Thursday, July 22, 2021

Noticing the good stuff, finding the joy

I began to notice more good stuff going on in Lomalinda.  

 

God was offering me new opportunities. He was offering me a new perspectivea new way to do Life. A new attitude. New goals.


It took me a few weeks to figure that out, but God patiently waited for me to notice. 

 

As Rachel Marie Martin said:

 

“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture

of what you thought life would be like

and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living.”

 

Rachel nailed it.

 

Finding the joy: During our first few days, I had longed for familiar faces, familiar voices, and especially familiar smells. But instead, only a strange odor had wafted through our windows—a thick, pungent, sweet, moist stink. Was it decay?

 

That sticky, moldering smell radiated out of the earth and crawled in the air and forced its way into our house and our noses and clung to our clothes and bedding and furniture. For days it had made my stomach sick and left me light-headed.

 

The dense, damp reeking of the place threatened to overpower me.


 

But then, a few weeks later, my nose adjustedodors smelled less offensive. Hooray! (See my earlier post, I could only gasp, “Please, God, get me out of here!”)


 

Finding the joy: One of the blessings I noticed right away was that carrots and tomatoes tasted like real carrots and tomatoes, genuine flavors I recalled from childhood when people grew their own produce. What a welcome contrast they were compared to the carrots and tomatoes from grocery stores back in the States, which had little taste.


 

Finding the joy: Lomalinda was a place of brilliant flowers, shrubs, and trees. In our yard, we had a papaya tree, an avocado tree, a mango tree, and a lemon tree. Growing such trees back home in Seattle was unheard of. (Don’t miss my earlier post, Blooming where you’re planted.)

 

Finding the joy: Our first-grader, Matt, and our Kindergartener, Karen, loved school—their teachers and their classmates—and were excelling in their studies.

 

Finding the joy: Soon the teens (missionaries’ kids) got acquainted with Dave and his goofy humor. He taught them English, Psychology, History, and P.E.

 

But his most welcome contribution for the forty-two junior high and senior high students was new programs: drama, student newspaper, student council, and yearbook. Students and parents were delighted.

 

Right away Dave started work on three one-act plays and, after he gave out parts, the cast’s excitement was palpable.

 

By the middle of September, the school’s newspaper staff published their first issue. We weren’t sure what to expect but it turned out better than we imagined, and everyone’s pleasure showed.

 

Dave played soccer and softball with the teens on weekends, and they and their parents appreciated the energy and humor he brought to academics and athletics.

 

Still today, his former students reminisce about his teaching style and the way he related with them.

 

Yes, good stuff was happening in Lomalinda.

I was finding the joy.

What a welcome change that was for me.




 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

When God answers prayers with a “no”

 God sent me to work with ordinary people who trusted God—in practical, specific, real-life ways.

 

They demonstrated faith in action:

 

Wycliffe Bible Translators’ founder, Cam Townsend, had a habit of singing “faith . . . laughs at impossibilities and shouts ‘It shall be done!’ ‘It shall, it shall, it shall be done. . . ” (his version of Charles Wesley’s “Faith, Mighty Faith”). Before long it became the theme song for the entire worldwide Wycliffe organization.

 

Time and time again, Uncle Cam and early Lomalindians watched while God kept answering “Yes!”

 


It’s exciting, and it’s humbling, to see the way God answers prayer for giants of the faith like Uncle Cam and Lomalinda pioneers.

 

But sometimes God said “No” to their prayer requests.

 

For example, they needed land where they could establish a center of operations, including an aviation department. So they prayed, believing God was leading them to a place beside a lake where they could use floatplanes to transport Bible translators to and from their remote locations among indigenous people groups.

 

God answered by leading them to the perfect spot that became Lomalinda on the shores of a lake. And it was all so good.

 

But before long, those early settlers realized floatplanes would not meet their needs. They had misunderstood what God was leading them to do, and they heard His gentle “No.” As Proverbs 16:9 says, “People may make plans in their minds, but the Lord decides what they will do” (NCV). “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails” (Proverbs 19:21, The Message).

 

Instead of using floatplanes, they built a grassy, up-and-down landing strip and used regular airplanes. They knew God had given them His better answer to their prayers when He directed them to a different kind of aviation program than they had imagined.

 

God answered their prayers with a “No,” on other occasions, too:


In ways we might never fully understand, when God says “No,” He has His good and holy reasons.

 

God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). His ways are better than our ways, they are superior. He is omniscient. He is Sovereign God, who says “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:10, NIV).

 

You see, Our lives don’t really belong to us (Jeremiah 10:23). Our dreams, our hopes, our ministries, our families—they don’t really belong to us, either. God is the Big Boss. He wisely, lovingly works out what’s best. Our role is to trust God has good plans for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

 

And so we come back to the question I’ve been asking lately

 

When Jesus said,

You can ask me for anything in my name,

and I will do it,”

did he mean we are the boss of him?

(See John 14:13-14.)   

 

No, he didn’t. Uncle Cam and Lomalinda’s pioneers knew they were not the boss of God.

 

Even though what they asked God for seemed perfectly reasonable, and perhaps even brilliant, they also knew they were mere humans with imperfect insights into God’s plans and ways, so they knew He would sometimes answer with a “No.” And they were okay with that—

 

“Thy will be done. . . .”

 

Cavin Harper writes: “In a day when a lot of people are telling us that we can have anything we ask for—if we envision it in our minds, it is ours—what happens when God says, ‘No’? 

 

Many Christians find the idea of God saying ‘no’ to be a devastating conflict with their theology of ‘ask and you shall receive,’ or ‘name it and claim it.’

 

“I know the shattering consequences of a ‘no’ from God,” Cavin continues, “when I really wanted to hear ‘yes.’

 

“It was in such a moment that I realized what a lite, thin-skinned Christianity I had embraced.

 

“I had confined God to an unbiblical theological box and did not account for the deep and profound work that God wanted to do in me through His ‘no.’

 

“That work involved developing in me an undivided heart where He could meet me, change me, and give me His peace in the acceptance of His answer, even when it was “no.”

 

“While His answer never changed, I did,” Cavin says, “and guess what I discovered?  There really is life (with a capital “L”) after ‘no.’”

 

How many times has God answered “No”

to one of your prayers

and later you realized

His “No” was for the best?

Aren’t you glad He answered the way He did?

 

Friday, July 9, 2021

Why do so many of us have small faith and small dreams? Part 3

 

We don’t have to settle for small dreams and small faith, but so many of us do. While I’m not an expert on the topic, here are some thoughts. (If you missed previous posts, click on Laughing at impossibilities—or not: Why do so many of us settle for small faith and small dreams? and Why do so many of us have small faith and small dreams? Part 2.)

 

Small dreams and big dreams, small faith and big faith—these have to do with the desires of our hearts. More on that later.

 

Those who have faith like Uncle Cam, and like those Ogilvie described, set aside worldly distractions and pursuits each day to spend quality quiet time with God, studying Scriptures, praying, and listening to Him. He says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

 

Those who hope to ever come close to being spiritual giantspeople of big dreams and big faith—recognize they are made by Him, for Him, and for His glory (Colossians 1:16, Isaiah 43:7, Psalm 86:9, 1 Corinthians10:31B,  Romans 11:36).

 

As Elisabeth Elliot said, “. . . As believers, it is not about us. It is not about my happiness, my joy, my wellbeing. It is about the glory of  God. . . . The only means to real joy and contentment is to make His glory the supreme objective in my life.”

 

Those who hope to ever come close to being choice saintspeople of big dreams and big faith—recognize and want above all else to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness and His purposes (Matthew 6:33). Rather than pursuing the pleasures of the world, their hearts desire to pursue Him and His ways of doing life.

 

Spiritual giants probably don’t see themselves as spiritual giants. They’re humble people. When Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” He was talking about those who are humble. Lloyd John Ogilvie writes, “The Hebrew word ani . . . was used for the humble and faithful. J.B. Phillips translated this first Beatitude, ‘How happy are the humbleminded.’ . . . Throughout His ministry, Jesus affirmed humility and warned against pride. He knew that religious pride blocked growth in greatness. . . . True greatness begins with and never outgrows humility.” (Silent Strength for My Life)

 

It’s all about our hearts. Those who hope to ever come close to living by faith like Uncle Cam and my Lomalinda friends will crave this: to love the Lord with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strength (Mark 12:30), the first and most important commandment.

 

Lord, make us people after Your own heart!

 

Next week: 

More stories on the inspirational big faith and bold prayers 

of Uncle Cam and Lomalinda pioneers.




 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Why do so many of us have small faith and small dreams? Part 2

 

Last week I asked, “Why do so many of us settle for small faith and small dreams?”

 

But then I also think of those with large faith and large dreams:

 

All these years later, I still marvel

at the gutsy, plucky faith of Uncle Cam

(Cameron Townsend)

and my new Lomalinda colleagues—

people who, because of that faith,

dreamed bold, daring, dreams.

People who prayed, honorable,

principled, confident prayers.

 

I also shared with you Lloyd John Ogilvie’s words that so aptly describe Uncle Cam and those who settled in that remote mission compound, Lomalinda. Ogilvie said of such people that Christ “uses [their] imagination to show us what we would not have thought of or worked out for ourselves. . . .

 

“This requires persistence. . . . It means asking, seeking, knocking [Luke 11:9-10] . . . three steps in using imagination in cooperation with Christ. . . .”

 

Ogilvie continues:

 

Some Christians think of solutions we would not have considered.

They have persisted patiently in prayer.

Some are amazingly creative in what they think and say.

Long prayer vigils and complete trust are the reason.

They are like an inventor who waits for, searches,

tests until the great ‘Ah-ha!’ comes.

 

“[They] do not give up.” 

(Silent Strength for My Life)


Recently I keep coming back to this question: What's the difference between

  • people of bold faith and big dreams, and
  • those who settle for small faith and small dreams? 


Here are some thoughts:

 

Sometimes we get derailed, maybe by tragedy, or by heartache, or illness—or even boredom. Many years ago, A.B. Simpson wrote of those of us whose “faith grows tired, languid, and relaxed,” whose “prayers lose their force and effectiveness.”

 

He wrote of those of us who “become discouraged and so timid that a little obstacle depresses and frightens us, and we are tempted to walk around it, and not face it: to take the easier way.”

 

Even though God and His promises stand ready to help, we wimp out: we complain about the hard work involved in praying—and then waiting for God to answer! And trusting Him!

 

Instead, maybe we take things into our own hands and try to force events or answers to happen the way we want.

 

Or we look to other humans and human remedies. As Simpson said, we “walk around some other way.”

 

“There are many ways of walking around . . . instead of going straight through. . . . How often we come up against something . . . and want to evade the issue with the excuse: ‘I’m not quite ready for that now.’ Some sacrifice is to be made, some obedience demanded, some Jericho to be taken . . . and we are walking around it” (A.B. Simpson, quoted in Streams in the Desert).

 

In other words, we bury our heads in the sand. We allow—we even welcomedistractions that lure us away from doing the hard work of waiting on God.

 

Simpson challenges us to put into practice Hebrews 12:12-13: “You have become weak, so make yourselves strong again. Keep on the right path" (NCV).

 

Or, as the Living Bible words it: “Take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs, and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet. . . .” (See also Isaiah 35:3).

 

That means we’re to refuse to be weaklings, cowards, those who give up too easily— (that’s often a hard one for me). Instead, we are to be disciplined, persevering, tenacious people—both spiritually and in practical, everyday life.

 

We are inspired to be that kind of people when we

hang out with those like Uncle Cam

and my Lomalinda neighbors and colleagues.

 

We are mentored into becoming that kind of people

when we watch them live their faith in action on a daily basis

and over the decades.

 

What a privilege God gave us when He sent us to work alongside such spiritual giants!  

 

Come back next week

for more thoughts on

why so many of us

settle for small faith and small dreams.




 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

IF YOU’RE AN EMAIL SUBSCRIBER TO THIS BLOG: Take note of changes

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If you’d like to keep up with blog postsand I hope you do!—you have a couple of options.



I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Maybe Blogger will offer another way to receive posts by email and if so, I’ll let you know.


In the meantime, please help me spread the news about 

PLEASE, GOD, DON’T MAKE ME GO: A FOOT-DRAGGER’S MEMOIR. 


Tell friends and relatives


Tell your church’s missions committee


Tell your church’s library staff


They can order 

PLEASE, GOD, DON’T MAKE ME GO: 

A FOOT-DRAGGER’S MEMOIR 

through their local independent bookstore, 

or at Amazon, Powell’s, Books-A-Million, and other booksellers.





Monday, June 28, 2021

IF YOU’RE AN EMAIL SUBSCRIBER TO THIS BLOG: Take note of changes

 

If you receive blog posts by email for PLEASE, GOD,DON’T MAKE ME GO: A FOOT-DRAGGER’S MEMOIR because you’ve subscribed as a Follower, please note:

 

As of July 1, you might not receive any more of those blog posts. Blogger’s information states that maybe some people will continue to receive them, but their communications are sketchy at best.

 

If you’d like to keep up with blog postsand I hope you do!—you have a couple of options.

 

You can follow the Facebook Page for PLEASE, GOD, DON’T MAKE ME GO: A FOOT-DRAGGER’S MEMOIR. (Click on that link.) I share links to weekly blog posts there, plus other info throughout the week that’s interesting or intriguing or juicy.

 

You can Bookmark the website for PLEASE, GOD, DON’T MAKE ME GO: A FOOT-DRAGGER’S MEMOIR—and click on it often. Here’s how: Click on HOW TO BOOKMARK A WEBSITE.

 

I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Maybe Blogger will offer another way to receive posts by email and if so, I’ll let you know.

 

In the meantime, please help me spread the news about

PLEASE, GOD, DON’T MAKE ME GO: A FOOT-DRAGGER’SMEMOIR.

 

Tell friends and relatives.

 

Tell your church’s missions committee.

 

Tell your church’s library staff.

 

They can order

PLEASE, GOD, DON’T MAKE ME GO:

A FOOT-DRAGGER’S MEMOIR

through their local independent bookstore,

or at Amazon, Powell’s, Books-A-Million, and other booksellers.




 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Laughing at impossibilities—or not: Why do so many of us settle for small faith and small dreams?

 

Lloyd John Ogilvie describes exceptional people like Cameron Townsend, founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators. (See last week’s post about him, Laughing at impossibilities.)

 

He writes that Christ “uses [their] imagination to show us what we would not have thought of or worked out for ourselves. . . .

 

“This requires persistence. . . . It means asking, seeking, knocking [Luke 11:9-10] . . . three steps in using imagination in cooperation with Christ.

 

“When we ask, we surrender the problem.

 

“When we seek, we wait for Him to show us His best among the many alternatives, opening our minds to His insight.

 

“Then . . . He gives us an answer. It’s then that we can knock, asking for the provision to accomplish what He has revealed.” (Silent Strength for My Life).

 

Ogilvie’s words offer us a profound glimpse into the life of Cameron Townsend (Uncle Cam), a spiritual giant.

 

And his life and faith inspired thousands of other people—among them my new Lomalinda co-workers—to be people of exceptional faith, too.

 

Ogilvie points out traits Uncle Cam and my fellow Lomalindians possessed: “. . . Some Christians think of solutions we would not have considered. They have persisted patiently in prayer.

 

“Some are amazingly creative in what they think and say.

 

Long prayer vigils and complete trust are the reason.

 

“They are like an inventor who waits for, searches, tests until the great ‘Ah-ha!’ comes.

 

“[They] do not give up.”

 

This still boggles my mind:

God gave me and my family the great, 

humbling opportunity

to work alongside such giants of the faith,

some three hundred colleagues who, I would soon learn,

served Him with zeal.

 

It’s not that they talked about God all the time or spoke in hallowed tones or prayed a lot in public.

 

No, they were ordinary souls who chose a humble lifestyle so they could live a radical faith, despite consequences that would come their way.

 

Now, looking back, I don’t hesitate to call them spiritual giants, choice saints. But I didn’t recognize that in the beginning. They were camouflaged as regular folks (from Chapter 10, Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir).

 

I wonder . . .  Why do so many of us, in contrast, have such small faith and small dreams?

 

We don’t have to settle for small faith and small dreams.

 

But why do we, so many of us, so often?

 




Thursday, June 17, 2021

Laughing at impossibilities

 

About a month into our new life in Lomalinda, I was only beginning to get acquainted with her people. I was clueless about the deep, enduring blessings God would give me through my new neighbors and colleagues.

 

In the coming months and years, God would use them to help me take baby steps toward walking by faith, not by sight. They would shape who I was to become and change me forever.

 

I would witness that these ordinary people trusted God—in very practical, specific, real-life ways. They demonstrated faith in action while, among many other things, they endured ongoing hostility from Marxist guerrillas.

 

Let me tell you how that hostility began.

 

In 1948, the assassination of a Colombian presidential candidate triggered an era known as La Violencia (The Violence), twelve years of mass murders, mobs, rioting, destruction, fires, and political conflicts between Liberals and Conservatives.

 

Participating in that unrest was a young Cuban student, Fidel Castro, at the National University of Bogotá. (Yes, Cuba’s leader, the Fidel Castro you’ve heard about for decades.)

 

After returning to Cuba, he and his brother, Raul, recognized La Violencia left Colombia ripe for a revolution like Cuba’s and began preaching Marxist/Leninist principles among Colombians.

 

Keen on violence and everything anti-American, Castro circulated propaganda, brought Colombian guerrillas to Cuba, trained them, offered aid and weapons, and sent them home to carry out their revolution.

 

La Violencia was also a time of hostility against evangélicos (Protestant Christians) and Roman Catholics, especially pastors and priests, some of whom were martyred for their faith. Churches were destroyed and burned. In addition, for years Roman Catholics had prevented most Protestant mission agencies from entering the country.

 

Given that, what Cameron Townsend dreamed up in 1956, eight years into La Violencia, seems absurd.

 

Founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators (which was to become the world’s foremost Bible translation organization) and SIL International (a scientific as well as faith-based organization) Cameron Townsend (Uncle Cam) came up with a wild idea—he wanted to start Bible translation work in Colombia.

 

Bible translation and more. Because the Bible tells us, many times, to care about people’s all-around well-being, Uncle Cam cared, too. In other Latin American countries, his mission agency had addressed spiritual, physical, and educational needs of minority groups and he wanted to do the same in Colombia.

 

To many people, that made no sense, given the hostility toward both Americans and Protestant Christians at the time, but plucky Uncle Cam stepped up, proving the words of what became known as Wycliffe’s theme song: “faith . . . laughs at impossibilities and shouts ‘It shall be done!’” (Apparently, that was his version of Charles Wesley’s “Faith, Mighty Faith.”)

 

He pressed on, just like in the past when he’d faced obstacles in other countries where he wanted to begin new work.

 

For years, he persisted, and he prayed, and as a result—surely this was God’s doing—in Guatemala, Uncle Cam met Colombia’s new Director of Indigenous Affairs and told him stories of the ways his colleagues helped native groups in other nations. God answered many prayers when the official asked, “How can I get you people to come to Colombia?

 

Uncle Cam answered, “If we can have a contract with the government that will allow us to help the people physically, educationally, and spiritually by translating the Bible, we will come.

 

With a signed contract in 1962, Bible translation began in Colombia (from Chapter 14, Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir).

 

How is it possible that mere humans can

laugh at impossibilities and cry ‘It shall be done!’”

and then the impossible happens?

 

How is it that people pray

and God answers the way they want him to—

the way they tell him to?

 

When Jesus said,

You can ask me for anything in my name,

and I will do it,”

did he mean we are the boss of him?

(See John 14:13-14.)

 

Let’s read the whole passage. Jesus said, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.”

 

The people at Got Questions urge this caution: “Some misapply this verse, thinking that saying ‘In Jesus’ name’ at the end of a prayer results in God always granting what we asked for. This is . . . treating the words ‘in Jesus’ name’ as a magic formula. This is absolutely unbiblical.”

 

They continue, “Praying in Jesus’ name means . . . praying according to the will of God. ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him (1 John 5:14-15).

 

“. . . Praying for things that are in agreement with God’s will is the essence of praying in Jesus’ name” (from “What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?).

 

The desires of our hearts and prayers need to be in accord with a very important phrase within Jesus’ words: “that God the Father would be glorified” (John 14:13-14).

 

To glorify God means

to recognize His holiness and greatness,

it means to give Him honor.

It means to acknowledge His authority in our lives.

It means to desire what He desires.

 

So, let’s get back to Uncle Cam. For six years, he prayed, he persisted, he laughed at impossibilities and shouted, “It shall be done!” and lo and behold, God opened wide the doors for Wycliffe Bible Translators to begin work in Colombia.

 

The takeaway for you and me is this:

Uncle Cam prayed according to God’s will.

He prayed for what would glorify God.

Uncle Cam’s heart wanted what God’s heart wanted.

And God was pleased to answer.

It was all so good.

 

Ah, but carrying out Bible translation in Colombia didn’t turn out to be a breeze.

 

Oh, no, it wasn’t.

 

Come back next week. I have so much more to tell you!




 

Friday, June 11, 2021

What could motivate someone to be a missionary? Part 2

 

Why are some people religious? Why do some get involved in ministries? Why do people work on foreign soil to carry out missionary work?

 

There are lots of reasonssome valid, some not. We looked at a few possibilities last week: to earn salvation, to appease God, to appear superior among fellow Christians—like, look how great I am to make such sacrifices! (Click on What could motivate someone to be a missionary?)

 

Certainly we know that missionaries don’t get rich. They don’t retire early with lots of money and financial security.


Rarely do missionaries receive recognition or status, let alone fame.

 

So what should motivate people to serve as missionaries?

 

Here’s the setting: Someone asked Jesus to specify the greatest commandment. He answered with an Old Testament teaching:

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5). 

 

The Message words it this way: “Love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.”

 

Loving God is the best motivation for whatever we do.

 

When we know, really know deep down:

 

  • that God is crazy in love with each of us—
  • that He’s so wild about us that if He had a refrigerator, He’d put our pictures on it—
  • that He is tickled pink when we love Him back—
  • that He does a happy dance when we hang out with Him—

 

—when we begin to comprehend all that,

 

—and start to grasp the unthinkable cost Jesus paid because God loves us so much,

 

—when we know all of that not just in our heads but in our hearts, experientially, then our hearts and minds and lives change forever.

 

We respond with love and gratitude—we love Him back.

 

And when we love Him back, other things happen. Our perspective changes. Our desires and goals change.

 

It has to do with what Jesus said next: “The second [most important command] is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There are no commandments greater than these [two]” (Mark 12:31, Leviticus 19:18).

 

The love and gratitude we feel toward God inspire us to, in turn, love others.

 

Our desire, our choice, our interest in helping others is the overflow of our hearts, a natural response to being loved by God and loving Him back—whether our tasks are keeping the family clothed and fed, setting up chairs for Sunday’s church service, running a multi-million-dollar corporation, or working on the mission field.

 

That’s what 1 John 4:19 means: “We love because He first loved us,” or in the words of The Message, “First we were loved, and now we love. He loved us first.” Again, it’s about the overflow of our hearts, a natural response to being loved by  God and loving Him back.

 

Loving God (the first and greatest commandment) and loving others (the second greatest) should be the motivation, the basis, the springboard that propels and compels a person to work on the mission field.

 

All the additional and worthy reasons we talked about last week, including:

 

  • teaching missionary kids, or
  • evangelizing, or
  • working as a church planter, or
  • serving as a doctor, nurse, or pilot, or
  • working as a Bible translator or literacy specialist,
  • and so many others . . . .

 

. . . all those and more flow from loving God first and foremost. They’re the overflow of our hearts, an intrinsic response to being loved by God and loving Him back.

 

When we live our lives and serve God that way,

we are lifting up our love, our gratitude,

skills, time, energy, and careers—

as acts of worship.

 

When God moved me and Dave and our kids to Lomalinda, He placed us among an unusual  group of people. Lomalinda's people served God not because of religious rules or obligations. Rather, they knew, from personal experience, what it looks like to love God deeply and serve Him as a natural outcome of that love.

 

Don’t get me wrong: They were not perfect human beings, not by a long shot. But God had done something to their hearts and, for the most part, they had set aside worldly gain and status in order to serve Him.

 

When it came to money and material possessions, their lives showed a healthy balance—they wanted just enough to adequately feed and clothe their kids and pay medical expenses. They needed no fancy houses or cars or lifestyles or vacations or large bank accounts.

 

They weren’t hoping to impress anyone or gain notoriety.

 

They loved fun and laughter—oh, yes, they did! They enjoyed each other. They honored each other’s commitment to serve God in Colombia. They upheld each other in prayer and in practical ways, coming alongside when needs arose.

 

Because God lived in their hearts in mighty ways, Lomalinda’s people were set-apart people—they recognized God had special purposes for them to live out: to serve Colombia’s indigenous peoples who were, in many ways, the hungry, the sick, the brokenhearted, the oppressed, the needy that the Bible tells us to serve (Psalm 82:3-4, Isaiah 58:6-7, Isaiah 61:1).

 

God handed us rich blessings when He sent us

to work alongside such folks.

Our lives were changed forever.




 

Noticing the good stuff, finding the joy

I began to notice more good stuff going on in Lomalinda .     God was offeri ng me new opportunities. He was offering me a new perspectiv...