The last two weekends have been truly amazing and eye opening for us. First, the end of October we had the opportunity to go to Harrisburg and be a part of the One Mission Society Northeast Conference.
There we spent the weekend hearing from OMS missionaries about all that God was doing through their ministries. We heard from missionaries serving with OMS from Mexico to the Ukraine, from new missionaries to those who have been serving for 50+ years, and spoke with those in the funding process just like we are! We also spent time in worship throughout the weekend, praising God for who He is and all that He has done. We took time to pray for missionaries all over the world, for the persecuted church and for God to raise up more missionaries to reach the lost!
It was a blessing to us and to our children. Ethan and Haylie quickly became friends with other missionary kids whose families serve all around the world!
They are excited to stay connected via email and to see each other again! Not sure of how soon that will happen, but as parents who know that transition is not always easy, we were grateful for these kids who serve alongside of their parents and who LOVE being "MKs"! I have to admit that I was quite emotional as we left the conference. As many of you know, this has been difficult for Ethan and we praise God for every little step that he takes! This was a HUGE step :) Thank you all for your continued prayers for him and for us in this area! (Haylie is still ready to jump on a plane whenever we say we are leaving- and for that we are so thankful too!!)
Following that amazing experience, I had the awesome privilege this past weekend, of taking three young ladies from Sharptown Church to OMS World Headquarters for OneWeekend. We packed ourselves in a tiny little rental car and headed out on the 12 hour journey! Despite the tight quarters... we had a blast!
OneWeekend is a conference that OMS does each year that is designed to raise awareness about missions and to encourage participants to seek God to find out what He is calling them to do. When I arranged for these girls to go, I had in my head that this opportunity was really for them and that my job was just to get them to Indiana and back home safely and to maybe help out and serve where needed for the weekend. Well... God had other plans!!!
To sum it up: We spent the weekend seeking God's face.
Hours of our time were spent in prayer, reflection, worship, journaling and alone time with God. From the moment we arrived (and really in the months leading up to this!) to the final moments before we left (and beyond!), prayer was the driving force. I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am for this experience. OMS had no intention of spending a weekend trying to convince those in attendance to come and serve with OMS or to become missionaries for that matter.
Their main goal was to create space for God to speak to each one of us and for us to listen to His voice.
Did we spend some time hearing about OMS and missions around the world? YES!
Did they help us to understand the ways that God calls us and the different opportunities that we have to use our gifts in missions? YES!
But first and foremost, they wanted us to leave with a clear sense of God's call and with a stronger connection to our Savior- and I can tell you that I have never felt more connected to God and to His mission for the world and for our family than I do now. One Weekend was a blessing beyond words for me, and I know that many others, including the girls who went with me, were also blessed! Thanks to OMS for giving God the weekend and for focusing all of their energy and efforts on helping to create space for us to spend time in His Presence!
So here are a few things that God spoke to me about this weekend:
1) Everything that He has given me- gifts, talents, time, experiences... He wants to use for His glory and I am often not willing to let Him have it all. This weekend I was really convicted in this area. I know that God will bless me when I am obedient and that I have to trust Him with everything. My prayer is that I will be continually obedient to His call and follow Him no matter what the cost!
2) We spent time learning about all of the different ways that God calls us (for example: through needs around us, music and worship, Scripture, prayer, dreams, other people, etc.). We had to think of a time when God called us to do something and share about it... as I spent time thinking about our call to Haiti I could see how God spoke in ALL of these ways and it was so comforting to know that He provided such clarity! But then I realized something.... God wants to speak to us EVERYDAY in these ways... and I truly believe He calls us EVERYDAY to serve Him. No matter what we are doing during our day- whether we are home with our children, in the workplace, on the road, at the grocery store, wherever- God is calling us! If we would just listen to His voice every day and ask Him to speak- He will. We just get so busy in our days that we don't take the time to ask. I want to wake up every morning and spend an extended time with God- asking Him to reveal to me His call for me every day. What an exciting thing to think about isn't it? God desires for us to simply BE WITH HIM and He speaks to us if we are willing to listen.
3) I have recently been feeling led to explore the possibilities of serving God in another capacity, different than what we originally intended to do in Haiti. After going to OMS Headquarters and hearing more about the ministry of HOPE61, the anti-human trafficking division of OMS, we are feeling that God may be leading us to get involved and to be trained to work within the community surrounding Emmaus, and with the pastors at the seminary- to begin prevention ministry through evangelism and education. Prostitution is rampant in Haiti and it breaks my heart... If we can educate middle school and high school age students... if we can share the Gospel with them and help them to see that this is NOT what God wants for them... we can begin to break the cycle and to bring about change in that community... but we only want to do this if it is what God wants for us. We just want to follow His will in this. Would you pray with us about this?
We are so grateful for God's continued direction and provision as we prepare to go to Haiti. The recent opportunities, as you can tell, have reignited an excitement for us to continually follow Him and His plan for us! We are over 55% funded at this point and are praying that God would provide the additional 45% needed so that we can get on the field and begin to serve Him there! Would you also pray for our funding needs?
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support and for journeying with us...
2 Haiti 4 Him!