Following God has been the greatest adventure of our lives. We have a holy calling that isn’t always easy but our lives are full of joy and purpose. Our more recent adventure was leading a 2 week camp known as ministry leadership training camp this July. Just last year we turned down leading this camp because God had called us to visit several countries to decide where we wanted to serve as full-time missionaries. Then, this year, in the thick of our support raising to leave for Guatemala the offer to lead MLT was extended to us just 9 days before the camp was to begin. Now certainly didn’t seem like the time to take 2 weeks leading a camp and we would only have about a week to prepare 20 lessons on christian leadership. However, it wasn’t up to us entirely. We spent time in prayer, asking for conviction and confirmation. The calling to lead was clear and in retrospect it makes perfect sense.
God is faithful to us. We were greatly encouraged after leading this camp. We spent 2 weeks doing what we hope to be doing on a daily basis in Guatemala. Discipling youth in their faith and teaching them about Jesus! Through this experience there are 3 things God has been teaching me.
1st, we must constantly pray in the Spirit and actively read God’s Word everyday. Without these two things, I think there is a great chance that we would have taken a strictly logical approach and thus decide to not lead MLT. Logically our goal is to get to Guatemala and therefore we need to focus on support raising. This was something we were unable to do at all while leading this 2 week camp. We had 8 youth that we were responsible for at all times of the day. Yet this leads to the 2nd thing I’ve learned even further.
2nd, if we are faithful to God’s leading then He is faithful to us in His promises. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” The Lord’s desire is that we concern ourselves with His Kingdom, that is the great commission and the advancement of His glory. When we do that He handles the rest. When this verse says “and all these things will be added to you.” we can look at the previous verses and see what it is referring to. Quite simply it is referring to provision. Currently Rachel and I have no place to call home and everything we own has either been sold or shipped to Guatemala. Yet we have been provided for every day. We have been living with friends or family members, my current job has given us the money we need for food and gas. We are provided for. And as we have sought God’s Kingdom first and foremost He has been faithful to us. While we were at camp unable to raise support, we somehow went from 38% to 42% of our monthly needed support. God is faithful.
The 3rd thing God affirmed in me is my passion and gift for teaching. Sometimes it’s hard to mention these things because it can make one sound prideful. But if i can boast in anything I will boast in the gift that was faithfully given to me. I love teaching scripture and I am incredibly thankful that God has enabled me to teach well. Rachel and I were blessed that the 8 youth we worked with had a desire to learn and gain a deeper understanding of scripture.
“You can do it!”, I shouted. Fifty feet above me on a tiny wooden platform stood a teenager trembling as she fought to find the guts to take the leap of faith. Even with the knowledge that her harness would 100% save her from falling, fear still paralyzed her as she stared at the obstacle ahead. It is so easy to feel this same way when we are faced with spiritual challenges and decisions that require us to let go of our human logic and trust God completely. The leap of faith was one of my favorite activities at MLT (ministry leadership training camp). It caused me to contemplate how moving to Guatemala (something that most people call a huge leap of faith) doesn’t scare me at all. Maybe it is because I have know doubt that God holds me in the palm of his hand just like a harness is the safety line for someone on the leap of faith obstacle. However it seems to be the simple things in my life right now require the most faith.
During MLT I was challenged and given opportunities to teach several hour long session. I don’t like teaching in front of a big groups, I hate being the center of attention. Yet God has given me passion in three specific areas, the value of having a personal relationship with Jesus, having one’s identity rooted in Christ and the ability to effectively solve conflict in a peaceful God honoring way. I never thought I would have enough content to teach for a full hour, but my first session lasted an hour and a half. Also the youth expressed that they felt engaged and not bored at all. Teaching long session was outside of my comfort zone but God enabled me to me successful through faith and prayer. I loved teaching.
Another area I that requires faith right now is support raising. Making phone calls to set up support raising meetings seems simple enough. After experiencing that only 2 out of every 10 people I call will answer or call me back, it then suddenly takes a lot of prayer and faith to continue to make phone calls.
Daily I find myself forced to walk forward in faith as I choose to overcome discouragement and lies of the enemy that come after me every time I have neck pain and headaches. But as I speak the truth and seek God I am daily given the strength I need to continue walking by faith even though I can’t see an end to this pain.
These are just a few of the ways I feel challenged to take leaps of faith in more simple areas of life.
At the end of MLT Michael asked, “What did you learn or want to take away from these leading MLT?”
“Honestly, I could do this FOREVER and NEVER BE TIRED OF IT! I can’t think of anything profound or specific that I learned. But God encouraged my heart by confirming how much I love doing youth ministry. God rekindled in me the zeal and excitement I have for doing youth ministry. I can’t wait to be in Guatemala doing it full time.”Rachel