The day I begin serving in Europe will be a beautiful day. No matter how awful the weather or frustrating the people I run into, it will be one of the best days. It will be a dream fulfilled. And when I think about serving in Ireland, especially, I consider my goal to be “what HOPE61 does.” I plan on serving with the Irish Church to be a part of implementing human trafficking prevention. What that will look like, well, that depends on how God speaks to my Irish co-laborers, and to me. We will, with God’s blessing, work together. I will replace myself, best case scenario God will allow His passion for justice to be multiplied in the hearts of many Irish believers. I see myself calling Ireland, and Europe, home. I think of the work in a long-term perspective and therefore I give myself, give God, more room to work.
When I thought about what I would do in Australia and New Zealand, both before I came and in the past six months, I thought in a short-term perspective. First, four months. Then, a year. I hoped to replace myself with an Australian who would be responsible for getting the prevention work started. They would be the person responsible to co-labor with other Australians and New Zealanders, they would be the one trying to make things culturally relevant. They would be the one thinking in a long-term perspective and they would be the one with more room to work.
How I came to think that God needs room to work is beyond me. This is even when I, a flawed human, am involved, because if God is the one working in me then it doesn’t matter how little or long of time I have to do an assignment. He can and will and already has made something out of nothing.
A few weeks ago I met with the pastor of a local church that has already been a huge help to HOPE61’s work here. We discussed the church’s goals in the next few years and saw how HOPE61’s goals might coincide with theirs. As we talked, though, it became apparent that they want something to be involved in. I’m not sure how to explain this, but I guess I will say that I realized I need to change my perspective and the room I thought I had to work with. God had been speaking to me prior to this meeting, and I feel it confirmed it through the meeting. My perspective had been: recruit, raise awareness, replace myself (with someone else who would be the multiplier). The work that has happened in the last six months has been based on that perspective, but now my perspective needs to change to: recruit, multiply myself, figure out real ways prevention can come from HOPE61 and the Australian & New Zealander Church.
“When justice is done, it bring joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”
This is just one reason why I feel it is the right thing to return to Australia & NZ for 2014. Not only has God been guiding me this direction, but it would be irresponsible to leave in the middle of things. I did not expect for a congregation to already want something more concrete from us. I thought it would take a little more time, honestly; time that someone else would be in charge of. But God is doing this NOW. It’s time for my mindset to change NOW.
It is scary, intimidating, and very exciting.
Until yesterday I was just feeling stressed about this, though. I began doing more research on human trafficking in Australia, wanting to better know what laws are in place and how they are being enforced, who is most vulnerable, etc. Every time I thought of a way HOPE61 could get involved in prevention work, I realized it didn’t match up with where God has called us. Jesus Christ has to be the name in which we do this work, not just the motivation behind it. We can’t hide Him even a little. So many ideas I thought of were not putting His word at the front and center, where it has to be. I was stressing and I’m really glad I was.
Last night I realized that I wasn’t giving God any of the glory. I was working with the “room I had to work with,” and I had to make things happen. If I’d had an epiphany during that time, I know I would have taken all the credit. I’m so glad I was stressed, so glad I was frustrated, and so glad that I didn’t have the chance to take glory from the one this work really belongs to. It’s His, and He already has this covered.
Please pray for me in what I’ve realized is my current obstacle: cultural understanding. There is something I’m missing about the Australian culture and I don’t even know where to look. I need some kind of clarity to be able to move forward. Please pray for me in this, and praise God that He cares so much about preventing injustice.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You…have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”