Wednesday, September 13, 2006

So the gate was open

Well after 4 years of soul searching, we have now been accepted as candidates for mission in Linz, Austria by European Christian Mission. My wife, Kristine and I had our interviews with ECM on 11, 12 Sept. It was a pretty intense time, but good fun too. I enjoyed talking through the way I had formulated my own theology through my time of study ... so I was able to test whether I had become a raging heretic through my time at ICC, or had had the opportunity to redirect my personal heresies towards orthodoxy. True to form, I never used one word answers if there was an opportunity for twenty. Perhaps they figured ' well lets get him into a different language zone, it'll force him to be more economical with vocabulary and sentence length.' We also had to confront the issue of how certain we were that God was calling us/ leading us in this work. That's been pretty hard to express. In one sense I guess I'm always wanting to keep a back door open in case I was wrong in reading and sensing guidance from God out of my devotional life and our circumstances over the last few years. In some sense certainty limits God to act only according to how I feel he's been leading. Yet uncertainty can also be a limitation on the power of the Spirit of God to break through human fallibility and convince me of God's leading. I guess the crunch question was "what would we do if ECM said no?" One angle on certainty of calling might be to respond, "if ECM say no, then God has another plan for us to serve in Austria, for this much we know, we must serve him in Austria." However, my own response was slightly different. What we as a couple have been certain of is that God has been leading us on a journey to apply to work in Austria with ECM. We have tried to divert from the journey in case the route we were following was of our own making, but each time we found ourselves led back to the route that headed towards Austria with ECM. This interview was a gateway on that journey. We knew with certainty that we needed to approach the gate and to see if it would open. We did not know with certainty whether it would. If it did, we would know with more certainty that we were to work in Austria. We knew with certainty that God had led us to the gate, so if the gate was shut, we would find a new path when we got there. That new path might lead to Austria by a different route, and it would make sense if it did, but it might lead somewhere else. But it seems the gate is open...

So now we move into language training, communicating our vision for the work to others to raise support, medicals and moving. Communicating the vision ... hmm sounds like I might need to economise on words for that. I'll have a think about that and maybe practice with a post here.


Richard said...

Great news about the acceptance with ECM: what an encouragement. I think your thoughts about guidance on this are spot on - we can only step out in faith in the direction we are being lead.

Looking forward to lots more developments on this blog as you head east. God bless you and the family.

Having spent the last 2 years surrounded by Christians, it is in some ways a shock to "re-enter" the "real" world in my new job. But it's only just started. Hope to post more at my blog on that in the future.

lynn said...

Great to hear how God is leading you Johnny.

Wishing you all the best as you prepare to serve in Europe. Find that very refreshing.