When I left All Nations in the summer of 2007, I had acquired both my diploma and a husband! After two years of mission focused study and lots of practical hands on experience, we were all trained up and eager to know what the next step for us as family would be.
The only thing we knew was that we wanted one year in the UK as we'd only been married 6 months, to have a little time to cement our marriage relationship before embarking on the next exciting adventure. We just had to figure out where we would spend that year and what we would do from there.
Our parents were really supportive and we were able to stay at both their houses while we looked for work and somewhere to live. We began the summer full of anticipation ... the world was literally our oyster. Every night we prayed together that God would show us the right direction and every day we seemed to hit a brick wall ... a big blank.
As the summer progressed we got less and less excited by the prospect of being able to do anything and go anywhere ... and got more and more frustrated with the lack of feedback we were getting from God! We were constantly being asked by interested family and friends what we were going to be doing, where we were going to live, did we have a job yet ... should we just do something/anything in the meantime. After a couple of months, what did we have to show for it ... absolutely nothing!
Back up to just before we left All Nations. A good friend of ours had been praying and told us she really felt God was asking us to wait on him. We were waiting ... of course we were ... but also pushing and being pushed to move forward ... apparently that doesn't constitute waiting!
There was one particular week where we were almost at the end of our tethers, when parents were away and we had a house to ourselves, when we decided maybe we should 'just wait' and not try and 'do' anything related to our future and just hang out and have fun. Interestingly, on the Tuesday we both finally felt confirmation that we should apply to MAF UK, by the Thursday Mark had a job and on the Friday we had found a house. It seems that listening to God and actually obeying, instead of thinking we knew what we were doing, was all we needed to do. The rest they say is history!
This week some really good friends of ours (the Gettles, pictured below) just completed the apprenticeship programme here at MMS Aviation. We started here around the same time, in the Autumn of 2009 and as Paul had already accrued some hours in another hangar was able to finish a little bit ahead of Mark. All the Brits who come through the MMS programme are already signed up to serve with MAF afterwards. Typically the American apprentices often don't have a mission until nearer the end.
In the case of the Gettles, in spite of pushing doors and visiting different missions, the next step isn't yet clear for them. After going through the training (just like we had at All Nations) and being eager and ready to serve, wherever God would have them ... there are no clear answers yet and they are now taking it one day at a time and trying not to give into the frustrations.
Following the adventure of a family in mission isn't always straight forward and can be incredibly frustrating (you can ask my hubby ... I am not the most patient of people!). The lessons we learn along the way can be tough and unexplainable, but help us be more effective further down the track. Whether it is just to testify that the waiting pays off to another family who are in the same position or something more. I'm just grateful that God has it all well planned out from his view point and as long as we're faithful to him, he'll look out for us and be faithful right back at us!
Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.