Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Together

Is NOT An Option


There was a season of my life years ago when I took a break from vocational ministry.  I worked as a laborer with my brother's construction company.  I became aware that I played a very small part in the process.  Construction is an ambitious process of starting with bare ground and finishing with a completed and ready to occupy structure.  Some days my only role to play in the process was to move materials from the spot where they were dropped by the delivery truck to the experienced craftsmen. Though it was a small and seemingly insignificant part of the process, the vision would have never become a reality without me.

I don't want to get very far from one of the foundation stones of my current work in Uganda.

Teamwork or togetherness.

God has an ambitious vision for the work Pam and I are doing in Africa.  Sometimes we express our job with the motto changing Uganda one person at a time. It is a comfort to know that the vision originated with God and that we were never meant to accomplish it by ourselves or in our own energy.  That could, and would, never happen!  There are so many people involved in the process of starting with nothing and ending with something.

About 8 years ago we decided that it really was God who was asking us to change our focus from a ministry in America to a ministry in Africa.  This change would require that we move from the warm and comfortable greenhouse of our existence to an unknown world.  There were so many questions.  Answers didn't seem readily available.  Where would we live?  We were enjoying a spacious and comfortable "dream" house we built ourselves.  With whom would we work?  We were used to the people in whom we were investing.  How would we survive financially?  We were used to a predictable and regular salary.  What was the culture, climate, and character of Africa?  We were used to a culture from which we grew.

God had the answers.  It required faith to discover them.

We were advised by a very seasoned international worker to keep our home in Oregon. But how would we be able to sustain TWO homes which were separated by 10,000 miles!?!  God had the answer.  We needed the faith.

Four weeks ago we returned to our house in Oregon. Once again I stood amazed at the ways of God.  Every time I return to our home I receive a fresh impression about the necessity of togetherness.  If we believe that TOGETHER was God's idea ... by leaving behind the Western value of individuality ... we will discover something astounding.  Even God works within the realm of togetherness.  God was the One who said,
Unless he LORD builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the LORD protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.
LaFonda & Art Dunlap
Pam and I never return to an empty and cold home when we leave Africa for Oregon.  For the past five years our amazing friends, Art & LaFonda, have been our housemates.  We literally share the house and make it a home together.  They gave up their home so that we could continue spending months and years in Uganda ... knowing that our house was being taken care of and used just as we would if we weren't sharing it with them. Pam and LaFonda actually liquidated their dinnerware and purchased new ware together.  They stripped all the wall hangings and redecorated the house to blend everything (except two bedrooms!) so that the house would literally be shared.

There is no way Pam and I could work in Uganda if we weren't living life together with Art and LaFonda.  Though it always seems to me that we are receiving much more than we are giving.  I am so grateful to God for gifting us with this couple.  They love Uganda too.  If circumstances were different, there is a possibility they would be in Africa!  But, they willing and graciously to do what they do so that we can do what we do.

There are so many team players in Next Generation Ministries.  Dozens and dozens of you contribute donations.  Many come and work with us in Uganda.  There are people who diligently pray for us.  It is a team effort.  No matter what role you play, whether it is large or small, or as significant as the one played by the Dunlaps ... each part is essential.  Together is NOT an option. It is necessary.

Pam and I are grateful to ALL of you who are a part of this team.  Last year I produced a short video featuring the short term mission teams that were on the team in 2012.  A DVD version was sent to all the team members who made a financial contribution.  Click on this link to view that video.  THANK YOU to each team member.  It's great to be together.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your comments here.