How did this happen? Right? I mean, I have asked myself this question all summer!
A MissionNext Conference came through the DC area. I had never heard of MissionNext and I did not know what I was getting myself into but I love going places, hearing new ideas, learning new ministry tools, and meeting new people. So I went.
The speaker was phenomenal as were the break out sessions but the main purpose was to meet the vendors and find a place of ministry we can use our gifts to serve.
I needed to think fast. Why am I here? What do I want to learn, whom should I talk to?
Frankly I had no idea. So, I unsteadily walked toward the vendor room filled with 40 organizations with the idea that I would pick up pamphlets because sometime in the future someone may want or need that information. I could introduce people or groups to other organizations out there they may not have heard of. There are plenty here I had not heard of. So, with my game plan in place I started smiling and talking with people. Easy enough, right?
Here is where God’s plan starts unfolding and I am unsuspecting. I think these moments are like Christmas presents for God. God is up in heaven watching as he is about to pull an amazing move on us and he calls out, “Hey Peter, John come here, watch this. They have no idea what is about to happen. Their faces are going to be priceless as they realize I orchestrated all of this.”
Is it just me that makes God a comedian sometimes?
I spoke with many vendors trying to discover if there were opportunities in Africa for me. As usual, no one has heard of this tiny country I am moving to therefore the ministry opportunity is looking bleak. So, I just kept making my way through, collecting pamphlets and meeting nice people.
I have decided Africa and the States have a lot in common this way. Everyone knows New York, Florida, Texas and California. Anything after that is a bonus point. Same here, People know Egypt, South Africa, and maybe the name of some country that has been on the news lately. People are terrible geographers!
While having a nice conversation with this man about bible translations a lady from the table next to him walks up to me.
She asked me some questions, thought I was 18, and therefore becomes my favorite person ever. This was the first time I realized I could have an 18 year old child… terrifying. I am old enough to be the mother to newly enlisted sailors… I will never look at them the same.
We had the same conversation I have been having until Gabon comes up. The look on her face is priceless; she needs a staff member in Gabon.
Wow. I guarantee as much as I woke up that morning not expecting anyone there to know where Gabon is nor have a ministry opportunity, nor did she expect anyone to be moving there with the gifts and skills she needs.
Not only does she need someone in Gabon she needs someone in an advising, encouraging capacity to a young, newlywed, and pregnant Gabonese couple who are just beginning a ministry there for CRU military.
Um, I just may know someone who really enjoys that role…
We just stared at each other for a second in disbelief at how God orchestrates for our good.
Who is she? She is now my boss for CRU military.
I had wondered what I would do with myself in Gabon. There are no english speaking churches, no chapel. Nothing I can locate via Google to involve myself in at a level I am used to in ministry.
But God already had a plan. When I look back on my life in the last 4 years I am amazed by the puzzle pieces that have been filled in.
In 2011, I began asking myself how I would defend my faith outside of the doctrine. I knew I didn’t have the skill set to do that. So off to Italy we went.
In Italy, I had to learn, through teaching, discipleship, and mentoring, how to defend our faith with a mixed group of denominations and non believers. God took care of that problem. It solidified my faith, my understanding of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and my knowledge of people dynamics.
This year has been confusing in general but God is faithful and sent me to that conference. I was meant to be at that table on that day.
So from late May until now we have been processing my application and collecting references all while everyone was traveling. It is an international office so they are gone a lot. So finally I received the call Friday and I can announce that I am the newest member of the CRU staff and I will serve in Gabon. I am both excited and nervous.
On one hand, I can see how God has been preparing me and yet I feel so vulnerable and inept to do the job. However, I think that is just the way it should be. If it were any other way, it would be on my own strength and not His.
So, Thank you God for continuing to push me into uncomfortable places to grow me. Let the new adventure be pleasing and honoring to you. Guide and protect me on this new journey.
Thank you to all of you who turned in the 5 page research paper, I mean reference, for me. I had no idea it would be so lengthy, so thank you for not deleting that email attachment! I guess no one said anything too incriminating because they still took me.
So in “My African Journey” please pray not only for my family and me but for this couple and their ministry on the ground. Pray that the Word of God permeates all around and saves and changes lives. I can’t wait to share with you what this energetic couple for Christ is doing in His name while I get a ring side seat.
God is good, all the time.