Yesterday Greg received news that he was accepted into a service/missionary intern program based in Pretoria, South Africa.
The intern program is being founded by Eastside Community Church; a church based in the outskirts of Pretoria. Eastside was founded as a mission-based church and recently they have received some significant donations of property. Greg and the other interns will get to be the hands and feet of the new ministries.
Greg's main area will be in establishing soccer programs in the poor areas of Pretoria. Many parents have to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay the bills, leaving kids with no supervision after school. Many fall into drugs, gangs, early pregnancy, and even fall victim to kidnapping and rape. Establishing community centers and soccer programs will get these kids off the streets and into safe areas where they can still be kids.
The church is also planning major outreach events during the Confederation Cup in June 09. All the ministries established in '09 will be expanded in 2010 when South Africa becomes the first African nation to host the World Cup. Greg and the team will get to lay the foundation for some amazing ministries.
I am unbelievably proud of this incredible step he's taking. It's so easy to look at the world and think, "God, why is it so broken?" Greg is allowing that conviction to ignite him to follow the Holy Spirit half-way around the world.
It's interesting, because when we heard about this program I remember thinking, "This is so perfect for Greg... crap." I think I knew right away that he would be leaving. Now, it's nice because God has given me a great peace that Greg is following His path, but that doesn't take all of the sting away. It still means we will be apart for a year.
There are easy days and hard ones. Sometimes I'm so excited to think about the lives that will change in Pretoria. What if one of these programs raises up the next Nelson Mandela who will lead South Africa a few decades from now? I am thrilled by the knowledge that God honors obedience by blessing us, and using us to bless others. Greg and the other interns will get to be used by God to do His work - it's quite an honor.
Most of the time, the knowledge of how much of a blessing this will be can override my selfish heart. But nights like last night creep up every once in a while. I was furious with God because I feel like we have worked so hard to honor God with our relationship. We've fought depression, lived apart for 15 months, and always put others before ourselves. But God is asking for something bigger. It doesn't seem fair. I don't understand couples that get to meet, date, and get married. Why does God make it easy for them? We've never had anything simple in our relationship, and sometimes it brings out jealousy in me.
I know that when Greg leaves in January things will be hard. Going to every wedding next summer without a date. Not getting to say goodnight (at least for the last year we've gotten to say it over the phone). No hugs. A thousand other things...
Very often people look at me as the strong one. If I exude any emotion people frequently think that I'm a dangerous form of time bomb. So I've tried to be strong around most people. But last night things hit pretty hard and this is what I wrote...
It happens in the stillness
With the rhythm of the crickets
The tears come
It happens in the car
with the words of an old song
The tears come
It happens when my heart
Stops listening to my head
The tears come
I know the truth
I know the beauty this will bring
I know the hearts that will open
I know the lives that will transform
But how can my knowledge
Override the tears of my heart?
Knowledge is not a barrier
It provides no protection
Words convince others,
But build no fortress for me
The truth strikes my heart full force.
And with that truth,
The tears come.
Now, I'm feeling better today. And I know God is working in this. It's going to be a challenge, but with every challenge comes growth and blessing. Besides, Jesus never promised that our walk would be simple, in fact most of the time He said it would be difficult. But it's worth it right? In the end, this is what life should be about - pursuing big dreams and serving God. It's all a part of the Great Adventure...
9 months ago