Thursday, August 15, 2019

Congress Around the Corner

In a little over two days, I'll be on my way to Albania for the third time in the past year and a half.  I'm thankful that it's become a familiar, even comfortable place to me as I brace myself for the two weeks of intensity.  At least four of the international staff members arrived at the beginning of the week to start on-site preparations.  Today, one man has re-applied for Visas for our 5 Egyptian delegates who are some of many who are still waiting on theirs!  (They aren't scheduled to arrive till a week after me, so there's time, but not much!).  I'm glad that there's still hope as I heard from a dear Fijian friend that she will not be able to come as her Visa was denied.  That is so sad to me and a reality of international travel, whose Visa requirements are heightened in Europe because of the refugee crisis the past few years.

In the meantime, you've probably heard about the protests at the Hong Kong airport, which caused flight cancellations for two days this past week.  Thankfully, it seems like that's settled down.  Then there's British Airways who planned to strike in August, but we're hoping and praying they won't.  I am flying through London, though not on BA.  đŸ˜…These are one of many issues that are outside of our control, but directly affect our 200-300 people flying as well as the airport pick-ups, hotel check-ins, etc.  

It's good at times like these to keep our hearts and minds free of worry and connected to the love and power of a good Heavenly Father.  He's the One with ultimate control over every circumstance and the One that we can pray to for our needs, fears, and things outside of ourselves.  I'll have to remind myself of this in the next few weeks, ha!

I am unsure if I'll be able to post while there, but please do pray that this would be a joyous, fruitful time as nearly 80 nations will join together.  Please also pray for safety and health for all of us and our loved ones as we travel.  Lastly, (it seems surreal to write, but) please pray that I will finish well.  Thank you!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

What Next?

As I've written in previous blogs and my newsletter update, I'm in my final days with EE, which is bittersweet.  The sad part is leaving a group of people who I love and am attached to.  I've had great joy serving my European brothers and sisters. Thanks to their incredibly warm welcome, I have always felt like a part of the team from Day One.  It's a loss to leave this team.  The happy part is being in step with the Lord and preparing myself for what He has next so that His purposes and plans can be fulfilled through my life.  

As I mentioned in my latest newsletter, I believe that the Lord is calling me to serve in Southeast Asia.  That's about as much detail as I can give for now, but I'll give some backdrop in case you're interested in how it's all come about.

This past February, as I learned about needs on the mission field for language and culture coaches, I felt hope, excitement, and passion all pump into my heart at once.  I didn't want to get too excited even though I'd been praying for over a year about the long-term.  I decided to take one step at a time, the first being to inquire about more information.

As I learned and dialogued more, I offered three locations that interest me: Europe, New Caledonia, and Southeast that order.  No needs in Europe for this position.  Impressed that I knew of New Caledonia, but no current needs.  Many needs in Southeast Asia.  As I continued to knock on doors with weekly conversations, I thought back to my prayer map on the wall at the condo years ago and how three SE Asian countries were among five countries I used to pray for regularly.  Looking back, it was a bit strange.  I think I hoped to possibly visit these places one day, though I feel fairly sure that I never intended to move to any of them!  

I admit that it's a stretch for me--very different cultures than I've ever lived in before and will require me to learn a new language (and culture)!  I'm so thankful for my trip to this part of the world in April 2018 so that I at least have an idea of what I'm praying about, though the placement trip in the fall will do a better job.  Not only will I visit locations I (mostly) haven't yet, but I'll have the lens and filter of living here long-term.

What's also significant to me is how God uses His Word to guide and speak.  I mentioned New Caledonia as a place I was interested in.  You may know that this is a place of particular interest to me and one that I believe God had placed on my heart some time ago.  Not to mention, it just makes sense being a French-speaking island, and islands=warm weather, my preferred climate. :)

Right around the time as I was inquiring and exploring options, the Bible Study I attended was studying the life of David, specifically his desire to build a temple for the Lord.  I don't think I'm only speaking for myself when I say that this story is not new to me.  Still, the Lord has a way of speaking to our spirits with His Word, which is alive.  One of my fellow group members reminded us that sometimes God puts desires on our hearts which are actually not for us to fulfill, but perhaps our children or the next generation.  As she spoke, it was as though the Lord Himself were speaking to my own heart's desire to go to New Caledonia.  I'm not saying I will never go there, but at that moment, I was released from needing to make it happen and freed to go to the location where the doors are opening and how I'm being led: Southeast Asia.

I've been dialoguing with several in that part of the world and have planned a trip there mid-October for two and a half weeks.  Until then, I'll be busy with Congress and New Wineskins; so it's nice to see how things are coming together.  I so appreciate your prayers in this transition time.  Will keep you posted along the way!