In fall, while sitting in church one morning God and I had a discussion. Actually – God spoke and I listened. How did He speak? Through His Word. That morning, I was sitting there, and I will be honest, I was angry inside. I was angry that I was sitting here in Canada while over on the other side of the world, my colleagues, my friends and others were overwhelmed with the work that was needing to be done. Over there it is “all hands on deck” and I felt jealous, sad, frustrated and overall a bit “useless”. So we go to church, and that morning was the launch of a building renovation project, purpose being to make the building more effective in ministry to the community and the congregation.
The theme verse is Jeremiah 29:7
“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (NIV)
That verse was like a voice in my mind. “…I have carried you into exile…..” We knew that God had led us to leave Ukraine at the time that we did. We knew that God was going before us, and that He was leading us. I knew these things, but I was struggling with the “what now, why now etc” emotions of transition.
But that line – I have carried you into exile – that was us. That was how I was feeling, that I had been exiled, put on the sidelines so to speak. But God told the people of Israel that they weren’t supposed to sit there and stew in their misery, they were to pray and work for the prosperity of the place that He had put them. Well, God had put us here in Canada, and that was what He was calling us to do. To pray and work for the place where He had put us. That moment was a game changer for me. A month or so later I was having coffee with an old friend who is a pastor here in Calgary. As we talked about the ministry that we had in Ukraine, and what was ahead of us now, he made a very good point. “John, if you could do that there, why can’t you do that here?” My main role in Ukraine was “facilitator”, helping others grow and go forward in what God had called them to do. Good question, why can’t I do that here? Why wouldn’t I use the gifts and abilities that God has given me wherever He places me, rather than only at certain times and locations?
So that became my prayer, “Lord, use me here in the time and place that You have placed me in whatever way You see fit.”
Soon after that we jumped on a plane to Spain for our SEND Ukraine field conference, and two days after our return I was back on a plane to London, ON for meetings at our Cdn head office and a seminar. From those two trips a few things became clear of what God would have us (me – John – especially) to do as ministry role while helping our two oldest transition into this next phase of their lives.
Leanne wrote an update which explains very well what our new ministry role will be
“…Now we are into a new role for a minimum of the next two years.
So, things are getting very interesting. We are looking forward to what God is going to do here in Canada through the Body of Christ, and how He is seeking to impact the world – both across the street and across the globe.