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Do The Next Thing: Pushing Back The Darkness

When I was seven or eight years old, my Granny was visiting and she was helping my mom get us down for bed. I shared a room with my sister at the time and I remember her tucking us in and we asked her to tell us a story. She told us the story of how she became a missionary. She told us that the first step was having a personal relationship with Jesus. She went on to explain how she went to nursing school and met my Grandaddy and how the Lord called them to a place called Thailand with the (then) Foreign Mission Board. They started a hospital and raised four children in a little town outside of Bangkok called Bang Khla. 

I grew up in GA's (and can still proudly sing the GA song, P.S.) and I learned about Missionaries overseas and even domestic missionaries. I prayed for many many missionaries. I made many bookmarks and I looked at many many maps. But even as a child I remember the idea of going to a different country feeling uncomfortable. Kind of one of those things that other people did. 

Things became a little more real to me, when we were thirteen, and my sister went on a trip to Russia. When Cassie got back, I felt like I was missing out on something.  I saw adventure and I saw the hands and feet of the Gospel, and the light of Jesus in my sister glowed a little bit brighter. Yet, the feeling of uncomfortableness in my gut grew larger. 

In the beginning of the year 2000, I was sitting in my church youth group on a Sunday morning and one of the morning announcements was about a trip to Asia that Summer. There was going to be a meeting about it a few weeks later. The knot in my stomach twinged again and for whatever reason, I went to that meeting. The entire meeting I sat there, with that knot lodged in my throat, and I couldn't stop thinking about going. I mailed letters, I prayed, I went to meetings, I studied and I read about the people we would meet. But nothing prepared me for the feeling of actually meeting those people. Our group went to Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Mainland China. It was an unbelievably life changing experience. Something inside of me came alive as I saw the work of the Gospel in different cultures, in different churches and homes, and landscapes. Its the first time I think I really understood that my God wasn't an "American" God and when God so loved the WORLD, it meant the WHOLE WORLD. And that when God holds the WHOLE WORLD in his hands, it didn't just mean my little comfortable life. 

My Junior year of college I had my next taste of the WHOLE WORLD feeling. I had the opportunity to travel with my church and some of my very best friends to Prague and Vienna. I coordinated a Vacation Bible School in Prague and we got to be a part of two very different ministries both serving Jesus and spreading the Gospel. I learned that the work of the Gospel can look different in different places. On this trip I learned that Jesus doesn't just fit in a man-made box that feels comfortable. 

All of this lead up to me falling madly in love with a man passionate about seeing the Gospel spread across the WHOLE WORLD. I don't know if Kyle has ever even had the perspective of the "little world" that I find so comfortable. The scariest thing about marrying Kyle was knowing full well that when I committed my life to him, It really might mean that I end up following him to the ends of the earth. In our marriage, I have had many opportunities to lean into that knotted uncomfortable feeling and realize on the inside of that feeling is where the Lord is doing MIGHTY THINGS. Inside that feeling is where He is getting glory. 

Kyle and I went to Thailand with the church we were on staff with in January 2007. This is the trip that the Lord wrecked me for the nations. The trip was an adventure and it was fun and it was healing, but most of all it was the first time I felt the fire of DOING SOMETHING. I have to DO SOMETHING. 

When we got back, I started having trouble sleeping. There were some nights that I would wake up in the middle of the night with that choking knot in my throat and I couldn't sleep. One of the only things that would help was for Kyle to put me in the car and drive me around. We would pray and I would get sleepy again and we would go back home and I could sleep. 

One night in particular, we were driving and praying. I looked at Kyle and I said, "What do we do? Do we just need to move to Thailand?" 

Well, we didn't move to Thailand, but we did begin taking step towards our next big adventure, and that was going on staff with a Missions Organization called NEXT Worldwide. So in July of 2008, we packed up our apartment and our 8 week old Laura Kate and we moved to the North Dallas area. I worked on staff with NEXT until Shepherd was born in 2011 and Kyle has continued to work for NEXT taking short term trips impacting students and being part of church planting movements all over the world. 

And for the past 7 years, the Lord has continued to stoke the fire that He started in me for the Nations. There are times it has been hard because for the past 5 years, my idea of that has looked differently than when I was actually going on trips. My main "job" has been raising these babies of mine. And I have I wrestled with reconciling the great need in the world with the practical needs in front of me every day: dishes, diapers, and discipline. 

As it turns out, the WHOLE WORLD is massive. There are close to 7 Billion People in the world and only a little over 2 Billion People know Jesus. The need is crushing.  Worldwide News is devastating right now. ISIS marches on torturing and murdering. Bombs continue to blow up in Africa. The numbers of the homeless rises, women continue to kill unborn babies, and PEOPLE continue to be sold into SLAVERY. It's dark. And it's heavy. 

What do we do? How do we push back the darkness?

If I have learned one thing through this journey, it's this: we do the next thing. 

For me, sometimes that looks like teaching my children to KNOW Jesus and to pray and ask Him for their next thing. Sometimes, it looks like washing dishes. It means being a help-meet to my man. It means everyday when my phone alarm goes off at 10:02 (Luke 10:2), praying for workers for the harvest. It means constantly and continually asking the Lord what the next thing to do is and doing it. 

For the first time in 7 years, the next thing the Lord has our family doing involves a really big change. It involves a gigantic faith step. It means leaving behind a nest of comfort and marching into unknown territory. And with fear and trembling and great deal of excitement we said "yes" and are doing the next thing. 

In just a short few weeks, we will be moving our family to Mobile, Alabama to help launch a brand new missions organization called Lifevesting International. The mission of LVI is to mobilize volunteers to support the work of Christian leaders worldwide where responsiveness to the Gospel is greater than one church's ability to harvest it. We go to the "hot spots" where pastors are saying "Come over here and help us." We plan to start by helping a friend of ours in Thailand who has signaled to us for help. 

The knot in my throat threatens to choke me about every 5 minutes right now. What if it's messy? What if we fail? What if people think we are crazy? It's scary. IT'S UNCOMFORTABLE. And in that feeling I remember that THAT is where He gets the glory. THAT is where he does mighty things. Because what if it can make a difference? What if our "yes" to do the next thing pushes back the darkness even just a little bit? THE WHOLE WORLD needs Him and the only way I know to reconcile that need with my reality is to to do the next thing. 

Just out of curiosity, have you asked the Lord what the next thing is for you? It might be to wash the dishes. 

It might be something else. 

"So they signaled their partners...to come and help them, and they came." Luke 5:7

For more information about Lifevesting International, "LIKE" us on Facebook. (Website coming soon!)
For more information about Why we are starting a missions organization, read this post

If you would like to be a part of helping support LVI in any way or if you have any questions at all, email Kyle (kyle [at] lifevesting [dot] com). 

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