Rewind back to high school...
I felt God calling me into ministry. My thoughts were "Ministry involves becoming either a pastor or a missionary. I am NOT going to become a missionary, so God must want me to be a pastor, right?."
Fast Forward to Bible College
I am NOT called to be a pastor, so where do I go from here? I guess I just get a job like everyone else, right?
Fast Forward to August 2005
Up to this point I had been a Sunday Christian. I went to church because that's what you do. Kerri and I were both feeling that there had to be more to life and faith than what we had. We decided to change churches, from a church where we could go (or not go) week after week and no one would notice. We were dead spiritually and were not being fed. We started at Rockyview Alliance, and immediately felt that God wanted us there.
Fast Forward to September 2006
We were asked if we were interested in joining a Life Group. We decided that this was probably what we needed to do to take the next step in our relationship with God. The experience was amazing. I remember praying one of the first weeks we met "God, give me the desire to want to get to know you better." He did.
I was challenged by the leader, Nathan, to grow deeper in my faith and to learn who God really is. I grew from somebody who was disillusioned by church into somebody who truly was seeking God.
It wasn't necessarily an easy road though. There were steps required which pushed me to deeper levels, and until I took those steps I wasn't shown the next one. One of the first ones, which seems minor looking back, was the music I was listening to. I wasn't listening to bad music, it just wasn't glorifying to God. I decided to change my listening habits, to the point where I now only listen to Praise and Worship or other Christian songs on my own time. what a difference this has made!
Another step came later in March when we found out our leaders were planning to go as missionaries to Mexico. I was surprised by this, but I figured that it was okay for them, but not for me. The leadership of the Life Group would be open for the coming year, and they asked Kerri and I to take over for them. I felt like I wasn't ready, but I knew that God wanted me to. Looking back on it I didn't realize how unprepared I truly was, but God has been faithful, giving me the ability. Praise God!
Fast Forward to September 2007
I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I had a job I enjoyed (and still do) installing kitchens and doing renovations, but I felt like I was missing the boat somehow. I was talking to Nathan on the phone and he asked me if I had ever asked God what He wanted me to do. I had to admit that I hadn't. I had simply made my plans and tried to fit God into them, instead of trying to fit myself into His plans.
The next day I was at work. I was mudding drywall, which gives you lots of time to think and pray, so I asked. I said "God, I need to know what You want me to do. Whatever it is I will do it." This is a dangerous prayer to pray, and I was a bit nervous for the answer (and unsure of how I would get the answer). I had never heard God speak in a way which I could hear with my ears, But I did that day. He said one word: "Ministry."
So where do I go from there? Right away I was trying to figure out how I could use my talents and abilities (construction) for God. I came up with many scenarios of how this could work out. God had His own plan. I was approached with a possible business deal by a good friend, which seemed like the way to go. I had figured out how it could become a ministry as well as a great job opportunity. I figured I would head in that direction until God changed the course. Which He did.
Fast Forward to December 2007
This was one of those life-defining moments.
Kerri and I had a talk. We discussed where we saw God leading us. I thought construction, she felt called to missions. I flat out refused. I knew that God wouldn't want me to become a missionary. After all, missionaries are crazy people who move away from their families and everything they have to live in the jungle or (gasp) Africa to convert people and start churches. That was not what God had equipped me to do. I told her that "either this was God saying 'No' or this was me digging in my heels, but I wasn't going."
I went on knowing that Kerri was wanting to do missions, so I began to try to come up with plans (my plans) for how we could arrange this. I relented a bit by saying that we could do short term missions, as much as two months out of every year. I thought this was good enough.
Fast Forward to February 2008
A couple from our church was being sent out to Niger, Africa as missionaries. We had received an e-mail about having them come and speak to our Life Group, which I didn't want (I still wanted nothing to do with missions). However I relented again. We met with two other groups and Paul, the soon-to-be missionary came to explain to us what he and his family were planning to do in Niger. I was somewhat moved by the slide show of the people and the environment. then he explained that he was going to hopefully start a trade school. he explained that he was a welder by trade, not a traditional "missionary" as I had always thought of missionaries. I felt God saying "I can use your skills too." My heart stared to warm to the idea of missions.
Kerri was later reading some information she received about Niger. She tried to read some of it to me but was crying too much for me to understand. I read it myself and immediately felt a great compassion for the people and a sadness as well, for it is a very small percentage who are Christian there. I began to see that God was calling us to Africa.
Fast Forward to Now
God had brought me a long way from "I will never be a missionary, especially to Africa!" to "God wants us in Africa and we will follow Him there."
I cannot imagine doing anything else at this point in my life. It is still a long road ahead, but God will show us the necessary steps as we need to take them. What's next? Keep posted...