For church planters like us, we face what seems to be a sea of endless challenges. As we approach our 9th month on the field, on a weekly basis, we face challenges that could easily deter our faith. These aren’t the challenges of physical suffering, persecution, or even the cultural challenges we faced in China. In some way, those challenges almost seem as if they would be more acceptable. No, these are the small sufferings of every church planter or missionary…the challenges of unmet expectations, frustrating new processes to learn, the absence of deep friendships and support systems, and other complications that seemed to be simple tasks in our last season.
Church planter training is both helpful and necessary, but nothing could completely prepare us for all of the details involved in planting a church in a new culture. Without Christ, we could easily become overwhelmed by our transition and be consumed by trivial tasks. Some days it seems like it would be easier to sacrifice our time with God and spend more time figuring it out ourselves. But in the midst of these difficulties, we seek refuge in God’s Word and find hope in Him alone…even if we sometimes enter His presence with more complaints than thanksgiving.
We are continually convinced that abiding in Christ is the only way we can survive. When we venture outside of our comfort zone into a life of obedience and faith, we begin to realize how our daily time with Jesus is critical for our spiritual health.
Even though Kathy and I share the same transitional experience to Seattle, we have processed it uniquely. We are two people living in the same house and walking through this together (with three little people), yet leaning into Christ with unique personal needs and desires.
Kathy is an amazing wife and mother with a seemingly endless job. From packing lunches, getting kids ready, driving to and from schools and appointments, leading a weekly ESL Bible study, teaching fitness classes, building relationships in the community, serving in and through our church(s), and putting up with me…I don’t know how she does it all.
Meanwhile, I am in my element in some ways, but trying to “figure it out” in so many others. No office to administrate, no late-night calls to the hospital, and no staff to lead…I find myself in some ways robbed of an identity (…an unhealthy identity I might add). The expectations I had in place were (and are being) quickly replaced by the reality of planting a church in the Pacific North West.
We have no way of knowing what doors God is going to open for us. However, when He opens them, He expects us to walk through them…trusting Him throughout the journey. Over the past couple months, God has opened a door for us to step into The Landing Church, a five-year old church plant in need of an interim pastor. Each week, we see the positive results of that obedient step. We are praying that God would give us clarity for the long-term vision and direction for The Landing Church as we work to plant Awakening Church later this year.
Never has our daily time with Jesus been more critical for our spiritual well-being.
In this season, we are rediscovering what we already knew as truth. We cannot live without feasting daily on God’s Word, abiding in Jesus, and spending focused time in prayer. Attending a gospel-centered church does not adequately strengthen us for everyday challenges. Simply being part of a team of Great Commission focused people is not enough to calm our anxious hearts. Instead, the assurance of the presence of God and the God-breathed wisdom of Scripture protect us from being immobilized by the challenges of the mission field. One day at a time, one relationship at a time, one gospel conversation at a time…God’s plan is unfolding for us. We rest and abide in him.
Thank you for partnering with us for the sake of the gospel. God is at work!
Please join us in praying for the following things:
- Our family and the daily challenges of living on the mission field.
- The time-line and relationships as we move toward planting Awakening Church later this year.
- The long-term vision and direction for The Landing Church.