Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A Long Journey

Not many people know this, but Jeff wanted to be a missionary when we started dating.  Actually, he's wanted to be a missionary since he was a kid.  When we met, and I started developing feelings for him, this really freaked me out.  Whenever I briefly (very briefly) thought of the possibility of being a missionary, I'd very quickly put it out of my head.

When my sister came up to camp to visit me that Summer, she asked if there were any guys in the picture. I replied, "There's one that I kind of like, I have no idea how he feels.  But he's going to be a missionary.  I don't see how that can work." 

Then my sister shocked me with the most "religious" advice she ever gave me.  "Lora, if God puts this man into your life, who are you to say no?"

Jeff went on a short term trip to India, but we agreed not to consider anything long-term until I got my Master's degree.  Life happened, and so did children, and my studies slowed to a snail's pace, and in the meantime, God called Jeff to serve some beautiful congregations in the United States.  We've been truly blessed by Mount Olive and Zion.

When we came back to Indiana, Jeff earned his STM, partially in the hopes of being able to do some short term teaching overseas, training pastors.  Working with field workers here has been one of his favorite parts of being here, and being able to teach at the seminary occasionally has been a great joy.

So when Jeff was asked to consider a call to a seminary to teach men to be pastors in Papua New Guinea, this time, it didn't seem freaky, not in the least.  It seemed right, to both of us.

So on Trinity Sunday, Jeff announced that he would be taking the call to Papua New Guinea that I very briefly mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It will be a long journey for us.  That Master's degree that I wanted to finish?  It will (God willing) be finished in April or May, but I have an internship first.  Chris has braces to finish with and is putting extra effort into getting his Eagle Scout done.  Jeff will need to work to raise funds.  I will help him where I can.

We will be going to orientation and then moving out of the parsonage into a house in Fort Wayne while we make these preparations.  Ten or eleven months is a long time, and I know that we have encountered Satan's attacks before while heading to a call.  God is merciful and gracious, but your prayers would be most welcome and desired.

God bless.

P.S.  If you want to see some amazing pictures of the general area we'd be living in, check out this post at My Amazing Paradise, Papua New Guinea.  Birip Mission Station is along the Highlands Highway, in between Wapanamanda and Wabag.  I'll post some other pictures soon.


Rev. James Leistico said...

every so often I think about how God led Abraham along, preparing him every step so that he would be ready for the tests of his faith. No way he's ready to sacrifice his son - or to say to the servants, "We are going to sacrifice and ***WE*** will return" - earlier in life.
Likewise, when I have gone through tests and temptations involving this Office, I have realized that if I had known this would be part and parcel of being a pastor, there is no way I would have even considered going to seminary. But God leads us along.
As I know a few more of the details of Jeff's story, it is amazing how God did not so much divert him off the missionary path as He prepared him further for it.
With much love for you and your family, my dear sisters and brothers in Christ -

Barb Holtz said...

I so love reading how God has got you two to this point. It gives me comfort in my life as I move along the unknown. God id GOOD!

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

I think he has been training both of us. There are so many things I couldn't have dealt with 15 years ago, and so many things I would've have been open to.

God is good.

I still tend to think "Are you nuts, God? Do you know what a crazy sinner I am?" But I've been doing that for 20 years, and He definitely does know. I tell Him often.

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