Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Go Ye Therefore!

We moved to that 20 acre farm to begin serving a mission. The Hubs was sure God was calling him to be in aviation ministry. Me? Not so much. I could not fathom traversing to the remotest part of the earth, walking though the jungles and marshes, picking leeches off my legs to let the peoples know that Jesus loves them. I’m not making light of missionary endeavors, I’m simply telling you where I was at that point in time.

One Sunday our church hosted a couple to come and speak to the congregation about their missionary work. I felt safe as their missionary work was in France! I could do France! A romantic language, good food, fashion, and croissants! Yes… I felt safe with this couple making a presentation.

Approximately five slides (yes… it was that long ago) into their presentation they stopped at a picture of a four seater Cessna plane. The couple began expounding upon the virtue of those in mission aviation. I was only three rows (pews) from them and I’m sure the look of horror upon my face spoke volumes to them.

If that didn’t then perhaps it was the low, guttural sounds and sobbing that did it. It could have been either, I don’t recall. I was wailing, weeping and rocking in my seat. Persons from rows ahead were turning to look at me as if I were possessed by an evil spirit!

What I do recall was it was at that precise moment that I knew the Lord wanted my attention. More than that, He wanted my willingness to follow Him in obedience.

We visited and applied to become missionaries at Missionary Maintenance Service (MMS). MMS prepares aircraft for missions while training aircraft mechanics for mission service. This isn't the normal training someone in a technical school would receive, meaning you don’t take a part off the shelf and replace the inoperable on, often you have to fabricate the part or repair it so it will work.

A large part of this endeavor was to raise our own support by visiting churches and finding those who would contribute on a monthly basis. I learned a lot from these treks. We would attend the church service to give a small “tickler” about mission aviation and then return for the evening service where we had the entire service.

I learned that small rural, struggling churches were the most generous as were the ‘widows’ who lived on a fixed income. They would either have a pot-luck to honor us or the Pastor and his wife would have us in for a home cooked dinner.

I learned that being invited to large metropolitan churches was a sometimes empty endeavor. One such occasion when we were invited to a large church in Akron Ohio, I had a feeling, just a nudge and told the Hubs to be sure we had enough money for fuel and for meals, should it be necessary. It was. There was no pot-luck, there was no one who offered to take us and break bread with us and there was no “love offering” to help with the travel expenses. We had to spend the hours between services in our vehicle on a hot, muggy summer’s day.

I am ever so glad that “nudge” was from the Holy Spirit! I want you to know that I’m not sharing this out of spite or meanness but only because I want to grow up to become like those widow women!

I also don’t mean for the “empty endeavor” phrase to sound opportunistic or self-serving. What I hope this post will do is stir you into action or service should a missionary every visit your church. If possible ask before hand if you can host a pot-luck for them. Or ask them to dinner; slip them some cash to help with travel expenses.

Just open yourselves to the gentle whispering of the Holy Spirit. 

We never were able to raise our support to a level that would sustain a four member family and Hubs health issues also precluded that. But such a learning experience it was. I also learned that our mission may be in our own backyard.



Isaiah 6:8

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 

What I was really thinking at that time was, "Here am I. Send Dennis!"