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?
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 a first generation American, born to Finnish parents who came to the USA in the 1960s. In 2002 I visited Finland and thought that I was well prepared for the emotions that I would on my visit. I’m a career missionary and am accustomed to moving between different cultures, and I was raised by Finnish parents, how hard could it be? I learned that I was sorely mistaken.
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.