Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rock Hill

 The first time I talked to Daniel Wells he captured me with his vision. Through our friendship, courtship, engagement, and now in our marriage it has always been a constant that has attracted me to him. Not every person knows so concretely their calling in life at such a young age.

But it wasn't just the vision ... not the fact that he had one, I mean. Because lots of young men have vision. Lots of women, too. It was his particular vision that also captivated me.

To reach the lost for Christ, and particularly, to reach a generation who no longer knows the basics about God, Jesus and the Bible.

While I certainly didn't marry him because of this, in my mind, it has always been difficult for me to separate Daniel from it. If he were to give up this vision, he would be giving up part of himself.

Figuring out how to live out this vision has been a journey. Daniel has felt called to church planting for years - I remember him talking about it from the very beginning of our relationship. The areas that he was drawn to needed churches (areas in the US that don't have an evangelical presence). He saw a void, and desired to fill it. 

Last April when we went to the Gospel Coalition, God really confirmed for me that this vision (to reach the lost who don't know Christ, by planting a church within a city) wasn't just his, but ours.  I wanted to be a church planter's wife, as much as my husband wanted to church plant!

We were soaring above cloud nine after that conference. We were ready for anything. So, Daniel sought out opportunities to get involved with a church plant. In God's providence those opportunities closed, but another opened.

That's where we've spent the last year, and though we knew it would only be temporary, we fell in love with the people, and especially with the pastor and his family.

In the fall (of 2011) we participated in a church planter's assessment seminar, which further confirmed our call to church planting, and we began cautiously praying about the "next step." I say cautiously, because it is always difficult to leave a place and people you've grown to love. One of my favorite pastor's wives once told me that you are not only called to go but also called to leave. While we certainly felt called to go, we were still pondering and praying over whether or not we were called to leave. Perhaps it wasn't time yet, we were opened to that.

I always pray for rainbows in the sky. When I ask God for things I like him to reveal them to me loud and clear. No vagueness, no ambiguity. God did that for us when we chose our last step of ministry, and he did it for us again this time. Praise Him!

In late January three options stood in front of us. Baby was due in two months (but came in one :)), and Daniel was eagerly searching for full time work so that I could stay home permanently. The first option was to senior pastor a local church not far from Charlotte. Although it wasn't a church plant, it could provide needed ministry experience for us. The second was to continue where we were and hopefully get full time pay/salary from the church - we weren't sure if that pay could be provided. The third was to join Hill City's church plant and work alongside its pastor and people to gain church planting experience. When all three options lay before us we didn't know where the money for living would come from if we joined the church plant. Daniel thought he may work a full time secular job.

Then, one week I got my rainbow.

Tuesday, an elder on the search committee at the church Daniel had been candidating for called to say that, while they really enjoyed him and his preaching, they had decided to post pone extending a call to any pastor until the church was more financially prepared to support him. Door #1 closed.

Thursday, the pastor/planter at the church plant here in Rock Hill called and told Daniel he really, really hoped he could come down to Rock Hill and help, and wanted to meet with him the following week to figure out how he could work with the church plant and support his family. Door #2 ... open-ish.

Friday, we met with our pastor and his wife for fellowship, but also to talk about where we were headed in ministry. Over the course of the conversation two things became clear: Full time pay was not available for us if we stayed where we were, and as much as they loved us it was time to move on and do what we really were called to do. Nathan, our pastor, said to Daniel a dozen times, "Find what your calling is and do it. Just do it!"

We talked late into the evening that Friday, processing everything that had happened that week, and our conversation with Nathan and Sara. Daniel went to bed a bit overwhelmed, but woke the next morning confident and determined. "We're going to do it. If God provides the money somehow, we're going to move to Rock Hill and help with this church plant."

Monday, Daniel and Andy (church planter in Rock Hill) met and discussed ideas for income for us. They decided concretely that they were going to fund-raise the support needed to bring Daniel on as a church planter's intern.

It's been almost two months since, and already God has provided over half the money necessary, and Daniel hasn't even officially begun to work! We are so thankful for the friends and family who have partnered with us in this ministry.

I tell this story, because I said I'd share my thoughts. I realize it may seem like I did not do a whole lot of that. But actually, this is my perspective. I look at our lives and see God's purposes being worked out day by day. This is not a biography of our lives, but a testimony of God's faithfulness. Knowing that He has provided for this calling gives me complete confidence that this is where we need to be - and it makes me nearly bust with excitement.

So, that's it. That's where we "are."

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