On Mothers day of 2015 I got a surprising gift. The day before I had been telling Mark that it felt so weird to have an empty bedroom, for the first time in decades! Little did we know that God was going to fill it. Literally the next day we were asked by 4 college students from Florida if we had room to house them for the summer – to be exact til mid-August. Our first inclination was – Yes, yes of course! You see, we were familiar with Southwestern Advantage the company they were selling books for here in Minneapolis. Our son Jack had already completed two summers with them. Knowing he had lived with families in Indiana and Michigan – we felt we owed the system. It was a tad overwhelming however the first few days they were here. Is this going to work? But, God kept calling me to love them well, and support them in all they do. This was not a challenge since we quickly fell in love with them. For this season we got to be family with them.
But, I wanted more! I prayed they would see Jesus here, and be attracted to His enduring love. I wanted them each to see that the value they had to us was just a snapshot of the value they had to God. Even though people are Christians – they need to keep growing in their knowledge of God’s love for them – we wanted to demonstrate that. It was hard not to say too much as I love to teach and talk about Jesus, but He kept telling me to love. Actions speak so much louder than words. Now that I look back at last summer I see also how their actions affected me. They taught me something profound. You see, they committed for one summer to leave their friends and family behind, forget social media, and press on in an adventure that would challenge everything they had. They were mission focused in a way that only happens when we go out on a limb and give everything we have. These guys worked 14-16 hour days 6 days a week going door to door – selling educational books. Some days they would zero out, but wake the next day and go at it again. They looked at negatives and saw positives. “Every closed door was a door closer to the next sale.”
Their leader was John Stewart. His example was amazing – he worked the hardest – and gave the most. I learned so much just watching him. We had people fly in from around the country, sleep on our couch, and head out with John just to witness how he does it. The positivity they brought each other and the amount of effort these guys poured into these 100 days, gave me much to chew on. If they can take the heat, and receive persecution selling books, how much more should I for my Savior? Why are we surprised that being part of God’s mission will bring some heat? I have a passion in me for Jesus that burns – that excites – that ignites – that is impossible to put into words – Do I think that this won’t offend people at times? I guess what I am trying to say is – these boys (and my son Jack also) showed me that when you have a passion for something, and a mission – YOU DON’T GIVE UP, and when the fire is hot – YOU GO AT IT HARDER THAN EVER. Jesus was radical, and counter cultural. He told us that in being His follower we will be persecuted at times. Most of His disciples died for Him, and many around the world are still laying their very lives down rather than deny His name. Jesus is not an “easy sell”. But, we know the world needs Him more than ever.
Let’s give God’s mission every breath we have. We are so happy we entertained angels for the summer. As I was praying to inspire them, and to show them the grace and mercy of God, they were actually bringing us something much bigger. On the day they left our whole family felt the loss. I often pull up their picture so I can pray for them – and praise God that He allowed them to bless our home – and change it for the better. Thank you John, Evan, Anthony, David, Joonsung, Joseph, and you too Charlie – I am praying the Lord gives us much more time to bond!
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