Somehow, I think from a link I followed over from the Best of the God Blogs, I ended up on Allan R. Bevere's blog today, reading about African missionarieswho are reaching post-Christian America for Jesus. The post is worth a read, and tears may spring to your eyes too with the encouragment these African Missionaries are bringing into our country. Specifically, Mr. Bevere mentions The Redeemed Christian Church of God, which began in Lagos, Nigeria, by a work of American Chrisitan missionaries, and who is now returning the favor to us.
How thankful I am for people like these African missionaries. Mingled with joy at seeing how Jesus is the same person in any culture (and any time period for that matter), I am also touched that an outsider would care enough about the United States to want to see Revival and Reformation take place here.
When I traveled a few years back to visit a missionary friend in East Africa, I was struck by all the interesting Chess-like moves God seemed to be making. This is part of what I saw:
My friend — a skinny little single blonde white girl from California, was moved across oceans to make friends and become a light of Christ to Muslims and Hindus. On the flight from Amsterdam, I met a vibrant middle-aged and slightly chubby Kenyan man — a missionary of sorts to mostly white college kids in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Kimweliwas a professor at Valdosta University, and the stories he had to tell of the ways God had used him — amazing! He would talk to everyone he knew about his Lord and Savior, from people at the gas station to classrooms full of students, to his seat-mate on an airplane. Here he was, a man who grew up in an impoverished village in Kenya, now living the American dream made possible through opportunities of education — what a way into American hearts if I ever saw one. He had spunk, his eyes blazed Jesus Christ, he had an incredible life story to tell, and his accent so drew you in that you simply soaked in his words.
Once I arrived in East Africa, I met another young man from Slovakia, Tomas, who was taking a one year break from medical school to reach Africans for Christ. Seeing the grip God had on this young man's heart to leave his hometown and go to Africa, I couldn't help but think of the strange "twist of fate" knowing my dear friends, the Cherney family, were getting ready to embark on a long-term mission, moving the whole family from Sacramento to Slovakia!
All these "strange" moves — this gal from here to there, this family from there to here, bewildered me. Though I don't claim to understand exactly what it is God is up to, the love of Christ shone so brightly in each of these individuals that there is no doubt in my mind their movings-around were directed by God Himself.
While on that little vacation, looking into the lives of each of these individuals, I seemed to hear a still, small voice whisper, "These people are where I want them. You are where I want you. I have put your husband and your chlidren onto your heart — I will use you for My Glory." and my heart was content that it is He who has set His mission in me. I came back strengthened in my resolve to view my husband and children as my ministry, and encouraged that God was in control of where I would live and shine.
But am I shining today? Well, I spent a few hours this morning pouting that my husband wasn't leading me in the way I want to follow. I have such big dreams, and sometimes it's all I can do not to go out and get them done! Today I wanted my husband to lead me in fulfilling big dreams and I became cranky that he wasn't in a big dream mood.
A quote by Martin R. Vincent from the Holy Experience blog read to my heart like a splash of cold water, bringing me back to my senses, "When Paul spoke of the Christian being in Christ, he meant that the Christian lives in Christ as a bird in the air, a fish in the water, the roots of a tree in soil. What makes the Christian different is that he is always and everywhere conscious of the encircling presence of Christ."
I want to be in Christ as a fish is in water, but many times I find myself flopping around on the dirty shore. This morning, yet again (remember I am a slow learner), the Lord spoke to me about getting behind my husband's vision, supporting him fully. I can demonstrate my love and desire to serve Christ by obeying Him in the ways He has set for me in being a wife. These ideas are clearly laid out in scripture, no mystery to decipher them, no writing in the sky needed to understand God's will for my life. In other words, no glamourous unearthing is needed for me to know what to do –God's desire for my attitude to be one of service and respect toward my husband is plain as day.
I don't need to wait around for Big Dreams to come true to live for the Lord. He wants me in the here and now, conscious of His presence, shining His light to everyone with whom I cross paths. I want to be faithful in the "little," because nothing is little in God's economy. Joyful obedience, strategic faithfulness, every day — this is what he wants from me. Our old pastor used to always say, "The problem with the Christian Walk is that its just so daily." Sometimes, living in obedience in a day-to-day journey seems a more looming task than living in an African jungle. But wherever I live should have little effect on me, if I am living IN CHRIST.