WRITE THE VISION
“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Habakkuk 2:2, KJV.
The Vision – the Words from God that form the foundational pillars that shape and sustain a work – they must be “made plain” so that all can “run” in the same direction. “Where there is no vision the people run aimlessly” Prov 29:18. Confidence arises as it is written and spoken with the boldness that is deserving of the content – “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pt 4:11).
Love’s Door 4 All Nations is a company of ordinary believers committed to hear and obey the Voice of an exta-ordinary God. These “Words” are the reason we are here today – the Word mixed with obedient faith has shown itself Divinely powerful to accomplish itself.
I can remember the distinct moments when many of the “Words from God” came; others formulated gradually in my heart until I recognized the certainty of a word that had been laid, brick upon brick. To test them is imperative. To vary from them would be disobedience.
1. “There are millions of orphans in this world with no one to love them. Bringing them into your household of care will, even if they do not survive, secure them a place in the Household of the Father for all eternity.” When Lovena died before the adoption was complete, I knew that she at least would be in heaven – our daughter in spirit, if not yet in name. The faith of parents secures our children for eternity, until a time they are able to make a choice of their own. We can extend our faith over a household of orphans we have “adopted” with our committed, covenant love.
2. I can remember clearly when this next word broke upon my spirit – I had been working with African orphans off and on for several years. The evidence was mounting that the many problems in Africa – AIDS, orphans, crime, despotic rulers, etc. – were merely symptoms of deeply seated sickness in the culture and worldview of much of Africa. To medicate the symptoms would not help. To cure the cancer at the center – well, it was advanced and looked terminal. Then the light came on! – “Africa is dying. The adult population is seriously diminishing because of AIDS. The salvation of Africa lies with her children! The problem of the millions of African orphans is actually an amazing opportunity for the church of Jesus to transform a continent! Worldviews and ungodly cultural norms do not easily change in an adult – but in a child, one who is living in the home you choose – transformation is very possible. We can see the cancer of Africa cured as the old dead cells slough off and are replaced with the millions of orphans who love Jesus, who understand a Biblical worldview, who have been instilled with all that is necessary to be the leaders of tomorrow.”
This Word affects so many of the ways we operate:
• Our evangelistic focus – we want to share the gospel and see churches full of godly believers transformed. But we know, the ones who will be mostly impacted by our efforts will be the children – especially the ones we raise in our orphan homes.
• This Word also affects our method of orphan care. We are not here just to save as many orphans as we can from starvation. We are not either trying to cram as many orphans into large institutions as possible – this would not have a transforming effect on their lives. Better to have God’s design for radical formation (or transformation) : a home with loving, believing parents.
• We know that Jesus changed the world by discipling twelve. Concentrating efforts upon a few, even when the objective is so vast, is wisdom. But keeping the objective in view, it compels us to make as many Transformational Homes as possible.
• This Word also means that our priority is to focus on those most vulnerable of children who need to be taken out of their extended family setting to be placed in our care, rather than helping to keep them in their family setting. In this way will we be able to have the full influence needed for the transformation of their souls. We will also work with discipling the other orphans and helping them to live a fuller life. But our priority is transformation of souls.
• This understanding flies in the face of the African culture that says it is better by all means to keep the orphan in his/her own family setting. In many ways this is one of the strongest points of the African culture – commitment to family. The negative side of this wonderful value is that the adults will often keep a child in the family on principle, even when he/she is an unbearable burden or is not valued. The net result of this wonderful value of family bond is that the principle becomes more important than the child. The child may be suffering a terrible hidden death, but outwardly all appears well. The trauma of the parents death, combined with the absence of any voices of his/her worth can annihilate the potential of an orphan. Even when food and educational assistance is provided the suffering is not alleviated, for it is the lack of worth of the orphan that diminishes and destroys the vital life of the child.
3. After working with numerous orphan ministries we discovered a church that was caring for orphans in a powerful way. We saw the whole process – the rescue, the gradual reformation through education, nurture, healing, discipleship, and finally we saw the sending forth in full stature! Then the Lord spoke, “The commitment to these children requires the long-term vision of a church to make it sustainable. The Church is My chosen vessel upon earth to contain My redemptive work – not an orphanage, not even a home.” After this Word, we quickly adjusted course and joined All Nations, a church planting effort in Africa.
• The Church is the answer. However we saw that many churches in Africa were affected with the same seeds of unhealthiness we hoped to cure, so it would require a fresh DNA to affect a change. Some organizations work with and through existing churches and we applaud them. Neither do we diminish the strength of the indigenous churches. However, our sense of call is to discover and invest in a few Kingdom-hearted indigenous people who will carry the gospel of the Kingdom to their people. It will be a fresh church, without some of the religious trappings that have hindered Jesus’ creative vitality.
• It will be in the womb of this new church that is formed that the burden for the orphan will be carried. As we model our convictions of kindness and justice to the poor, the young believers will begin to understand that they are not just the recipients, but the carriers of this mercy. This, above any other factor, will make the work “sustainable”.
4. God spoke to me while in our church planting training with quality African men and women – These are your future. Follow them. Invest in them. Help them to become all I have called them to be. I suddenly realized cross-cultural missionaries can be nothing better than instruments of God to raise up the local, national people to do the work of God. We are expendable. We must have an exit strategy upon entry.
• This means our entire work is a partnership with the nationals. We trust them to make decisions. We empower them to speak out and lead. Whatever investment is required is worth it – they are our future.
• This requires financial wizardry. We want to invite Africans to join our staff full time. But we don’t want them to be dependent on Western sponsors. So we are trusting God with them for businesses to work on part time as they are serving with us.
• Everything we bring to the people we are serving must be the thing that they will value so much that when we are gone they will work and even fight if necessary, to maintain it. We are aiming for sustainable transformation – “fruit that remains.”
5. I will never forget, as we were driving to Zambia to begin our ministry as Love’s Door 4 All Nations, the Lord spoke to me. “You can make this community however you choose. What do you want?” Both of us knew, as soon as He said that, exactly what He meant. In the days and weeks before this moment I had been studying three movements – the Moravians, the 24/7 Prayer movement, and the Boiler Room movement. Jesus was inviting me to cement into the foundation of our community what He had been putting into my spirit. Namely that our connection with Jesus thru Prayer is our very lifeline (like deep-sea divers with an airline connecting them to their source of life-giving air) – we cannot take a step without Him. Secondly, that the lifeline supplies our community at once, coming thru each member, not individually – so we need one another if we are to survive and move. And thirdly, that from this place of Resource and Joy, we are called to take this Life to the world.
• So we have put a large amount of prayer and worship in our schedule – 1 hour daily corporate communion, and 1 hour daily private communion. We are constantly reaffirming our need for more and deeper connection and provoking each other to press into Jesus more.
• And we have put a large amount of community time into our schedule – debriefing after village ministry, meals, celebrations, retreats, small accountability groups, family night… all these strategically designed to build our bond of love and commitment to one another.
• We are methodically weaving these empowering elements into our service and ministry, which require constant infilling to sustain.
Thank you to all who have prayed, supported, partnered with us, visited and served with us this last year. It has been a great year of growth – thanks to Jesus and His Body for the work He is doing – bringing to pass what He said.
If any want to contribute to the work of God thru Love’s Door at the end of this year you will find a tax rebate receipt at the end of year and, better than that, a heavenly reward at the beginning of our heavenly life!!
SEND CHECKS TO: LOVE’S DOOR C/O SELBY AND SCHROCK, 1815 SW BAKER ST, MCMINNVILLE, OR. 97128