Saturday, July 07, 2007

What it's like: final installment (resignation)

From the 10/40 Window to Mayberry; the journey isn't over yet.

We arrived in the US on furlough back in March. By mid April, God had made it undeniably clear that He wanted us to remain in the US and pastor a church.

Two things: 1) I ALWAYS thought I would retire from the IMB and be an "emeritus missionary", and 2) I have NEVER been a pastor before.

In combination, these two things sent me into a "crisis of belief" (a la Experiencing God). Why would God have us spend so many years overseas only to return "home" and pastor a church? I could not (and can not) answer this. However, I know this to be true: this is what God wants me to do.

Amazingly, my wife felt the Lord speaking to her in the same way (except for her being a pastor).

I have never had such a hard time with something that the Lord has directed me to do. You see, I LOVE(D) being a missionary. There was nothing else I wanted to do and nothing else I wanted to be. God began to whisper to me that I needed to make sure that I loved HIM more than I loved being a missionary. Ouch. That one was close to the heart.

However, EVERY step of the way in this process, God has confirmed His direction and our obedience. To be very honest, I threw out many "fleeces" (a la Gideon) and have determined that HE REALLY, REALLY WANTS ME TO DO THIS. I am utterly amazed. A little confused about "why", but mine is not to questions my Father's desire.

I will admit that my letter of resignation was the hardest letter I have ever written, except, perhaps, for the letter to my colleagues letting them know that we would be resigning. I thought about posting a copy of the letter here, but, quite frankly, it is just too personal of a thing to have up on the internet.

I have honestly loved my work with the IMB over the past many years. I love my colleagues and my service to them. I respect the leadership of the Board and my region. I have no "beef" with the Board, my colleagues, my team, or anything else about it. I am simply following the guidance of my Heavenly Father.

In a way, I feel as though I am betraying the cause of Mission. However, I know I am doing the will of my Father. In a way, I feel that I am being a source of discouragement to those who are excited about and involved in Mission. However, I know I am doing the will of my Father.

My new church is a small church in NE Oklahoma. It has been a church that has been hurt and is tired. I do not know why the Lord wants me to be its shepherd. It is in a small town that reminds me of Mayberry (a la Andy Griffith). I will start August 1.

My last day as a missionary with the International Mission Board is July 31. My last day as a missionary is when I see my Saviour's face. It will be my goal to lead my church to be "on mission, with God".

I have enjoyed being "Nomad For God", but there is no reason to keep up the secret identity. To that end, I am not sure it is worth keeping up this blog. I am unconvinced that I can share with you who I am and not jeopardize the security of those with whom I have worked. Any suggestions?

So, without further ado, this will probably be my last post as Nomad on Nomad. I will maintain my blog account and my email account.

Thank you to all who have prayed for me and my family. Thank you to all those who support Mission through prayer and giving. Thank you to all who continue to serve our Lord through obedience to the Great Commission.

Won't you please begin to consider what you will give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year? The goal is $165,000,000.

May God bless you all.