Part of me wishes we had the faith to just go. But, if there's one thing we've learned since we began walking this out, it's that we're going to need support. We could go it alone, as others before us have and do even now, but why make it harder than it already will be? Why go alone when we can have help?
"A cord of three strands is not easily broken." ~ Eccl. 4:12
So... we are officially applying with OM (Operation Mobilization)!
The more we find out about them, the more we like them.
Here are a few reasons why:
- You don't need seminary to join (which is, I'm guessing, 98% of all Christians).
- It's a well-rounded, holistic ministry/organization. You want to do it, they
probably already are. There is a place for the entire Body of Christ to serve (I. LOVE. that).
- They are low budget (in other words, they try to keep costs as low as possible, making them one of the lest expensive missions organizations out there - love that, too!). The missions coach, for example, that we have been corresponding with had to raise all her own support - and she lives and works here for OM in the US.
- They work all over the world.
- We share their vision:
- "Focusing on the unreached, Partnering with churches, Caring for our members, Globalizing our ministry, Training and equipping world Christians, Mobilizing the next generation, and Strengthening our organization"
- and core values: "Knowing and glorifying God; Living in submission to God's word; Being people of grace and integrity; Serving sacrificially; Loving and valuing people; Evangelizing the world; Reflecting the diversity of the body of Christ; Engaging in global intercession; Esteeming the church." (taken from their website)
- Our interactions with them over this past year have been nothing but encouraging and genuinely marked by grace. We feel like they just want to help us get there.
- They act as a liason between the church and the missionary on the field and provide the support and training that many churches are not set up to or are unable to provide.
- Going with a missions organization gives us credibility. People will probably be more willing to come alongside us and more apt to have confidence in what we are doing if we have a "name" behind us (although I wish it weren't this way, on a human level, I think it is this way).
If you're interested in what the application/assessment/acceptance process looks like, you can read about it here. The whole process from start to finish can go as quickly as a few months, or take as long as a year or more. Since we have kids, and roots, and a house full of things here, I think it will take us at least another year. If we are accepted and it all works out (there are no guarantees it will), we could be leaving by January 2012. If not, maybe August 2012.
Another thing we have begun to see more and more, is that there are absolutely no guarantees. Yes, we are heading in a direction, but I can't say for sure where we will be a year from now. We could get all the way to the acceptance stage and then not be able to raise the support - who knows!
So we find ourselves back where we started - completely dependent on God to get us there. A good place to be, they tell me.