December 28, 2006

St. Louis

I'm in St. Louis for Urbana. St. Louis is supposed to be the most violent city in North America. You wouldn't guess it if you walked around the downtown area though.. this city is dead. It seems far too underpopulated to be a violent city. Anyway..

I've been praying that God will speak to me about which missions opportunity to take -- whether it be 2 more weeks in Longlac, or 4 weeks in China teaching english.

The two choices can be broken down into the following thoughts:

(a) 2 weeks in Longlac
- continued growth in my missions journey
- continuing what we started at Ginoogaming #77
- continuing to build friendships we forged over the past 2 years
- getting a chance to share the gospel directly to the people
- saving 2 weeks of vacation for visiting family at Christmas time

(b) 4 weeks in China
- taking a big step into my "missions career"
- first chance at ministering to Muslims, something I'm pretty excited about
- teaching english is not my forte.. and I'm somewhat reluctant to use it as an avenue to minister to people. But I realize it's a way to put your foot in the door. Still, on this note Longlac is better because we get to actually share the gospel without getting arrested. Speaking of which..
- first exposure to a country where the gospel isn't allowed
- possible start to a longer-term commitment

So that's kinda where it stands. I've been praying about this for weeks now, ever since I was invited by one of the pastors at our church to be one of 6 to go on the China trip. It's been a struggle, I know that God would be proud of me for either one, but I feel like this is a turning point and I can either start devoting everything towards the First Nations People, or I can direct my attention towards the Muslims in asia. I feel that both are good.. however I feel that the First Nations reserve thing is something that is popular and more suited for "new missionaries", kind of like a stepping stone.

Today after a plenary session sermon by Brenda Salter McNeil, I'm leaning more towards going to China. She spoke about Genesis 11 and 12, about how Abram and Terah settled in Haran even though they had intended on going to Canaan. She challenged us that we should not settle, that we should go exactly where God intends us to go, and when God opens doors we need to just go and stop making excuses.

The one thing I guess I should mention was that there was originally a major hitch for me to go to China, because it was originally a 5-week trip. I didn't have enough vacation days to go, and I was going to have to beg my boss for time off in addition to using all my remaining vacation days (including carry over). But then God answered that prayer by having the trip changed to 4 weeks.

I felt like God finally (after being silent now for quite some time) was letting me know that I don't need to be afraid of unknowns (like teaching, which is something I'm not all that comfortable with), and to just go for it.

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