I’m going to write about myself. And I really want to sit here and tell you that I’d rather not write about myself, and that I don’t usually indulge in myself all that much in my writing, but that would be a lie. I love to write about myself. You should read my diary - it’s all about me. Actually, you shouldn’t read my diary. Please don’t, it would be terribly embarrassing for me. But I can’t exactly sit here and tell you about what has been happening in your life for the last few months, can I? I have to tell you about my own, and why I’m going back to
My church has held a missionary conference for as long as I can remember. They still do. Once a year, a few missionaries from across the world would come back home and put up a booth in the foyer behind the sanctuary, and stick it with all kinds of pictures and souvenirs for the church members to browse through and gawk at. They’d put out post cards with their pictures and the name of their country and a verse on them. I would hoard them, stick them in the pages of my Bible.
Speaking from the perspective of a sleepy kid who struggled not to nap in church and drew pictures of spaceships during the hymns, I always found the missionary conference to be the most interesting two weeks of the year. You got to hear people talk about interesting stuff. They talked about faraway places and showed videos of African choirs and pictures of dudes in canoes and people making porridge over open fires and stuff. Whatever anecdote they might have told at the beginning was probably enough to satisfy me for the rest of the service. It was interesting.
Even as a child, it energized me. The African missionaries especially. Nothing in the world was as exotically different and shocking as
But then I grew up.
Ever kid has a similar top-five for vocational pursuits. Somewhere in there you’ll see astronaut, professional athlete, fireman, race car driver, and/or ninja. And inevitably they fade away and get replaced by far more realistic, lucrative, and boring jobs like lawyer, doctor, teacher, engineer, architect. Though, honestly, if we could all be ninjas, we’d all be ninjas. And the world would be a lot safer. But that’s beside the point. In my top five may at one point have been Missionary, that’s how much I was into it. But it faded away, too.
And I went through high school and college, and knew that I’d never be an astronaut or a quarterback or a ninja (not in any full-time capacity with benefits, anyway), but I never could figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Through all of the confusion and career conundrums, though, there was a constant of involvement in ministry. I stayed involved on campus or in youth group, I served on staff at Grace Adventures for three years, and in 2005 I got to go to
Anyway. When things arise in such an abrupt, unexpected manner as the trip to
I got laid off at my job just before Christmas. Those circumstances are strange and they warrant a whole different conversation, but it suffices to say that it freed me up to pursue other opportunities, none of which panned out because there was something else more significant in my future, and I still had an open offer from Steve and Barb Sherman.
I don’t remember ever making a decision to go. I remember realizing one day that I was already planning to do this and simply had yet to tell the Shermans and my parents, and I guess myself, about it.I am not qualified to be a missionary. And I don’t know for sure that that’s what God has blocked off for my entire future. But I know that this was something I had to do now. And I know that though God does not always call the qualified, he does qualify the called.