Yesterday was the 2 month "anniversary" since we were evacuated from our little town, Melut in South Sudan. I feel like it's been a good 2 months and God has taught, grown, and healed our whole family. The exciting thing is that we are now gearing up for what is next. In about 2 weeks, on August 4th, we will fly to Doro, South Sudan, and settle into a new team, new ministry and a new house and try to make it home. When Eli and I first started seriously discussing this possibility I was nervous and did not have any peace about it. With the news of fighting continuing in South Sudan, especially in the Upper Nile region where our mission works, I didn't want to invest in creating a new home if there was a chance we could lose it like we did our home in Melut! But God has been infusing peace and hope into me little by little so that I feel free to be all there and move forward wholeheartedly.
For some reason, whenever we have a pretty big decision in front of us, I expect that God will make our future plans clear in some big, flashy way. But lately I've realized that it's more in the daily obedience and trust that He guides us. I was reminded of this fact this morning in my quiet time. I'm doing a Bible study on Gideon and these verses stuck out to me from Judges 6:11-12,
' Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon, son of Joash, was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, "Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!"'
When you look at those two verses you see that the angel didn't suddenly appear in great splendor or light. The Scriptures say the angel first came, sat down nearby and watched Gideon, and then appeared or came forward to Gideon. The author of my Bible study, Priscilla Shirer says, "Just as the angel came to Gideon, God often comes to us in our boring days - veiled in the most ordinary circumstances. If we only anticipate grandiose events to accompany the times when we encounter Him or hear His voice, we will miss out on many intimate moments in our relationship with God. The mundane, the routine, the commonplace - these are often the contexts in which He will reveal Himself to humanity."
This is exactly how God has been doing His work in our hearts these last few weeks. We have been faithful in seeking Him, marinating in His Word and Truth and committing our future to Him. Rather than a sudden BOOM! as we have been aware of the Lord's presence with us, He has made us aware of what He has next for us.
Yes, things might get tense in Doro and we might even have to leave at some point. But I'm at the point, thanks to the Lord, that I know He would give grace to help us through it so I'm OK with that possibility. That is something only the Lord can do in our hearts and I'm so so grateful for His quiet, gradual work in our lives. I am realizing now that even while I was struggling and felt stuck emotionally, God was doing His beautiful thing in us in His time.
Since we sent out our newsletter yesterday, sharing the news of this move for our family, many have asked how our boys feel about this decision. We've shared it with them and they are really excited too. Our oldest said, "As long as we're in South Sudan, I'm happy." We have shared that we don't know how long God will give us in Doro and that we will need to take life month by month, but we are planning on making it "home" for the unforseeable future.
When you think of our family, please pray for us as we purchase what we need to set up home and pack it all, and as we prepare our hearts and our family for this new move. One verse that keeps coming to mind is Hebrews 11:34 - that one little phrase that says - "their weakness was turned to strength." In this context it's talking about all the heroes of faith including people like Gideon, Samson, David, etc. God turned their weakness to strength and we're trusting God to do the same for us as we move forward.