Mission Partners

I love my job.

You can go back through the archives of my blog and find that was a common refrain when I arrived in Germany and got stuck in with discipleship work and teaching students about Jesus. This week I had some incredible opportunities that reminded me yet again how God has moved me from one sweet spot to another.

I have like six different stories I could tell about how I saw that this week, but one of the coolest moments was the ten minutes I had with the year 8 girls while their leader was finishing up another activity. As year 8 girls tend to do, they were chatting about things a tad off topic at the start, and one mentioned having visited America.

“Where did you go?” I asked.

“Washington, D.C.”

“Oh, that’s an okay place… Next time you should come with me, and I’ll take you better places.”

“I want to go to America too!” Another girl jumped in.

I obviously volunteered to bring all four with me to meet my supporters someday. Then I had to give a brief explanation of how the church provides some of my salary and my mission organisation provides the rest through me fundraising and asking people to commit to giving to me. They immediately agreed to tell everyone in America to give me lots of money, and it was delightful. We eventually got back on track talking about how we stand out as different in the world when we are God followers and reflected on Esther’s courageous choices to reflect God’s character in a place where lots of people weren’t following God. I asked a question that I’d never had a reason to ask before, “How many of you had never heard the story of Esther before?” In this context, it’s not a given that the young people have grown up with the Bible stories I’m so familiar with. What an absolute privilege to be in a place where I now get to share Bible stories for the first time with some of these young people. And what a privilege to connect how we can all be seeking God at different places and be impacted positively by these stories.

May I never take for granted the gift and opportunity it is to share the Bible with young people in any phase of their journey with Jesus. What a bonus that I’m doing it in a cross cultural setting and get to incorporate that experience into my discipleship conversations. My Oregonian friend volunteered to take me up to the Port Hills for a drive Saturday afternoon since it was a beautiful mostly clear day. As I gazed down on the city on the west and out to the ocean on the east, I had a similar thought of “let me never forget to be in awe of this beauty.”

Jenn totally gets it. We were talking about how we grew up with the beauty of Oregon which we loved, and both of us have spent time living in Europe which has another beauty to enjoy, and this stunning island landscape declares the glory of God as well. Both of us have different wild stories of God moving us from Oregon to some places in between before arriving long term in New Zealand, but it’s exciting to see how God is central in all of it.

I was telling a student tonight about some of the details I’ve shared here that show how incredible my journey has been to get this job, get my visa, get my tickets, and even the temporary housing. That was in the context of sharing about a possible housing opportunity that looks incredible. I’ve applied for a home just three blocks from the church that has a fully accessible bathroom. I’m hoping to hear this week whether I’ve got it, and I’d already told a few people to pray into the long term financing of this place. It’s over my initial budget, but there are several ways God could provide for that. One of them is through my year 8 girls asking everyone in America to join my support team – and genuinely, there is always room for more people who want to give a one time or monthly gift. You can click the “Donate” tab at the top of my blog or follow this link to give through TeachBeyond’s website in US or Canadian dollars. You can also email donate@teachbeyond.org to give in any other currency. The other option is God providing a flatmate – and I just got a lead tonight about a possibility.

When I texted Heather this good news, she was already celebrating God providing, and I reminded her there’s a prayer request embedded before the celebration is complete. I still haven’t gotten approved for renting this house, so please, please pray with me that it works out. I also still don’t have a confirmed way to afford it long term (though I have margin to make it work for a couple of years) – so pray for that too.

The conversations tonight about this took place at the mission night our church held which could have been the entire focus of this post. I loved getting to hear the stories of some of the different partners our church has globally and seeing the cool activities meant to engage young kids with the activities done in the various projects. Last week one of my supporters texted me a beautiful encouragement about the eternal impact of the ministry I’m doing here, and I do so love that I get to be a missionary sent to this context and serving young people in New Zealand. I also love how my church here has such a heart for extending the Good News into other places and has intentional partnerships with local ministries all over the world. One of the really beautiful pieces of cross cultural work is the ripple effect that it has in connecting Christians around the world. The couple in Oregon, the family in California, the friend in Texas, and so many more giving monthly to me in New Zealand make it possible for me to do ministry here with the student joining a short term trip to Thailand, the young girl dreaming of becoming an international missionary, the leader called to lifelong ministry in Christchurch, and so many more.

I love my job.

I love that I get to be the partner, the connection point, for the people who’ve sent me to those in the place where I’m sent. I love how I see the Gospel grow in the lives of my prayer team internationally and my co-labourers with me locally. I love how the adventure of being a Jesus follower leads me outside my comfort zone into amazing experiences that are so fulfilling. I didn’t even have time to get into the amazing conversation I had with friends on Thursday night as we literally just read through Luke 1 and spent a couple hours discussing how it challenges us and makes us thing. Or how I got to jump in teaching a lesson this afternoon in our leadership development program for upperclassmen – guys, it was on listening to the Holy Spirit, and it was absolutely incredible. I love my job. I also left off how exciting it is to see one of the year 13 boys want to step up and plan an epic youth group activity with his friends as he leaves as a student and thinks about how he can grow into being a leader for primary kids. And I didn’t mention the multiple exciting conversations with coworkers strategising how we can extend Gospel impact among our community through intentional discipleship of church members.

Listen, not everything is perfect, and I definitely need prayer for the blister on my foot, but I really want to celebrate the movement of the Holy Spirit this week as I saw growth opportunities for myself and others, and I got to lean in when the harder stuff happened knowing that I was still where God wanted me because of all this good.

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