I am 25 years old and, ...

Kristin asked:

I am 25 years old and, while I was raised in the church, never planned on attending church once I was no longer made to go.

My mother convinced me to go to her church with her and since I have attended every Sunday. I have become very involved with this church. It is causing some problems because this church is in my hometown, about 4 1/2 hours away from where I moved to live with my husband.

I have been here for about six months now and do not plan to leave. I feel that this is where I am supposed to be at this point in my life. We are doing great things in our church and our community and I feel like I am doing great things here and I can do many more great things.

My problem is that I am looking to rent a house over here and my husband tells me we don't have the money for it. I will be the nursery directory at the church very soon, which will bring in some money, but not enough. I don't know of a job around this area that will allow me to continue to do the missionary work I am getting involved in, but without a place to live, I can't continue the work either. I found the perfect house, it needs work and the church was going to help me, then we would use it for community meeting, but how do I get the money for rent and utilities?

I am new to the concept of missionary work and really anything beyond Sunday church goers, and I don't understand how missionaries survive. I really feel that I have been called to this town and that I can do so much good here. C

ould you please offer some guidance so that I may continue my missionary work?

Jack Answered:

I praise the Lord with you, Kristin, that after many years of being bored with church you have now entered into a new experience of not only faithful attendance but also a significant ministry that gives you great joy.

I applaud your vision, energy, and dedication. I also recognize the problems you are facing:

" Living 4 ½ hours away from the place of your ministry.

" Not having the finances to move to “the perfect house.”

You ask me two questions:

" How do missionaries survive?

" Guidance as to how to continue your missionary work.

As I have meditated on your situation, I suggest a review of basic priorities, which I see to be in this order:

" The Lord’s will.

" One’s family.

" One’s ministry.

Let’s take them one by one.

1) The Lord’s will: You say, “I feel that this is where I am supposed to be at this point in my life.” It’s not for me to judge your discerning of the Lord’s will, but I would be interested in how you arrived at this conviction.

- Was it because you just “felt good” about it?

- Did you consult anyone else about having a ministry 4 ½ hours away from home?

- Have you talked with the pastor about your situation? If so, what is his counsel?

- Most important of all, what has been your husband’s attitude?

2) One’s family: You mention your husband only once in your description – that he feels that renting a house in your hometown is beyond your means.

- I would want to know how he feels about your deep desire to continue your “missionary work?” You say, “I really feel I have been called to this town and that I can do so much good here.” Is this your calling alone? Is he supportive? Indifferent? Resistant?

- You mention the “perfect house” which would be used both as a residence and also for “community meeting.” For 18 years we used our home for student ministry in Colombia. Not everyone is enthusiastic about one’s “castle” being a public meeting place. Is he as enthusiastic about this plan as you are?

Purchasing a “fixer-upper” for a house implies disturbing one’s peace and quiet. Are you expecting him to do some work on the house as well? Is he enthusiastic about the idea?

- Where is your husband’s workplace? If you all move 4 ½ hours from where you are now, will this have an effect on his work schedule and/or commute?

3) One’s ministry:

- You ask, “I don’t understand how missionaries survive.” Good question. Unless a couple is united in their calling, they usually don’t.

- You have an enthusiastic desire to serve the Lord. Can you not find an evangelical church where you live that would welcome your services?

- Ministry flows from one’s relationship with God and the united focus of one’s family. I am greatly limited in my observations because I know nothing about your family. Perhaps your husband is not a believer, but you have this burning desire to serve. Perhaps he is a believer and supports your ministry, but has some objections as to how you are carrying this out.

- The fact that you are facing “roadblocks” in the matter of finances and distance may be an indication that it is time to step back and do some analysis.

My guidance? I would recommend that you talk to your minister about the whole project. He knows you, should know something about your family, and I’m sure will recognize that ministry which causes deep conflict within the home cannot be blessed.

Perhaps I have missed the point entirely. However, it is obvious that the one missing piece in your description is the absence of any positive references to your husband.

May the Lord guide you, Kristin. He alone has solutions to the difficulties you are facing.

Jack

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