In the world of missions and ministry, it is not entirely uncommon for someone to start down the road to a certain destination, only to find themselves somewhere else. Many people begin raising support, talking to churches and gathering prayer warriors, but never end up where they first said they were going. Many times it’s not anything wrong, it’s just a different path. But so often the church and supporters don’t view this change in destination as a positive thing. It’s often seen as a failure.
I’d like to encourage anyone who has ever been in that situation that you’re not a failure. Or maybe you’re a supporter or on a missions committee that has seen someone move towards a destination but not ever make it. I’d like to encourage you to look to see what else God is doing in this situation. Of course there are exceptions but I’m writing to those who are truly seeking God’s face and His direction. Sometimes that direction changes or leads us where we weren’t planning to be.
Paul, who is arguably the greatest missionary of all time, even experienced changes in his initial plans. At the end of Romans we see him writing to the church, saying that he will visit on his way to Spain, he even asks for their financial support. However, we have no conclusive evidence that he ever made it to Spain. But no one I know thinks less of Paul because of this.
Between my years working in Papua New Guinea and arriving in Australia, I considered at least four other countries. I could have chosen any of those places to work. God could have directed my path elsewhere. I could still be single but God blessed me with a wonderful husband and directed us to Perth, Australia. In the future we might end up somewhere else entirely. But as long as we’re seeking God, He’s opening the doors, we’re praying for His wisdom and following that direction, we can be assured that we are where we should be. I am where I should be.
Even Paul might not have been able to complete his journey as intended. But like Paul, God directs us where He wants us. Be encouraged. Changes in direction are not always a sign of weakness. Changes in a destination are not always a failure.
Today Ryan is on a plane to Darwin. He is going to be gone for a long weekend on a scouting/vision trip with some of our other co-workers. I’m not going with him for a few reasons but mainly I just finished this semester (all three final assignments done and submitted!) and I need a break. I’ve also been experiencing some gallbladder pain (more on the scheduled surgery later). So Ryan headed to Darwin without me but it should be a great trip and he gets to experience another part of Australia.
Here are 5 facts about Darwin and Ryan has promised an Instagram picture a day while he’s gone so follow him @lpturntable for a taste of his experiences.
- Darwin is the Capital City of the Northern Territory.
- Darwin was named after Charles Darwin.
- Darwin’s population is the smallest of all the capital cities in Australia with only about 120,000 people.
- The same Japanese war planes that attacked Pearl Harbor, attacked Darwin on February 19, 1942.
- Darwin is located closer to the capitals of Indonesian, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Palau and Brunei than it is to it’s own nations capital in Canberra.
Holidays like Mother’s Day are always difficult from the other side of the world. For the past few years, I have been extra thankful for the series of photos that were taken of my mom and Ryan’s mom helping to lace up my dress for my wedding. Because they live in different states, our mothers haven’t had a lot of time together which makes this moment before our wedding even more special. They worked together to bless us on that beautiful February day.However, that’s just one event out of too many to remember or even count over the course of both our lives. But that’s in my mind what motherhood is about in so many ways. All the moments, big and small that add up to raising a child. And even though we’re on the other side of the world, we still recognize that our mothers have done (and still do!) amazing things to love and support us. So thank you mom and Ryan’s mom too!
I thought this article posted by a friend, A Tribute to Mothers Who Send Their Children Into Mission, is an appropriate tribute for Mother’s Day. We love you both!
Post-it notes remind me of prayers. When I started attending Ryan’s Bible study in Camarillo while we were dating, it was already a routine. At the end of every study he brought out post-its and everyone wrote down a prayer request and then these were passed around. You write a post-it and then you take someone else’s post-it. It could be anonymous or you could put your name down but either way that request was prayed for over the week. I know a few people who would put the post-its up on their bathroom mirror as a reminder to pray.On Wednesdays Ryan now drives out to Brookton. He teaches the Bible study and each week brings post-it notes so that everyone can share prayer requests. Even though I don’t usually attend, I’ve started writing a prayer request to send with Ryan because I enjoy getting a prayer request back to pray for during the week. I love being connected to this community through simple, weekly prayers. Post-it notes have a lot of other uses but for me, they will probably always be connected to prayers. I look forward to seeing what God will do through the prayers that will be written on these post-its.
This past week confirmed that even though we’re living in Perth and enjoying the city, our hearts are in Brookton. It was wonderful to spend a couple days observing the Brookton Mission, catching up with friends and getting to know more people.This is one of my favorite pictures during morning tea after Sunday service. Ryan was visiting with a group of people from Calvary church in Brookton. These people all have a special place in our hearts already and since Ryan was out in Brookton during the same time last year, the morning tea time gave him an opportunity to reconnect. Please pray for us as we try to find the right balance of living in and being present, pursuing people and relationships in the city, as well as spending time investing in, learning and connecting in Brookton.
Ryan and I leave for Australia in one week, and year end giving ends just a few days later. We are so abundantly thankful for all the individuals, churches and families who are already partnering with us. If you aren’t already giving, please pray about becoming a part of what God is going in Australia.We praise God for how he has provided in many ways! We are thankful for the provision of an apartment for our first 6 months in Perth. This will get us through my first semester before we try to find a bigger more semi-permanent flat to rent. Ryan and I are amazed at how God provides and are so thankful for a place to call our own in Perth. Let me know if you want our address, it will be fun to get mail in Australia.
We are currently at 91%! And we also have received some very generous end of the year gifts. Each gift is a blessing to us. In order to be at 100% we still need another $1000 in monthly giving. Any amount pledged monthly gets us closer and as seen below, gifts of all amounts make a difference.
5 faithful givers @ $100 a month = $500
4 faithful givers @ $50 a month = $200
8 faithful givers @ $30 a month = $240
6 faithful givers @ $10 a month = $60
How do you give? Contact the MTW one of three main ways.
- Call- 1-866-373-6133 (Before December 30th because that’s the last day to make donations for 2016)
- Give Online- Ryan and Joy (End of the year gifts and pledges will be accepted before midnight EST on December 31st)
- Mail a Check- MTW Donations PO Box 2589 Suwanee, GA 30024-0982 (Must be postmarked before the 31st and include our names and account number 11299)
Any questions? Feel free to ask me, I will happily help you through the process.
Thank you to everyone who has already been giving and for those of you praying for us! We look forward to sharing the journey with you as we ring in the new year in Perth Western Australia. 2017 should be a very interesting year.
There are a lot of similarities between the way Native Americans and Aborginals are viewed from outside their communities. Our friends (who we were just in training with for a month in Brussels) are going to be ministering to the Native American community in Northern Minnesota. We were blessed by many conversations we had with them that allowed us to be excited about the possibilities for Christ’s transforming power within these communities as well as lament the real struggles that are a present reality. Patrick (who loves bricks so enjoy his photography skills in this post too) wrote a great article called Who Needs Fixing?: A New Perspective on Native American Missions. It is worth the read for anyone but especially if you are close to a Native American community and/or your church does ministry with Native American groups. However, I would love to spend a few paragraphs on why I think this concept should be applied, not just to Native American ministries, but across the board.Patrick states in the article that Revered Jonathan Edwards in the early 18th century while reflecting on his predecessors said, “The English of Massachusetts were too interested in fixing the Indians…than giving them the gospel.” I think the missions world (and I could argue the non-profit world too) is often more concerned with fixing people than with anything else. But unlike the non-profit world I believe that Christians have something better to offer people. The gospel. What if in our marriages, in our families, in our homes, churches, at our jobs and everywhere else we focused on sharing the gospel instead of focusing on fixing people?This is a pretty convicting question for me personally. I spend a lot of my energy trying to fix my husband, fix my friends and I know that can easily be carried over into how I approach my job and ministry if I’m not careful. This reminds me of the strong command found in Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”We live in a world filled with brokenness and there is, without a doubt, a lot that needs fixing. Things are not as they should be. We all want to see lives changed, renewed and different. However, we are not Jesus. We are not the perfect light. And once we realize this and act accordingly we can humble ourselves and be better equipped to give the gospel. This is where the true fixing happens, at the foot of the cross, empowered and transformed by the blood of Jesus.