Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Then said I: “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I [am] a youth.” But the LORD said to me: “Do not say, ‘I [am] a youth,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, For I [am] with you to deliver you,” says the LORD. Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.” -Jeremiah 1:4-10
This was the word of the Lord to me when I first went to England, around 5 years or so ago. One of the men that God used to plant the desire to be a missionary in my heart, Vince Proffit (a missionary serving in King’s Lynn, England), had given it to me in the cover of a prayer journal. It has been dear to my heart ever since. As I followed the Lord I would beg and plead with Him to know His will for my life, I sought the Lord with all my heart desiring to know His calling. Every single day, and then some I would rend my heart to know His will. What I didn’t know is that the Lord had already made it known to me, I just didn’t understand it yet.
Part of not understanding His calling on my life was due to fear, fear of what I thought it meant, to literally go to all the nations and speak the Word of God to them, the other part of me thought that this could never happen. As time went on though, the Lord encouraged and confirmed His calling to me, making it more and more clear to me. It took years, but I was OK with that because I dared not claim the Lord had spoken and called me to something if He hadn’t. To be called to serve the Lord in the manner that I was begging Him for is an honor that a man does not take upon Himself. So I waited till it became clear.
When the Lord finally gave me the command to “Go” I had already been praying about going to Ecuador. The door was open, the circumstances matched up, I had a desire to go, and it did not contradict the clear revelation found in the Bible. So I chose to go to Ecuador first, and it really was that simple. Two years of praying about it (specifically about Ecuador that is), with one simple choice in a night to obey the command to go, not knowing where I was going or where I would end up, only that I would step out in faith in moving to Ecuador. I have never told anyone that I was called to Ecuador, only that the Lord has called me to the nations. This came from the scriptures, interpreting them literally and contextually. We see in the book of Acts that as a general rule of thumb missionaries went where they wanted, the who was much more important than the where. This is the way a missionary should live, reaching out to all those that come into contact with them. The exceptions can and will come, such as when Paul was called for a time specifically to Macedonia, or prevented specifically by the Spirit from Asia. Yet, if you have no idea on where to go and you do not have a specific call, then your call is to the nations (or what ever nation you are currently living in) as Jesus teaches in His great commission (Matthew 28).
Interestingly enough, and in accordance to what God has called me to, the nations were here waiting for me in Ecuador. I live next door and spend much of my time with Colombians, I live with Ecuadorians and I serve many English speaking people. In a few weeks, once Freddy finishes the book of James, I will begin to teach and shepherd the English people here while at the same time continuing to do the same with the Spanish speaking people. The Lord has called me to the nations, He knew exactly what He was doing and said exactly what He meant to say to me, though I had trouble understanding it or even believing it. But He has done it, and is doing it. I am just along for the ride. I have told the Lord He can use me in any way He wants, and He is; all by His grace and mercy, which is limitless. I had prayed the Lord would send me where I would be the most effective for Him, and I see here that this is the place I was waiting for. His timing is perfect. The years, around 6 to be exact, of waiting on the Lord have all been worth it. When God asks you to wait He has the best plans and blessings in mind for you, blessings currently while your waiting and blessings later on in what you were waiting for. The Lord knows best, this is not just empty Christianize, but something I am testifying to you that is real, I have seen it in my own life; waiting on the Lord is a blessing.
Today, in about an hour actually, we will be having a meeting with the English service to talk about ways that they can get involved as well as to answer some questions that they have. I plan to use the time to share my calling with them and what I feel the Lord may be calling them to as well. I have been praying about the vision for the English service and I see them as an army of missionaries, missionaries that can help to strengthen and encouraged the Spanish speaking people. More specifically I keep thinking of UPreach, INreach, and OUTreach. At first I felt like this couldn’t be what the Lord was laying on my heart, since it is the vision for Calvary Chapel Phelan, but it kept coming to my mind. Sorry Zeke, I am stealing your vision. Upreach is worship and serving the Lord first, having a one on one relationship with Him that is personal and intimate. Inreach is body ministry, encouraging and strengthening others in the church. Outreach is reaching out to others outside of the church. I think the order of them is important, because you must have upreach before effective inreach, and you must have inreach before you can have effective outreach.
So, my encouragement to you? Seek the Lord. Seek Him with all your heart, every day if you must. Ask Him to know His will for your life, and then wait until you know it. Waiting doesn’t mean you do nothing, keep busy serving the Lord in what ways that you can, but wait on Him, trust in Him and ask of Him to know His perfect will and calling on your life. And then when you know, and He says go, go.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age.” Amen. -Matthew 28:18-20