Friday, March 20, 2009

A Drawn Out Answer To An Often Asked Question.

While going through some pictures this week, I found this on our network:

I can't really tell you who tweaked it in Photoshop; perhaps it was this girl or maybe even this one. Regardless, it now sits on my computer desktop and has been a constant reminder for me to keep my mind stayed on the Lord.

The Lord had placed a special burden upon my heart for missions when I was 16 and that burden didn't fade over time. When I came to Thailand in June 2007 on a short-term missions trip, it was with great anticipation and much excitement. I had such peace and knew I was right where God wanted me to be. When it came time to leave Thailand in August 2007, I didn't want to come home but knew the Lord was taking me home. That was a very real struggle for me, but ultimately I saw the Lord's wisdom in it all.

As I spent last year home in the States, the Lord continually pressed upon my heart Thailand. Time and time again, I poured out my heart to the Lord with my desire to return. I well remember a verse that Bro. Tom Gaudet (the missionary family I'm working with) shared with me in early 2008:

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think..." ~ Ephesians 3:21

He then said to me, "Let God do the exceeding abundantly part."

The Lord did that very thing (Each Step I Take records it all), and I began to share God's leading with family and friends. Invariably, one of the first questions I would be asked was this: "How long are you going to be gone?" My original answer was a pat, "until May and then I'm coming home to baby-sit my nephew while his parents take a missions trip."

That answer worked really well in Pennsylvania. Not so much in Thailand. When I returned to Thailand, I felt like I was coming home. Suddenly it didn't make sense to return home in May to baby-sit. You may laugh at this, but within days of returning to Thailand, I began to pray for direction as to when I should go home. No, it wasn't because I wanted to leave Thailand; it was quite the opposite! Within a couple of weeks, I was calling my brother and sister-in-law to say I couldn't come babysit my nephew while they went to Israel. My brother's response was very telling: "I didn't think you were going to come home in May." He was more perceptive than I was, and was very gracious in allowing me to back out.

The question of coming home still lingered, although most people didn't really ask it during my first couple of months in Thailand. Within the past two months though, it has really picked up speed. In fact, a couple of people have jokingly accused me of avoiding the question. Just last week, one of the ladies I used to work with asked me when I was coming home and I replied, "I'm really not sure... waiting for the Lord's timing. My timing is never, but I think the Lord's timing is a little sooner:)."

And that is, I believe, a fair assessment of where it stands. The Lord has given me the answer of wait regarding my prayer of direction. Wait is just as much of an answer as yes or no, but perhaps not as "definable" to my finite mind. Wait. Such a small word. Such a weighty command. Such a necessary task.

Tentatively speaking, my one-year visa expires at the end of July. If I exit the country and renew it again before it expires, 90 days are supposed to be granted to me. Anything is possible with the Lord and I have full confidence in His leading.

I found this a while back on Chantel's blog and thought it very fitting to share now:

The Call to Service

The call to Christian service
Is a call from God above.
He sends us forth to serve a world,
And save that world through love.
He calls for you, He calls for me;
‘Tis God’s own voice that says “Go ye.”

The call to Christian service
Is a call from men without.
“Come o’er to Macedonia” –
Can you hear their dying shout?
They cry to you, they cry to me.
Let’s go while still they plead, “Come ye.”

The call to Christian service,
Is a call we hear within.
Our own hearts seem to whisper,
“Go and save this world from sin.”
May your sincere response now be,
“I’m wholly Thine, Lord, please send me.”

~Adlai Esteb ~

That last line is echoed in my heart: "I'm wholly Thine, Lord..." If the Lord chooses to keep me in Thailand for an extended period of time or take me home to PA within a couple of months, so be it. I wholly belong to the Lord and am His to use.


Tiffany said...

Anne - I sure miss you, but if God wants to keep using you there in Thailand that is great! I am so happy that you have peace there and are willing to stay there as long as God wants you to. Please do keep us updated with the visa thing and as God give you a more "definable" answer!

Jendi said...

That is wonderful that you have felt the burden for missions since 16 and acted on it.

Sometimes the wait answer is the hardest!

God bless.

Rachel Smith said...

That Bible verse is so special to me! It is my Papaw's life verse. When he took me to college, he gave me a Bible. He underlined that verse and stuck a little gift for me on that page. He is so special to me. He has truly tried to live with his mind on Christ at all times. That verse reminds me how I should live daily and reminds me of the great Papaw that God has given to me.