Monthly Archives: October 2013

booking air travel onlineIt's official.  We have the flight details for our 2014 Vision Building Tour!  Cindy and I are both so excited we can hardly do anything else.

Cindy dug in and checked every imaginable travel site and not only found us cheaper tickets than I could find, but found airlines and connections with which we are more comfortable, and also milked another couple days out of our two-week trip.   What a blessing to have someone with such great administrative skills built right into the marriage partnership!  She's amazing!

Prayer partners, be advised the travel dates are Tuesday, April 15th through Thursday, May 1st.  We will be flying into and out of, Entebbe.  Thank you for your prayer support!

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Some people are cast right into ministry, while others are called to make arduous preparations for it. Jonah got spit onto the beach of Nineveh, but Noah was called to labor on his ark about seventy-five years before there was ever a drop of rain in the sky.

I was feeling pitiful, wondering why God could not just use me like I am rather than calling me to nursing school, but I considered Noah. It had never rained before, but he stacked gopherwood. The earth was high and dry, but he cut timber and boiled pitch. Noah was faithful to his calling, even though it was years before God would call him to climb aboard and batten the hatch.

As I considered the years of schooling I have yet to complete before receiving my nursing degree and the preparations to be made for whatever God has planned for me, I thought I would read the account of Noah, hoping for some encouragement.

This is what I found:

Genesis 5:28-29 NIV
[28] When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. [29] He named him Noah and said, "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed. "

His father named him Noah, to be a comfort for those of us who toil. Thank God for the story of Noah! and for the fulfillment of his type in the person and life of Jesus Christ, who seals us with His Spirit to withstand the tumultuous elements of this Earth for a promise on the other side of the storm!

Dear Father, today, make me diligent to the tasks at hand, keeping my focus on You, with my life in Your hands not mine. May the goal be before me, but my attention be always on following Your direction for my next step. Forgive my impatience, Lord, and cleanse me of it. Thank You for motivation, and for the promise of working according to Your purpose. In gratitude, I offer You this small gift: me.

Katie Davis and her work at Amazima Ministries inspires me.  This morning I received the Amazima Newsletter with a link to a blogpost entitled Some Sweet Words From Jesus.  In it, Katie describes the draw of her heart to the children of Uganda, and how God is teaching her to accept His will and do her part, no matter how insignificant it may feel at the time.  One look at the work she has done and continues to do proves that what she is doing is anything but insignificant!

Lord use me and mine for Your purposes, and make me diligent to the task at hand, never criticizing the opportunities You put before me as too small or not enough for anything less than my best.

Go traffic lightThe term missionary means sent one. Someone recently asked me who was sending Cindy and me to Uganda.  The answer was simply, "God."  I was, for a micro-moment, tempted to feel as though that was an inadequate answer, realizing my interrogator wanted more detail, but I answered him with confidence, knowing that God will reveal to us the people and institutions with whom we will partner according to His timing.

I was reminded of the calling of the prophet Isaiah.  It was revealed to Isaiah's spirit that God was deliberating, "Whom shall I send?" when he volunteered, "Here am I.  Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8)  Isaiah was sent to block the ears and speak a curse of ignorance to the people who would have to wait for God's promise, the holy Root of Jesse, the stump of cutoff Israel, to be revealed.

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.[a]
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”  (Isaiah 6:9b-10, NIV)

What once was bound up has been uncovered, and what once was sealed has been rolled away.  The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has brought deliverance from this curse (Joel 2:32), and I stand as volunteer to deliver healing to those whom the Spirit will turn.

As written in 1 Peter 2:24,

24 He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.  (NLT)

Isaiah was willing though he wasn't sure what he was volunteering for.  Cindy and I are not sure what lies ahead either, but we are willing to give up house and family and comfort to respond to this call toward serving the children of Uganda.  Every moment I am away, the passion for them grows stronger.

Dear Father, today, help me live the today You have given me and trust You with tomorrow.  Thank You for opportunity to serve You now, even as I prepare for a new ministry yet to be birthed.  Help me be patient and grow as You cultivate.  Raise up Your servants to do what needs to be done, and grant that my part may be played according to Your perfect will and timing.  In Jesus' name, amen!

When I was a young teen, or maybe a tween, I told God I would become a missionary.  Even through the distractions of girls and school, I still planned to go to Bible college, and carry out my mission.  I never had any specifics and knew nothing about missionary work, except what I saw of the visiting ones at Vacation Bible School or Missions Week at church.   Somewhere along the line, I dropped the ball of that promise.  Even when the memory of it came to the surface years later, I pushed it back down and rationalized that I was in a service career, and that had become my "mission."  After all, doesn't the Great Commission make everyone a "missionary" in their own setting?  It sounded good for awhile.

While I was trying to decide on a path for a second career as my first one draws to a close, God gently reminded me of that promise.

I have spent some time working in a counseling office as a peer-support coordinator.  I was the guy people would come to when they weren't too sure about going to see the mental health counselor.  There's just something about that title that bears a repellent stigma.  While I was working in that role, I learned to love ministering to people on a personal level, especially those in crisis.  I knew counseling was not for me, but I was drawn toward one of two other options: nursing, which I saw as helping coaches, ministers of health in primarily physical but also the spiritual and emotional aspects as well; and preaching ministry, which I viewed as valuable, but intellectual with no material product.  I recalled Paul's instruction to work with your hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11) and I recognized that pounding them on a pulpit was not the same thing.  I wrestled with this decision.  I prayed.  I cried.   One day, I was earnestly praying, desperate to know which way to go.  I reminded God how slow I am to recognize His answers, and asked that He please make this one obvious.

Just then a car passed me on the wrong side.  (Yes, I was driving at the time.)  As it zipped around me the car cut me off, narrowly missing my fender.  There in front of me was the biggest bumper sticker I have ever seen.  It was huge!  It was plain white with enormous black letters that simply said, "BECOME A NURSE".   My tears became laughter as I said, "Yes, Sir!" and began seeking information on nursing schools in my area.

A short time later, my wife, Cindy, and I had been talking about the passion we have for Africa and for children.  We were both confused about where we would put our skills to work for the Lord, but we were sure it would be somewhere in Africa.  Cindy has always dreamed of living in Africa.  If I really want to get her excited, we sit at home and watch Hatari.  Sometimes I can duplicate the effect just by scat-singing Chuck Mangione's Baby Elephant Walk.  We have a friend who immigrated from Liberia by way of a refugee camp in Ghana, but for some reason, we knew that was not our destination.  Right after we had this discussion, we were sitting in church when the pastor introduced a woman who had been on a mission trip to Uganda.  As soon as we heard the name of the country, Cindy and I looked at each other and mouthed, "UGANDA!" as we were both touched by the utterance of the word and somehow knew that was it.

The plan has been delayed by life, as plans sometimes are.  My best friend was suddenly struck quadriplegic, and needed someone to help him to rehabilitative therapy.  I thoroughly enjoyed ministering to him that way, and became comfortable moving another man around as is necessary when one cannot move himself.  When he was finally able to get to the gym on his own, I ventured off to school.  I have a lot of classes yet to take before I can even apply for nursing school, but I am taking it one day at a time, content with God's timing.  I know that He is developing me in more ways than just a nursing degree.  He is developing patience.  Sometimes the wait gets long, and the obstacles ahead seem daunting, but that's when I remember that God is already in my tomorrow.  He is with me today, and He will be with me tomorrow.   Just this morning, I received a link to a song by Templeton Thompson - "When I Get That Pony Rode" that, though Country and not necessarily Christian, helped me to remember to be dedicated and to patiently endure, to be content with slow progress, because the harvest will be worth the wait.

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Uganda mapAs my first career draws to a close and I begin preparing for what comes next, God has drawn me to go to nursing school to become a missionary nurse, and has tugged the hearts of both me and my wife, Cindy, in the direction of Uganda, where war and AIDS has left a vast population of orphans who need His loving care.

One night a few months ago, I caught myself giving advice to a teenager who had made extensive career plans but had never bothered to meet with someone serving in her selected occupation, or to visit the work-site of such a professional. As I heard myself criticize her for not exposing herself to the work and workers in her chosen field, I heard God say the same thing to me.  I immediately recognized I needed to go to Uganda, to visit the orphanages and mission hospitals, and meet the people whose needs I will someday serve as well as some of the people who are already serving there.

Since my retirement date is set for March 14, 2014, Cindy and I are planning to fly into Entebbe, Uganda in April and make certain stops, visiting orphan ministries and mission clinics where we can before returning home to build on that vision, and take the necessary steps to make this mission a reality.

I have already resumed my college classes to finish the prerequisites necessary to enroll in nursing school. I have long way to go, but it has to start with a vision. My hope is that this trip will fuel me with the passion it will take to drive me through the obstacles that lie ahead.

Thank you for stopping by. I would appreciate your prayers.

- Todd