We knew that 2014 was going to hold something special for us. We kept getting a feeling that it would be a time for “the go” – to step away from day jobs, step out of our comfort zone, and go after the deep dreams of our hearts from God. From January to April, we spent quality time in prayer and discussion, researching organizations around the world with whom we could work. God put in us a fire for nations and cultures!
I have to give this testimony, because it gives such glory to our God. We considered several organizations, and after a few weeks of praying, we felt there was one we should pray specifically about. “God, is it Harvest School, and is it this October?” God loves specific prayer. I think sometimes we are afraid to pray specifically because it requires faith to expect a specific answer. There is no disappointment in our God. John and I set apart one day to pray, fast, and really listen. We set certain times of the day to read His Word and listen to Him, all the while asking.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like any time I’ve asked such specific prayers, His answers come, but not in the way I imagine. While I may be looking for the big, booming God-voice to say, “Yes! Harvest School this October!” or “NO way José!” it is usually still, soft, and quiet. A pulling of the heart, a gentle, but strong, assurance. John was at work, and I was at home, and all day we listened and wrote down His words and promises. That night, we sat together, opened our journals, and started reading what God had said to us. (Side note – I am so thankful that through Jesus’ blood and defeat over death, the veil was torn so we can have intimacy with God! He loves to speak to us!) John started reading the first sentence he wrote, and I think I laughed and cried in one big messy jumble. What God had spoken first to John, He had spoken to me. Our first lines we wrote on that day read exactly the same, “You were made for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)
What?? Thank you Lord! Through and through, what we heard from our Father spoke in similar chords and crescendos for us both, and for us as individuals. We came away feeling the same – God was smiling on our going. He was consecrating us, commissioning us, and encouraging us. Such a time as this? These times are trying. They are groaning for Jesus to come back. Reports of what is happening around the world solicit a reaction of staying put, staying “safe.” But even more so, He is sending out Harvesters NOW to reap what is ripe and ready NOW – to reap that which they have not sewn! We will see many souls ushered into the family of Yahweh God! He told us to not give way to fear!
From April to June, we eagerly awaited for applications to become available for Harvest School. With school starting the first of October, and the potential for us having to arrive much earlier (because John applied as staff – he has attended the school before), 4 months seemed tight. “We should hear back soon!” I thought. 4 months is not much time to prepare to stop life here and start life internationally!
Weeks passed by. All of June, all of July. We weren’t sure whether to start telling more friends and family about applying, because we weren’t sure if we would be accepted. I continued declining clients for any dates after September. John had to wait to put his notice in at work. Week after week, email refresh after email refresh (I’m pretty sure my eyes looked like two giant “Refresh” buttons!) we were starting to feel like God was closing the door for Harvest School. After a while of hoping He wouldn’t, we started hoping for anything! Any response, any direction. It was somewhat of an isolating time, but God taught me the importance of two things: thankfulness (acknowledging what He is doing) and remembrance/testimony (acknowledging what He has done) so that you can be assured that He will do!
Finally, as we began another week of waiting, on a Monday morning, John and I got up together and prayed. He went off to work and I checked our email. We were accepted, and both as students! This is especially a blessing, because though John would have loved being on staff, we can now look forward to going through the school together, instead of having different roles and responsibilities. We took the day to pray, and gave our response – we still want to go!! Ready, set, BLASTOFF!!
Since then, it’s been a hilarious and frustrating and really good time of preparing. The logistics are seeming to spawn in an everlasting list, but I just keep praying over each detail. I need Papa God to take care of so much for us! It’s been amazing to connect with other students already – we are NOT walking this alone! The Lord has unique plans for this school. Instead of spending all 3 months in Mozambique, we are spending 6 weeks in South Africa, and 1 month at The Village of Joy in Mozambique. We have been commissioned as “The School of the Pioneers” and we gladly accept. The plans have had to change, and God is orchestrating something beautiful.
Last week, we spent time with the Ray family in the mountains of North Carolina for some quality time before packing our home and leaving. I am so thankful for family that is not only by blood, but also by Jesus’ blood! We rested, watched movies, took small bits of time to work through some logistics with Will (booking things, visas, et al) and on the last night, our family prepared such a special time for John and me. They spoke into us, affirmed our calling, encouraged us with Scripture and Words from God, and commissioned us. The mountain breeze floated gently, like a whisper of God’s voice and presence, and the crickets sang in tune. I am so thankful for that time.
Will had this picture of John and I as two sticks of dynamite that God was lighting. When we BOOM-ed, all darkness fled! So what did we do to seal that? Well- we shot off fireworks, of course! John did one and I did one. I also screamed. Sometimes the most frightening things in life are also the most rewarding. We are being lit. Yes Lord!