Shannon and I have been doing the furlough circuit for a little while now and all in all it has been a great experience. We have actually really enjoyed being on the road, especially during fall when all of the rich, rustic fall colors have been out.
I wasn’t expecting it to be quite like this. As I envisioned these months a while back I foresaw a lot of things that I couldn’t imagine being extremely fun or enjoyable. Like Jesse strapped into a car seat for the first time in his self assertive life. Like all of us sleeping in a different bed almost every night. Like eating way too much fast food, loving it and then having this feeling of perpetual bloatedness.
When it came to visiting churches, I honestly had my hesitations as well. We didn’t really know a lot of these people. How were they going to receive us? When it came to sharing about our lives and ministry, well, I have always been hesitant with my Christian stories. Even if God had done it, I never wanted to boast about it. Humility demanded that even if I was to talk about it, I would do so sparingly; probably only when and if I felt the time was exactly right. And it wasn’t that these stories were not good, powerful stories. They are good stories, but there has also for me been this feeling of guilt that there weren’t more. I have had this idea that there should be a whole treasure chest of new, fresh testimonial jewels for me to pull out and dazzle folks with. You know, I’m a missionary!
Maybe you too have had some of these same feelings.
Well, furlough has been corrective for me. As we have had no choice but to become itinerant storytellers, all of these hesitations has been swept over by the wave of our experience. Every time I share these same old stories, I become more confident and passionate about our work. More and more, I feel a great conviction that God is indeed present in our lives and ministry. I have a sense that through the mystery of His grace, we are taking part in this great story of redemption.
These are our stories, this is our life, this is what God is doing, and we are learning to share our stories with joy and with confidence.
And so, I thought I should write. I figured I should share. That has been really the lesson I have learned. And maybe this is a lesson you need to learn as well. I encourage all of you, tell your stories as well!
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord and always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
(1 Peter 3:15)
Baby is due any day now! We will let you know as soon as he/she comes.