Monday, April 14, 2008

An Answer... Of Sorts.

Ashley asked the following in a comment she recently left:

Just wondering - have you ever posted about what led you to go to Thailand for a year? I've browsed your archives but haven't been able to find anything about what go for a year? why now? Just curious. I love reading/hearing people's missions testimonies!!

I've been thinking about her question and while I'm sure I don't have a great answer, I do have an answer:o). In answering her question though, I am putting myself in a very vulnerable position and opening up, so bear with me if it sounds a little confusing!

The first question that really begs to be answered is, "Why Thailand?" That's fairly easy to answer. Back in October 2006, the Lord brought to mind a missionary family who has a unique ministry. I've mentioned the Gaudets before, and they are the ones who have short-term workers come to the field to help them out with computer work, printing, typesetting, and so on and so forth. When I first considered doing a longer missions trip, I wanted to be able to help in an area that I had some knowledge in. Babysitting, cleaning, and tract distribution all have their place on the mission field, but I knew that the Lord had something else in store for me and it was working with the Gaudets.

Going back to Thailand is the logical choice for me; having the opportunity to once again work with the Gaudets is a bigger blessing than I can explain. I know what makes them "tick", how they want things done, etc. It's easier going back to work with them since I have personal experience of the day to day operations, rather than spending several weeks learning how another missionary operates.

To answer the question "Why a year?" is slightly more difficult. For starters, I didn't even want to come home last August. Ever since I was 16, my greatest desire (outside of getting married) was to get involved in foreign missions in a very real way. Early on in my Christian walk, my Bible teacher (now a missionary to South Africa) instilled in me the joy and benefits of participating in Faith Promise Missions. I love being able to give financially to missions and to pray for missionaries.

Back in 2003, long before I knew them well, the Gaudets came to do a singles conference at my church and Bro. Tom preached on young people getting involved in missions. He said one thing that I'll never forget:

"Are you planning to go, but willing to stay?" or "Are you willing to go, but planning to stay?"

I fell into that first group of planning to go, but being willing to stay if the Lord chooses so. To me, it was and is natural to be involved in missions. Having the opportunity to go to Thailand last summer and working with the team was only the Lord's doing.

This June it will be 5 years since I came on staff at Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. Over the past 5 years, I have felt as if working in the office was practical training for me. Being able to work under my Pastor's wife was such a terrific experience and although I made mistakes (many mistakes!), she continued to patiently teach me. What I've learned on church staff could not be learned in a Bible College classroom.

But now it's time to continue on the path. I'm not saying I've learned it all, but perhaps it's time for someone else to come and take my place and learn under the great teaching of Mrs. Hammett. Maybe it's time for another young lady to go to "The School of Practical Training." It's time for someone else to be able to jump in the ministry here and grow in the Lord.

As for me, I believe the Lord still has plenty to teach me. It's the right time for me to move on and learn something new under the Gaudets and the Langes. When people ask me how long I plan to stay in Thailand, I say a year, but that's just me saying it. In reality, I have no idea:o). It might be 6 months; it could be 18 months. The timing of it all is in the Lord's Hands, but I do know He's moving me on. As the wisest man who ever lived said, "... the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings."

My ways are before the Lord. If the Lord says "turn right" I will turn right. If the Lord says "veer slightly to the left", I will do so. I think it was Corrie ten Boom who said,

"The safest place to be is in the center of God's will."

That sums it up for me. I have no arguments, no questions. My heart's desire only echoes what Samuel said: "Speak; for thy servant heareth."


Ashley said...

What an awesome testimony! Thanks for sharing! :)

Jennifer said...

Sounds very exciting!