We are going through James with our church, small group, and college students... we didn't realize we would be studying James in every group at the same time! I participate in Bible Study Fellowship on Wednesday mornings, we are studying the book of Isaiah this year. We began sensing the Lord's leading toward adoption this Fall. While we were beginning the adoption process, God was affirming us through Isaiah 1: 16-17 and James 1:27.
"Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong and learn to do right! Seek justice, encouraged the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." Isaiah 1:16-17
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted from the world."
James 1:27.We are blessed to be on this journey of adoption, and very thankful for God's continued affirmation through His word! Just an update, we began the adoption process in September and our paperwork (dossier) is now in Ethiopia. We are currently waiting on a referral for the precious son or daughter God has for our family!
For the past 6 years, Josh and I have been blessed to serve in collegiate ministry at Williams Baptist College. We have seen the Lord work in amazing ways in the lives of students: students trusting Christ, students sacrificing and serving, answering the call to ministry/missions, stepping out in and following God's leading to mission fields all over the world. Over the past year or two, Josh and I have been sensing the Lord leading us out (from our safe, wonderful ministry and community at Williams Baptist College) to a more unreached campus. This was one of the toughest decisions we have ever had to make... leaving dear friends, a job, home, a comfortable ministry, and the place where we have seen God grow our marriage and family in leaps and bounds! One of the books Josh read this year, Just Do Something, by Kevin DeYoung, also spurred us on this journey of stepping out and trusting God.
Through God's leading, we stepped out in faith and began searching for the next place/campus God would have us serving Him, sharing the Gospel, and ministering in His name. We began the interview process with an incredible church in Alabama that has the desire to reach the college campus in their town*. One of the things God has been teaching us through our study of James is, " Let your 'Yes' be yes, and your 'No', no" (James 5:12). In March of this year, we knew that God was leading us out to a different location/ministry. Therefore, when it came time to sign contracts to commit to stay at Williams for another 16 months, we knew our answer had to be no. We didn't know the next path the Lord will take us on, but we know that we trust the Lord who knows ALL!!
Through this decision, we were studying James 4:13-17, and once again God so faithfully gave us the courage and faith to step out and follow His leading. This year I have been studying Isaiah with Bible Study Fellowship. In the week of this big decision, I was studying in Isaiah, where the Babylonians were trusting in fortune tellers, visions, and other spirits to know the future. Our learning principle was, "don't trust in the future, but in the God who holds the future". We are learning so much about truly trusting God for EVERYTHING! We are so thankful that we serve an ALL Loving and ALL Sovereign God!!
One of my biggest prayers in the beginning of this journey, was that God would be glorified through every step of this journey. The human side of me would have loved to have everything all neatly planned out... having a job and house lined up before giving notice to our current job. However, had we trusted in our own plans and circumstances, we and others would have missed out on the blessing of trusting and seeking God alone, and the peace that comes from trusting and knowing God as our Provider. One of the unexpected blessings is the impact our decision has had on Josh's current students. Even though we are leaving this ministry, the students have been absolutely supportive and encouraging, saying how thankful they are to see Josh acting out the faith and principles he has been teaching them! I am very thankful for my husband, who is an amazing man of God, a wonderful teacher and preacher of the Word, and an incredible example to our sons (who at 4 years old already wants to be a campus minister and tell students about Jesus when he grows up:) I look forward to more adventures on this journey alongside my husband and family!
* Unfortunately the opportunity with the church in Alabama did not work out. Please pray for us as we seek God's leading for a new home and ministry to plant our lives.