For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Faith never knows where it is being led. But it knows and loves the One who is leading. Oswald Chambers
Four years ago today I was in Rome, it was my first visit and it was at that time in my life that I was hearing God calling me. I wasn’t sure at the time just what He had in mind for me but over the course of 2010 as I prayed for guidance one line from John 21:17 kept resonating in my head, Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Why is it that we struggle so much to hear God when His message is so clear? Faith.
We have within us the overwhelming need to know. We are constantly looking for answers to questions like; whats next for me, what is going to happen to my children, should I buy this or not, should I quit or stay and on and on it goes. That is why the electronic media is so enticing to us, we can know whats going on round and in the lives of other, right now.
God asks us to live by faith and to trust Him. Some of you, maybe all of you have heard me say, when asked the question what will you do in Rome, “I will Pray, study the Word and be a willing and available servant to God.” Which I would then followup with “I am sure He will keep us busy.”
We have been and continue to be willing servants and to follow where God leads us.
Last November we changed Mission organizations, we left GEM and moved to International Teams, http://www.iteams.us. The switch to ITeams has been having many positive effects. ITeams President Scott Olson and his field leaders believe that every moment and every gift giving in service to God’s Kingdom is worthy of praise. As you may recall from previous conversation and writings one of the pluses with ITeams was the fact that they are worldwide and Atlanta is one of their primary focuses for growth. According to the FBI, Atlanta is a hub for human trafficking. There is also a growing refugee population. The fact that ITeams is committed to Atlanta will allow Val and I to continue serving for as long as we are able.
The experience and training we have gained from GEM, ITeams and through our service has brought us to where we are today. Our faith and willingness to follow God will take us where we will be tomorrow. Life is fluid, we are staying flexible and making field adjustments as we go. At this point in time we, we being ITeams, Val and me, felt that I could carry on our service here in Rome and Val could begin working with ITeams as well as other organizations involved in service to the oppressed in Atlanta. Atlanta will be our long term focus for the future. We did however feel that I could gain some valuable experience in Rome and I just met with our ITeams leader for Italy regarding setting me up with other organizations here that work closely with trafficked women.
What about Val? We joked about that when we first decided to say yes to God’s call. Now the question has come up why isn’t Val in Rome? And Is there a problem? “The answer: there is no problem.” Actually when I think about it I realize the opposite is more accurate. We understand each other very well and support each other even when it calls for personal sacrifice. Val understands and respects my call and the need for me to respond to that call. I understand and respect that not everyone can walk away from life as they know it and flourish as a servant. So with that said I hope all of you can appreciate and respect what we are doing.
This time is also allowing Val an opportunity recoup and refresh. I think 2013 took a toll on Val emotionally and physically. And then there is the coming grandchild, I am sure you all can relate to that, Val wants to be close to Paul and Brittany and enjoy every minute of this blessing.
I plan to return to Georgia sometime in June, I am sure I will be plenty lonesome by then. And I too want to enjoy the arrival of our first grandchild.
As a side note to all this, ITeams was assembling a team to come to Rome before we joined them. That team has completed most of their training and should deployed in late spring or early summer, which would free me up to begin focusing on Atlanta. We may still come back to Rome during this summer and fall and beyond to help the Rome team, but that will be up to ITeams European and North American leaders. We will go wherever we can be best utilized. As you heard me say many times, I am just a willing servant of God.
I hope this message finds all of you happy and secure with our Lord and enjoying His blessings daily. Know that you have our heartfelt gratitude for your love, prayers, and support. I’d like to leave you with two verses I turn to often.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28