One Discoverers Journey 2004-2012

This is a long post (for those who are that interested) in the journey of one young Discoverer on a journey to serve God with her gifts, passions and talents.  Below the picture is an article she wrote for her church’s literary newsletter to explain what God’s called her to, and what happened in the following weeks that is moving her forward! In the weeks since she wrote the article, God provided a way for her to attend a graduate linguistics training school in Canada.  She is currently in the application process to serve with Wycliffe.

I can almost feel my toes curling tight over the edge of the precipice; a jumpy anticipation poised in my spirit’s heels, it’s tummy full of butterflies, and elation burst-fisting its way out of the fortress of waiting I’ve lived in for years…

I wish I could show you the million little moments that have led to this cliff, but this is the story of some of them, so that you will understand the beauty behind it when you see me hurtle off its height—
Ten years ago I “accidentally” took a Linguistics class.
God had begun nipping and tugging at small fibers of my heart, telling me I wasn’t for this place and that he was fashioning my compassion and preparing it to pour out into other cultures all the days of the rest of my life. As I went through college I felt the conflict of “wisdom” to choose studies that would lead to a job, and a job that would be a livelihood, but as I kept trying to choose ways to do this, God would wreck my heart with images of orphans, cultures I’d learn of that were flanked by oppression, and blatant demonstrations of the fact that He’d wired me to find no joy in things but to hunger to reach into people’s stories and do life with them.

At the same time that He slowly revealed this burning call to missions, I stumbled into this most-odd class that had its students playing scrabble with the International Phonetic Alphabet and learning concepts about how languages all over the world work. Almost every student with me found it to be the most boring, absurd class they’d ever taken, but I was lit up and intrigued! Over the course of the next year, I began looking into ways to combine these passions, which eventually led me to Bible Translation… As I started to research how God could use something like linguistics on the mission field, I found out that there are still about 340 million people that have no portion of the Bible accessible to them in their mother tongue—that’s more than 2,000 possible languages left.

I found this utterly overwhelming.

I have since witnessed deep caverns of darkness in people’s lives, footholds, sorrows, staggering lack where God’s heart longs to fill in and heal—but to imagine these millions of people with no Living Word, with no access to the Words, Spirit, and Breath that swoop in to redeem all brokenness—this felt like too much. I knew that whatever manner of loneliness I have ever felt in this life, I have always had a book of shelter—Words that save me, have loved me, have torn me out of sorrow and into a Kingdom that seeks to rescue. But so many don’t have it. This knowledge licked at all the tugged fibers like whipping flames, and I felt God’s purpose in me solidify: you are to fight for Me this way.

So I set to it—I took a trip to Ghana in ’04 with Wycliffe Bible Translators, and spent a summer exploring how one approaches the idea of translating God’s Word and how many different roles there are in that process. I met the most incredible missionaries, witnessed moonlight literacy meetings in the mountain village of Gekrong, and watched God expand my heart and shatter my worldview. In the weeks that I spent observing the work and seeking God’s voice on these new hopes, Christ spoke such confirmation and assurance into my being that I came home fiercely excited. I thought that I would just quickly work off my undergrad school loans and then launch into the 1-2 years of Linguistic training I would need to be ready to head to the mission field—

Eight fascinating years have plodded past instead, though.
I look back on that time and the care God put into planting certainty into my heart and can’t help but laugh at how much He knew I’d need that! I tumbled into working several jobs, took certification classes and became a teacher, walked with my family through some heartbreaking crises, and wrestled through a long, sharp season of sickness. Journal after journal from the last few years were slowly filled with passionate out-cries, scribbled reminders of what God told me ‘on the mountain top’, and jotted down prophecies and prayers that I received from the Body and the people in my homegroups.
Each year I would ask and pray “is this the one?”, and always He would whisper that the Kingdom is here, and the Kingdom is coming—now/not yet, my love—You are already on the mission field, and every bit of now is the training. I, Myself, am cultivating in you what you will need for this task.

As the years wore on, and especially inside the one of sickness, people began to suggest other goals, saying that I would need to stay where doctor’s were easily accessible, and that surely I would be happier accepting that circumstances were different now and that maybe I’d misunderstood God’s will. Medical bills were added onto the stack, and although the determined fire for what God had written on me wouldn’t wane, I shoved up my sleeves, understanding that it would be years more than the eight that have already passed before I would work the last of the debt down now. Carefully, painstakingly, God ushered dependence into me, humility that has bent wide His vision for the impossible to be completed. Slowly I submitted my expectations and timeline and begged that God teach me to be where He has me well, and to trust that He would make it bullhorn-clear when it was time to move forward.
This past year, in August, the “Deeper into Community” series broke my heart again, and I found God stirring my waiting up with the “Your Calling Takes Us Deeper” sermon. In September, I sat in the sanctuary afterwards and shivered as I felt God whisper “it’s coming”, and then grabbed at my journal so I would keep that moment, writing it down as the physical goose-bumps dissolved back into normal skin.  In October God asked me to give up the sickened sorrow that I was carrying from my hope deferred, and November poked at my held-breath when we tumbled into speaking of Rescue each week and mingled our post-it notes together on the curved sanctuary wall—all our dreams stated beside one another, interconnected.
By the end of the year, I sent a long email to the Wycliffe recruiter that I’ve spoken with for years. I updated her on the debt again and explained that I was in another one of those weeks where my soul tingled and God was keeping me up at night with dreams—She sent a note back with a prayer and signed off with “LORD MOVE THE BLOCKADE”. Three days later I got a phone call.

One of my dear friends was on the other end of the line saying, “Monica, sit down. We have something to tell you.”
And this brings me back to that cliff that I mentioned—

Through the obedience and sheer generosity of other believers, God is moving the blockade. With a single swipe—out of my hands, more than I could ask for, more than I can swallow without fits of joyful laughter—God has suddenly led a couple to completely wipe out the last of my school debt!
In quick gusts of the last month, so many miracle-nudges have been set in motion, and now it looks like I may be moving this summer to one of the three training-program locations to get equipped for this mission.

So I dance on this brink with you, beside you, sweetly terrified, our whole souls thrumming to the shift God’s calling our Body of believers to—church planting, adoption, foster care, feeding the poor—His fingers, His ears, His arms brought to His waiting people, and also His mouth in their language to feed their hearts. And as we all hurtle off these peaks, I hear Him comforting me… every one of these cliffs is in the vast Land called Married (Isaiah 62); none of you are hurtling alone, and whatever distance is coming, for a long or short time, you belong to one another—I am making you into each others’ netting.


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