Greetings! This is our very first journal post as newly endorsed global servants for International Ministries. We have been on this journey toward global service for the past thirteen years; longer than we have even known each other. So naturally, this milestone is very exciting for us. It means we are one step closer to moving to Thailand. It means we are officially tied to an organization with cross-cultural experience and a strong presence in Thailand. But it also means we have a long road and a lot of work, time, and growing to do before we can actually go. What we must remember is that we already are global servants. Being a global servant is not a job title, it is a calling and a mindset for us. Being a global servant does not start when we move to Thailand, it started years ago when Alise and I felt called to a life of serving God. Global service is not about where we are, it is about who we are.
One month ago we were officially endorsed with International Ministries, and it seems like there is so much to do before we can actually start ministry. We are very excited about the future, but seeing how much there is to process, consider, pray about, strategize, and put into action is exhausting already. But we also have already recognized a problem within our own mindset: we are global servants, we are already IN ministry. All the things we need to do right now: visit churches, build partnerships, and preparation are all a part of being servants. We aren’t servants to people, we are servants to the LORD and our role as servants is about strengthening the Kingdom. It’s all so exciting to us, the temptation is to try to do it all right away – to fill every evening with researching, preparing, designing, and strategizing. What we are trying to recognize, however, is the importance of balance and pacing, of spending time for renewal so we do not get burnt out – even at this very early stage in our mission.
Earlier this week my home church hosted a “Night of Worship and Renewal”, which are two things I can always use more of. As I was there praying, one particular song really spoke to me: “Your Glory/Nothing But the Blood” – which is a blend of a newer song and a classic.
…And the heartbeat of my life,
is to worship in Your light.
…What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Those two sentences especially reminded me of what gives me life, and where I need to go for renewal – Jesus. In the business of our lives, it is so easy to make work or task the priority and from there, we think that a lack of work and task is what gives us rest. But a lack of work has never been successful at giving me rest. It is going to the Lord – whether it be in solitude or communal worship – which gives me the renewal I need. That almost seems counterintuitive, but the definition of renewal is “the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken.” If we need renewal, we must move towards something, instead of avoiding everything. Even in the times when we are full of energy and passion, what a great discipline it is to worship God, to go to Jesus for wholeness. Seeking renewal in the Lord reaffirms within ourselves who it is we serve, and where we must go for renewal. What the world offers is a false renewal that can never give us a heartbeat or quench our thirst like Jesus can.
So when will we be going to Thailand? We have a long road ahead of us still. Everything is dependent upon the % of monthly support we have coming in. Most global servants take between 18-24 months to gather up the required support – and we are just now starting month one. We have now spoken at our very first church as Global Servants: Mountain Christian Center in Oakhurst, CA. Thank you for your prayers as we go to churches and seek individual and church partnerships. Thank you for encouraging us to remember that this is God’s mission ahead, not ours.
Our kids need their own space as well. This is a family journey for us and our three kids: Sydney – 8, Gavin – 6, Kolin – 3. They are not simply along for the ride, going to Thailand will change their lives as well as ours. Things are starting to be more real for the kids and they are asking more and more questions about Thailand. Sydney came to Alise this past week and asked what she can do, what her role will be once we get to Thailand, and how can she take part in the ministry? I love that Sydney sees our calling the same way we do: she wants to be engaged and involved as a family. When we were at Mountain Christian Center this weekend, just before service was about to start, Alise and I were praying together with our eyes closed and holding hands and we felt small hands placed over ours and looking up we watched as Sydney started to pray with us as well. Our mission is to be a family ministering to families. That may include the kids at times.