My greatest fear in life has always been to reach the age of 39 and right before celebrating 40 years of life, looking back and realizing I was stuck in a well paying job for the last 15 years that honestly didn’t really matter. I think Bob Goff says it best,
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but rather of succeeding at things in life that do not really matter.”
About three and a half years ago God put serving internationally on my heart, and quiet frankly for the last three and a half years I’ve wrestled with that. I’ve entertained the idea of international business or a non-profit idea. I’ve dreamed a lot while remaining faithful right where I am at. Way back when I first started thinking about serving internationally I began to inquire information from Africa Inland Missions Organization (AIM). I met with representatives and chatted about possibilities. I think the greatest way to say it is the timing was not right no matter how bad I wanted it. By a shear act of God and an open heart to go wherever He would like me to serve, I landed in Denver Colorado teaching Bible and coaching basketball at a christian school there. These last three years in Colorado have been invaluable and the experience has forever been engrained into my journey. I would not have changed anything! During my years teaching I received the opportunity to lead overseas “Discovery” trips for our school taking kids for 2 weeks to experience a drastically different culture. Last summer we served the people of Rwanda and they completely stole all of our hearts! This summer we served the people of Uganda and experienced African rural life and extreme poverty way to close for comfort. My prayer for the kids we took on these trips is that they would not ever be able to live the same again. I prayed countless hours for transformation and a fresh cultured permanent view of life. I prayed for change.
Little did I know, that my own heart was in for quiet a ride! After last summer my joy for my current job slowly begin to fade throughout the year and I began to get that pit feeling in my stomach that it was time for change. I also felt that bitter sweet feeling that changes brings about, because I was leaving a place that I liked, not a place that I disliked. At about the same time, my phone rang one afternoon at about 4pm as I was sitting eating an early dinner preparing for a Bible Study I was going to attend that night and it was AIM. They were just calling to touch base from my inquire of 2 years ago to see if I still might be interested in serving overseas or if I had already found my fit! To make an extremely long story short, that followed by three months of ironic things happening to make it clear that I really needed to think seriously and long term about serving internationally. Through interviews, evals, references, and prayer I was appointed as a missionary with African Inland Missions organization.
It is with great joy, and I am absolutely thrilled to be uprooting to Tulear Madagascar in 2015 to serve for two years. To me the details are not really important, I just simply want to serve. But for detailed individuals, we will be working significantly with kids. We will be trying to team with churches and nationals to establish “youth group” type of ministries with the goal that they will be established and flourishing long after we are gone. I will be educating about health and nutrition and being doing some type of sports outreach. After learning the Malagasy language (hopefully!) we will be meeting with women and story lining the Bible through with them. Sound like a good fit for or what?!
As Americans we are ingrained with the viewpoint that “The grass is greener on the other side!” As you read the previous paragraph you were maybe filled with excitement and a little bit of envy. Maybe you wanted to take this journey with me? The good news is you can! However, I want to be really clear and establish a perspective that I believe to be healthy. The grass is not always greener on the other side no matter how green it looks! My experience with ministry is any time you step out farther on a limb to serve the Lord, the bigger the bright red target on your back becomes! Yes, this will be fun and an adventure but it is also going to be hard. It’s going to force me outside of my own abilities and completly reliant and dependent on God alone. It also is going to force me to need people. People like you. It is so completely humbling asking people for help and to be honest, this is new to me! I’m definitely my mama’s daughter, and I am ingrained with a work ethic to be independent and self-reliant! But in honesty, I cannot do this alone. The journey starts now, and I am looking to build one heck of a team! If you are interested in being on my team there are three different positions you may choice from! And here they are:
1) A Sharer: We are always taught when we are young that it is nice to share our toys and it always seems to be hard to do that and let the other kid next to you join you as you play! For me that never went away! To be a Sharer on my team you can either subscribe to this blog or subscribe to a newsletter that will be sent via mail or email, and I will be sharing with you and inviting you to join me in the full version of the journey. The only thing that I ask of you is to share!
2) Prayer Warrior: This position you are committing to prayer for me, for our team and for the people of Madagascar. I will be sharing with you specific areas to pray, praise, and petition for. The forefront of this position is found in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. “
3) Provider: This is a team of financial supporters, whether it is a one time donation of $5 or a monthly donation for 2 years of $100 dollars, whatever it is I am forever grateful, and I need you!
The humbling truth is, without each of these positions filled my team is incomplete. Simply put: I need you, and so look forward to having a team to share this journey with! A cord of three or more strands in not easily broken!
If you are interested in being a team member, you can either ship me a message on social media, or send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the prompts after clicking on the following link: http://www.aimint.org/usa Click: Online Giving – Cunningham, Lacey Outgoing/Monthly Support.
“Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own very lives, because you had become so dear to us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8
Here we go…!