Jiggle the door knob!
A good friend and mentor of mine once told me that God will be opening and closing doors all through your life. Whether these doors (opportunities) are big or small, he can close them unexpectedly, which can lead to disappointment and in some cases, confusion. On the other hand, doors that He opens are often met with great anticipation and excitement. Yet, there can still be a sense of confusion or perhaps uncertainty in these times. The same friend of mine went on to say that when you are unsure about whether God is unlocking and opening a door for you, you just have to "jiggle the door knob". See if God is behind this and if he is leading you to take this opportunity. This wisdom has really helped us during this season.
We have felt the sting of a closed door with our trip to Fiji being cancelled. Today would have actually been the day we would be flying out, which is a disappointing thought. But as God closed this door, it appears that he has been opening up another...
About a month ago, we were asked if we would consider partnering with a ministry called ITEC (Indigenous Technology and Education Centre). I'll get to what this ministry's purpose is, but first let me explain how we are connected to it. So, we attend church with the family who were involved in starting this ministry and we have had an office space at the ITEC headquarters since September last year. This family actually connected us to Tim and his family, so you could say that God has definitely been working behind the scenes to open many doors through this connection. After chatting with the ITEC leaders, we took some time to think, pray, and seek wisdom and counsel from family, friends, and mentors – you could say we gave the door knob a good old jiggle. It has become clear to us that this is a door that God is leading us through and we're ready to go for it!
How will this new opportunity impact our current ministry and work? Well, for at least the rest of this year, we will be moving to part time with EE and I will start working part time in a volunteer role with ITEC. Our commitment to EE has not changed and we will still be developing the Changemakers program and be back in Fiji next year. In fact, the purposes of both ministries a very similar and I believe we can maximize our impact for the Gospel by serving in both.
The ministry of ITEC exists to ‘Inspire great commission participation’ by equipping Indigenous believers in a variety of different ways. Since 1996, the ITEC team has sought to empower the Indigenous Church, particularly in remote areas of the world, to meet needs in their communities and share the Gospel. The story behind this ministry began in 1956 when five young men were killed by the Waodani people, the very tribe they were trying to take the Gospel to in the jungles of Ecuador, South America. Millions of people know this part of the story, but many don’t the rest of it. Two years later, Nate Saint’s (one of the martyrs) sister Rachel moved in with the tribe and led many of them to Jesus. It is an amazing story of redemption, where God’s grace is on full display. It really does echo the truth found in the story Jospeh – "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).
Fast forward to 1994, the Waodani tribe asked Steve Saint (Nate Saint’s son) and his family to move in with them when Rachel passed away. The Waodani then pleaded with Steve to equip them to play their part in the great commission, which is where the idea of ITEC came from. You can find out more about the story and learn more about the ministry at ITEC’S website www.itecusa.org/about/ and YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/itecusavideo. It is really amazing!
At ITEC, they are beginning to think through ways in which they can inspire and equip churches in the US and abroad who are interested in having a long-term impact through short term missions. I have been asked to be involved in this process, which is super exciting!
Not being in Fiji this year will be bittersweet; knowing that we are missing out on investing in the lives of young leaders and serving God with them, but sweet because this new opportunity would not have been open to us had we have been there. Ash and I are both very excited by this new season God has us in and for the ministry ahead. Please be praying for us.
We appreciate you all for your interest, prayers, love, and support!
An extra little update: Tim has graduated from middle school and finished out the year with straight A’s! We are so proud of him. On top of home-school, Ash and I have been involved in weekly leadership training with EE, which has been a blessing during this time. We have also continued to refine the Changemakers program in preparation for next year when, Lord willing, we will be back in Fiji. It is likely that we will be reducing the first phase of the program from six weeks to four and we are praying that this will allow even more young adults to join us. Please join us in prayer as we continue to establish the Changemakers program.