I knew before actually arriving here that God was up to something. Our on-site interview this past January was really more of a visit. Comfortable and welcoming. During that short weekend we heard pieces of stories of ordinary people used greatly for the glory of God and the good of others. Of multiple, thriving ministries that were birthed out of what would be our new church home. The global and local outreach, amazing. The gospel impact, resounding. Lives were being changed by the message of Hope in Jesus Christ, here and around the world. That weekend we got the 45 second trailer, the teaser. We had to see the rest.
As most of you know, that on-site visit led to a decision to make the big move from upstate SC to the Quad Cities. As time goes on though, I realize it was less our choice and more God’s. As days and weeks pass, I’m more convinced we have been sent. Our being here is God’s plan.
It’s been 6 months today since we pulled up to our temporary apartment and unloaded the cars.
Much has happened since then. It snowed. A week later the movers brought our stuff. It snowed again. We found a house. I lost my dad. Went back to SC during Easter to help with the arrangements, came back to IL and moved again (couldn’t have done it without you, Angie). Went back east again and buried my dad. Boom boom boom, in that order. (I still haven’t had time to grieve.) Went back to the Carolinas last month to visit family and friends, and to celebrate a special 2 year old. And most recently God opened up the opportunity for me to serve Him as Outreach Coordinator at our new church. Seriously, somebody pinch me.
I’ve only been in this role a month, so there’s much to learn. Part of this learning process means I get to interact with both our global and local ministry partners. A few have been via email, but many have been face to face, over coffee or a meal. That’s when you hear the backstories, start connecting the dots, and seeing the bigger picture.
One of our new friends here is executive director for a ministry she founded that digs wells in Niger. That’s the little I knew about her when we first arrived …. that and she had a huge heart for missions and a wonderfully dry sense of humor. This woman is a deep well, in her own right. So much more to her story.
A few days ago, several of us from the outreach council had the pleasure of meeting a young couple before they leave for a 5 year term as missionaries to Japan. (This particular friend was instrumental in that connection as well, but that’s a story for another day.). As we were leaving the coffee shop, she blessed me with a book written by a dear friend of hers, another local.
In that book, some of the dots that were loosely connected began to take shape and fill in with color. Tucked in those pages is the wonder and mystery of our God moving, working through His people. Restoring. Creating. Redeeming. Blessing.
In those pages were ministries I’ve visited. Places I go. People I’ve met. People I currently work with. There’s no doubt God is moving in this city. There’s no question that the lord has us here for such a time as this … whatever “this” is. Yes, Lord, whatever this is.
PS- Ya’ll seriously need to read ‘Singing In The Wilderness’ by Luana Stoltenberg. Have tissues handy.
Photo credit- Babette Howard