This time of year, we take part in a fast. It’s always a very meaningful time where we push back and set our minds on our relationship with the Lord and what He has planned for us in the coming year. It’s kind of a reset button that helps us keep our ears and hearts open to God’s voice. No one enjoys the physical process of fasting, but the benefits far outweigh the discomfort. At home, we’ve always encouraged (never forced of course) our young children to give up, or fast, certain activities (TV and other forms of media for example) or unnecessary snacks for a period of time. Our youngest is an avid potato chip fan – she knows most of what’s available here and panics when the chip stash runs low. This year, she has laid down the chips and has somehow enjoyed the sacrifice. Of course it’s not a full chip fast but it’s precious nonetheless! One
Then came the call to plant churches. This disturbed my idyllic life on the mission field. I can’t say that the call came in the form of a great vision or prophecy. It came more like something we knew we had to do. At first, it was exciting – the very idea of starting a church from nothing was intriguing. Where would we go? How would we start? Who would come?
In this world of great pain and need, what can be done to bring meaningful change? On the African continent alone, there are hundreds of millions of stories like these; it feels like an impossible situation. I am daily assaulted with feelings of despair when I see hungry children, abused women, and hopelessness in the eyes of the vulnerable.
Are we exempt from doing anything because whatever we do won’t be enough to touch vast swaths of the population?
It may sound a bit romantic, planting a church where there was none before. It may also sound a bit foolish, what guarantees would there be of a successful church plant? What would we do if no one wanted to join our intrepid band of church planters, i.e., our family?
“I knew I’d be hungry so I brought a sandwich.”
I am guilty of being surprised or even ungrateful when God sends blessings and answers to prayer time and again and I continue to accuse Him of not hearing my cries for help.
My parents were “old school.”
Go to bed on time.
Do your homework.
No TV until homework was done.
Clean the house on Saturdays.
Eat what was set before you, every last bite.
We had to make sure we did everything we were told in its entirety. If our chores were “half baked,” that was considered to be worse than not having done anything at all.
I baked a cake for my baby today
There are parts of this lifetime adventure that have cost a great deal, and I’m not talking about plane tickets (which are costly!). The cost of the adventure and being witness to what God has done in the past 30 years has been more of an emotional cost than a financial one.
Maybe you have been in my situation. You have life happening: running to/from work, there’s noise, dinner’s not made, bills have to be paid, and the children are all vying for your attention. They all have something that needs your attention; maybe a science project is due tomorrow or a book needs to be returned to the library, there are sports events, and there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to properly care for each of their needs. You find yourself at the end of the day plopping into bed after you’ve tried to organize the house and things for the same crazy race to take place the next day. Did you remember to fold the clothes? Then, in the middle of all the fuss, someone is tugging on the edge of your shirt, incessantly calling you, “Mama! I have to tell you something!” Momentarily, your eyes glance down and see those precious eyes and time stops.