Monday, December 20, 2010

My Story. His Story. God’s Story: Part 3

I’m heeding the nudge of the Spirit to chronicle My husband and my and now OUR family’s story of calling.
I am choosing this for Tuesdays because of some of the special women at Jen’s (Jen, of course, and especially Amy) that I have been getting to know for a few weeks, and I feel that you and any other consistent readers (especially dear Cherry, who is a co-laborer and beloved bloggy friend) might be the most blessed to hear this story.
But, truly, I know I need to do this for myself and my God as we continue this unique journey that will, prayerfully, land me in Budapest, Hungary as a long-term missionary within the year.
Trusting all who read be blessed with a touch of Him…
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
~Matthew 6:28-34

My Story. His Story. God’s Story: Part 1
My Story. His Story. God’s Story: Part 2


I fittingly write this ‘on the road’, the predicament, I mean nuisance, I mean stressful pain, I mean, of course, tremendous privilege, blessing, part of the whole of this gift of a life to which we are called…and aren’t we all ‘strangers’ and ‘aliens’?  Sojourners in this world that is SO NOT our Home…we long for a Heavenly city and I do very much PRAISE HIM for this constant transition that began the night I shared last week, when Zach and Julie came to our church’s youth group and cast the vision for ministry to high schools in Hungary…I PRAISE HIM that we CANNOT imagine our lives if we had not felt the stirrings of our heart that night…

Our Story: My dear husband sits with me now and we cannot remember the sequencing of events exactly.  I know that that night we shared our hearts with one another and the stirrings were real.  I don’t remember if we requested the STINT (Short Term INTernational Assignment) application for Hungary right away or a couple of months later. I DO know that we requested it, received it, but did not complete it until nearly a year later.

My Story: I ‘knew’ I wasn’t ready to have that 2003-04 school year be my last teaching. Funny, how that is since I had been so eager to leave and go anywhere else but my hometown and high school.  But then, again, everything had changed.  My mother gone—forever in Heaven now.  I was, by far, the closest to my father and my husband was as dear as a son to him. And I was married with the hopes of a family starting—it was becoming very difficult for this once free bird to make drastic changes like moving overseas.  
I was seeing clearly that this would be very different than any other time when I sensed the Lord leading me somewhere.  For one thing, I was not alone—there was a real, live person and if WE were going to go, it would NEED to be together.

His Story:  I believe I short-changed him a bit as far as his ‘career’.  He had changed from his first entry level job and was in ‘in-between’ work with his brother and friends painting the interior of houses.  It was a ‘dream job’ in the sense that he was with his best friends all day, but it was also very much not meeting his desire to impact the lives of others in significant ways—particularly young people.  He was laid off from this painting job shortly after we were married and spent a couple of months (not long) unemployed.  Then, he traded painting clothes for shirts and ties and a job with the hometown bank that his mom has worked for for years.
Outside of his monetary work, he was seeking out those in need of intentional guidance, care, leading and often those who had never heard of a personal relationship with Jesus.  For the most part, his heart was increasingly drawn to ‘young people’, teenagers struggling as he had for their place in this world.

Our Story: From that youth group night in late 2003 until we officially filled out our overseas application our journey was in some ways boring.  That first stirring, as so often can happen, faded in its emotional draw and without any on-going connection to the ministry it could very easily become ‘out of sight. out of mind.’ 
However, in the goodness that is God alone, I remember there were often times in the few minutes of quiet I would take before my school day would start, when I would be reminded of the possibility of doing something extraordinary.  I remember how very clearly I could see we were at a ‘crossroads’ and the decisions we made regarding moving forward with this opportunity or another radical, uprooting one OR remaining in our jobs, starting a family (good, good things to do and we’re all called to be faithful in) would have a lifelong impact on the kind of life we would be choosing to lead.

We would re-visit the topic as a couple and always experienced that we were both willing to move forward with the process.  Now, to find time to do it.  The Spring of 2004 found me teaching, coaching, cooking and cleaning when I could and he was training in and working a new job. 

My Story:  In much busyness that was always difficult for me to ‘hear’ within, I finished the ‘03-04 school year and headed to SUMMER BREAK!!  Again, I remember little except that there was a conference in August 2004 through the Brethren in Christ Church that we were a part of and it was called:  THE CALL.
Friends from church were going and we decided that we would go too and I remembered that we had the application for STINT in Hungary and that we needed to BEGIN IT—so, we brought it along.

However, although we did begin it there, it was a far deeper work that the Lord wanted to do in me.  God used this conference to heal some very deep places that were so broken from shattered dreams and the loss of my mother.  He was calling me forth from these ashes and asking me if I would rise in a trust-filled, fully committed life that I once had walked in and yet this would hold a new kind of sorrow wrought maturity and strength.

Our Story: That Fall found us in the beginning of another school year and the busyness that would keep us from moving forward.  Then, on a hurricane day where I was off from school due to…the hurricane, and there was no leaving the house, we made a call to our ‘friends’, Zach and Julie in Hungary.  Julie, being the motivator that she is, cracked the whip and told us that we needed to get our application completed (extensive with several references) ASAP. 

So, we did.  Then, they lost it.  We didn’t hear back for months and couldn’t proceed with the support raising necessary until we received our acceptance.  Then, in April of 2005, we finally got our acceptance.

His Story:  So, so faithful at his job and reaching out to any and everyone.  And, yet, so, so ready to do what it took to make the next step happen and prepare for a year overseas.

My Story-Defining Moment: It was a long day teaching and coaching and my husband told me we had received the breakdown of the funds we would have to have raised before we went to Hungary for our STINT.  All that Julie had told me was that it was less than they, as long-term missionaries, had to raise.  I don’t know what I expected, but with one-time costs included as well as living expenses for a year, ‘WE’ would need to raise $40,000 (in one-time or monthly gifts)…approximately!!!!!!!!!! What??!!!
The Director of the ministry in Hungary was going to call us that evening.  I was laying on our couch just wrecked and certain that this was impossible!  I shared just this with him, ‘I CAN’T do this.  There is no way.’  To which he replied with the calm and wisdom I have grown to so deeply respect, ‘Well, if YOU thought YOU could do it, then WHERE WOULD YOU NEED GOD?’  I was done.  Arrow through my heart and it was suddenly very clear—I needed to do this, because I NEEDED TO NEED GOD IN MY LIFE.

I resigned from my teaching position (before we even began raising our support)…

Our Story—What He did!!!  So, we did something we have never done since as far as raising support for ministry.  We sent out letters to everyone we could think of—didn’t do the follow-up calls we were strongly advised to do and had not a single meeting face-to-face which was also strongly advised.  I only began my diligent sending when the school year was out in June 2005 AND WE WERE HOPING/PRAYING to go to Hungary that August. 

And then it just started coming.  In the course of two months (give or take a little), the Lord raised up one year of funding for a couple, namely my husband and I, to live overseas and reach broken teenagers He loves and died for.

So, we boarded a plane in late August 2005, having moved everything in storage, except the two suitcases we each took with us, and headed for a year to a place we still knew little about that spoke a language we DID NOT KNOW A WORD OF to do something we only had a one-time broad stroke vision of because an amazing God had stirred our hearts and did not let us go until we said ‘yes’ and He showed up in ways that can ONLY BE HIM!
to be continued in Budapest, Hungary next week…


Linking up with some amazing ladies at Jen’s today…check them out!!


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