When we first came to MN and seminary, we had no idea what the Lord was doing with us. Everything was just so unexpected and so very different from where we saw our lives heading. I imagined we would raise our little family in our little home town and live a very quiet life loving Jesus and His church in our little corner of the world. And, then the call to seminary came. We spent the next three years blind to what was the next step for us. Gently the Lord opened our hearts to do "whatever was next", and that included being open to staying in MN (shocking, right?). Then in March 2014, we had a meeting with a couple who were recruiting a pastor for a small church seeking revitalization in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The weekend of the meeting, I "jokingly" told Daniel that we should cancel the meeting because we would only be wasting their time; we were going to say no anyway, right? Daniel laughed and agreed, but still we went. During our conversation that night over dinner, I cannot tell you what happened to me. In fact, I kept thinking, I need to go the bathroom, I'm having some kind of a heart attack. My heart was pounding so hard with excitement and I had expected the very opposite thing to be happening - like maybe falling asleep at the table (Levi was only three months old). We listened to them talk about all the amazing things God had done during their 15 year ministry in Belo, and were totally drawn in. I hope all of you at some point feel like we felt that night. We both got in the car to come home and looked at each other and said, well, if we had to sign on the dotted line tonight we would. I was shocked to the core. Over the next several months, it showed too. I was full of doubt and fear. Clarity came through prayer, seeking council, the Word of God, and the considering of several other options. One Saturday after an online meeting with the Belo search committee, Daniel just looked at me and said, "this feels so right," and I agreed. After telling our family and friends, the doubts have been ebbing and flowing, but mostly ebbing. Each day God keeps showing me more and more of His goodness.
I've been reading over some of my old blog posts and one thing that I say in almost every post is how good God has been to us. It is still true, even if He keeps pushing me past myself and my comfort zone to find that there is more of Him to be had and another step further into the unknown that is magnificently held firm by the Rock of Our Salvation. I joke with my friends that Minnesota never looked so good now that the call is to leave it and move to Brazil. Not that Brazil is a scary place, in fact it's beautiful and fun and so very delicious, but it is very far from what and who I know. I mean, guys, I never lived outside of TEXAS until Minnesota!! My Texans will understand just how big a deal that is. And, maybe that is the definition of "the good" of God. That he take us past ourselves to find more of Him. Isn't that how we came to believe in Christ in the first place? "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:2-6 ESV). Yeah, we were dead and HE made us alive to see him, to know him, to believe in him, to follow him; that sounds like the definition of good to me. And what's great is that he keeps being that kind of "good". Even when I all but stomped my foot and said 'no' to Brazil. BUT GOD helped keep my willfulness in check and once again pushed me past myself into a new place of dependence on Him, and truthfully, I needed it more than I knew. Complacency happens so quickly for me. I get to my new place, find my little corner in it, and sit down ready to stay put. BUT GOD, keeps coming into my little corner and grabbing my hand and asking if I would like a tour of His glory. And what can a girl say to such gentle wooing except, "oh, yes, please - I like my corner, but I like you better." That is where I find myself these days. Being reminded how much I truly love Jesus better. Better than my comfort, better than being close to family, better than the idea of Daniel pursuing business, better than myself.
I pray that as you finish reading this blog that your heart is pounding a little harder to your surprise. Maybe God is asking you to step out of your comfort zone to do or say or be something different than what you are now. A missionary - to go where you never would have gone before? A financial supporter - where you would have never been willing to give before? A job transfer? Into ministry? To not walk into the abortion clinic? To ask for help when you've been unwilling to? Or maybe your heart is pounding and you don't know why. Do you KNOW Jesus, not just ABOUT him? Stop and pray and ask Him. He offers you the same gentle wooing hand to experience His glory and love.
Daniel and I would love for you to be a part of our story, to be a part of our ministry, to watch with us as we watch the work of The Lord unfold in Brazil. If you want to partner with us, click on the "PARTNER" page from our home page and see how!