Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Three Years!

In my last update I sent out some prayer requests. A couple of good friends asked me the following questions. In consideration of the fact that I am celebrating 3 full years of ministry here in Kenya, I feel these answered questions can be a benefit to you all and an insight into my own heart and reflections of what God has done from 2009-2012. 

September 2009 - the day I left home.

How long to do you plan on being over there?

When I first set out for Kenya in 2009, I felt that letting my mind go beyond my first term was too overwhelming. So I constantly told myself that I was going to Kenya for four years. Upon arriving in my third year, having gone through the difficult pains of adjusting to life here and making a home here, I have come to realize how important the work we are doing here and how necessary it is for the future of the Church. I think in conjunction with that, I consider and project myself into a future in the U.S. and I just can't imagine myself doing anything there. Sure I could go to seminary. I could do ministry in the states. I could get a job. But somehow those things don't make sense to me. It is like they are just not for me. I believe that God wants me to return after my furlough period in 2013-14, but I have a condition. I'm sure you can guess what that is, so you can pray for me in that regard for God's provision.

2010 - Me and Father Prijo from Kerala in Morogoro, TZ at Language School
2010 - James and I in Meru
What is the paramount thing the Lord has taught you over the last three years?

Live by GRACE, under the system of GRACE, under the law of GRACE. Give it. Receive it. Listen to it. Law is death, judgment, works-righteousness. Law is slavery. Grace is freedom. 

I have an issue with observing and then analyzing until I can make a judgment call on a person, thing, situation, or culture. It has really held me back and brought me down and damaged relationships and made me lose good opportunities. It has made my adjustment into this culture slower than it could have been. It has led to a big depression last year, but also a beautiful deliverance from it. 

I have seen my sin better than ever these last 3 years. I have needed Christ's abundant sustenance more than ever. I have begun to live by and understand grace in these last three years. God has shaped me and changed me. It is painful to grow, but in the end it is worth it.

2011 - Leaving again.
Mid-2011 - Nairobi trip for healing
As you reflect, what have been some of the triumphs you've seen the Lord bring you through in the last 3 years?

  • He has brought a deeper unity within our team which was not present before. 
  • When I was in that depression, he delivered me from it, and provided some supporting helps that made it a little easier to guard my heart from going back to that same place of darkness.
  • We have seen a few people truly be transformed by the Word of God and are now specifically being used to transform others.
  • Our dreams and visions for the future of SERVE are aligned, unified, and somehow feel both possible yet impossible at the same time.

2011 - The Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman

What is your greatest concerns for now and the future?

  • Will our work truly bear the fruit which is essential for the change of the Church in Kenya and E. Africa? I.e. Is the impact that we desire really taking shape in these pastors and leaders hearts?
  • People are being lied to all the time in the Church in Kenya, and they often choose the lies that they desire to believe. My concern is that the Truth just won't be good enough for people and the Gospel will be set aside entirely. Or as Derek Webb says, "The truth is never sexy / So it's not an easy sell."
  • Personally: Will I stay focused and faithful and persevere in the ministry for as long as I live? 
  • More than ever before, I feel the weight of Jesus' words: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt 9:37-38).

2012 - Shepherding Shepherds Graduation

Thank you so much for your gracious support to me over the last three years. God is truly at work here in Kenya as well as in my life and yours.