We looked around the room and it hit us. This is actually happening. I mean, we knew that it was happening. We knew that TEAM had accepted us. But all of the sudden it got very real. There was still a whimsy to our future that had been washed away. There are going to be moments throughout this entire journey that will forever be with us. Walking into TEAM’s headquarters last week will be one that I carry with me for a long time.
As I was reaching for the door to walk into TEAM’s building I started feeling that flashback sensation that happens right before a big life-change. Seeing my glare in the window I couldn’t help but think back to my wedding day – the day that I married the goddess of a woman that is giving up everything with me. Images of youth retreats to Silver Birch Ranch, Teen Serve, missions trips to Nicaragua, Mexico, and Honduras, leading worship hundreds of Sundays, teaching and preaching all came crashing back. Faces of our family, and our family at Grace Pointe, Moody, and Canton were speeding through my mind. It felt like my mind went through every single emotion that I have felt over the past 6 years in ministry here in the USA. Some were great emotions, others were horrific. I couldn’t help but feel my failures, the ways that I have not lived as I ought, my sin, my missteps, bad decisions. I couldn’t help but see unfinished tasks, unrealized potentials, and unacceptable apathy toward the American church. Great victories were there too – life change in students, warm and loving friendships, compelling worship experiences, libraries of lessons learned. The joy, the sorrow, the laughter, the pain – none of it lacking.
The bitter cold air brought me back. I shot Jenny a glance and reached for the stainless steel handle on the door. The overwhelming support and love in her eyes reminded me that she is crazy for marrying me, and I’m crazy about her. It was a new building. A new task. A new goal. Heck, a new life. We stepped into the building leaving the grip of winter behind us aware that what we were leaving behind was much more than a cold day.
We rounded the corner and walked into a room full of other missionary candidates. People that we now call friends. We shared stories of the places where we will be living. We heard of medical needs in Myanmar, sex-trafficking in Austria, education in China, Tilapia-farming in Zimbabwe, and of course dump church-planting. All of it stirred within us a secure confirmation that we were exactly where God wanted us.
|Doing a skit in morning devotions.|
|Some team building.|
God’s heart is for the nations. And He has equipped us with the tools and resources to plant churches in Latin America. When we got married, He began to create within us a restlessness in America so that we would some day be walking into TEAM. For all of the flashbacks that we have experienced, for all of the remorse, frustration, joy, and laughter…for all of the inconsistency and doubt that we know we will face the rest of our lives we know there has been one constant. God. He continues to write this story. The sweeping narrative of our lives keeps taking unexpected turns, but nothing makes us happier than knowing the author.
Our week at TEAM was fantastic. It was nurturing, encouraging, and fulfilling. Nothing bad can be said about it. What we learned more than anything though is that God owns the past, the present, and the future. And there is no greater feeling than knowing that.