After time away to rest and refresh, missionary family dives right back into Lord’s work
In the Old Testament every seventh year a sabbatical was an extended season of rest to allow the land to regain its potency and allow the soil to restore its nutrients and minerals. This time is crucial today for sustaining the life of a minister or Christian leader. A Sabbatical was much needed for my family and we truly believe that the nutrients of our souls have been replenished, restored and we have a renewed hunger for life and for ministry. Jeremiah 31:25 says “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Praise God! We are glad to be back!
March 3 was our return date. Transitioning back into our home in Washington Park immediately welcomed us to a reminder that we were home and why we love our street. We miss waking up to the sounds of loud neighbors, loud music and loud early morning garbage truck runs. Immediately our home was a revolving door. People old and young came by to visit and welcome us back into the community. A parent who lost her son whose phone calls I avoided before sabbatical due to me being emotionally drained called for help and I actually was able to visit, respond to needs and pray for her in her home. Young ladies with make up and wardrobe needs in preparation for a military ball and upcoming prom immediately solicited Nicole’s help because she’s the bomb when it comes to stuff like that.
Other women reached out to Nicole for help in studying the word and getting to know Jesus better. Another incoherent neighbor has randomly hit me up in the middle of the street to pray for him on the spot at least three times this month. That other friend who is addicted to drugs continues to tell me how much he loves me and how much prayer and help he needs. The neighbor who has promised to come to church for two years has now come twice in the last three weeks; Others asking for rides to various places including doctors appointments rang our phones all while transitioning back into my day job with Common Ground.
Now at this point I know you feel just a bit overwhelmed or even a minor panic attack as you read this. The things I’ve mentioned here are basically the norm along with other random circumstances and unmentioned details. We’ve missed every minute of being here but issues like this are inevitable. It may not seem like it, but there were other issues that came up that we couldn’t respond to, because we can’t live in a way that allows the circumstances of others to all of a sudden become our emergency every time. God is in control when or if we can’t be there to make everything better. We are not in control. God is always in the midst redeeming and intervening in the lives of people. Sometimes all we can do is pray even if we ourselves aren’t in a position to respond.
Before I left we delegated all of my responsibilities of directing programs to other staff and divided a once huge after school program into three separate programs to make it a lot more manageable and effective. This was one of the best decisions we’ve made in a while. I returned to work and felt like a man who was experiencing his first day on the job. I was so lost the first week because it seemed as if I had nothing to do. For seven years we’ve been here everyday so leaving and returning after two months was weird.
It didn’t take long but assisting Urban Seed Xchange with the high schoolers, summer intern recruitment, summer camp planning, high school volunteer days, Wednesday night sleepovers, discipleship group, and spring break trips are a few things that quickly filled my schedule. I’m also excited to be thinking, praying, and planning to relaunch the mentoring ministry. Right now I am reconnecting with mentors and the children in the after school program in preparation to relaunch this relational program that connects children with mentors decreasing the opportunity of our youth slipping through the cracks.
Please pray for our family as God continues to lead us in how to love our neighbors.
Galatians 5:14 says that the entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
• Pray for our transition back and that we set necessary boundaries.
• Pray that we will apply the principles that we’ve learned while on sabbatical.
• Pray that God would bring the right people to mentor our children.
• Pray for Nicole and Kaiya’s homeschooling.
• Pray for the unity of our marriage as we navigate through life and ministry.
For more information on the life-transforming work Common Ground Montgomery is doing every day, go to cgmlife.org