Typically, when we explain to new acquaintances or old friends that we are in the process of joining MAF, they excitedly jump to THE question. (That is, after we clarify what MAF is and “no, Elijah won’t be flying, but he’ll enable other people to do so.”) THE driving question that seems to be our starting point is:
“Where are you going?”
The answer is…we don’t have an answer to that…YET. This usually awkwardly halts the flow of conversation and causes us to need to backtrack to explain. The answer is something that has been prayed over for some time that takes a long process of deliberation and has been in God’s plan for us all along. This answer is something that He is using to draw us closer to Him.
The journey to “our answer” has been an all-consuming one. It is difficult to describe the value of this process to new friends because we live in an Instant-World. Modern America is a world in which I can have information at my fingertips in seconds, have a meal made in under half an hour, or save an afternoon by skipping lines and having groceries delivered to straight to my car. While none of these popular elements of society are harmful in themselves, they are creative solutions to our own impatience with a process. Impatience is the character flaw upon which most of our goods and services are marketed to us. It is a catalyst for innovative problem solving, but can be a symptom of a problem that has stirred in our hearts for some time since waiting is NOT a thing we do any more.
But God often uses the wait time that a process takes to refine us, prepare us, and change us. Our anticipation works as a slow burn to ready us for the task at hand. And our perception of the waiting molds our perspective of the task itself.
To join an organization as seasoned and professional as MAF, we signed onto a process that seemed to put our life in slow motion. Much deliberation and evaluation went into determining the authenticity and accuracy of our vocational call to serve God overseas. It has been a process of following after God in steps marked out for us where it seems like our destination has been removed from our view repeatedly, but rather it has been the journey reveals the confirmation of His calling for us.
This month, we began the Candidacy portion of our training with MAF. We prepared for this month by reading three books that have made our vocational calling very real to me. Each examined and analyzed elements of the life ahead of us to prepare us for this transition. We have completed the first week of our candidacy training by studying the MAF US and International programs, learning about the structure of the organization, gaining knowledge about different cultures and religions, and sorting out our vocational call as it relates to the personal call God has placed on our lives.
But soon our destination will be made clear, and our vocational calling given a physical location to focus on. We have a few more days before we, God willing, meet with the committee that has prayerfully decided our regional assignment. It has been strange, coming to the end of a waiting period—but a fulfilling as we have been able to search our hearts deeply and be encouraged that we are embarking on a journey that will allow us to live out His greatest commandment for our lives:
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
Please pray for us as we continue our training—that God would make His will clear in our regional assignment and that we would be able to continue to prepare our hearts for the reality of beginning a life in a new place.