Sunday, December 7, 2008

From A to Z, and everything in-between

Over the past few weeks I have quoted many famous people. However, today I want to quote someone just as important to me, but maybe a little less famous! While living in Romania, my wife Kacee resolved that “Sometimes God takes us one place to get us to another.” This prophetic statement no doubt came during one of those long, sleepless nights after an even longer day of soul searching (probably grocery day!).

Kacee and I both felt called to Romania. It was our longing desire to serve there that prompted us to accept a position at University of Banat Timi┼čoara. Our objective was to minister to my students via the classroom and beyond. Our hope was to develop relationships through movie nights, game nights, and Bible studies. But, God had even greater plans in mind. A month or so into our stint, we discovered international medical students from Africa and India in need of Christian friends and discipleship. Who knew God would send us all the way to Romania to give us a worldview.

Now that I work for Buckner we have been able to expand upon that worldview. I’ve been blessed to travel to all over the world, but more than that, God has opened our eyes to an entirely different ministry opportunity in our own back yard. In September, Kacee and I, along with Donald and Wendy Lie and Ahnna Parker started a LIFE group (SS class) for international university students at First Baptist Church of Lubbock.

What a wonderful opportunity! Just think of the impact one international student might have if they return home as a Christian. How small minded of us to think that the only way we can reach the lost is to send a career missionary to them. Though sending missionaries is no doubt effective, empowering the nationals with the knowledge of Christ can be just as powerful. The vision of IICS is “To change a nation, teach the leaders…” Ironically, this same vision can be carried out in your local church. There are thousands of international students in the U.S. and most will return home at the completion of their education. Just this semester we have had students from China, Taiwan, Burkina Faso (West Africa), Mexico, and Ethiopia; all of which could one day be missionaries in their own country.

Isn’t it amazing how God is in control? As the old saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Today I can look back over my life and see God’s finger prints on every aspect of my life. What started as a small seed planted through family to visit Romania in 1998, grew to a number of visits to not only Romania but Russia, Guatemala, and Kenya and eventually led to a long term stint in Romania with the International Institute for Christian Studies. During that stint God planted seeds in our hearts for orphans and international students which we continue to harvest today through our careers and our church.

So the next opportunity you have to do something that God is obviously prompting you to do, say “yes,” He may be leading on place just to get you to another. If nothing else it probably will change a life. And more than likely it will be yours.

Aspire to new heights.

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