I sat, staring at my computer screen. I felt like someone had dropped a 5 ton truck on my chest. This was not going to be easy and I knew it with every fiber in my being. I knew that if I chose this, it would mean sacrifice, difficulty, suffering. It didn’t make any sense anyway. I had been wrestling with God, asking Him if He was sure and in answer, I got silence on the matter. Not because God didn’t want to give me direction, but because He already had. My doubt was what had held me back thus far. Doubt that I could do this, that I had what it would take.
Deciding to go on the World Race was not a decision that came easy to me. In fact, I had said multiple times in the company of multiple friends that the Race just simply was not for me. Why would I need to do something like that? I had enough experience, it was time for me to figure out what my thing was and settle into doing that. The problem that kept coming up was, I couldn’t seem to pinpoint what my “thing” was. I mean, I get passionate about a lot of things. I am passionate about ending slavery in our world. The flames of my heart burn for the lost, forgotten, and rejected. The least of these draw out a compassion within that can only come from my Father. Orphans and widows call out to me in my dreams.
I was beginning to believe that something was seriously wrong with me. Maybe I was having commitment issues and I just needed to settle somewhere for awhile, plant some roots and watch them grow. No matter what I tried, however, my heart would not come along. I would look at the extensive list of opportunities before me, and none made my heart come alive. “God, what are You doing?” I asked every day.
In the midst of what seemed to be chaos, He remained the anchor to my soul.
This wrestling continued for months, but there was something that kept drawing my attention. I have had a longing for many years to go to the 10/40 Window to preach the Good News to those truly lost. The words of Oswald J. Smith have echoed in my heart and mind for as long as I can remember:
If there is one thing that pains me the most, it is knowing that there are literally billions of people who have not yet heard that God so love them that He gave His one and only Son. After over 2,000 years, how can it be that there is even one unreached people group? The reality is that there are thousands of people groups considered unreached today.
It seemed that every time I turned around, I was hearing from missionaries and people who were going out and reaching these, and the passion for these forgotten ones began to stir within me once again. For close to eight months, it kept happening. I would go to a Perspectives course to audit the class, and there would be a guest speaker who had spent time preaching the Gospel where it had not been before. This happened twice. Then a woman who lives in Israel preaching the Gospel came to visit and shared her story of proclaiming Jesus to God’s chosen people. A couple months later, a couple who live in a country I cannot name came to visit (quite miraculously) and to encourage us. Their main message: Go to the unreached ones.
I began to have dreams as I slept as well. Dreams of going to the dark places that others refuse to go for fear of their safety. I could not deny that God was telling me something in all of this. Eventually, I had decided that I wanted to put together a team that would go to the Middle East and North Africa, but this seemed to be a closed door. I was being drawn there, I could not deny that, so I began looking for other opportunities to go to these places, but none felt right. All along, I knew about this Expedition Route, an all new, pioneering World Race route that would go to the 10/40 Window. People kept asking why I wasn’t applying and my answer remained “I don’t think the Race is for me.” But as time wore on, and the deadline for the application drew closer, I felt an urgency to apply. I coudn’t put it off any longer, and so there I sat, staring at my computer screen, unable to breathe.
I finished the application over the course of a week. My apprehension subsided and the more I began to buy into the idea that God had called me to this, the more I caught myself day dreaming about it. This, I might mention, had not happened for six years. I have not been this excited about what God is calling me to for a very long time. I have loved where He has taken me, but this goes to a whole other level. More dependence, more risk, more reliance on His strength is wrapped up in this route.
But this is where I am called.
I was built to bet it all on God and let the chips fall where they may. It’s where I come alive. And so, it is to the lost, forgotten, and rejected that I will go. In January, I will launch with a small team of people to 11 countries spanning over three continents to proclaim the Good News to the poor. For eleven months, we will travel by air, land, and sea to get to the ones who haven’t heard and we will do whatever it takes to make sure that they do.