Taking off, flying high

It’s good to be busy.  Not for the sake of merely being distracted or overwhelmed, but to have the blessing of contributing to the world and its Lord.

I am swamped in material and tasks, and it is wonderful.

Just over a week ago, I flew down to our mission’s headquarters for an event I hadn’t even known about two days earlier.  Tracy and I had agreed it was a good opportunity to pursue three main goals:  gather some news to demonstrate the work we’ll be doing in Cape Town, cover a message of why missionary work is important, and interview some of our leaders on camera for comments about how our particular assignment will help people there and at home.  All three goals went much better than we’d hoped.

The first goal felt especially important because I often feel a bit of a quandary about writing this blog and our prayer letters.  On the one hand, it’s exciting to share what God is doing in us and through us and for us as we move into full-time missionary service.  We’re eager to get to our assignment and grateful for the support we’re receiving, and we like sharing those stories.  The very assignment we have will focus largely on writing and sharing stories about what God is doing in people’s lives, for them and for others.

On the other hand, we’re not there yet and can’t really gather stories about His work through other missionaries, so I wind up writing about ourselves more than about others.  That’s not the ministry we’ll have, but that’s the content available to me for now.  The stories I do have about the work we’re doing here and about the help we are trying to give others in Christ’s name now are generally too identifiable and private for those involved.  I’m a journalist, not a memoirist; my natural inclination is to be outside the story, writing about others.  Yet, God has called me and made me to write, so I write.

The sudden trip gave me a chance to gather other content, though, and that has been especially satisfying.  Last week, I wrote and posted three articles about the trip: one about the event itself; one about some of the people who attended; and one about SIM’s history of facing hardship.  More articles will be coming this week and next, including an interview of Nancy Writebol (the SIM missionary who was the second Ebola patient brought to the US) and her husband, Dave.  I also videotaped their interview, so I hope to have that edited soon (video is a developing and still-inefficient area for me).  Not bad at all for one day of news gathering.

Even more exciting, though, was the chance to talk with the SIM USA president and the SIM International deputy director about the work to which we’ve been assigned.  These are two men whom we respect for both their experience and their heart for God’s mission, and to hear their excitement and appreciation for our work is very invigorating and encouraging.  Their comments, recorded on video, will be very helpful to us in the months ahead as we continue to gather support.

And what busy months they will be!  We have been invited to speak at several churches in New York and Pennsylvania, and another church voted last week to support us financially every year.  On Friday, we spoke at some friends’ small group Bible study, and a class on Sunday introduced us to more people excited about missions.  Things are really moving, and our spirits are soaring over what God has done already.

“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” – 1 Timothy 4:10 (New International Version)

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