There are times in this process that I want to just stop talking.
It has been a year of opening ourselves up week after week… sharing personal stories in front of large groups of people, having deep conversations with people we barely know… transparency is always required. We are always “on”.
Sharing myself so completely is hard. Being real is hard. Sharing our fish-bowl world is a joy and a privilege and a heavy task.
Honestly, I would rather tell you about Senegal and what is happening there. I would rather share about the people and about the culture and about the amazing things God is doing there. I would love to tell you their stories and share their pictures. It would be easier to just stick with the facts…
I just don’t have them yet. I haven’t been there yet. We haven’t experienced that part of the process yet.
We are new. Starting fresh. Building the groundwork… a foundation for future facts, stories, and pictures.
You see, we can’t get there without pouring ourselves out completely and holding ourselves up for everyone to see.
We need you to know us. To back us. To have relationships with us so that you can carry our burdens, feel our passion and desire to partner with what we are going to be doing.
We need you to be there for us when we are away from home, working in a far away place.
We need you to hear our heartbeat and sense our call.
And although being open so completely for so long has left us raw with emotions, we are overjoyed by the very real friendships, partnerships, relationships and extraordinary support we have gained through this process of missionary itineration.
As you have gotten to know us through consistent status updates, posts, tweets, pics, blog posts and newsletters… we have gotten to know you through your comments, your likes, your texts and your loving notes.
We can’t express how valuable that is to us, how strong our foundation feels because we have invested time in you and you have invested time in us.
In the greatest endeavor we have ever walked, our support is firm. What a great gift God has given us in all of you.
But… sometimes this openness can be misconstrued.
Someone made a comment recently about how the missions process seems so much about the missionary.
Well…sometimes… yes. In a lot of ways, for people to get behind what God has called us to do, they have to get behind us.
They have to feel a burden for what we are called to do in Senegal.
They have to connect to us.
They have to believe in us.
They have to know that we are who we say we are and that we are real people trying to live out this massive call on our lives to take the gospel to unknown lands.
For that to happen, we have to share and share and share.
We have to be open, real, gut-level.
People have to sense who we are, what we are about and why they should support us, pray for us and carry a burden for us.
We can’t go without a team of people feeling a burden to pray and give on behalf of our calling to share hope with children in Africa.
We won’t go without the body of Christ walking hand-in-hand with us. every. day.
Is it about us though?
No. It isn’t.
It is about Jesus.
His gospel being shared. His name being proclaimed. His commission being carried forth.
We just get to be the tools he uses, the hands that work and do and serve.
We pray that shines through. That His joy, His peace, His call is declared brightly in our lives.
If it wasn’t for His precious name needing to be heard in dark places around the globe, I would never, ever, ever be able to be this real, this raw, this passionate…
I wouldn’t be able to sell it all, give up friends, family… travel like crazy… live this unbelievable life without the burden of giving all for the sake of the gospel.
Without the call… without Jesus… without an unfinished task… I wouldn’t do this. We couldn’t travel this missions path.
Missionaries wouldn’t do this. We wouldn’t do this.
You see this isn’t just a short term thing for us. (and we love short term missions!)
For us, this is our job, our career, our calling.
Everything we have done so far has been in preparation, in training for what we are about to do.
We are in this for the long haul and we need a support team that knows us, sees us and carries us through the many years ahead.
We want to be real so that we can have real relationship with the foundation of people God has used and is using to hold us up.
Is this about us?
Depends on how you look at it… even though I don’t like that wording… In many ways, it is about us so that we can share who we really are with all of you. Building real relationships.
But even more so, it is about us because it is really about JESUS.
Jesus’ ability to take a shy 9 year old boy and shape him into a strong, godly man of faith ready to give his all for the sake of the gospel.
Jesus’ ability to take a girl who told God no and give her the strength to say yes.
Jesus’ ability to take two regular, normal people and do big things through them.
Jesus’ ability to heal and protect and guide and speak.
Our story entwined with His story. His path for us being lived out…
It is so that it can be about God’s amazing grace in our lives, His presence walking with us, His protection being lived out over us, His name being proclaimed through us and His gospel being practically walked out as we share His incredible goodness with a people who have never heard.
And we pray you can see Jesus at work in us the entire time.
Thank you for allowing us to share, to be real and to get to know each of you.
We pray for you, we love you and we look forward to years of sharing in missions together!