I just spent 3 weeks in Colorado Springs, Colorado with 36 other missionaries. From Georgia to California and Canada to Texas, they represent all of North America. They are going to Laos, Ghana, France, Djibouti, India & many other nations. They form an impressive kaleidoscope of backgrounds, churches and passions. One thing they all have in common is their willingness to sacrifice for their King and his kingdom.
These people leave behind dying parents, prodigal children and all the comforts of a life in America. They go to work with the destitute, lost and diseased. They have been called foolish, crazy and ridiculous.
We were all at Missionary Training International to attend their SPLICE program which prepares missionaries headed to international fields. We were taught to effectively handle culture shock, grief, and much more. We were taught the value of community and love. The classes were very helpful but the people I met were vital to my personal walk as a kingdom worker. Allow me to introduce some of these people to you.
Meet Taylor Wiley. He is 13 and along with his parents, Matt & Joyel, and younger brother Jacob, is moving to Jamaica to work at an orphanage. A year-and-a-half-ago, Taylor’s friend Zach died due to a tragic zip line accident at a church camp. A friend of Taylor’s recently told him that she believes he is going to Jamaica for Zach’s sake. Taylor’s mom Joyel echoed that belief when she told us that Zach’s death played a big role in their decision to move to Jamaica. Taylor is scared of what lies ahead but goes knowing that the King is redeeming his personal pain and using it to touch broken lives in the Caribbean.
This is Sharla Megilligan. She saw a need for improved education in the Dominican Republic and started an organization called Makarios International (www.makariosinternational.org). During her time in the D.R., God brought Isaak and Jacob into her life. They were two young Haitian twins who were deserted by their parents. Following the King’s call, Sharla adopted the two boys and is currently running Makarios from Austin, Texas. Sharla’s strength, humor and insight point to the kingdom she loves and builds through her work in the Dominican Republic and with two four-year-old twins.
This is Jack & Diana. They have served and shepherded a church in Wisconsin for 19 years and are now moving to Georgia to pastor an international church and open up the country for further mission work. Diana leaves behind an aging mother and their son who is not pursuing the Lord. Jack and Diana pray fervently as warriors of the king. Their wisdom has left a permanent impression on my life.
Finally, let me introduce you to Luke. He and I will be serving the king together in Zambia. He is forsaking the potential to be successful in this world to pursue full time ministry. He aches to know King Jesus and be a part of advancing His kingdom. He & I, along with all of the king's servants, are seeking the life that only comes through dying. Praise God for a good friend with whom to share this journey!
Here I feel like the author of Hebrews who ran out of time because I have much I could say about the others that I met. About a family with nine children who are taking the five youngest to China. A young couple from Chicago moving to the tiny, impoverished nation of Djibouti. A widow and his two youngest daughters moving to Thailand to serve the King. These stories and many more have left the undeniable impression on my heart that “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
I have walked with these people who are labeled "foolish, crazy, & ridiculous" and found them to be wise, wealthy and beautiful. They tread lightly on this earth and long for the day when the kingdom comes.