Friday, April 29, 2011

I need more cardboard, please.

We did cardboard testimonies as part of the Easter service at church this past Sunday.  I got a call at the beginning of the week asking if I'd be willing to share my story and God's faithfulness.  Of course I agreed.  When we got to church on Sunday, my sign was waiting for me.  The first side said, "Needed funds."  The other, "Going to Ireland."  I read it again. Five words.  The wrong words.  They were true words, I had a need and God had provided, but they didn't speak deeply enough.  These words were all about financial need, monetary provision.  That's only a tiny part of my story.  The wrong part.  The less important part.  So here's the Whole-Story-So-Far, written by the Author and Perfector, and condensed into sentences that could fit on (lots of) cardboard:

Graduated college feeling lost and seeking a greater purpose.
Moved to Chile to teach English for 1 year.
Came back home after 3 months, feeling even more lost amidst my deflated dreams of adventure.
Went to graduate school, for lack of anything else to do.
Decided that a job at Heifer International would fulfill my desire for purpose.
Applied for several jobs at Heifer.
Prayed for an interview.
Got an interview.
Didn't get the job.
More feeling lost.  More prayer for purpose.  More desperate searching.
Moved to Little Rock.
Got a job at Starbucks.  Loved it.  Left after 9 months.
Starting working at an outdoor outfitter.  Enjoyed a killer discount on awesome gear.
Transferred to Northwest Arkansas with said outfitter.
Got let-go after 3 months for my increasing wander-lust, that nagging desire for something bigger.
Got a call from my Daddy.  He'd heard about a team going to Ireland, thought I'd be interested.
I wasn't.
Got 3 calls from strangers, talking about Ireland.  Thought I'd like to come meet them.
I went.
I found purpose.
We formed a team.
We trained.
We visited Dublin.
We prayed for financial support, sending churches, spiritual oversight.
They got it.  I didn't.
They moved.  I stayed.
I had my purpose, but no provision.  Now I was lost in frustration.
I waited.  I prayed for patience.
I found assurance in ancient promises of hope and future.
I found rest in my Creator.
I found a testimony forged in His faithfulness.
Then it came.  The financial support, the sending church, the spiritual oversight.
Going to Ireland.

Here's a summary of the Whole-Story-So-Far:  God is faithful.  Faithful in His pursuit.  Faithful in His call.  Faithful in His timing.  Faithful in His refining.  And, yes, faithful in His provision.  Is that too much testimony for cardboard?

My wonderful sister found this post before it was finished.  She decided to add a little flare of her own:

Jes is awesome and so pretty. I want to stuff her in my suitcase and take her to Ireland.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Take me out to the ballgame!

I got to go on a date tonight... a special date... with my Daddy... to a baseball game.  It was special for lots of reasons.  One, because I was with my Daddy.  Two, because he got the tickets from work.. which meant they were super-fancy-you-get-to-ride-the-special-elevator-to-the-upper-suite-and-don't-have-to-wait-in-line-for-a-hotdog tickets... which meant we got to be fabulous and super-fancy ourselves.  Three, because I got to wear my official Kinsler jersey for the first time (sorry, no picture of that).  You can, however, see my really cool hat.  And the view from our really cool seats.  It's a shame the Rangers lost.  But who can complain when you can have all the free nachos and diet coke you want? 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I have a sending church!!!!!!!

Last Wednesday, I got the news from University Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  I first met Bob and Kelly a year ago at this dinner for Missions Resource Network.  A couple of weekends later, Craig and Merschon went to Alabama to present the vision for our work in Dublin.  Soon after, UCC signed on as the Hutson's sending congregation.  The Hutson's left in August to join the rest of the team in Dublin, leaving me here all alone.

Fast-forward a few months.  Craig and Merschon made a visit to Alabama to check-in with their UCC family when they came back to the States for a few days after Christmas.  During a coffee-conversation with Bob and Kelly, Bob said "What if University sent Jo, too?"  That began a month of scheming, dreaming, and praying on the part of the Hutsons, Bob, and Kelly.

Fast forward another month.  While I was in Dublin for a two-week visit, Craig and Merschon let me in on the conversation.  Bob had sent them an email saying that UCC would like to move forward with the possibility of becoming my sending church.  When I got home from my trip, we made plans for my own visit to Alabama.

I have never been around a church with a more generous heart, a more unified spirit, or a greater involvement in discipleship.  Everyone I met was genuinely excited about the work that is already happening in Dublin.  What a great cloud of witnesses!

A tentative timeline: I'm going back to Alabama for one more visit the 1st weekend in June. The plan is to leave for Dublin shortly after that, sometime around June 8th or so (excited squeal)!!!!

"He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it"  --1 Thess. 5:24

And He has!