Once upon a rare moment, you are ushered into a place where reality is inescapable.

This morning, for but a few minutes, I (and others) had opportunity to video chat with the Doyle family (Dieter, Angi, Jarryd, Ashley, Judah) and the team they are guiding into an experience of disciple-making mission from their home of South Africa, through Botswana and Zambia, and into Malawi. Those moments this morning stuck me square in the face of reality. As others conversed and prayed, I was met with a familiar longing (maybe something reminiscent of a calling).

Remember New Dawn? It’s odd. Then and now, it is a calling, not to some specific task or duty, not to some specific place or people group, but to partnership and relationship.

I joined New Dawn (Dave, Carly, Jenny, Luke) after having led them through one month of mission preparation and an additional week of travel on the road. Thinking back, I must consider that God’s nudge to a third year of service with Youth Encounter was so much less about a ministry program with an organization I had come to love, and so much more about the individuals with whom I would walk the way of the cross. It was a call to relationship.

Dieter, Angi, & Simeon

Dieter, Angi, & Simeon

Being in the presence of the Doyle family again (even if only by the wonders of modern technology), sobered me from the stupor of the mundane. I realized, without a doubt, that I miss these folks. Our connections to the Prayer League were forged about the same time of 2012 and since then, we’ve been slowly growing to know one another. Apart from my parents, they were the first to meet Simeon, trekking to the hospital only hours before they were to catch a flight home to South Africa. We’ve camped together, drank a good deal of coffee together, ate Seder together, and walked along together exploring the stranger ways of our faith.

I remember when Dieter and I first met to collaborate and wrestle with the thoughts that had been resounding in his head and which resonated with my own spirit. We walked to a local coffee shop … and, I only realize this now as I write —  I returned to that exact chair this afternoon, and, though distracted by other tasks, my intent was to put words to these thoughts. That my friends, is crazy. Signs … everywhere signs. It seems when they come, they often come in force. God has a way about that. Even at that time, when we first met, I sensed that God might well be knitting a partnership for mission. Ever since, even, there has been a purpose percolating in the midst of our fellowship.

I sense it more and more each day. This morning, in one contemplative moment, I was truly thrust into wonder at what God might have planned for the coming days.

Pray with our family, as we continue to listen and discern. And pray for the Doyles and the rest of the freeWord team, as they soon embark on a journey to Malawi.

J.R.R. Tolkien
The road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet, until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then?  I cannot say.

Lord, lead on. Amen.