Sorry for the few month delay…we have been quite busy!
Check here to refresh your memory on Part I.
Once we arrived at MOP, our mornings started bright and early with 45 minutes of prayer for current missionaries all around the world. We learned about their missions, current prayer requests and needs, then prayed for them. It was amazing to see how many families with young children are serving all over the world to bring people closer to The Lord. We learned about the challenges that missionaries face on all fronts: monetarily, spiritually, and in their missions. As TJ and I know all too well, Satan loves to attack those who are obeying their calling and serving The Lord; it threatens him when people are obedient to Christ.
About half the attending class was from various parts of Canada, while the other half were from the U.S. On the second night we were each given the opportunity to share why we were at MOP and what God has placed on our hearts – our testimonies. What was supposed to be five minutes each became all-out testimony time and ended with each future missionary couple (or individual) giving their top prayer request. The testimonies were eye-opening and inspiring. People poured their hearts out to total strangers, including us. Testimonies ranging from health challenges, being widowed, financial struggles, to one man who had fled war-torn Africa and is now returning to his home country as a missionary. Our hearts burst wide open for the people in our class, and theirs burst open for us. It was amazing and bonded us with so many in our class. For some reason, TJ and I grew close to two Canadian couples and were dubbed “honorary Canadians”!
Each night, after the 12-hour run of classes were done for the day, TJ and I would lay in bed debriefing all we had learned and what God had revealed to us during the day. We were exhausted but on fire and excited about all we were learning about becoming missionaries and what God has in store for us as a family. The classes ranged from security (both internet, financial and physical) to spiritual attacks and how best to reach people and teach them about Jesus. We took more notes than I’m pretty sure TJ ever took in college (just kidding) and had to recap them each evening. God lit a bigger fire in our hearts than we had ever before experienced.
It wasn’t until we took a spiritual gifting inventory, a Myers-Briggs type personality assessment, and had a class on burnout in the mission field that the puzzle pieces came together. A Licensed Professional Counselor gave a class on burnout, the signs and symptoms, and what to do about it when we realized I was burned out on my job at the church. I love working in ministry but it was evident that administrative work is not my gifting (seriously, it was one of my lowest scoring areas on the gifting assessment) and it was taking more effort than I had to give in order to ensure everything was done properly; leaving me exhausted and emotionally spent by the time I got home to Vivienne. I was irritable with her (and TJ) and struggled to do well in the administrative role. I was burned out. It hit us like a ton of bricks.
As we went over the results of the spiritual gifting inventory, we also realized we both have “giving” as our number one spiritual gift. TJ and I were told this is rare for anyone to have that as number one, let alone both of us. We would give God 90 percent of what we make and live off 10 percent, if we could! Secondary to giving, I scored high in pastoring/shepherding, aka counseling and mentoring; meanwhile, TJ score high in leadership. I guess getting my MSW wasn’t pointless after-all! God opened our eyes that day: we are absolutely called to be missionaries. We were on the right track for our lives!
From that evening on, TJ and I felt a peace about the following things, some of which have come to pass:
- We are absolutely meant to live on our boat & sail away to be missionaries
- We are called to be tentmaker missionaries; meaning, we will work and be self-supporting while accepting any gifts people are willing to give to support the mission (similar to the example set by the Apostle Paul)
- I am to leave my job at the end of summer & begin homeschooling Vivienne
We HAVE moved back on Te Whakapono; although, right now, we are not on her as we are hiding from Hurricane Flo.
I ended my time as the Parish Administrator at St. John’s on August 31st, giving the reins over to a woman who is going to absolutely ROCK at that role. I totally got teary when reading the card from the office staff this past Monday at my “thanks for working here” dinner. Seriously, I worked with some pretty darn amazing people who love The Lord with their whole hearts and LOVE serving God’s people of St. John’s, as well as the Johns Island community. I’m sad Hurricane Flo is taking me away from that church for one of my last Sundays there (all services were cancelled this weekend).
We began homeschooling Vivienne at the end of July at Caye to Life Day School, and she selected our mascot to be the mermaids. TJ was the primary educator until I stopped working and now it is my turn. Vivienne LOVES homeschooling and wakes up ready to learn every morning. It is totes adorbs.
Yeah…I just said “totes adorbs” in a sentence.
In our classes they worked with us on how to do video updates for people who support us. While I SERIOUSLY do not like being on camera, I much prefer to be behind the keyboard, I want to share this video.
We will be leaving Charleston very, very soon and sailing south to Florida to do final prep on the boat before sailing to…
I totally would’ve shared TJ’s gem of a video (his was actually better than mine) but I can’t get it from him since he is in Mexico.
Just like God told Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac and provided the ram for the sacrifice, God told us not to sacrifice out boat and has provided the ram for us to set sail. Stay tuned for the next update in the next day or two because Hurricane Flo is giving me plenty of time to get caught up on my writing!
TJ, Lane, & Vivienne