“And he appointed twelve… that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach…”
I stumbled into the kitchen at 3 AM, troubled by “internal” problems – an intern testing my commitment of unconditional love. In my bleariness I got a glimpse of my prize avocado seed that had finally sprouted in magnificence – the promise of fruit and shade and beauty. Suddenly the Whisper of Jesus came – “I have called you (corporately) to be a place of growth for my people. Each have unique callings – an avocado tree, an African violet, an eggplant… some will not sprout, some will excel. But you must provide a fertile environment for growth.”
Gene Edwards, in “The Early Church”, wrote a line I’ll not forget – “The Body life in those days was a fertile incubator that produced giants like Stephen or Phillip in just a few years.”
I yearn for being a community that is intensely committed to personal growth – the kind of growth that stretches our comfort zones, challenges our personal status quo, upsets our unbiblical boundaries – and that we eagerly invite such adjustments from Jesus – even if it comes thru the loving words and actions of our brother or sister!
As I stumbled back towards bed, my glance fell on a screensaver – a picture of my son engaged in a “to-the-death” wrestling match with his one-year old son! Again the Whisper of Jesus – “The work I have called you to is investing in people, as a Father his son. The goal in a family is not to get big projects done, visions accomplished; but to pour divine Love into the few I have given you so that they may grow into their destined fullness. The resulting accomplishment of visions and projects will come of its own. Wings are sprouted and strengthened by Love and nurture. Mine is to set the course and do the Mighty Deeds thru them.”
I thought of Jesus – knowing His mission was to save the world, he took a towel and served his few until their lives were transformed, until after three years he could say, “yeah, on this kind of man I can build my church…” . They each in turn did the same to another few – soon multiplying to a cataclysmic movement of Love poured out. His mission was saving the world; But his mandate was Loving the few.
Today I want to honor our interns and staff – the “few” God has given. These have become friends – but more, we have grown together in Jesus, have laid down our lives together, seen the Body of Jesus cause us to blossom into our full destiny. I mention only a sample of the many who should be honored.
Luke Martin – a young Tom Sawyer – was with us for six months – walking around barefoot, playing recklessly with the kids, making good friendships with a few, eating at their houses, making an epic tree chalet, learning how to worship and become friends with God again after many disappointments in life. We planned on him coming back for another year, but now he is in nursing school and happily married. He made a dent in our lives.
Mike Lungu sacrificially left all to serve the lost when his church and friends could not understand. He endured many trials to be trained for a life of missions in South Africa. And when invited to stay in that affluent place, he rejected it as a carnal temptation, returning to his people in Zambia. Even serving with us, he has endured years of pennilessness as God has been building him into a man of faith, able to move mountains. Today he is becoming the leader of the work of Love’s Door in the villages – and his influence in town is growing. His draftees, Ken and Rodrick, have become heroes in their own right!
Nick and Paula Watts – had a wonderful life in America – successful photographer, web developer – young, beautiful, successful. On a round-the-world trip they just stopped off to visit us in our training in South Africa, canceled the rest of their trip and lives – they were forever detoured – finally went home, set the new course, and in three years moved to Zambia to work in the villages. It’s not easy to break the lifeline to Western existence – one must be brutally strategic and determined. When they got to the villages they were no longer beautiful Californians – they walked the hot paths to the furthest villages to give their lives for the ones everyone had given up on. They had long discussions and came home late. Today they are living among the Buddhists of Northern India.
Sarah Bultman was making an All Nations video project in SA when we first met her. I think she left her heart and her reason there too. Next, we saw her at her home church in Michigan – leader of the missions group. She campaigned to get us the funds for our House of Moses. Within another year she was in Zambia. Sarah is one of those multi-gifted persons who can do anything well. Yet she served the team: pampering us, making us all feel cared for and very appreciated. She also empowered the Zambian staff – creating fruitful ministry from their as yet unfulfilled dreams, helping them to be the leaders they were called to be. And she made the epic LD4AN video that stands still as our voice to the world. Sarah will remain one who made the biggest of dents. She came for six months, lengthened it to ten, then came again for three – and we still dream… Today she influences others to reject the American dream, live in the Kingdom dynamism that depends on resources from Heaven to do the impossible, that dares to live what God has called you to, that gives all for the poorest of the poor, the darkest places of the world where each little candle brings significance. Today, two of our current interns come influenced by Sarah.
How can I tell of the heroes of LD4AN Zam? Jon Blahnik who without a word or attitude of complaint, single-handedly took us through months of lonely dryness where we hardly had money for food…. Nimisha Lala gives herself like no one else to live among the poor, becoming one with them that she might win them to Christ….. Linda Hachilenge, who loves the orphans and vulnerable children enough to actually give her own substance away to care for them, is shuttling between Livingstone and her own ministry 150 miles away. She lives on thin air, yet God provides for her to care for 300 children! All night her tent is lit with a dim glow as she texts back and forth with workers there…. Mandate Teams have come every year – from a month after we arrived in 2009! Each one has been a unique blessing for us…. Jer and Miss and Tizri who walked thru fire and flood to acquire their dream – a daughter for life…. Crossroads Church Grand Rapids has cast Kingdom vision and launched over 20 people to get their lives serving the least and the lost over the years (including pastor Rod, the chairman of our board, some of our favorite long-termers, and four Katies….. Thad and Mary May – 50’s, professional, house and mortgage, grown kids – yet leaving all for their dream of serving the lost in Zambia….. And so many more!
This year alone we have had 12 interns, seven staff, and six teams totaling 29 people. These are some of “The Few” God has given us to make a dent in their lives. We hope we have.
If you are still reading this and have not yet signed up to come serve with us, here is the link to get an application and info to start setting a course for “casting the bread (of your life) on the water”, “losing your life for the Kingdom’s sake” and finding your wings…
- In one month Regina and Dan go to the States for two months. Ask God for wisdom of how to divide that precious time for His Greatness. Pray for strengthened connections, new God-directed connections. If you want to connect…
- We are so humbled – a group of friends is wanting to build a house as a long term income source for us. Sheridan, Oregon is the place. Find them here if you want to sow into that…
- Mike Lungu has been sponsored by a friend to come to America to share his passion and call at the same time we will be there. He is scheduled to be in Birmingham, Grand Rapids, and Corvallis, Oregon. He is, however, having trouble with his visa – please join us in asking Jesus to open this door. If you want to sponsor him to your church….
- It is too late in the natural, but God is above all that – we are still trusting God to provide some assistance for our team – preferably a mature, ministry-seasoned couple, to stay with our team during September and October when we are in America. If interested contact us for more discussion.
Love’s Door 4 All Nations is a part of the All Nations family of churches. We only share our deep financial needs with God and our prayer partners who really pray – or if someone asks. We do however believe in the Body of Jesus to be the conduit of his Miraculous Supply at many times, so we publish opportunities to partner with us financially.