Saturday, July 3, 2010


When I was 16 a missionary came to my home congregation with videos and pictures and stories of the people in Kiev who were hungry for the gospel message.  The wall had only been down five years and people in this former Soviet country were craving information about God and grace and salvation.

I can still remember how greatly my heart ached to be with those people.  People I had never met.  People I had never really, in all honesty, thought about existing before that moment.  I went home that night and cried.  I desperately wanted to go to Kiev.

I never went to Kiev.

It wasn't from a lack of trying mind you, my parents and I worked to try and arrange it for me on the summer following the missionary's visit and the summer of my 17th year.  I felt like the Apostle Paul. It felt as though I was being kept from Kiev.  Despite my trying, it just wasn't right.

Since Kiev was closed to me, my dad contacted a missionary he knew in Germany and helped arrange for me to spend a month working at the Gemunde Freizeitheim with German children during their summer camps.  It wasn't Kiev, but it was an amazing experience of mentoring- both me mentoring to the girls I was working with and the older Christian women at the camp mentoring me.

At the camp I met a girl named Jenny.  Her mother was sick with cancer and died while I was there.  But because I was there, and not in Kiev, I was able to hold her and comfort her- even with my kinder Deutsch.  God used me where I was, as I was.

Last Sunday the pulpit minister at my church preached a sermon in preparation for our Mission Sunday on July 11.  He was making the point that if we are breathing, we have a mission.  Preaching that if we are willing, whether it be in our town or across the world, God will use us where we are, as we are.  In the sermon Mark said

There are many times in scripture where God does not act until we act on our faith.

This was exactly the case for me with Kiev.  While Kiev never, or thus far at least hasn't, happened for me, had I not allowed God to touch my heart with the call for missionaries to go to Kiev, I doubt that at 17 I would have pursued traveling to German alone to work with people whom I could only moderately speak with in their native tongue.  I would have never learned all the valuable lessons that I did from making that trip (like how to pack light for starters!).  And, I would not have been there with Jenny.

Now, I firmly believe, as a friend of mine messaged to me on facebook a few weeks ago, that
If there is a ministry, GOD will create it. If God wants to sustain a ministry, then He will do it with or without you. If God wants something to happen, He will provide. If you make the decision to be or not to be a part, then God will still take care of it.
So it's not that I think Jenny would have not been without comfort had I not been there- but more that my life would have not been shaped by that moment if someone else had been Jesus with skin on to her.  My future, my faith, my thought process from that summer forward would have been different had I not acted on faith to step forward and let God use me.

If you remember, a few weeks back I was having a bit of a prayer crisis.  Feeling, if you will, a "call to Kiev" while having great doubts that it was the best choice.  This time it wasn't the political stability or lack-of-electricity-safety-concerns that were keeping my from fully moving forward with a call that was being placed so strongly on my heart- it was the suitcase full of questions weighing me down.  Keeping me from fully committing to the journey.

And specifics of that call, as LK and I boiled down the options, were not best.  We did not need to go to "Kiev."  But through being willing to move on faith- to look into it as a viable possibility- "German" doors were opened to an option that just feels right.

I'll admit, there is some apprehension as we start out on this new ministry- there normally is with something new isn't there?  But I feel such peace with this choice- a choice I would have never thought of had I not moved on faith towards "Kiev."  And I'm looking forward to the ways God will provide opportunities for growth with this new adventure, ways my family can, as we are all excitedly onboard, be Jesus with skin on to others here in "Germany."


Beth Zimmerman said...

That was beautiful and inspiring! Thank you for sharing! My son has a heart for international missions and has been blessed to be able to travel many places even though he is young (20) and will undoubtedly go many more if we are given the time here. Me? I never really felt the call to *GO*! But lately I have realized that God has called me to something I might never have seen as a mission field. I am able to offer hope and encouragement, and some time Jesus, through my blogging. THIS is my mission field and I am embracing it! :)


Angelia Sims said...

I'm a travel agent too. :-)

I love reading how God calls us and our heart follows. I never tire of hearing how he works so completely in our lives and what we know in our heart is where we need to go for him.

It is scary sometimes, and I think the purpose of that fear is to continue to lean on him, and step in faith.

Beautiful post! What wonderful works he has for you.

DPM said...

So proud of you two. Still amazed that we let you travel by yourself at that age. But the call was in your heart and you do not belong to us.

Chellie said...

I love reading your thoughts.
By the way... Nate and I went to Kiev back in 2001... it was great. I never knew it existed before that trip came along. We know a good missionary there if the opportunity ever does come that you could go.

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