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August 2010
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Vision

DSC_1503_tonemapped I have been wrestling a lot with vision for the last few weeks, trying to get a peace and direction for Moldova, the ministry, and the opportunities. It has been a tough time personally, with an unsettleness in my spirit.  THAT is not normal for me!

I've always approached things with the idea of "what is the possibility" rather than "these are the obstacles."  I see the horizon of what can happen, and even though I don't know all the details of how to get there, I start moving.  In hunting terms, when I see the target ahead, I rarely have problems squeezing the trigger! 

But why now?

I've prayed and journalled my thoughts.  After all, I do not want my vision, but God's vision for the work here.

I questioned if it was due to exhaustion or burnout.  Was it misguided searching, trying to find something that makes me feel good?  Is is boredom or a short attention span?  Perhaps too many focuses, and I need to narrow our focus?  Was it past problems or conflicts?  Is it God's way of bringing me through a desert, a dry time where I cannot hear His voice?

It could still be fragments of each of those things, but I think I've come to a different conclusion.

It is simply because we are at a different location that years ago, and the horizon stretching before us looks SO different.  I am staring at a different view, different challenges, different needs....and I need to adjust my eyes to a different perspective.

7 1/2 years ago, we arrived in Moldova, trying to find our place.  We were the only AGWM missionaries here, plowing our way through territory without much guidance.  We had the vision to see the kingdom of God expand and His Church grow in Moldova.

  • We had the vision to help build leaders and construct buildings.
  • 5+ years ago, the vision started to build the home and start the ministry to trafficked women.
  • Around 3 years ago, we dreamed about compassion work and clean water wells for villages.
  • We dreamed about having a team here to minister together.

And we've been able to see so much of those visions accomplished. 

  • Freedom Home is built and the ministry is getting solidified.
  • 20-30 teams have helped build and construct church buildings.
  • We have strong friendships and relationships with countless pastors.
  • The well-drilling rig is purchased, with first wells just starting to be put in.
  • We have 3 missionary associate couples here right now and 2 fully-appointed missionary families here in addition to us.

And the horizon looks so very different from this vantage point.  The plethora of paths leading before us create a different matrix than 7 years ago.  It is more complex, but with so much more potential. 

What will it look like when the vision we have for Freedom Home is closer?   When we have churches and individuals engaged in the issue, praying 24/7, 365 days a year?  When we see former residents healed enough to return and minister?  When we set the gold standard in all standards, from accounting to counseling; job skill training to discipleship? 

What will the work look like if we can partner with pastors to plant another 25, 50, or 100 churches?  What about the hundreds of villages that have no church?

What would it be like when our team becomes a TEAM?  Where we know each other's faults, but don't care?  Where we hold each other mutually accountable, pushing for high standards, but without condemnation? 

What needs and opportunities are out there that we haven't even tapped....but God sees.

It is a brand new day, with a brand new horizon.  I'm kind of excited about the day's journey.


Success 2

My thoughts yesterday on too much success have continued in my thoughts.  Thinking and clarifying things in my head this morning.

First, a friend commented on the a situation of someone who IS caring to speak, give her time, raise funds.  I was NOT trying to speak against those things.  I think that is wonderful, a fantastic example of someone DOING something.  Especially if she is being educated about the issue, wise with how she uses the funds.

[May I take a side diversion--too many people are not discerning about funds.  A good story or video moves the heart, but very few know how to ask the tough questions.  That might make a great post/dialogue--what the questions we should ask!]

I was talking more about people that ONLY talk about the issue, caring more about the issue that the individual.  If you care about the individual, you will look for opportunities to invest in the individual in your location.  If you care enough to volunteer weekly at local abuse shelters, or ministries to women, you show that you care for the person, not the issue.

Too much success?  Perhaps not.  I am amazed still at how many people do NOT know about the issue.

Too much success?  Perhaps yes.  Especially when everyone wants to do something but few want to commit to the work.

Be a part of something.  Commit to doing something.  Ask discerning questions.  And work with those that are truly making a difference.  (and not just a great video on a Christian television show).


To Much Success

Could the voices speaking out against trafficking be having too much success?
Is there a danger of too much awareness of the issue?
Are we in danger of having "trafficking" become the issue of the month?

I've been wrestling with some of those questions as of late.  It seems as if everywhere I turn, there is a voice against trafficking, another organization springing up to speak against the issue.  The topic shows up on television crime shows, paperback novels, and plenty of Christian websites.

But is the issue being repeated so often that it will soon be watered down, empty of the impact?  If everything is anti-trafficking, will people soon filter out the concept and turn the channel?

Examples of being flooded with the term:

One organization is going to do a "world tour" missions trip to fight trafficking.  My response?  Give me a break---what can you do in four weeks when you don't know the culture, haven't paid the price, and have no relationship with the women you are trying to help.

Another organization shares how they are fighting trafficking as they reach out to orphans.  No---they are helping at-risk kids.  Yes--trafficking COULD happen to some of these girls, but so could a dozen other tragedies.  No need to tag on a buzzword to gain more funds and stir a bleeding heart. 

I know people that have the goal to be an "advocate" against trafficking (not sure what practical help that actually does other than provide funds to their advocacy non-profit). 

I am worried. 

We need people who don't care about the publicity.  We need those that care more about doing the job than talking about the job. 

We need people who are more concerned about networking to stop the issue, rather than networking to find more funds.

We need people who are committed to being the body of Christ to the girls, rather than people who repeat the sensationalistic stories about the girls.

We need people who will pray hours about the problem, rather than people who just wear a t-shirt, or buy a pair of shoes, or create websites talking about the issue.

We need a little less success in talking, and a lot more success in doing.

 


Milestone

_D2X0107-2 Today is Natalie's 11th birthday.  My middle daughter has advanced another year, closing in on those teenage years.

And I could not be more proud.

I know it is easy to take people for granted.  We have an almost limitless capacity to do such!  But I want to NEVER take these three girls for granted.  They are all blessings from God, a gift of life.

I found out Natalie was on the way on Christmas morning, a special gift for us.  We had faced many years of uncertainty about whether we could have kids, years before any of our children came.  Every one of the girls was a blessing, a dream and desire long before they came.

And our Christmas gift has been the best present ever.

She is so full of life, a smile that can melt the heart of everyone.
She is a loyal friend, never to be the friend of 100s, but a dear friend to few.
She loves animals, dreaming about becoming a veteranarian or owning a horse ranch (YES!)
She gives the best back rubs.
She loves to read, to draw, to create, and to climb and run.
She dreams about learning to ride horses, and is our Jr. Dog Whisperer.
She has a very tender spot for God, asking deep questions about faith already.
She loves her life here, LOVES to travel, and thinks her passport should be full before age 16.
She wants to drink coffee, and her first cappuccino came on her trip to Italy. 
(Her daily coffee will be waiting until age 13, though!)

And we are so proud of her. 

Another milestone for her and another for us.  We give thanks to the Lord for the gift of these last 11 years.