When I was a little girl I dreamed of being an actress and a lawyer. I sometimes thought I’d like to be a preacher and I even had a stint in which the President sounded like a pretty good gig. And when I got older and started traveling the world with my dad I secretly asked God if I might be allowed to be a missionary. I fell hard for beautiful brown skinned people in Guatemala - so much so that I took an extra year of Spanish in high school with the hopes that one day I could really share my heart with those I had met.
That question of being a missionary was something God and I talked about often in my twenties too. I had fallen in love with a new people group - this time they were strong and silent - Czech atheists who were intrigued by my belief but still rather aloof. I thought perhaps Josh and I could move and open a business for a season eating pastries and talking about Jesus with these brilliant minds(seriously, that is still a good idea)...and then I traveled to India. I laughed and cried and my heart melted in the big brown eyes of women and children who had lost seemingly everything and yet still had hope in Him.
I once again talked to God about being a missionary after meeting these precious souls, but He was redefining what missions should look like for me, and my heart found great joy and purpose in being one who mobilizes...one who does her best to shout from the rooftops that we have a job to do out there.
And yet I often realize that my voice should be louder (it should be heard here on my blog) and so I am on this rooftop of my blog shouting about those who have inspired me to tears recently. Will you listen to my shouts?
I’ve been inundated with emails and text messages and prayer chains for the last 20 days as a young man - just two years older than I - was detained in a North African country for questioning. His lovely wife and three children were left with unanswered questions - maintaining joy and resolve even in the midst of tears. My heart and my mouth prayed for him daily for the last 20 days. I’ve reflected on the last conversation we had - as he shared with me about his calling to this people group - and knowing the great risk he was taking.
I’ve prayed with his precious mama over and over again. Her passion to pray and her love for his captors has been astounding to watch. And I’ve talked to friends who know him much better than I and I’ve seen how the reality of what he is doing has sunk into our hearts - leading us to an internal search...asking if we are really being obedient to what He has asked.
And my heart rejoices this morning as he was released last night and is now safe with his family in another country - but still praying for his recuperation and his children’s understanding and his wife - oh my Lord, the conversations she must be having with Him in this moment...
And I realize that if Matthew can sit in a solitary cell for 20 days...then I can shout a bit louder.
Tony & Carrie
I put together a fundraising banquet this past Friday for missionaries to Guatemala, Tony & Carrie Taylor. If I’m honest I was tempted to raise funds for something that I KNEW would pull the heartstrings of those in attendance. But as I stopped and listened I knew that God was pointing to this precious couple.
Tony & Carrie are good soil. I know no better way to describe them. Faithful, humble, unassuming, obedient - they are the only missionaries in their region. They have whispered to me that they are lonely and would love for God to send someone to join them...and yet they do not give up but rather give more.
And so I went into the banquet with the goal of raising $20,000 MAYBE $30,000 for their project...and yet people were generous and they GOT this vision of missions...and last I checked we had raised over $43,000! I think God was wanting to let Tony & Carrie know that He is with them - He sees them (even on their lonely days) and He is so proud.
Internationals from Czech Republic, Poland, Kenya, Nicaragua, Belgium, Slovenia, & Israel
I wish I could list the names of the valiant men and women I rubbed shoulders with this past week - they were inspirational. Each with their own stories of God’s love for their nations as well as tremendous obstacles that are ever present. So much fire for their nations...so much love...so much determination. I was in awe.
My favorite moment with all of these guests was on Tuesday night (a week ago), over 20 of us gathered - more internationals than Americans and we broke bread together. Some indoors many outside - we talked and laughed and listened to music...and it was...heavenly. Truly I thought - one day all nations will be together - enjoying the music of heaven and praising our creator.
I glanced across the way and saw my baby, Haven, in the arms of a Czech mama. I looked to my left and saw men from Poland and Belgium and the US in deep discussion about theology. I looked to the right and saw children doing somersaults in the grass while voices from Kenya and Israel wafted in the air, discussing in detail tensions in their countries. And in that moment I knew God was there. I knew God was pleased. Just a small gathering of the nations - but a little glimpse of seeing a few of His kids together...and yet, how many more of His kids just don’t know? Don’t know His love...His justice...His compassion...His truth?
So many don’t know...but there is hope. For men like Matthew and couples like Tony and Carrie and countless international pastors across the globe are on their own rooftops shouting...and loving...and being the hands of Jesus.