This is something Jana and I have been discussing for several years, and we are finally making a step toward it. We are going to volunteer at the AFE school (www.afehonduras.org) just outside of the Tegucigalpa city dump.
So the obvious question – Are you crazy?
My thought process
This is a summarized version of my thought process while deciding on going. There was much more thought poured into each and every aspect of the decision, but this summary should hopefully be succinct and to the point. Its hard to shorten months of thought into a few paragraphs, but I will try here.
Faith of a mustard seed
There are several references in the new testament to the “faith of a mustard seed”. If you have ever seen a mustard seed, you know that it is incomprehensibly small; so small that its hard to imagine someone harvesting them.
I have always viewed the reference to a mustard seed in two ways. The first is that you don’t have to posses a great deal of faith, you just have to hold on to that littlest bit. This point of view has helped me whenever I feel spiritually lost, alone, abandoned, and empty of faith. Even in the worst of times when I hate God and everyone around me, I have asked myself if I have even a mustard seed of faith left. While that small amount of faith doesnt necessarily change anything at that time, it is helpful to know that when everything else changes, my faith has stayed.
The second way I have viewed the mustard seed analogy is that it is really small and can grow into something really big. The seed doesnt do anything special, just what God has given it to do. By pushing and growing year by year, even when animals eat all of its foliage and the wind breaks off limbs, it gets bigger and bigger. When it comes to faith, I am definitly not a giant, but I am growing. I can often feel myself being pruned or trimmed back, and the dissapointment that comes from not being a “great” or “amazing”; but all I have to do is decide to continue to grow.
Promises of God
God gives us several promises through the bible, Luke 18 seems to be most apt at this time. Throughout the promises of God he never says that nothing bad will happen, or that your life will be full of happiness and only good things. On the contrary, winter comes just as frequently as the summer does, peaceful weather is often followed by horrible storms, and happiness is often followed by sadness.
God is promising us that our lives will be better by following his commands. Even when bad things happen, they wont be as bad as they were before, and the good things will be even better.
When God called Isaiah he didnt search through a pile of resumes like an employer would do. God simply asks “Who is willing?” And when Isaiah heard the calling he didnt list off his credentials, or lineage, or schooling, he simply raised his hand. I cant imaging Isaiah had any idea what he was volunteering for, and I am sure he wasnt yet equipped to do the job God was calling for him to complete.
God asked for help, and Isaiah offered himself. Could there be anything greater than to know you are living for God? That your life is a mission from God? Forget about training, or knowledge, or abilities, or anything else you could bring to the table – God can provide all of that.
Do I trust God?
- If we sell our house today, we will end up losing money
- If we leave our jobs for several years, we will lose out on a lot of income
- If we volunteer, we will have to use our savings to live
- If we go to a third-world country, we may get sick or hurt
- If we stop making money today, our retirement will be messed up
- If I leave my job for a few years, I may have to start over in my skills
Do I trust God? Do I trust that God will continue to feed me? Do I trust that God will keep me just as safe in another country as I am in the US? Do I trust that God will take care of my retirement which is 30 years away?