Life after “Yes!”

Life after “Yes!”

“It matters not how strait  the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.”

 

This is the closing four lines of the poem Invictus written by William Ernest Henley. The final two lines are often quoted in countless speeches and self-help books in one form or another. I, for the majority of my life, prescribed to this logic; I adhered to this tenet of humanism. Then, the one and only captain of my faith began to steer.

didi and moses

I would love to take full credit for moving across the world to be a missionary, but that would be misleading. I always loved the idea of missions, but I probably never would have “taken the plunge” were it not for the Lord working through my bolder than Folgers husband. You see I’m not that fearless. I would love to say I’m fearless, but I must concede that the majority of the time I am kind of a scaredy cat that puts up a great front (fake it until you make it, right?). I wasn’t raised to dream THIS big and out of the box. I like to color in the lines. But, somewhere around 23 years of age, the Lord stirred my spirit and my heart. He plucked me from my safe, planned out, master-of-my-fate line of thinking and gave me the courage to go.

 

So here I am in Chalinze, Tanzania with my family, on mission introducing God’s love to villages and people that have never heard of Jesus. My career aspirations, once luminous and weighty, have been put in place in pursuit of goals with eternal consequences. People keep reminding me how much I’ve given up, but to tell you the truth – I haven’t thought twice about it. All the possibilities, options, opportunities,  “what could have been’s” will be, because I am right where I need to be – in the center of God’s will for my life.

 

There is a common misconception that whatever happens to us is the will of God. Many of us think –  I can do whatever I want and God will either do something or not and that will be his will. It will all happen like it needs to according to his plan for our lives. God is who he says he is – sovereign, majestic, unchanging and merciful; and God is in control but all of us have a choice. We must decide to follow him or to turn away. I can say yes to Him or I can say no. I can go to the hard places, get uncomfortable, or I can remain in my safe, perimetered zone.

me with kulea girls after church

Say yes and the Lord will absolutely, positively, intentionally, give you more than you can handle. Because when you surrender to him, owning up to your complete depravity and sinfulness, and allow the Lord to take the lead, he will prove himself by doing more than you ever could or would have done alone. In this way his glory can be displayed and people can see his grace and faithfulness through our lives. As the Lord told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

Is this easy? What do you think? In fact, every day is filled with reminders, sometimes painful reminders, of my human emotions, human desires, and human limitations. The brokenness of this world does not get any less sad, the longer you live in the midst of it. It is devastating that people have to live, and die like this. I would love the view from my window to be a nice subdivision with clean children running around wearing shoes. But it isn’t, life in Africa is hard – no way to pretty that up. Sometimes I get caught up in my “I deserve more” moments; I want to go home, I want to go back to work into my office and live out the “American Dream”, I want to drop off Moses at grandma’s house and hang out with my friends and family.  These momentary screams of my heart remind me how normal, how human I am, and how much I love God. He gave his one and only son as a sacrifice for me, for us. His one and only son…When I focus on this simple truth, his faithfulness, love, and mercy resonate within me. God is using me, despite my frailties, self-reliance, and little faith. Through me, God is accomplishing his purpose. Because of him, hope courses through my veins, even on the most difficult days.

 

A part of my heart will always be in Texas and my heart will ache to be there making memories with everyone I love. This is personally my toughest sacrifice. But we all must sacrifice in one way or another to accomplish great things. Just know – God’s love made known is worth it, even if only to one person. We, individually and collectively, must keep trying. Say “Yes” to the call. Your mission field will probably be different from mine, nonetheless, we have all been empowered to do BIG things for our God.

 

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 

Matthew 16:24-25didi with a funny face

Psalm 111 asabuhi (in the morning)

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This journey to get here has been quite the story. Sipping on fresh mango juice in Tanzania, enjoying papaya right off the tree, and reflecting on how great the The Lord is: what a humbling situation. For years we have been pouring our hearts out to God, begging Him to allow us to be apart of his church around the world. We have spent countless days planning our move to Tanzania and praying for the unreached people of the Zaramo Tribe. What an honor to finally be here and starting the rest of our lives, dedicated wholly to taking God’s Word to where it has never been. Praise God for His mighty works in our lives and his power throughout all the earth.

Where we will live has cape buffalo, antelope, war…

Where we will live has cape buffalo, antelope, war…

Where we will live has cape buffalo, antelope, wart hogs, baboons, crocodiles, hippos & elephants. The bad news…..black mamba, green mamba, and spitting cobras.

Muhammad… 7 Months Later

Muhammad… 7 Months Later

7 months after Muhammad heard about Jesus for the first time he has a Bible in his language. We left early this morning to search out Muhammad. After driving through the African backroads for hours and hiking into the thick overgrown bush, God answered prayers, we found Muhammad herding his goats. He immediately recognized me (not really a big deal, considering I am the only white person / american he has ever met). He was overjoyed to have a bible. He said he has prayed to Jesus every night since we left and asked God to give him the “Holy Book”. We were also able to bring him glasses so He can read. I gave him 2 bibles and he told me that was not enough. He needed to give all his family a Bible so they all can learn about Jesus. Never before has this village even seen a Bible.

Baby Moses has arrived.

Baby Moses has arrived.

God’s Ambition

This is a message I got to preach at Wells Branch Community Church on God’s Ambition in missions.

Missions exists because worship doesn’t

Missions exists because worship doesn’t

Tanzania 2013

Tanzania 2013

Praising God this morning for an amazing trip to Tanzania! Saw many people come to faith, and established relationships for long term missions there to unreached peoples. Excited to move there next year!

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