Tuesday, October 19, 2010



If I had to come up with one word to describe my life right now it would be a difficult task. There are a lot of descriptive words that could be employed. Excited, inspired, blessed, and busy are just a few that would work. But none of them would assume the top position.

The one word that would probably describe my life right now is “overwhelmed.” I feel absolutely overwhelmed with the vision of our expanding ministry.

Needing a change of location this afternoon, I grabbed my laptop and left my basement office to experience life above-ground at a local Tim Hortons. For the last two hours I have been sitting here working on a brochure to describe our new ministries in Guatemala. And as I have typed, the magnitude of the task ahead has hit me hard. A group home for children with special needs, a ministry to rural villages, and a pastor training program…any one of these alone seems like an overwhelming task, even with healthy funding. But in three months our family will be leaving the United States, moving to Guatemala, and tackling all three with a shortage of funds. So, I am feeling overwhelmed, ill-equipped, and way under-qualified.

As I think about it, though, those feelings have been present with me through most of my life with Jesus. I remember feeling that way through every major step I have taken in my adult life. I recall accepting my first ministry position in North Carolina right after graduation from college. My young bride and I packed up our PA apartment and headed south. And I felt overwhelmed.

In 1990, we packed-up again, this time with a 3 month old daughter, and headed for a strange and distant land…Ohio. There we started a youth group as I was, once again, overwhelmed and under-qualified.

In 1995 we moved to Greenville, OH to start anew with another youth group. This time we had three daughters in-tow and were taking a $5000 a year pay-cut. Our first youth group meeting had five teens and I, once again, felt overwhelmed.

In 1999 we moved to Troy to start a church. Wanda and I sat in a circle with three other couples and dreamed about the future. And I wondered how on earth we would ever see that dream become reality. Overwhelmed again.

In 2006 we left that church to begin a communications ministry with The Shepherd’s Crook, and I felt overwhelmed. In 2008 I was laid off from that position and called by God to start Hope for Home Ministries. Can you guess how I was feeling? I think you get the idea.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I once again feel overwhelmed as we take our biggest step of faith ever. In fact, I would be surprise and a little worried if I didn’t. If I were a little more aware I would probably feel that way more often and much more strongly.

I think God calls His people to do God-sized tasks. Any idiot can do a human-sized task because we are all human-sized. But God asks us to do the impossible and to trust in Him to provide the necessary miracles. He did that repeatedly in scripture. He did it with Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Noah, Gideon, Mary, and Peter. And I believe every single one of them wrestled with being overwhelmed. That is probably why God had to repeatedly remind them of his promises and faithfulness.

So, I will go back to work on my brochure that describes a God-sized ministry. And, as I do, I will remind myself that it doesn’t depend on human-sized Daryl.

Downhere – Here I Am

Friday, October 8, 2010

Moving…and Getting Our Feet Wet

wet_feet Over the last 11 months we have been waiting for our house to sell. This has been a difficult wait as our hearts are in Guatemala while we have felt trapped here by a lousy housing market. However, throughout this wait we have been regularly reminded by the Lord that we are not really trapped, we are just waiting on His timing. Our assumption has been that when the timing is right God will sell our house and “open the door” for our move.

Recently, as Wanda and I were taking a long walk together, she looked at me and asked, “Why can’t we move before we sell our home?” Now, please understand, this is not a new question. We have been asked that many times in the last year by other well meaning people, and our answer was always that we could not afford to pay the mortgage and our living expenses in Guatemala. End of discussion.

But when Wanda asked me the question that evening something clicked in both our hearts, and we began to pray for the Lord’s guidance. We have learned that the only thing that matters is God’s voice, so we desperately wanted to hear it and not confuse it with our own desires. We now are convinced that we have heard Him speak and will be moving to Guatemala in January.

As we have shared this decision with family and friends, some of them have greeted us with skeptical stares and words of caution. We understand that they are concerned for our family and want to make sure we are making the right decision, and we appreciate their words of counsel and have taken them seriously. We are taking a huge financial risk as a family, but at the end of the day, God’s voice is all that matters.

One of the phrases that we hear repeatedly in the American church is “open doors.” It is usually used in the context of a believer who is seeking God’s will for a decision and they pray, “Lord, if it is your will, open the doors for me to do it.” And they wait to see if doors open. I believe that is standard practice in western churches, but I have come to see it as completely unbiblical.

When we pray for “open doors” we are praying that God will make the decision safe and easy. Yet, throughout scripture I see God calling his people to repeatedly do dangerous and difficult things just because He told them to do it. One of my favorite instances of this is found in Joshua 3 as Israel is entering the Promised Land. God tells Joshua to instruct the priests to pick up the Ark of the Covenant and walk into the Jordan river. His promise was that when their feet touched the water the river would be cut off up stream and they would cross on dry land. And that is exactly what happened.

They did not sit waiting for God to “open doors.” If they had, they would still be there waiting. They instead followed God’s voice and trusted Him to make a way as they walked.

While this is my favorite example of this principal, it is not the only one. Gideon facing a huge army with 300 men, some horns, torches, and clay jars. Israel marching around Jericho. David facing a giant with a sling shot. The disciples heading out with only the clothes on their backs. And many, many more. Not one of them waited for open doors, they simply followed God’s voice.

Currently we see lots of closed doors as we look ahead. An unsold house and a budget shortage are just a couple of them. But we can hear God’s voice and are heading toward it. To use the Israelites as a comparison, we see the Promised Land but there is a river at flood stage between us and it. But we are walking, and soon our feet will get wet.

(Moving note: Our plan is for Wanda and I to travel to Guatemala on November 4-11 to sign a lease on a home and make preparations for our move. We will then leave Ohio on January 12th and spend a week in NC with my family followed by a week in PA with Wanda’s family. Finally, we will fly out of Washington DC to Guatemala on January 26th. We would appreciate your prayers through this transition.)