trip back home, I was talking with the youth pastor in the hotel hallway. While a room full of my friends and my former choir director were praying, I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. It has been helpful to remember that in my moments of fear, doubt, confusion, and anger, God is in control- even when it doesn’t feel like it.
I know a lot of people are dealing with things more serious and frustrating than raising prayer and financial support for the mission field. Whether it’s experiencing miscarriage, dealing with serious health problems, or struggling with infertility, it’s so difficult to have to wait through these issues, which may or may not come to a desired conclusion. My trust in God’s timing is being tested. Philippians 4: 6-7 has frequently come to mind. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
With our departure deadline approaching, my thoughts are focused on the Czech Republic: our friends there, who we will meet, looking for an apartment. We saw our friend, Mike Youngblood, on Friday and he said how much he enjoyed watching the video Zack made of photos from the past 9 years of worship team ministry at Eastwind for his farewell service this weekend. Mike also said how excited he is to see the future video of our ministry in the Czech Republic and to hear about the lives impacted by the gospel. All of the waiting and praying, the uncertainty and doubt, the excitement and fear, will be more than worth it.