Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why us?

Part 3: Why us?

Part 1 here
Part 2 here

So what is it about a girl from Altoona, PA and a boy from Cowlesville, NY that ends up bringing them together, and eventually sending them off with their three young children to teach missionary kids in Africa? That's an excellent question!

Instead of asking "what is it", we'll discuss the "Who is it". The most precise way to answer that is Jesus Christ; our Savior, our provider, our Lord and our God. He is the reason. We honestly believe we've been called to do this. Just like, for the last several years we were called to live and teach in Beaver Falls. Just like we've been called to grow, be ministered to, and serve our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ at First Presbyterian Church in Beaver, PA over the past ten years. Just like I was called to ask Courtney's hand in marraige. Just like we were both called to pursue Civil Engineering degrees at Geneva College. And just like we were both called to surrender our lives to Christ while were growing up.

The difference with this most recent call, and the reason it has the potential to raise eyebrows, is a complicated issue - for one, it's a foreign call. Foreign in the sense that it's in Africa, yes, but also foreign in the sense that it's different than the call most of our friends and families are following. Not to say it's better or worse, crazier to tamer, more or less respectable, or anything like that; the only significant part of this call (and any call for that matter) is the One who's making it - the what, when, where, how - all the stuff that seems so different is largely irrelevant. It's the One who calls that matters. And for us, by God's grace, that's all we strive to care about.

We recently met a couple in their 70's who have served as missionaries their entire adult lives, and as we were talking with them, it was obvious to them that I (Dan) was star-struck, overly impressed with their stories, their obedience, the sacrifices they must have made. I felt like I was talking with a celebrity or finally got to meet one of my heroes. The gentleman, Paul, just laughed and said something to effect of, "If all we've ever done is what we were supposed to do, why should we receive any extra recognition?"

I really like Paul - he and his wife Ellen have lived a life in overseas missionary service to their Lord, and the humility they both possessed was humbling (ironically enough!). They saw nothing special or different or elevated about the call they had followed as compared to any other Christian who followed the Lord's leading in their lives - and they are absolutely right!

So in response to the title of this post, "Why us?" Because God told us to. Kind of like my all-too-often response to my three year old when he asks why he should finish his dinner, or stop jumping off the couch, or refrain from walloping his younger brother with the stick he is pretending to be a chainsaw: "Because Daddy said so!"

All Christians are called to be missionaries (Matthew 28:18-20). It's not a suggestion, a recommendation, or a call just to a few. It's a command from the Creator of the universe. The only differentiation comes in the where.

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