Urbana 2015 challenged participants to answer the question -what story wIll you tell? This is my story.
During one of the plenary sessions, David Platt illustrated the problem I was facing in my life without realizing it “There are students who are trying to manufacture a heart for missions but do not have a heart for Jesus”.
I was a student leader within my InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter and had served on the Leadership team for 2 years, at one point I got so caught up in the logistics, goals, deadlines and expectations artificially placed in front of me that that I forgot the one thing that mattered- did I love God? Not, did I fear God, did I acknowledge him, did I do my quiet time with him, did I serve him, but instead- did I love him?
In the prayer room I prayed with a woman about my confusion and fear and she reminded me that confusion and fear are not from God, but from the enemy. I had received so many prophecies about doing missions work that I felt confused about how my current path of teaching intersected with missions- or if it did at all. .
The woman leading me in prayer asked me- “What do you hear God saying?”. I realized that my confusion stopped me from listening. In tears, I felt the condemnation of forgetting my first love but it was only in the prayer room that I felt God say my work had not been in vain- that he loved and forgave me. I was ready for my punishment but was met instead by my father God’s forgiveness.
At the end of Urbana I signed up for short, mid and long-term missions. I’m not sure what that will look like in the near future but I know God is using my journey as a Special Education teacher to glorify him. At Urbana I was shocked to see the need for Special Education teachers overseas, I never imagined how perfectly God could use my gifts for his glory. I now realize God is going to use me, but before any of that begins I need to remember that everything is meaningless without my love for him.
Too often I expect to see my big story now. But I forget that we are all on a journey. Joseph saw a vision of his brothers bowing down and worshipping him as a king but his call from God didn’t come to fruition for years later and the years of toil and hardship were all in preparation for a greater calling. This was something I learned after listening to a sermon from Pastor Felix Chivandire back when I first made the decision to be a teacher.
What I learned at Urbana doesn’t stop here, my work means nothing if it all ends here. This isn’t a mountain top experience- Urbana was my launching pad. As my friends, my readers, my family- hold me accountable. More than my plan for missions, I never want to forget my love for God.