Fall is here. With fall comes the changing of many things; the colors of the leaves, the temperatures of the days and nights, the hours of sunlight. But one of the things I love about fall is that it is homecoming season! What an opportunity to see how old friends have changed since they were last seen. October 7 and 8 was homecoming at Clarks Summit University. In hopes of reconnecting with those that I attended college with and professors that taught me, I also hoped to run into those that I had built relationships with when I was coaching. And as it was homecoming weekend, I hoped to build new relationships with other alumni and guests at CSU.
The weekend proved beneficial. But time moves fast and there never seems to be enough of it. Two days just flew past. Between trying to catch up with old friends and meeting new ones, along with spending time with my brother and sister-in-law, my two days was over before I even knew I had blinked. But it was very encouraging and I am happy to know that I am going back in two weeks for the fall play. Hopefully there will be some time in there to catch up with more friends then.
Prior to this trip I had been feeling rather discouraged. During my crazy schedule, I had been trying to make time to pray over this ministry. Lately, it has sounded more like this:
"Daddy, I feel as though I am failing and I hate it. Please help me to be diligent in this work."
"Daddy, please encourage me somehow."
"Daddy, please help me to trust You and to be patient as I wait on Your timing."
"I want to be intentional with this ministry. I know it will take work. Please bring those that You have already selected to partner with me into my path at just the right time. Encourage me through those meetings as I grow in this time of preparation."
One of the most encouraging encounters I had during my time at Clarks Summit for homecoming was during the alumni meet and greet. I had been sitting down talking with my friend Sharon who introduced me to Peggy Walker. Her husband Mel works at the college and their daughter is actually a missionary with ABWE as well. For around forty-five minutes Peggy and I talked about many things concerning ministry. Words of advice from her daughter's pre-field ministry experience, words of advice from her own experiences, words of encouragement as I seek God's plan and timing in this ministry, and promises of prayer. What a blessing!
And God answers as only He can. At a time when I was feeling down and discouraged, I was forced to cry out in a desperate way for encouragement and strength. He does give perseverance, diligence, and encouragement. He allows for opportunities to grow in patience and trust. And He already knows who is going to take part in this ministry! Better than that though, God knows precisely the right time to bring us together. How marvelous! I am so glad that it is not up to me.
I will conclude by listing just a few of things I am most thankful for this week:
- God's answers to prayers
- The people God brings to encourage
- God's unique methods
- Time with old friends
- Introductions and relationships begun with new friends
- Spending time with my brother and sister-in-law
- Opportunities to do all of this in one weekend
- The ability to return in two weeks to connect with even more friends (especially my friends from church that I was unable to meet up with this past weekend)
- This ministry is not about me
- I do not have to do this alone
- It is not up to me to "make people participate"
God has called me specifically to this ministry. Before I can leave for Africa, He knows I must grow. There is still much for me to learn. My character still needs to be stretched and grown. Cultivating and growing a person that is called to missions is quite a task, but God has had quite a bit of practice I would say. Thankfully, God does not call me to go alone. None of us are called to go through this life by ourselves. God raises up those that are ripe to the harvest. He already knows who will be part of this team to reach Africa using media. He already knows! What an encouraging and wonderful thought. I do not have to worry. A team is already in place. There is simply the time to work through. So, as I am diligent in doing what God is calling me to do this very moment, He will reward me with new partnerships as He purposes.