Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Looking Forward

Several of my blogs have been focused on the past.  This time, while we are spending a week relaxing in Crimea, I decided to write about looking forward and to share about some of what I see in our future.  It is hard to believe that we have less than 11 months left on our two-year commitment to minister in Ukraine.

Before we go back to America next year, we are trying to focus on five areas of ministry:
  1. Language and culture acquisition - is the most important and is foundational to the other four areas.  This is considered ministry because we cannot learn these things on our own.  We need to be with other people and to develop relationships if we are to be effective learners.  This is something that is never completely finished, we are just able to spend less time on it as we continue living on the mission field.
  2. Church ministry - includes being involved in the various aspects of church life - music, prayer, speaking, preaching, and building relationships with people inside the church.  I believe we all need to be part of a body of believers that we participate with on a regular basis.
  3. Village ministry - includes reaching out to the people in villages, especially through preaching and speaking in services there.  Many villages have no churches and most people have never heard the gospel message of Jesus and His love.
  4. Care ministry - includes reaching out to the orphans and under-privileged by spending time with them.  Our city has more than twelve orphanages, several dorms (for those too old for the orphanages), and other facilities for those without families or in need.  We enjoy spending time and building relationships with them.  God's heart is for the orphans and widows - those without families.
  5. Relationship building - specifically cultivating relationships with those outside the church.  We need to be salt, creating a thirst for a relationship with God, and light, shining God's love in the dark places.  We want our friends to know that we care about them and that we are there for them when they have a need.  We all should be building relationships with people outside the church so that God can use us to reach them.
Last year, I received my Certificate of Ministry, the lowest level of ministerial license with the Assemblies of God.  I have already started the process to become a Licensed minister (the middle level with the A/G).  I just have two more courses left to finish as well as the rest of the paperwork process.  The licensing would be effective next spring (2012).  That will put me on track to be ordained in the spring of 2014, after completing several more courses and another application process.

After we return home next year, we plan to itinerate (visit churches who have supported us to share what God has done as well as new churches to share what God has called us to do) to raise our support so that we can return to Ukraine.  I am convinced that this is what I was born to do - and love this even more than the job that I left in 2010.

In our family, Laura will graduate from high school next spring.  We will celebrate her graduation after we return to the states.  She is already considering what she wants to study in college.

We do not know where we are going to live when we return to the US next spring.  At this point, I will only say that I am confident that God will direct our steps and provide the right living situation for us.

I believe that it is wise to take time to evaluate where you are at and where you want to be (as a Christian this would include where God wants you to be) - and then make any necessary adjustments to your path so that you are heading the right direction.  Many times God will intersect our paths and cause us to take a major turn, just like He did with me.

I have known people who do not plan beyond their current activity.  Those people are usually the ones that are late for everything.  As a planner, I will say that there is a place for not planning, but it has a very limited place and should not be the norm.  Most of the time, the lack of any sort of plan will lead to some issues.  Maybe it will not happen right away, but things will eventually fall apart.  It is even more important when other people are involved in or are affected by what you are doing.  Remember the old adage, "Fail to plan, plan to fail."?  It is true.

Are you taking time to evaluate your life and the direction it is heading?  God has a plan and a purpose for your life.  Are you following that plan?  Last spring, when we were getting close to finishing our preparations to move to Ukraine, I heard one of the announcers on K-LOVE ask, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?"  Fear of the unknown, fear of leaving our comfort zone, fear of what others will think, or fear of many other things will often prevent us from taking a risk and doing what we know we need to do.  Maybe it's time to take Nike's advice and "Just do it!"

1 comment:

Mark and Holly in Russia said...

So excited you all are looking at becoming "lifers". I am not sure what schools Laura is considering but can say from experience that Evangel U was a great choice for our daughter. The support available here is top notch for MK's too. Not to mention the tuition discount :) :) :)And there's always plenty of volunteer opportunities as well!

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