We put a For Sale sign in our yard this week. Jaron pushed down one side while I pushed down the other. The ground was soft from our recent rains and from the regular sprinkler system watering. I wished it hadn’t gone in so easily. A huge part of me wanted to yank it right out of the ground and run back into the house. I think Jaron was fighting an urge to do the same, but he hugged me and said, “I love you” instead. This, perhaps even more than the conversations we’ve had over the past few days with people we love dearly, makes it feel so real.
Over the past few weeks, the Spirit of God has spoken through some faithful church leaders in a way that has turned our world upside down. What began with one unexpected phone call received in the midst of birthday party preparations has become a “call” that is capturing our imaginations with a hold that won’t let go. It has become one of the significant signpost moments in our lives.
We’ve had these signpost moments before where the Spirit has clearly spoken, calling our names and whispering to our hearts. We’ve had our imaginations captured by a call to Lovington, and we’ve been blessed by the relationships, the transformation, and the opportunity to be a part of Kingdom work. We’re not strangers to the call to give up significant amounts of income or security or identity. However, this call takes things to an entirely new level.
Jaron and Quentin and I are preparing to become missionary-pastors in Hamilton, New Zealand, a city about an hour south of Auckland. The transition will take place over the next several months as we sell our house and most of our things, obtain visas, attend cross-cultural orientation, and carefully pass off all of our “batons.” Jaron will lead a mission trip to Africa in October, I will attend a conference, and together we’ll speak at churches to raise funds for the ministry in New Zealand. We’ll celebrate Christmas at Thanksgiving with our families.
Then we’ll board a plane with a handful of suitcases and fly over a vast ocean to another hemisphere in an effort to answer a call to share the love of Jesus with the people in New Zealand. It will be lonely and exciting, hard and rewarding as being faithful always is.
And, I’m quite sure, that sometimes we’ll think longingly of our house—the oasis in the desert that was remodeled as a labor of love. A home that represents for us all that is security, safety, comfort, and beauty. In doing so, we’ll also remember that as wonderful as those things are, they are not the call. Rather, the call always has been and always will be to share the Hope of Jesus with the world, to live in such a way that God’s Kingdom might come in and through us, to embody that Kingdom in such a way that others might come to experience it as well.