Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Everything about our family just changed. And it’s so cool.

Last week, Lifa tucked himself away with a box of Legos and a vision. Throaty engine revs, constructive schemings, and the occasional worship song resounded from the other side of his bedroom door. Important stuff was happening in there.

When I went in to check on him, Lifa roared, “I’M MAKING A MACHINE!” He looked on his creation with pride, oohed and ahhed a little, and then declared, “It is so cool, and it does stuff.”
(Insert endless boy-sounds.)

We sat down together that evening for some sweet potato-peanut butter soup and one of our best dinner table talks yet. We had GREAT news – the greatest news our family has ever had. Lifa squeal-guessed that Chris’ dad was coming to visit us, and then got too excited to guess anymore. We shared with Lifa that God had told us to do something, and we are the kind of family that shapes our whole life around doing that thing.  We were made to build the church, and it’s time to start doing that.

We are saying sweet goodbyes to the incredible ministry of Children’s Cup in order to begin a journey of planting and pastoring a church. Big deal, y’all. BIG. DEAL.

Such a big deal that it took me 6 hours to write this; I instantly lost every single phone charger I’ve ever owned; and I put the milk away with the cups and spent an entire morning looking for it. That’s what we’re working with over here. You could say I’m losing my ever-lovin’ mind, but I’m going to call it consumed with the joy, magnitude and goodness of a God who would call us. Our minds and hearts are full - too full to remember where the milk goes. It’s capacity-stretching, faith-leaping time. And it’s a big dang deal. 

It’s a BIG DEAL when God trusts you with His family, His house, and His dinner table.

That night with our family, in our house, at our three-bowl dinner table, we felt the depth of it begin to set in. We declared the church to be our family’s mission, and God’s story to tell. This was the very beginning of making space for a lot more bowls and a lot more filling.

Chris and I have had the overwhelming privilege to enter some of the most hopeless stories, places and circumstances in the world during our years of serving para-church organizations in Africa. We’ve encoutered the darkest of darks and experienced firsthand how brightly the Light shines there. Darkness flees and the world changes the instant Light enters the room.

The Church is the Light of the World. We get to be a part of arming the nations with Light until there just is no more dark. We’re thankful because we know, and we’ve seen. We’ve been trusted with the few who’ve gathered around our dinner table and who we’ve fed in local communities around us. Now we get to be counted trustworthy for more. 
Potential, purpose, and celebration rose up in our family that night as we let Lifa’s questions flow ad nauseam.  He was ready for details:

“Dad, are you going to be the guy who stands up in the front and teaches stuff?”
“Where are me and Mom going to sit?”
“Is there going to be tea and coffee?”
“Are you only going to go to work on Sundays?”
“What are the kids going to do?”

We told Lifa that our church is just like our dinner table. We’ll have more placemats and more people. And just like dinner, it happens every day.

Our first night of church-building was a lot like Lifa’s afternoon of machine-building:
I could almost sense the Vision-bearer on his hands and knees with every piece He possessed spread within His reach, revving creation's sounds as His plans for something great began to take shape.

I think Heaven even had a soundtrack to that fateful three-bowl dinner. I have a feeling it sounded like Lifa’s room had earlier that afternoon - filled with impassioned, constructive schemings, enthusiastic building roars, and spontaneous worship. Just like Lifa and his machine, I believe the Creator beheld the family that became a church, oohed and ahhed a little, and then declared, “I’m making a church! It is so cool, and it does stuff.”

A few more details:

We are especially thankful for the work Children’s Cup is doing and for the role we got to play in serving their mission. We will be finishing our season of service with Children’s Cup on October 28, 2016, and they are graciously allowing us to continue processing our donations with them until we establish other arrangements. Children's Cup's integrity and security has enabled us to steward our finances well, and we will continue receiving our funding through them until we establish an equally reliable and secure system in order to protect your investment.

Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming 3-month sabbatical, including what a sabbatical is. We believe God spoke it to us, and it’s the next step toward establishing a healthy, life-giving church.

We have no plans to leave South Africa, but we are still uncertain about where our church will be. 

Most importantly: We love each other. We love you. We love His Church. Thank you for reading, praying and partnering with us.

If you want to join in this great adventure in a practical way, you can start investing now by donating through Children’s Cup by clicking here. We will notify you when we change our avenue of giving.

To subscribe to our newsletter for updates and announcements, click here.

It’s gettin’ real, y’all. Let’s do this together!

1 comment:

  1. This is such exciting news! I love the visuals your writings convey. I especially love the visual of of our Creator looking at His church and saying "It's cool and it does stuff!" What an awesome definition of His church! May God continue to bless you and your family abundantly.