Saturday, September 01, 2012

When a Vision Miscarries

I was working in the gardens when I saw it. A small, broken robin's egg in the grass. Empty because of a healthy hatched chick or empty due to falling from a great height I did not know. But something in me filled with foreboding and my heart whispered “No.” That day my body was beginning to miscarry our baby, one we had learned of joyfully just two days prior. A dream so shiny and new, ended so abruptly.

Last Fall we journeyed to Central America on an exploratory trip with Eastern Mennonite Missions, to prepare for our upcoming missions assignment in La Ceiba, Honduras. We were full of anticipation and meeting with the leaders in Honduras, Belize, and Guatemala filled out the vision to a fullness we lacked before our trip. We were ready to go and be cultural bridges between churches in Central America and churches in North America, for the mutual edification of each.

This vision now has miscarried as well. EMM tries to always send teams to any country they're working in, for accountability, support, and for the simple joy of speaking now and then in your own heart language in hard times. The coworker who was based in La Ceiba who was to be on our team fell into sin and is now no longer with EMM. As we processed this painful revelation, new information about La Ceiba was made known to us which made it a dangerous place spiritually, physically, and mentally to go to alone. Fear was not the motivator in not going, it was heeding the voice of wisdom.

The decision to forestall any new missions ventures in Honduras came from within EMM, and also in discussions with Pastor Randall, Julia Fisher, and our MST. It has been a comfort that all have been in agreement that it is not the Lord's will for us to go to Honduras at this time. It has not eased the pain of letting go of the vision, but clarity makes it easier to accept.

The other day as I was walking in the yard, I came across a beautiful bird's nest. I carefully picked it up, marveling at how intricately it was woven together and coated with mud, made secure. It reminded me of cupped hands, awaiting a blessing, awaiting life. It was built with hope, anticipation of new life, eager, expectant. Tears stung my eyes and my heart whispered “Make me like that, Lord. Expectant, ready to receive”.
As my body and spirit healed after the miscarriage, I felt that stubborn hope that one day I would again be stretched with new life growing. How could I want again, knowing that wanting is such a vulnerable state, prone to pain and disappointment?

Likewise God, when He removed our vision for working in Honduras, gave us the same stubborn hope that we are still sent. We are sent ones, even if we don't know the destination, nor any vision beyond the Great Commission. And, I see now, that it is enough. Our hands and hearts are cupped and ready to receive.

What is clear is this: The Lord Jesus Christ is alive and has conquered sin. He has brought us forgiveness through His blood, He has changed us and set us free. Our calling is to bring this good news to those who do not know nor love Him. To pour ourselves forth for the gospel through the empowering of the Holy Spirit, that His name be known, that His children be restored to Him, and that He might be exceedingly glad, embracing all his prodigal kids.

We cannot run alone. We cannot even know which direction to run in alone. As never before, we truly wish to be sent by you. Not just endorsed, financed, or supported by you. But sent. By. You. To the people, to the place that God places on your hearts.

We invite you to a season of discernment with us. Please walk with us in open hearts before God, asking “Where? To whom? When?” as you go about your week. We're asking you to prayerfully respond via email with anything God lays upon your heart, even if it's nothing more than a word that kept coming to mind as you prayed.

For those who have given to our mission's funds, be assured that all the money is being kept safely by EMM until we are sent. Nothing is lost, nothing is wasted in this time of waiting and listening. Indeed, we entreat you to give as able, an investment made in the stubborn hope which accompanies followers of Christ, that, when He establishes the work of our hands, we will be ready to go.

Your Most Devoted,