“I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.” — Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf
My first trip to the city of Edinburgh was shortly after Mark and I married. We went up to visit with Mark’s good friend from the University of Wales, and because his mom owned a B&B, we were able to spend a night in Edinburgh. I’ll never forget that first visit; I immediately loved Edinburgh and Mark’s friend, John, was one I would never forget. While the three of us chatted over dinner, I found out that John’s quiet way of just befriending Mark, taking Mark as he was, and yet staying true to who he, John, was had quite an impact on Mark’s journey in coming to know the Lord. At that time in our lives we never dreamed we’d be moving to Edinburgh, nor had a clue that John would come to play a big part in it.
Fast forward to last May as my dad and I ventured to Scotland, and as we would meet with John every single day for 6 days and share our hearts for what God is doing in that country. It was so good to get the chance to show John pictures of our kids, tell him how much Mark and I have grown since that weekend we stayed at his bed and breakfast, and share the excitement of getting to be a part of his community. Over the past several months, as our whole team has had skype calls with John and been able to exchange ideas, questions, and thoughts, we’ve found John to be such a vital member of our team. He challenges us, teaches us, and encourages us in this journey to his country. His heart for God is so beautiful and so appreciated as it matches ours.
And then fast forward to this morning as Mark is unsuccessfully trying to get a hold of John via Skype, and then as the two of them could see, but not hear, each other and how entertaining that proved to be. Then finally watching as Mark got to just chat with his friend, who is a true brother, in the Lord. It blesses my heart so much to know that these two men, who knew each other before Mark ever knew the Lord, now get to share in the passion and love for God and for others. They are so like minded. And the anticipation of getting to be in John’s community is so exciting for us.
I taught on the history of missions this past Tuesday night at the Bible college, and I got to share so many truths and nuggets of these men and women who gave up their lives for the Gospel. It really challenged me, as well as the students, and it showed me how much God truly works in our lives, even when we’re not aware of it. I started thinking about the missionaries and preachers who came to dinner at my house when I was kid, got to thinking about all the wisdom my dad and his friends have imparted to us through the years, and I got a glimpse of my heritage and how undeserving I am of it. Then today, I clearly saw how the Lord has interwoven Mark and John’s lives; how God was working in Mark when Mark didn’t even know if he believed in Jesus. Yet the Father’s heart was for Mark; the Father put Mark and John together. The Father then connected us back to John and gifted us with this friendship that is so valuable to us and to our whole team. The rest of the team hasn’t yet met John in person, but they already have a kinship with him, even across so many miles.
Over the past year, I’ve watched a lot of old friendships die out and fade away, and honestly, it’s been rough. Yet it’s been very evident that we’re in transition and that God is showing us the people who will be our biggest supporters, greatest encouragers, and best teachers. We’re realizing the value of these people who are truly the treasures in our lives. And as eager as we are to develop community in Edinburgh, we’re also seeing this greatly varied, yet beautiful treasure of people here in the States and overseas who are our constant community and will be no matter where we live. The more I see this and the more I see how God wants me to value these treasures, the more blessed I am. It inspires me and really cements the desire to be one who goes to Edinburgh and seeks out the treasures. I want to be one who loves with the pure heart of the Father; I want to be one who sees and feels how much God loves the beggar on the street, the single mom, the church member who has dried up. I want to go to those and say hey, God thinks you’re so beautiful. He loves you so much. Will you share your story with me? Will you let me into your world? Will you be a part of our community?
So many missionaries, visionaries, committed ones went out to the world before us, and they paid huge prices to go. They left family, friends, and all the comforts of home in order that others might know Jesus. They heard the call of God and said, “Lord, I’m here!! Please send me! Please let me share in the cost of taking the Gospel out to those who don’t know.” Their stories have kept me going on the rough days when I feel like it will be too hard to leave my parents, when I dread the task of getting through immigration, and when I wonder how the funding will happen. I think of all these men and women who made it through so many impossibilities, and I know we have to keep moving forward. I know the journey ahead of us will (and already has had) have some bumps and will have dark moments. I know the journey is full of emotion and full of choices. Yet my focus is on Him, and He has said, “come and love on Edinburgh, come and love on the UK, come and follow me.” So we’re going, and He has assured me that He has prepared us for this. He has been working on the details all along. He will make a way even though it may feel like it’s impossible. He is working because the harvest is white and ready, and because so many that He loves are waiting for someone to go to them. So we will go.