In Athens the Apostle Paul found an altar with an inscription to an unknown god. As he preached the gospel of Jesus to the Athenians he chided them for worshiping an obscure god with no name. How much better, Paul explained, to worship the true Lord of heaven and earth. In fact, Paul described God as orchestrating the allotted times of our lives, and even the boundaries of nations. As we see the international crisis today unfold, we might ask, Why does God work in this way?
Paul answers: So that people everywhere "should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each of us." (Acts 17:27, ESV).
Recently God has redrawn our "allotted times and boundaries." He has led us to a new season of ministry among refugees, whose boundaries have certainly been upended!
Last month, we prayerfully chose to step away from a ministry and an organization that we have loved like family since 1983, The International Mission Board. Increasingly, Mark was spending half of his time in Richmond, Virginia -- making work with internationals here unsustainable.
We evaluated our current season of life at age 58, fasted and sought counsel before making this significant decision. Essentially this means three things:
1. Refined Focus - We now have time to give ourselves wholeheartedly to God's work among immigrants scattered from their homelands, landing in our city.
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men." Col. 3:23, ESV
2. Dependent Faith - Since we are no longer receiving an IMB salary, we are fully trusting the Lord to provide our needs, knowing this journey will require frugality, hard work and diligent prayer.
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:19, ESV
3. Partnering for Discipleship - God is gathering a tight knit group of long time and new friends with whom we partner in ministry. Three young couples and a lovely single lady moved into the refugee apartment complex called "RT." Together we meet weekly to pray, share, worship and plan.
In addition, we have reconnected with Mark Lewis, our university Navigator campus leader from 1979. He invited us to travel to Chicago last month for an enriching Navigator gathering of theirNations Within ministry focusing on internationals in the United States. We learned so much!