Missionary?

I’ve been thinking alot lately…well actually it seems that God has been stirring my heart, more like it, and my mind has just been responding to that with thought; Over the past couple of years in fact, God has really been changing my heart and thoughts on different things. I am now gathering that He has been in the process of extracting out of me, the missionary that was always there, but I either never new, or never cared to know was there. In the past, so much of my experience with “missionary” was the guy that wrote letters to everyone he knew, asking for money so that he could go to some foreign country for 2 weeks to work along side of some group of “full-time” missionaries already in place, and so we give them a check for $50 or whatever we could afford and we then had done our part to support “missions”. What has been revealed to me over the past 2-3 years is that God has called us ALL to be missionaries and that we are to “go into the world to make disciples, by being disciples in the world”, not in the church from a safe distance with checkbook at the ready to support those few that have the very rare special calling of being a missionary. Anyways, I have been really pondering and God has been really pricking my heart and stretching my faith and I can see Him beginning to reveal or release or some kind of mystical transformation in my heart that I am a missionary. My first step was 3 months ago; leaving my home of 34 years of Virginia to take my family across the country to Seattle to plant churches in the most unchurched region in the US, with no paycheck and no guarantee of one, and no idea of what the future held for us. Some people could see this as foolishness, but God calls it as faith (and there is not a far gap between the two, I must say) The next thing I knew, I was walking the missionary walk and didn’t even realize that I was called to be a missionary, but before I knew it, I had agreed with God and stepped up to the challenge (or opportunity) to be a part of something bigger than what I knew and what I had known in my past. And definitely something much, much bigger than myself or my wants and needs. Now since I have been here in Seattle, it seems that God has released even more from within me and broken more of the hardened parts of my heart to reveal the soft, pliable, mission heart that dwells quietly beneath. I am now more in a place on the verge of being ready to give it all up to go to Africa and live as a missionary, without the annoying, but very pacifying distractions that this country has and always will have to offer my time and energy. I know that God is at work in my heart, in a mighty way, of which I can only catch a small glimpse of and get a tiny sense of, but I know that as the days and weeks and months pass by, I will look back and see where God has brought me and see how much more of the hardened shell around my heart will be broken off and how much more the true heart of Christ, that God has placed in me, will be revealed and released in my life. I am in the constant struggle of trying to figure out what part of my life that I consider “living” is really just insignificantly missing it, and what part is really the “fully alive” part, that truly expresses the heart of God; “There is no greater love than this…that a man lay down his life for another”–Jesus

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Memorial Day and Mt Rainier

Me and my daughter, Fiona, at Mt RainierAwesome Mount Rainiermt rainier national park's beautiful mountains

Well it finally stopped raining long enough for us to go hiking on Memorial Day at Mt Rainier National Park. We left later in the day and it took a couple of hours to get there, so we didn’t arrive at the park until about 4:30 or so. But, since it doesn’t get dark here until 9 or 9:30 right now…we were O.K. Even though the rain had stopped, it was still overcast and cloudy all the way to the park. Once there, we stopped at a trailhead parking lot, loaded up, and took off. We had intended on doing some easier hikes, since my buddy Pat and his wife and four kids were with us, but we ended up venturing up a 2 mile moderate hike up to Rampart Ridge Trail, which would give us some views of the surrounding mountains and the valley where a rushing glacial creek flowed. As we began to climb through some intensly thick forest, the sun began to break and beams shot through the various openings in the forest roof. As we got to the top of our climb, there was a lookout area that looked down into the valley where we started our hike from. Up to this point, we had not even caught a glimpse of the massive peak that towers another 7000 feet above all the surrounding mountains. We moved up the train and before us, through the tops of trees we caught a glimpse of the majestic snowy beast! We could only see portions of it because the trees are so thick, so we ventured back up the trail and further forward, hoping to come across an opening to gaze at the magnificent summit. We got our wish as the trail came to its high point and ended into a small path through some trees out onto a rocky terrace that gave way to the most breathtaking sight. There she was in all her glory! We gazed in awe at God’s awesome creation…14,400+ feet of white beauty. We stared up from our mere 4300 feet at her; so close, you could almost reach out and grab her; but so massive and unattainable, that it didn’t seem real. It was amazing and totally worth every panting step up our climb. I can’t wait to actually climb to the summit, which I will venture to do some day in the near future. But for now, I am fully content with the beauty I withheld on this day.
We hung out a bit 3 wild birds came around and would actually land on our hands and each trail mix from our palms. It was great! I had never had a bird land on my hand before, so that was a cool experience. It was getting late and we needed to get back down to the parking area so we could make some dinner and head back on our 2+ hour trip home. Some cool stuff. Being in the great outdoors…there is nothing like it! rock on!