Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
TITLE: THE CALL
By Darlene Casino
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“How did we get here?” We weren’t particularly mission-minded. That was for people who go to far away countries, set on saving the natives. We made a token appearance at our annual conference. We offered unimaginative prayers for those sent out ones here and there.
We were an average couple in our early forties with three sons. Two were in the Air Force and our youngest was a sophomore in high school. My husband was a construction worker
and I was a part time nursing assistant. We had lived in our home for over twenty years and we were active in our church.
About six months prior to this night, around the holiday season, a visit with our Pastor had presented a surprising challenge. “Has anyone from Conference or their Camp contacted you?” We looked at one another and offered a questioning “No, why?” “I’ve heard they are going to approach you about becoming the Director of Maintenance!”
We drove home trying to process his comments. It was true we had both felt the Holy Spirit was preparing us for a change…in churches: but full time ministry, selling our home,
pulling our son out of school, changing our location? We had considered full time ministry, after our last son graduated and when we were nearer to retirement. But not now, out of the clear blue. We brought the matter to prayer.
The holidays were over and the New Year had begun, when our ex-Pastor and his wife paid us a visit. After some small talk, he began: “The Conference Camp is in the process of going year round. We envision a large winterization program as well as the building of a Retreat Center and a new home for the Camp Director. We’d also like to establish a Conference Church in that area and we need families committed to serving the Lord Jesus. Several of us have prayerfully considered you and we believe you and your family fit the bill. You would be considered “Home Missionaries”.
The next months were a whirlwind of activity during which we rode a roller coaster of emotions. Our initial excitement and anticipation was quickly replaced with apprehension and confusion. Though they had come to us, we now had to put together a
resume and submit an application for the position. This was not an easy task for a man, who had worked all his life without ever doing either! It didn’t help to learn the job would now have to be posted in all the churches. Somewhat deflated, we then had to wait and wonder…
Meanwhile, we had a nine-room house with twenty-three years of accumulated ‘stuff’. We were a family of five, though two were out of the house. All their possessions were still in place. We would need to make many dump runs to even clear an area where we could put packed boxes. It was also necessary to prepare the house for sale.
By now we had learned our projected yearly income. The provided housing could be anything from a two-room apartment, to a small cottage in camp or the present house the Director’s family occupied. That was based on his getting the new house, which didn’t look likely at this point. We also knew we were the candidate for the position and would go before the Camp Committee. We were expected to offer our Mission Board the opportunity to support us. If all went well, we were to be on site the middle of June.
Every step of the way we prayed. Some days were marked by apprehension and 'what if’s'.
Others were bathed in tears as I considered the home, family and friends we were leaving behind. But God was merciful, knowing our weaknesses. No significant obstacles were placed in our way
Our house went under contract the day it was offered. All inspections and bank work was completed within the week. We had a closing date the day before we were due at camp.
The Mission’s Board sponsored us, and we accepted the 'Call’ of the Camp Committee the day of our interview.
The leaders of our Church commissioned us according to Acts 13:1-3, laying hands on us as well as our son. A senior saint gave us our ministry verse (John 15:16) and we set out on the path that was laid before us.
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