February 12, 2009

Another Ah Ha!

Have you ever had one of those…“This is what I’m meant to do with my life!” moments? For me, most of those moments come from the times I am either: singing praise, preaching, praying, or witnessing in some way. Several months ago, I wrote a blog about one of those moments. It concerned new converts, led by their pastor and former student from our seminary. I had the privilege of interpreting the recent training sessions for them, where my friend from the states taught them how to use puppets to preach the message of Jesus. I watched a few days later as years of my life paid off while they presented Jesus in a remote area to a people who had never heard the gospel. You can read about that by clicking here.

The most recent moment occurred recently during a 2-week intensive course that I was teaching in Spanish at one of our Seminaries in South America. The class was called “Contemporary Missiology,” and was attended by almost a dozen Master’s level South American graduates headed to the mission field. The moment was not a singular moment realized after the event had passed. Rather, it was a lingering joyful fulfillment that occurred every day during the course of that 2 week event and left me with a clear reflection to remember always.

With every day that I walked to the World Missions Complex from my room in the school’s dormitory, every time I stood up to teach, every answer uttered from my imperfect lips to every question falling on my fallible ears, God seemed to whisper the words spoken to Esther so long ago, “You were born for a time such as this!” Every experience/adventure, every move from yet another home, every foreign piece of food, every long and tiring journey through the night, every friend and family member left, every book read, every long and boring lecture I had endured through college then seminary, as well as the enjoyable ones…all of the task, troubles, trials, triumphs, and trophies were piled upon those moments for the following realization: This is That! That calling, that vision, that hope, that drawing and yearning that has been in my heart for so long. It IS being fulfilled right now…in THIS moment! I did NOT feel like I was in the wrong place. I was there because I belonged. I belonged not because of who I was, but because the GREAT I AM had been working for years to bring me to who I am now.

Every time I looked into the faces of those students about to sacrifice the rest of their lives for the same drawing and calling that I too have felt, it deepened my sense of belonging. The best thing was, I actually had answers for their questions. I actually had insights to their dilemmas, compassion for their sufferings, and hope for their concerns. It was flowing out of me with the same anointing God had poured during those moments of singing, preaching, witnessing, counseling, etc… I loved it! No, this was not even close to my first time to teach. Then why was it so special?

The vision that we have held in our hearts included one of those infamous “one day” statements. It was the reason we had made so many of those moves, spent so much time in preparation, given up so many “other” opportunities, and made so many sacrifices. The “one day” was to be a time when there was a dedicated Spanish missionary training facility, a dedicated Latin Missionary sending agency, and the need to teach intensive training sessions in all of the “networked” schools scattered across South and Central America. I hoped I would see that sooner than expected, but never dreamt it would be during the first decade of this millennium. This session was the first of what I always thought would be step Y or Z in the equation. Now, I have had to redefine step Y from the old track to step A in the new track. In many ways I feel like the training (though never over) has finally led us to the real or BIG race/course. The two facts put together is what overwhelms me. One, that it is already happening, and two, that I’m actually ready/equipped for it. He really has called us for a time such as NOW!

Yes, there is still a lot of work left for Him to complete, but don’t miss what I am saying. This was my pay-off moment. That moment that finally arrives when you open your eyes and look around and say, “It’s really finally happening.” Like a bride and groom trying to look around at the surreal scene before them in order not to let one of the greatest defining moments of their lives pass them by. This is what I have spent all of the time, money, emotions, relationships, and hope on for the past decade!

It may not mean as much to everyone else, but for me, it was a long time coming. The word that God had spoken to me when I felt compelled to leave my favorite University in the mountains of Tennessee to eventually call South America home, was finally and clearly being fulfilled. I left Lee because God had told me if I wanted to keep teaching the mission courses I was teaching, I’d better learn to do it in Spanish. He told me that He was making the former mission field into the Mission Force for this century!

I am so thankful to the godly men and women who share in this task. Part of the reason I have been overwhelmed in the past was that the task was so big. I have recently realized that when God is speaking to you, He most likely has been speaking to others. Yes, there is much work to be done, but God and godly men and women are working on that. I love watching His beautiful orchestration come together, and love serving whatever role I can. So many people have worked hard to get these programs and institutions rolling, and I am thankful to merely be a part of it!

1 comment:

Amanda Osborne said...

This is great, Matt! God is so faithful. I love you all, and I'm praying for you.