The question has been asked of us, “Why would you move all the way around the world with your soon-to-be 11 year old daughter to go serve in Cambodia of all places?” Well I wish you could read my journal to get my answer to that question but that would be much too long. The short answer is that I (we) have finally obeyed what we felt God prompting us to do for many years and more recently in the last two years and this past Fall (2008) we decided to take some active seeking steps rather than just talk about it.
Chet and I both served on missions teams in the past and we’ve been humbled by the sincerity of the faith of people in countries where following Christ has a cost. Knowing that God’s heart grieves and longs for the Cambodian people we wanted to be part of that and have our kids be part of that as well. We want them to experience different cultures beyond middle class America where life is easy and sometimes shallow and to also know that you don’t have to be a pastor and or have a specialized degree before God can use you. Erwin McManus said “Adam and Eve hid, Moses ran, David deceived, Esther was uncertain, Elijah contemplated suicide, John the Baptist doubted and, Peter denied… All these people were far from perfect and each was used greatly by God”
So obedience to His call (finally) and living out the call to serve others is why we’re doing this. For me the emotional part of getting to this point is another story.
It started about 3 years ago when Pastor Wayne gave us a prayer that, in summary, says: “You have an assignment for me that is God sized. I give You permission to change my circumstance, relationships, thinking, priorities and actions.” I have been praying that for 3 years. I didn’t expect it to mean serving in Cambodia but if you want to know if God answers prayer I dare you to pray that!
Next was a speaker that I heard teaching on the Bible passage where Jesus is asking Peter “Do you love Me?” and the short of it was “I will know you love Me when your heart beats for what My heart beats for and that is people. So Peter do you love Me more than your fishing?” We can each fill in our own blank and for me that was a really tough point. I knew that saying ‘Yes‘ to God in this mission thing meant saying ‘No‘ to career and other things that I had worked hard for, and admittedly I had my bawling my eyes out, pity party.
In talking to Pastor Phil later I told him “I’m sorry I can’t do this, you have the wrong person”. I was totally scared. But we went to Cambodia to check it out and in learning what their country had come through and has now fallen into to try to get back on it’s own feet and then meeting the people my heart melted and every inch of me wanted to say ‘yes’ – but there was still fear of ‘Can I do this?” It is different in going someplace for 10 days as opposed to 2 years – or longer as Chet keeps saying.
Anyway our last day there we visited a house church which was taught in Khmer but one of the daughters was interpreting best she could in my ear and she kept repeating ‘ Just trust God one step at a time‘ I thought I was going to hyperventilate. But I really felt it was God saying “Trust me one step at a time. You have taught Bible study for years and you say things about Me – do you believe them or are you all talk?” So that afternoon we went back to our hotel and I cried and journaled and had my list of “But God” questions. Later in the afternoon we went to an international church and the only thing I can remember about the service is the scripture that they read “ To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all we can ask or think‘
We got home and had lunch with Pastor Chad from Compass church and I told him everything in me wants to say yes but I’m scared. That night as I was reading a book “Nice Girls Don’t Change the World” by Lynn Hybels. I prayed before hand saying ‘God I want to be a world changer I want to obey but I’m scared, please speak clearly to me.” In the last part of the book Lynn is having a conversation with God about wanting to be a world changer but being afraid. (Thanks God for using the exact words I prayed!) God asked her “would you do it if you weren’t afraid?” – Yes – “then don’t let fear stop you.” That was my final surrender and as I’ve told some friends here at KCC, while obedience isn’t easy it is freeing. And to see how God has started moving once we/I surrendered has been incredible!