There have been many changes in my life and changes in what make up my identity. With everything going on with Lifeway Church, I really felt God asking me "Am I enough for you?" Could I lose my main cultural identity? Was I more caught up in the people than God Himself? These are questions that rolled through mind in the days following the dissolution of Lifeway Church. I found my faith strengthened along with my resolve to keep God first. A couple weeks ago, I received a cryptic email that said the following "I just had a conversation with my director, Matt Janes, and he has recently been told that you will NOT be able to go to Malawi. This is a solvable problem. :)" There was more to the email but this is the gist of it. For four days I went through an emotional roller coaster of asking why and not understanding why the plans had to change. Did it have something to do with me? I went through the emotions of questioning what I had heard from God as my calling. Did I hear Him wrong and read my own desires into His plan? Nancy was a big comfort and encouragement during this emotional turmoil. When she started out with the dream to go to Africa, God prevented her from going. To hear that Nancy has been to 35 countries and that none of them have been in Africa, helped me to understand that God has told me to go to Malawi, but maybe He wasn't giving me the first step in my missionary journey. Maybe I'm not ready yet. Shawna also helped me in reminding ma about Hayden's calling to be a full time youth pastor. God has not brought this to fruition yet. Shawna asked me if I thought that Hayden had heard God incorrectly? This, too helped me to understand that God gives us dreams, but there are often many unknown steps to realizing these dreams.
I found out on a Thursday evening, that I could not go to Malawi, but I had to wait until the following Monday, to find out why. In hind-site I see that this allowed my emotions to calm down, before I had this Skype meeting. There are a number of reasons why I can not go. They are all very logical reasons, and if I had found out at the beginning, I would have gladly chosen another place to go as I do not want to detract from any missions ministry. I am going to serve and I will serve wherever God sees fit. I went through months of training and planning for my trip.
The case is one of over-site. I do not say this with bitterness in my heart towards the people who are responsible. I honestly believe that God had this plan in mind all along. God did not promise me an easy road, but He promised me I would get there. God used this instance to further stretch my devotion to my Steadfast and never-changing God. I am so thankful that when everything is up in the air, we have a God that is always the same. God used this change in plans to ask me again "Am I enough for you?"
My identity has been changed and reformed, but God is still the forefront of what make up my identity. Losing ones identity comes with the culture shock of the missions field. This loss doesn't usually come into play until one is one the mission field. My loss happening before I leave gives me a leg up for knowing how it feels and how I will react when it happens on the mission field.
I know it is a lot to take in, so I will sum it up. I will not be going to Malawi, but I will be going somewhere. For those who have given, thank you very much. I want you to know that your generous donations will not be lost. I have narrowed down my choices and will either be going to Nairobi, Kenya or to Kolkata, India. I will have to make a decision early this week, so please be praying for God's divine guidance. I am going somewhere in January, and I will soon have an update on where that is and what I will be doing. Thank you for your prayers as we journey together; closer to what God has for each of us.
PS. If you know how to change the name of my blog and Facebook page, I could really use some help :)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.