I have been having the time of my life the past several months as I've continued in journeying with God and the lessons have been innumerable. I am at a stage where my long-term goals are clear and the clear direction of the rest of my life is set and I know the immediate next steps in terms of the rest of my life, but a lot of the in-between stuff is cloudy, that is everything from September 2009, on. What am I doing up until Sept. 2009? Thanks for asking! I covet your prayers for the upcoming summer, as I will be journeying to Harbin, China with my covenant fellowship here in Wilmore. The three of us are going there to pray as we have a calling to the nations of the world and the global Church. We will be tagging along with 7 others from Asbury College and the "official" reason we're going is to teach English for 3 months to students over there. This is a very exciting opportunity since I have greatly missed China since I was there in 2005 and my friends also feel a call there. I should clarify, we feel called there for this time, but frankly, our calling in life is to the nations of the world and not just China.
This is an exciting step for our fellowship as we seek to walk together in the things that God has spoken to us for about 2 years now. As we are there, we want to gain a heart for the Church in China, and we want to build them up through prayer and whatever other avenues God will provide to us. In some ways, I even think that this opportunity is more for us as a fellowship than it is for China, because God is still building foundations in us corporately before He will allow us to set foundations which is a major part of our ministry.
I know that we certainly need any prayers that you can offer for us, for the logistics, financial provision and the actual teaching. Because we are teaching for the university, they are paying for our airplane tickets, room and board, so most expenses are pretty much covered. For me, the only expenses that remain are the expenses for the visa, some spending money while there and a $300 deposit to the university which will be returned. My greatest need is just wisdom in teaching conversational English to these students. We'll each have our own classrooms and I have never formally taught or had formal training in it either. This is quite a faith endeavor for me and in many ways, I do not even know where to start in preparing for the teaching aspect. I do know that God led me to this, and so He will enable me as I walk in faith and seek out every means of help I can in doing well in this facet. As a fellowship, Derek, Anna, and I will be meeting regularly up until we leave to pray for strategy in China and to prepare for teaching as well.
On to some other things:
God has kindly opened up temporary work for me that pays well at a local furniture outlet. The owners go to one of my church fellowships and that's how I was able to be hooked up with that. I was desperately needing something and God opened that up after the firewood job ran out. I am so thankful. I am continuing in the word God spoke to me near the end of my time on the streets to stick with temporary work for the time being and that was before I had any idea about going to China. I now see why God told me to stick with temporary work-because He knew I'd be going to China for three months out of the summer. Someone tell me that God is not totally sovereign and all-knowing. Every full-time regular job I've tried to get has fallen through, so with temporary jobs I will stick for now.
I have enjoyed many ministry and prayer opportunities over the past few months. The presence of God has been so near and His guidance has always come just in time. I have seen God reveal so much in fellowship with Him, I certainly have a lot of fuel for future teaching opportunities and other things that God will open up.
I know that in the long-term I will be co-laboring with the rest of the Church to bring a long-needed reform to the way we conceive of and do "church." A neat document I came across recently is sort of a good articulation of what the Church is moving towards. You can google it or something if you want on the internet-it's called Wolfgang Simson's 15 Theses. Another author who just died a couple years ago has influenced us more than anyone we've ever read. We are working through a book of his called Apostolic Foundations. His name is Arthur Katz, and he's a messianic jew who was originally an atheist. He was teaching high school in California in the mid-1900s and he took a sabbatical to hitchhike through Europe and search out life. His search climaxed in Israel where a group of messianic jews labored in prayer with him for three days at the end of which he entrusted himself to Jesus and became a Christian. His is one of the most stimulating stories I've ever read and you can find it in his memoirs/journal of the sabbatical months. It's called Ben-Israel.
God is very much alive and at work in the world today and I'm getting to see it first hand!