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Two down, two to go [Jul. 2nd, 2008|10:04 pm]
[mood |peacefulpeaceful]

There's a lot that's been going on with me, and a lot I've been thinking about.

There was another round of layoffs at my work recently. I wasn't a part of it, thankfully. But I've been around longer than most of the company, and I know they appreciate my work. If they ever let go of me, you'll know things are really bad. And it may get that bad in a few months. So for the first time in years I've started thinking about finding new work. I've got to get my resume together and be ready if I get fired. It may even be wise to start looking now. Certainly, no one in my current workplace would look down on me for leaving right now. But I do like working there, and I'm not sure what course I should take. And there's something else that is complicating that decision.

For most of the time I have been a Christian, I have been a missionary, at least in my heart. I have gone on several short term mission trips, and I loved the two years I spent in Amsterdam, helping the Zolder get started. I still yearn to go back to the field. I have ever since I got back from Holland. I haven't sought anything yet, though, because I didn't feel it was ever the right time. There have been several things which have held me back.

First, I came back from Holland with a very broken heart. I was incredibly lonely, emotionally beaten up or just exhausted, and I needed some time to rest and heal. I went to counseling for a while, which helped me get back on my feet and learn more about myself. I made good friends here, and got involved in a new group of young people at a fantastic church, which gave me a chance to practice my leadership skills. I am very glad for these things, because I really see how I needed them, and how useful they will be when I eventually do leave the US.

Although I wouldn't admit it, there were some other reasons why I was waiting here, too. First, I have enjoyed having a well paying job. Being constantly broke in Amsterdam wasn't fun. But now, I don't have to worry about money, and I have enough to be generous. I like being financially secure. But when that security keeps me from stepping out to do what I was meant to do, it becomes an idol of materialism. I do not look forward to raising support, and I know I would need to live on about half the income I have now. But I remember the parable of the farmer who scattered his seed, and I do not want these thorns to choke the life out of me. So I have let this go.

And while it can be embarrassing to admit, I think most of my readers will understand when I tell you that I also tarried here because I was hoping to find romance. I am a family man at heart, and I think life in general would be easier if I had someone to share the load. Most of us single people really would like to have that special relationship. I had hope I might find it, but that is gone for now. In good conscience, I cannot date any girl who is not also a missionary at heart, and at this point, I simply don't know anyone like that in the entire state. Part of me still didn't want to leave, until recently, when I was able to let that dream go, stop feeling sorry for myself, and fully embrace the beautiful life God has given me. Another idol out of the way, another dimension of freedom in my life, and another step closer to living my purpose.

Which leaves me with two obstacles I still have. The first and only real issue is that I don't know where I should go. Do I try to go back to Amsterdam? Do I go somewhere else in Europe? Do I go some other continent entirely? I have prayed for guidance, but I haven't really received any. Until recently, I don't suppose I was praying very sincerely. I am now. I feel ready to go, or more accurately ready to start that process. But how do know where to go until I receive God's call?

The second obstacle is less important. Once I figure out where to go, I'm not sure how to get there. There are enough missionary organizations which help with this sort of thing, so I'm not too worried about it. Of course, raising support will be a nightmare - one I'm not looking forward to. But then, I don't suppose anyone really does. If God is calling me to go, though, then he'll either find me the support I need, or he'll have something else really wonderful in mind. Either way, I just follow where he leads me and I'll be okay. Of course, if I were to go back to Amsterdam, I would probably have to raise support through GCM, which could be tricky because I'm not a part of GCM right now. But I'm sure that would work itself out too.

And I can't help but wonder at the timing of all of this. I may lose my job in a few months, and I feel free to pursue becoming a missionary again. Is this God lining things up? Should I be looking for another job at all, or looking at raising support? These thoughts are fresh in my mind, and I don't know the answer yet.

If you have any advice or comments on any of this, I'm all ears. I know what the Bible says about having many counselors.


From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-03 11:45 pm (UTC)

very interesting...

Very interesting thoughts, Shawn... It will indeed be interesting to see what direction God might end up leading you. I would certainly keep Amsterdam (or the Netherlands) in consideration, since you've already got some experience here -- knowing a bit of the language and understanding how to get around. It would be especially cool if you could somehow help Zolder50 start a new church somewhere else in the Netherlands. We've been thinking and dreaming more about this in recent months...

I will say this, though, Shawn: Don't automatically assume that an international move for the sake of missions must be done in the form of full-time support-based ministry. You actually have one of the more marketable job skills that could allow you to be hired with a "day job" that could support your ministry (we're actually starting to think a lot more in this direction, having Dutch people work two or three days a week for a job outside the church, and then being partially support-based or church-supported for the rest). I know you had a hard time finding a job the first time around in Amsterdam, but now you've got an extra three years of on-the-job experience which would probably make you more hireable.

These are just some scattered thoughts. As you suggest, Shawn, it really is most important that you hear from God and follow His lead in everything. Just keep in touch and let us know how it all turns out. I'll be praying for you.

(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-19 12:22 am (UTC)



I don't really know what next step(s) God has for you, but I know that when He's ready for you, He'll let you know in no uncertain terms. I also know that you'll be ready to follow wherever He leads you.

For my own selfish reasons, I hope you stay in Colorado a little longer. I've enjoyed building a friendship with you; however, I know that our friendship can continue no matter where we physically live. It's part of the beauty of being Christians (and technology).

Please know I'm praying for you. I ask that God move your heart's desires to match His Will for your life and prepare you for the next season. I'm so excited for you!

In Christ,
Your Friend
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2008-08-25 07:15 am (UTC)

Amsterdam vibes

Hi shawn,

Was talking about you just yesterday and decided to google your name on the net. Still struggling with the quest of life, hey? Although I'm the last person on earth to give you any advice (keeping you poor in Amsterdam and all), I still would like to comment on your message.

The receiving issue:
It doesn't matter if you lose your job (or already did) coz with your skills you can find another one in no time. Not only your skills will provide you that but also Shawn being Shawn. Never met a nicer and kinder person on this planet. So, you shouldn't worry about your primary needs. Your ability to give will solve this problem.

The giving issue:
Spending your time (full-time or part-time) with giving to other people does not depend merely on the place where to do that but depends more on defining the mission you have in mind. For example: since your giving is not material but spiritual you must keep in mind that people that have all they need in a material sense will be less open for a spiritual contribution. They think they're fine as it is. Then there is a group in life that have all the material things and start thinking about the "more" in life in a spiritual sense. Look at the followers of the Dalai Lama. Amsterdam is full of people that only think material but there is also a group that is starting to think in a different way. And Amsterdam is not unique in this sense. I can think of lots of other places where this is the same. The question is more how to reach them than where to find them.

Ok, enough wisecracks. Hope you are well and wish you all the best. You can reach me through e-mail at firstnamelastname@hotmail.com.

Don't ever change,

(Reply) (Thread)
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