We all want to get the most out of our lives. Some want to be remembered and some just want to be the most productive as possible to give God thanks for his compassion. When thinking about productivity we often evaluate what is most important and prioritize accordingly. There is a great analogy of filling up a jar with sand, pebbles, and rocks. If we put the smaller things in the jar first the bigger things won’t fit.
But if we prioritize and put the bigger (more important) things in first then the smaller things will fit after. Sometimes not all of the sand is going to fit in the jar, but at least we’ll have the more important things inside.
The way we choose to prioritize our jars (live our lives), is just that, it is a choice. These choices mixed with our personalities, acquired skills, and God-given talents make up our shape. We each have our own shape that is unique for each individual life or path to which God calls us.
Many of you know that one man may have ONE shape and one woman may have AN OTHER shape, and when they are married before God and become one flesh, they also become ONE shape.
We know a few things about our shape as one that we will strive to follow with our whole hearts as these principals come directly from Scripture.
God is first: Worshiping and serving God is always our number one priority. Our wedding rings even say, “God First” and “Dios Primero” (same thing in Spanish). God is #1 and we are each other’s #2. It’s fun to say that to each other. 🙂
Our family unit is second: We believe that we are responsible for maintaining a spiritually healthy family unit and for raising our children to walk in righteousness (we’re hoping to have at least two or three years of before starting that journey though). Nevertheless, our family unit, comprised of Dani and myself at the moment, must come before ministry. I have heard so many sad stories about ministers and missionaries who devote so much of themselves to their ministries that they loose their families. It seems to be much wiser to invest in the lives of our wives and children (even if we haven’t had them yet) than to leave them uncared for. In fact, we believe that all parents are commanded to do so in The Bible, and that the husband is responsible for leading his family in spiritual growth and worship of the Lord. We all have, and I certainly will, fail along the way, but these are the plans and the priorities for our life. 🙂
Ministry is third: It’s not that we don’t care about the rest of our family and friends, but ministry is the next priority after our smaller family unit. As our SHAPE develops we will figure out which ways we are most productive and which ways we are least productive. This will happen through experience and prayer. And bit by bit some ministries may be given less time so that others may be given more.
This is how we are going to live our life intentionally to be the best worshipers, spouses, and servants that we can be. It’s all for giving God the most thanks and honor that we can. Speaking of ministry. It’s time to tell you what’s new.
Capitan Thompson Church: Relationships are developing into good friendships with some of the members. The minister and his wife won’t be able to attend the wedding unfortunately, but the three youth Dani and I have been getting to know did confirm their attendance, as well as the friendly pastor in the neighboring community of El Bosque. We hope to begin working with a couple of youth from this church when we return from our honeymoon. We’re very excited that the other pastor from El Bosque and his wife will be able to attend along with the youth. The wedding is a great time for us to share a special event with these friends and other ministry contacts to strengthen our relationships so that we can be more united in what we do together.
Evangelism Team: The evangelism team being developed in the community of San Juaquin may draw upon the youth of these two first communities mentioned, in its final stages of development. Although, right now, everything is moving slow as it is time for summer vacation and many Chileans leave to go on vacation for a MONTH at a time. So, we’re not planning on meeting again until march. Furthermore, the pastor who is the catalyst for this team has advocated for a street-preaching approach while I have stated from the beginning that this method appears to be unfruitful to me. My elders, mentors, and other wise counsel agree. However, this pastors son, Ismael, while conversing at my bachelor party, had the idea of inviting people to an event that would share the gospel with them. I LIKE THIS IDEA A LOT, because it, unlike preaching on thee street with a megaphone, gives people the opportunity to choose wether or not they want to listen to your message. The invitees can even say, “of course I’ll be at the event.” even if they have no intention of coming, and they will not be forced to listen to something they care nothing for hearing. The other great thing about this idea is that it is Chilean, not Gringo. Write now we seem to be at a standstill with deciding on an evangelism model, So please pray that God will help us to love each other through the difficult time and for our relationships to grow through the rocky places so that we can emerge stronger than before and make a difference in the lives of the world that He loves.
Mike and the Institute Option: Mike Boyce is a more experienced missionary in Santiago and he and his family are an important part of Dani and I’s life. We met during my initial visit to Chile and talked about the possibility of me teaching at the bible institute he has been developing. As our friendship has grown and I have settled into missionary life and Chilean culture, we have slowly been considering what it might look like for me to teach the things that I’ve been learning at Johnson University here in Santiago. We recently met and talked about which concentration would be best for me, from the Master of Arts in New Testament program and why. But more on that later. We also talked about what classes might be wise for me to take next, so that by the time I do take those classes he might be ready to offer them at the institute. We’re thinking my Spanish might be good enough to teach more profound concepts at this time as well. I mentioned that it might be good for Mike to teach the class the first time around so that I can sit in and watch and learn how to teach the subject, how to communicate the ideas in Spanish, and that we might converse the content and way of teaching objectively in an “iron sharpens iron” fashion. This is all a rough sketch of what might happen, in the future, but it is good to be proactive and thinking ahead to be the best we can be. Mike and I also talk about all sorts of things and I think we are both thankful for our friendship. Here is a pic of Mike and I at the Mens conference in Concepción a couple of months ago, having some fruitful conversation before the first worship service in the morning.
Church Planting???: I’ve always had a passion for being a minister of a church, but I thought those dreams were kind of squashed when moving to Chile, because it seemed that a Gringo wouldn’t be a good pastor of a church, because Chileans wouldn’t understand him or he wouldn’t do a good job of understanding the Chilean context. I have been troubled because a passion for this kind of ministry has been growing in my heart again, but I thought it was impossible because I am not Chilean. While talking about this with Mike the other day, it seems that this dream is not out of reach, which should have been obvious to me as nothing is impossible for God. Mike and I were discussing the concentration I chose from the program options with Johnson which is the preaching concentration, which will obviously be beneficial for a church-planting ministry, but will be an asset for whatever path Daniela and I take. PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WOULD CONTINUE TO GUIDE US IN DECIDING WHICH TYPES OF MINISTRIES TO PURSUE AS WE DEVELOP OUR SHAPE TOGETHER.
Visits: There are some important visits coming up. Firstly, Ed Aller, an elder of Cornerstone Christian Church, may be visiting in February or March to get a better idea of what is happening with Cornerstone Chile Mission so that the mission and my home church can be more united. This is a great opportunity as Ed is originally from Peru and so speaks fluent Spanish, which means he will be able to understand everything happening, probably even better than myself. lol. Second, I’ve been talking with a pastor from Osorno to schedule a trip to visit one of the most southern regions of Chile, which will be very beneficial for understanding the Iglesia de Cristo on a national level. And my mom just arrived Monday evening for the wedding. The legal ceremony is on Friday and the real deal before God is on Saturday January 20th.
There is a lot going on, and I feel so good having communicated it all to you. Hope you all have an amazing week and that you all stay warm up there. 😦
Much love, in Christ, to you all;