It’s been a while since the last time I wrote. What I’m about to write may come off as a little harsh at times but I’m being real with you, allowing you to see what I felt long ago when I thought ministry was about placement, stature and how you measured up to your fellow believers instead of it being about serving, loving and humility. The mercy that flows from God to us gives us the freedom and accessibility to become more like Him and less like us. I knew I believed that but it took a lot for me to put it into practice. It took some time for me to become more acquainted with what God was doing through me, not just around me.
My time in Nicaragua has come and gone, for now. As I sit here thinking back on everything God has done and all the places He’s taken me, I want to take you back to a frustrating part of a missionaries life and show you how great the Lord’s redemptive spirit is. Let me explain to what I thought before Jesus changed it all…
Much of what I did in Nicaragua would not be feasible here in the U.S. and it burdened my heart to push through this detestable ideal we’ve created, surrounding “the power of God” and how for some believers, it’s dead and no longer exists. I want to set free that fire inside and allow God the freedom to do what He pleases through us. When I was in Nicaragua, I had developed this manner of thinking which caused me to see ministry, as a whole, as something I only wanted to do outside the United States. The United States made me sick to my stomach by how weak it portrayed itself spiritually. Christ was getting neglected and we, His ambassadors, were doing nothing about it because of the simple-minded politicians and Animal rights activists or whoever that felt like jumping on the band wagon. It was hard coming from a country where Jesus is openly talked about and into one where, yes you can talk about it but not openly or freely without jumping through hoop after hoop after hoop. Jesus is God!! I found myself reading verses of the Bible in such a way to justify what I felt; to make myself feel like I was doing the right thing and everyone else was wrong. I wasn’t downplaying those who were trying (i.e. pastors, local missionaries, some churches etc.) I was frustrated with those who talked about it like they were professionals yet did nothing to validate what they were displaying. This lack of knowledge or care for what God is doing destroys the veracity of those who are trying and working for its advancement. It resembled the religious system the Pharisees of Jesus’ day publicized. Modern day Pharisees having the makings of strong and powerful faith yet lacked the internal flame that made it true.
I was so sick with it that I hated even being near this form of Christianity. I was bitter and hated going to church because it seemed a level lower of what I was use to. I’d critique everything and everyone I saw. I think it’s safe to say my way of thinking was pretty jacked up.
I spent two months in Nicaragua, October 19th through December 19th. While I was there, I knew there was a change in my spirit. God was taking me in a different direction, one that was a little bit outside what I was use to. That man that only a year ago hated the U.S. and wanted nothing to do it now desires to live and do the same work, displaying the same God, living in the same power.
Where I lost it was in the transition. In Nicaragua, it’s easy! It’s easy to feel the power of God there because that is all those people have. They have nothing else. While I was living there, I got use to this lifestyle so that when I returned to the U.S., my heart was affected in grand ways due to the dissimilarities. Confusion set in and I was destroyed from the inside out. It’s real folks. Satan can use even good things to cause confusion and divide your assessment of life and divert your attention away from God or give you a skewed version of Him. So, as I was living and working for the two months I had in Nicaragua, God was also working within me changing things up and giving me new dreams and visions to pursue after.
One thing in particular awakened inside of me as I was packing up the stuff I had accumulated after 18 months referred back to the power of the Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit:
“For the Kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.”
1 Corinthians 4:20 (ESV)
This is one of my favorite verses in The Bible. God reminded me in the moments of packing up one life to start another that He never changes. His power never changed!! The things that happened throughout my time in Nicaragua don’t end in Nicaragua. Just like Jesus never stopped speaking to us when the Bible was finished, mass-produced and sold for a profit. God’s power is eternal and we can take it anywhere, I can take it everywhere I go. As a missionary, I’ve told hundreds of stories about what God has done and what I’ve seen. My stories only carry a glimpse at that power first hand. To experience God, give Him the reigns. We can get so caught up in what happened yesterday or so worried about what is going to happen that we miss the moments right in front of us. That’s where Jesus is. That’s where God sits with open arms calling out our names to come be with Him.
It was a journey from where I started to where I am now. It took a lot of patience from my Eternal Father to not give up on me and move on with His other children. Much of what I know about God and following His spirit, I’ve learned the hard way. God is good though and I now have a strong urge to pursue after this power and make know the truth and love of our Eternal Father unto the lost people of the United States. The truth of this matter is that God is rarely spoken of here and His presence is scarcely found. He called us the Light of the world. We, His children, are the light of the world. The ambassadors of Heaven, who live, thrive and make known His presence and love to those who have no clue. It’s about Jesus and as long as we hold tight to the grip of His hand, we have nothing to fear. He never fails us! He never failed me but used what I was feeling to make known His power and grace in the most beautiful of ways.
I am currently living in Indianapolis, Indiana, working with a non-profit community development ministry. I would’ve never guessed myself to to live or work here but I know that Jesus’ power is the same here as it is everywhere else. Just cause some don’t understand it doesn’t me it’s not real. All it takes is one person, one step, and one leap of faith to dare to see the impossible made possible.