This blog post has been long overdue. Life here in Kona has been hectic and extremely restorative. It has been a great time to refocus as a family and find a rhythm of worship, life, and seeking The Lord. We want to be careful to paint an accurate picture of life here in Kona - because we encourage you to come do a Discipleship Training School, BUT also we want you to be prepared for what you will encounter.
We are learning numerous things.
1. Opportunities Versus Problems - there are different ways and grids through which we view the world. We can see things are problems or opportunities. Let's face it, we are on a large base with a LOT of people from all over the world who have to be fed on very little money. You can interpret that as indicative of terrible food, or an opportunity to learn to praise Jesus for provision of what we have. We choose the latter and are blessed to be surrounded by others from around the world who are reminding us of the same. We live in quite close quarters with lots of native wild life. You can look at this as quite inconvenient, or you can see this as quite the God honoring ecosystem going on in our apartment. We choose the latter.
2. Learning Different Cultures - We might have thought, previously, that we were more in tune with what God was doing globally. Prepping to be a missionary tends to focus your attention on books and speakers who speak often of our global God. We might have been able to go to a class and learn how to adapt to different cultures, but The Lord chose to allow us to live among other cultures for an extended period of time as a way to experience and get to know other them better. European, SE Asian, NE Asian, Central Asian, Australian, Indian, South American, and North American. All living and worshipping together...bonding for life. We have been blessed with some wonderful Norwegian friends who have shown us that God is doing amazing things in Norway. A country that was previously not on our radar before! This past week during our intercession training we were blessed by a young Korean husband and wife who were praying over Keri and me. The young man started in English and prayed for a short time, then stopped and said, "now I pray in my mother tongue." I have no idea what he was saying but the power of God was so thick in that place that we could do nothing but sit there and cry. It was loud and intense and one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard.
3. Learning To Hear Gods Voice - The bible says that all those led by the Spirit belong to God. Jesus said "my sheep hear my voice and they follow me." Obviously the pharisees knew scripture but were not led by the Spirit. We all know people who know LOTs of scripture but exhibit precious little love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (fruit of the Spirit). I used to think that God only spoke through the logos word but faith comes from hearing and hearing from the rhema word of God. The statement for us was "we will follow you anywhere God, as long as we know it is you leading us. We just finished this topic as the first week of lecture and it was an extremely powerful time. We are thankful The Lord intimately guides and directs His people and we are not left to read the bible and come up with our best guess as to direction.
4. Local Outreach - This is where we learn to be sensitive to the Spirit directing us as we engage people with the Gospel. We will put this into practice locally in preparation for our bigger outreach.
5. Outreach - This will be a time, at the end of lecture phase, in which we go out as teams to put into practice all that God has taught us. As of this writing this will be a two month outreach in either India or Isreal. Do we know where we are going yet? No. Do we know what we will be doing yet? No. Do we trust that The Lord will tell us and direct us if we will A) ask Him and B) wait for His answer? Absolutely! We are still in need of raising the necessary funds for the outreach but we trust that The Lord will provide.
6. Finances - This has been one of the most joyful things that we have been learning. We are so blessed to be part of an organization that believes in the living by the faith that they encourage us to have. It obviously takes money to run this place. When we first inquired about applying we told them that we did not have the money. We were told, "just get here, we are confident that if you are supposed to be here The Lord will provide." Somehow.....The Lord provided the lecture fees just before we left Texas. Then He replaced them just as we arrived. What an awesome God! We are still trusting Him for the fees for our outreach and do not know where they will come from, but we will move forward knowing He will provide. Do not think for a minute that this is not part of training! It is IMPERATIVE that we learn to trust God and move forward even when the provision does not look probable. So many agencies want to know you are fully funded before releasing you to the field. In the bible there seems to be very few time God directs His people to move only AFTER they know where there provision comes from. This is a discipline and a lesson for us and we are thankful. We get to know the heart of our Father and understand His ways and know were we are to look for provision. God certainly does a lot through other agencies who take different approaches, but this is the path God has chosen for us and we are grateful to walk it.
This is likely quite disjointed, but we wanted to get a little more thoughts down in writing. We are thankful for you all! You have all played such a wonderful part in our lives. If any of you are considering missions and feel like your faith is just too small to venture out...we encourage you to come here! If you are simply at a crossroads (side note, "Crossroads" is the name of our school!) in your life and want to see if God has more for you, then this is certainly the place for you! We have met many who do not know if they are called to international missions they are simply here to see how God may direct them.
We are praying for you all and so thankful for our team miles away! It is a blessing to us to have you all cheering us on!