The Future Focus.

I only have one more verse of Psalm 23 to discuss, but I’m taking a break from that passage today. Josh and I are currently on a plane on our way to San Francisco. The U.S. board of Malawi Children Mission (MCM), the organization we will be partnering with, is flying us out for their annual board meeting. We are thrilled to be able to meet the board members in person as well as be reunited with Avisha Mpemba, the wife of the husband and wife team from Malawi who direct MCM.

As I reflect and pray for this weekend, I wanted to write down a game plan of sorts. We have the opportunity to plan the details of what our life and ministry will look like for the next two years. Imagine having a meeting where you planned out the next two years of your ministry. You’d take it pretty seriously, I’m sure. I hope to go into this meeting with a scriptural outline of our goals so that we can make sure that every decision we make is made through that lens. So here is that outline.

Do everything with intent to share the gospel.

We will have lots of opportunities to meet the physical and educational needs of the children we will serve at MCM. It will be a true joy to see their eyes light up when they realize they are really learning English, the key to a less impoverished life. It will be a true joy to help the older students who can’t go to university realize their potential as members of their community. However, the greatest joy by far will be the times when we get to lead a student to Christ, their only lasting hope. If helping these students understand that their needs can never be met apart from Christ who loves them enough to die for them isn’t our primary goal, then all of our work is in vain.

Do everything in order to make disciples.

The Great Commission. It’s something that is often taken too lightly, but this shouldn’t be the case. It is the last directive that our Savior gave us before He returned to heaven. For that reason alone it should be taken seriously. I have so often squandered opportunities to make disciples of all nations. I’ve used the excuse of being too busy or simply not knowing who to reach out to. I’m praying now that God will use me to make disciples. Their are so many young women in need of someone to pour the love and wisdom of Christ into them, both in the U.S. and Malawi. The Young Women’s initiative at MCM is an after school program where the girls learn life skills and trades. I intend to use that existing program as a base for discipleship. I want to teach these girls about the unmatched character of God, who they are in Christ, and how to walk as Children of God. I want to teach them how to pray, how to study the Word, and how to train others to do likewise. I’ve been reading Adorned, by Nancy DeMoss Wogelmuth. There will probably be a more detailed blog post on this incredible book in the future so I won’t go into detail, but it is on Titus 2. Titus 2 details how the older women are supposed to teach the younger women how to be women who mirror the image of Christ to a lost world. I pray that I truly become an “older woman” with the character of a Titus 2 woman so that I can be an example for the MCM girls and my own precious girls.

Do everything in love. 

1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that if we have not love we are only clanging cymbals. In other words, if I share the gospel and make disciples but don’t do it in love then I am completely useless. How do I know that I’m acting in love? Ask the Lord to “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) [Editor’s note: These are two of my favorite verses to pray each morning. What a powerful prayer to lift up for others and yourself.] He is faithful to reveal my selfish motives. When serving others it is easy to assume you are doing so in love, but often that’s not the case. The temptation is always present to serve others for selfish gain and to make myself look good. Service can often be worn as badge of honor. If our goal in sharing the gospel and making disciples is to “earn a badge”, then we aren’t doing it out of love. Love is not self-seeking (1 Cor. 13). I am thankful for a God who loves me selflessly and has given me the ability to love others with His unwavering love. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 NIV)

Do everything for the glory of God. 

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”(1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB) Doing everything for the glory of God means I have to commit my ways to Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB). When I choose to relinquish my will and stop working out of my limited understanding I can begin working under the authority of the Lord. When I am submitted to His will and letting Him direct my path I have confidence that what I’m doing is for His glory. Yes. That means that sweeping up my children’s crumbs is for his glory. It means cutting out teaching materials is for His glory. At this stage in my life, crumbs and curriculum are just a part of what God has called me to. My attitude and responses to daily tasks can either point people to Christ or away from Him. I pray that even the less glamorous aspects of my life and ministry point others to Christ as they see him strengthening me and filling me with joy.

Our ministry at MCM is going to be multifaceted and Josh especially will wear many hats. How we practically live out these four points in our daily experiences will develop as we dive into Malawi. We are thrilled to see what the Lord is going to do in the hearts of the sweet students we get to serve. Being a part of a ministry committed to the spiritual, educational and social development of these children is such a blessing. Continue to pray that the Lord will guide us so that we can identify and meet the spiritual needs of children who have a completely different cultural background than us. The task is big, but our God is so much bigger. We are praying big things and hope you will join us.