Sunday, June 9, 2013

The End is Just Another Beginning

Dear Friends and Family,
    I am realizing that the past month has flown by with so many changes, and I haven’t updated you all for the most part. Some of you have heard that I’m not going back to work at C. Hunter Ritchie next year. Some of you have heard that I’m going away this summer. Some of you have been waiting to hear what mission field God sends me to next. All of these are well grounded and true. Let me fill in the gaps.
    Rewind with me a few years. There I was, living my life as a Christian single gal, serving at the church, looking for a job, looking for a husband, etc. Through circumstances that I’d love to share with you in person, God brought me to a new place. Although I had always understood that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and that “Jesus died on the crossfor my sins”, God showed me in a no-nonsense way that I was capable of sin. And as I realized it, I also realized that it is not just the depth of your sin, orthe extremity of it that causes God to mourn. But rather, it was the regularityand flippancy with which I daily placed myself ahead of Him. My own desires being more important than His- that is idolatry. It is a wretched thing, especially for a professing Christian. Realizing this, and feeling socompletely distant from the God I thought I knew, I sought passages inscripture to bring me closer to Him. When I read the last few chapters of Job,I met a God who was perfectly holy, and utterly majestic. Comparing that tomyself, as the low sinner I knew I was, I was shocked by the chasm that separatedus. How could I ever think of knowing (let alone being known BY) a God like this? And then it dawned on me- the truth of the Cross of Christ, and the powerof the work He did. He reconciled me to God by paying for my sin and covering me with His own righteousness. What a mind blowing realization. This is the Gospel of Christ.
    In this season of awe, I began attending a new church, where the power of the Gospel and the beauty of true theology was poured liberally down my parched throat. I was caught up in a “movement” at our church toward evangelism and missions. We were headed to NYC to teach ESL classes and providea children’s program for the parents in the classes. The whole summer leadingup to our trip, our team(and whole church) was engaged in evangelism training,through the Making the Gospel Known ministry. A friend of mine told me recently that evangelism is like steroids for a believer’s faith, and that proved true in my life. I realized anew that the power of the truth of what God did appliedto SO MANY out there who hadn’t heard. And I brushed shoulders with them every day. So after NYC, I applied to SIM and spent a summer in Burkina Faso. Many of you know of the trip, but if you look back in my facebook timeline, you’ll find many pictures from it. That was last summer.
    So here's the new stuff: Since I returned from Burkina, I have been seeking a place to work on the foreign mission field for a few years. I had come across  Wycliffe  Bible Translators in my search, and exchanged some emails with them. Iliked WBT because they were focused on languages, something I am interested inand somewhat good at (Thank you Lord!). Their goal is to get the Word of God into every language. Their focus is the Gospel, and so is mine.  Then some missionaries came to visit our church. They worked for Wycliffe. Talking to them lit my fire anew, and I applied to WBT that weekend. I have been working with them since then to further my application process, and look at what direction I should head. They are sending me to the Summer Institute of Linguistics at the University of North Dakota this summer to take some classes. I leave next week. I’ll come home in the fall, though, don’t worry. Because of orientation late next fall, and the unknown of when I’ll be able to get out on the field, I decided not to continue in my position at CHR. I know that my dear friend who is taking my place will do a fabulous job, and be able to commit a lot more time and attention to those kids than I will. But trust me, I will miss my family there.
    I’m also going to miss my church family. But most of all, I’m going to miss my parents and siblings. There is no number of sweet hours that can be spent together to make up for the bitterness of leaving the ones you love. Thankfully, there is grace for that. As Christ keeps each of you, I know He will keep me. And I pray for many more hours of sweet fellowship when I return.
I covet your prayers and thank God for you regularly. 
Serving Him,