In the Shadow

It’s May 31, 2016 and I sit in the Atlanta airport for a way too long layover, heading back to Nicaragua to serve the Lord, serve our Pastor partners and further Gospel.  But first I am sitting here reflecting.  See I am in the shadows of my 35th birthday.  35 years old, and at times I feel just that way…old.  (Note: When I was 18 and getting into working out, I remember hopping up on the cardio machines and seeing the first age that popped up was 35.  I remember thinking to myself, couldn’t they put something younger as the median age.  I mean 35 was ANCIENT.

Now here we are.  And 35 is me.  SO yes I am in the shadow of my 35th birthday.  And if that wasn’t morbid enough, I just read that my life-expectancy based on American male averages is 70 years  old.  I am half-way done with my life.

Sobering that fact is.  The youth of my life is in the shadows cast by my own mortality. While only mildly depressing, it does cause for some reflection and projection.

My first 35 years were filled with

  • a lot of learning
  • a lot of mistakes
  • a lot of idleness due to age but mostly due to laziness
  • a lot of wasted time due to requirements like “class” and “grades”.  So guess what at age 35 having read or not read Beowuf hasn’t impacted me one bit….there’s some time I would like to have back.
  • a lot of beating up my body
  • a lot of love placed in myself and the things of the world

My first 35 years were also filled with

  • a lot of love placed in the right things
  • a lot of firsts (love, kids, house, career change, graduations)
  • a lot of grace, mercy and love from the King
  • a lot of refinement into who He has called me to be.

It’s been a full 35 years.  But I’m not done.  I calculate that I only had about 10 years of useful time (where I was not an idiot, after 25 years old) and present.  And I calculate that by no way am I done.  So then the natural question is what’s next? What do I want to do and see and feel and have  in my next 35 years?   The answer is simple, I think.  The answer is more.

My next 35 years will be filled with:

  • More of God’s presence in me.
  • More of an understanding of who God is
  • More of me serving, loving, extending grace and mercy
  • More of Him refining me through the reading of His Word
  • More of me listening to Jesus and doing what he says
  • More….

More which really means less.  It means less wasting time.  Less selfishness.  Less pursuit of the world and more pursuit of Him and His presence in all that I do.  And it starts right now. 

As I mentioned I in the airport, heading out to Nicaragua to serve, to pursue God, to take his name proclaim His glory to the nations.  And I am so excited.  I can’t wait.  I can’t wait to hug and see the kids I hugged and saw earlier this year. I can’t wait to look Pastor Roland in the eye and tell him I was serious when I wanted to partner with him in how God has called him to his people to further the gospel in his kingdom.  I am excited to sit with Pedro Pablo in the dump community, bring him cold water and listen to his story.  I am excited to see lives transformed from encountering The Lord without all the distractions of the US.  I am excited.

I am also excited for you all to partner with me and our family as I am out on this trip.  Would you consider partnering with us in prayer.

Here are some specific ways you all can be praying for us each day!

  • Every Day More – specifically that our staff (myself, Burton, and Trent) would have the time to sit and hear from the Lord and get filled with more of His presence.
  • May 31st
    • Safe travel as Trent, Pastor Roland, Burt and I come from all the corners of the world.
    • Easy pick up from the airport
    • no problems with our hotel rooms
  • June 1st 
    • Meeting – We have meetings with a new key ministry partner in Managua reviewing lodging, transportation and just hearing his heart for his community.  Pray for clarity and that this pastor is able to meet some of our lodging needs in Managua
    • Meeting – We will be meeting with 5 potential Nicaragua staff.  Pray for the Lord’s hand of discernment and wisdom to be on Burton, Trent and myself and for warmth and immediate connections with these potential staff
    • Setting up – Pray that we are able to set up all the logistics for the upcoming trip (meals, ministry, meeting with the dump community, visit to the prayer overlook, transportation, and laying eyes on the recreation.  Pray for smooth logistics, no hiccups
  • June 2nd
    • This day we will be meeting with our host pastors for all of our other trips for the summer.  Pray for our meetings with Pastor Umberto, Pastor Edgar, and Pastor Juan.  Pray that they receive us well (they will) and that we can communicate the excitement and love that we have for them and returning to serve them and their mission.
  • June 3rd – It’s GO TIME
    • Team arrives – pray for easy travel and smooth travel for the team and immediate connections between the team and the staff and patience on our drive to the lodging facility.
  • June 4th – meet the pastor and pray
    • Today we will meet with Pastor Roland, hear his story, his heart, his call to ministry and the region of Matagalpa and spend some significant time in prayer overlooking the area of Matagalpa.  Pray this prayer time sets the tone of expectation and worship for the week.
  • June 5th – the community and church
    • Today we will be out in the community visiting everyone, seeing how the live, serve, work, and go to to school.  We will invite them to church in the evening and pray for them as needs are shared.  Pray specifically for open doors, literally to the homes, for invitations to come in and sit, and for our team to immediately feel comfortable taking the conversation from “hey my name is” to “hey how can I pray for you”
    • Pray for our church service at night that we can truly surrender all and worship as One Church in multiple languages praising and worshiping the One True King.
  • June 6th, 7th, 8th, 
    • Morning – Dump Communities – a couple of times during the mornings each of these days we will  be visiting the dump community in Matagalpa.  Pray for open hearts of the people, open conversation with Pedro Pablo and his group of guys, and for touched hearts.
    • Afternoon – This is our VBS time.  Pray for over 100 kids.  Pray for joy and opportunity for us to love kids where they are.  Pray for the Lord to break down communication barriers that the participants may be concerned with and pray that kids love deeply and participants reflect that love of the Lord to them.
    • Evenings – Our evenings will be spent visiting more homes.  We will have the opportunity to take some food staples to homes and meet a real tangible need of families that are starving.  Pray these parcels of food are opportunities to love people where they are and present the gospel to them.  Pray for open hearts and for heats to be transformed.
  • June 9th – Recreation Day
    • Today is our day to say our goodbyes to Pastor Roland and his community and go and experience some of the beauty of Nicaragua.  Pray for those “see you laters” that they are heartfelt and genuine.  Pray for our time during recreation, for fun, for joy, for laughter.  Pray most of all for our debrief time that it’s a time to reflect and celebrate on all God has done and then speak on and expect more from our lives after encountering the Lord as we have for the past week.  In short pray for lives transformed as we experienced more of the Lord.
  • June 10th – Up and at ’em
    • Flights out are around 7AM, so pray for not oversleeping and for a great trip home.  Ready and prepared with answers for “how was your trip?”

God is in this.  This is the first step to more for my next 35 years.  Thank you for partnering with us in prayer.  Thank you for praying for the specific needs of the trip and thank you for continuing to pray for Amy, Madeline, Jojo and Elijah as they are back at home and missing daddy (and for their daddy as he misses them).  God is ahead of us.  He is with us.  God is going to give us more!

Nicaragua staff team - Representing!

Nicaragua staff team – Representing!

Goodness, my looks have come a long long way!

Goodness, my looks have come a long long way!

With Pastor Roland and Trent overlooking Matagalpa and praying for the trip that I am getting ready to lead.  We were expecting God for more, not knowing about the team and here we are asking him for more again.

With Pastor Roland and Trent overlooking Matagalpa and praying for the trip that I am getting ready to lead. We were expecting God for more, not knowing about the team and here we are asking him for more again.

Pastor Roland.  A man of God.  A brief encounter in Feb led to a great friend for life.

Pastor Roland. A man of God. A brief encounter in Feb led to a great friend for life.

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