It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here, but I wanted to share an update on my health/life here along with an exciting new opportunity that I’ve been given.
As you know if you’ve been following along, this last year has certainly been a trying season in my life: from my first ever ER visit to finding out I had a life-threatening desmoid tumor in my abdomen, to a long 6 months of intense chemotherapy (and my second ER visit). To keep my sanity, I blogged through this time (in the Contemplating Chemotherapy series which starts here), and I was surprised to find out how much purpose I found in something as simple as sharing my experience. But what was most amazing was the support I got from friends and family, both near and far. As I shared in an earlier blog post, my biggest fear going into chemo was doing it all alone, and looking back at those 6 months I can see clearly that I was never alone – that I was supported by more people than I could have ever imagined. So I want to thank you all for your prayers and encouragement as I walked through this time. It really means so much.
The good news at the end of the treatment is that the tumor is stable for now, and this has opened up an opportunity for me to begin moving where I believe God has been calling me. Frederick Buechner says that “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” For a long time, God has placed in my heart a desire to serve the church in areas where the church is dead or dying – to spend my life to revive the church where the people are more post-Christian than Christian.
Before chemo put a hold on everything, I had graduated from seminary and I had been talking with the Heralds Trust about a possible internship in Scotland. The Heralds Trust is a Scottish non-profit based in Livingston, which is just outside of the capital city, Edinburgh. I remember the first time I visited Edinburgh, I was surprised to see how many beautiful churches had been left abandoned or turned into civic centers (like the one pictured to the left), book stores, hostels, or night clubs – an architectural picture of the slow movement of the country away from their history as Christians. There is a deep hunger in Scotland for the gospel to be known and lived in places where it has been forgotten or now lies dormant. The Heralds seek to facilitate and create gospel initiatives in Scotland by partnering with local churches and individuals to equip, enable, and empower them to bring the gospel to fruition in their communities. This is a place where I believe my deep gladness and Scotland’s deep hunger can meet.
So I am excited to share with you that I have accepted a 9-month long internship with the Heralds Trust in Scotland, which will begin in late-August and go through the end of June of next year. During that time, I will have an abundance of opportunities both to use the skills I have developed in ministry as well as to stretch myself in new areas. I will be able to preach in churches, teach in various capacities, and partner alongside churches to help them with evangelism and discipleship using the resources of the Heralds Trust. I will also be able to go into the local public school system (where one of the staff members is the dean) and speak at assemblies, meet regularly with students who are both curious about Christianity and those who are committed Christians, and I will have the opportunity to counsel many students. I will also be mentored by staff members with decades of ministry experience and mentored by a pastor in a local church. All this time I will be immersed in a different culture and learning to minister in a post-Christian context.
What my experience with chemo has taught me is how the support of others is so important. That’s why I’m reaching out to you to partner with me in this internship in Scotland. Again, I don’t want to do this alone, but rather as a part of the larger body of Christ. The primary way you can support me is by prayer and encouragement as I move forward with this internship. To be perfectly honest, I feel this dark cloud of my tumor lingering over me, tempting me to think I can’t take risks and to just do what is safe instead of going to Scotland. That is why it has taken me so long to commit to this internship, because of my fear that it may be unwise so soon after chemo. But I truly believe this is where God has been leading me for some time, and I would appreciate your prayers that I can step out in faith, trusting that God is in control even amidst my fears.
The other way you can support me is financially. The cost for the full 9-month internship will be $10,000. In order to begin the internship in late-August, I’ll need to raise about a third of that up front (then raise the other two-thirds every 3 months afterwards). That cost will cover everything I need for the 9 months, including my room and board, travel to and from Scotland and transportation in country, training and personal development, administration and program expenses, and making sure that I am medically covered with insurance the entire time so that I can continue to get my scans and monitor the tumor.
To support me financially, just go to www.theheraldstrust.org/support and click on the USA “Donate” PayPal button on that page. Or you can send a check by mail to: ‘Friends of The Heralds NFP’ P.O. Box 1073, Wheaton IL 60187. Make it payable to ‘Friends of the Heralds NFP’ and make sure that you send a note with the check indicating that this donation is going towards my internship – but do not write on the check any specific reason for the donation, just do so in an attached note. All donations are tax deductible.
If you would like to support me through prayer and remain involved in my internship, I will be sending out a monthly email-newsletter that will include prayer requests and updates on the ministry in Scotland. If you would like to receive the newsletter you can sign up below:
Feel free to email me (click on the “Contact” tab above) if you have any further questions – I’d love to share more. I will also continue to post some here on my blog, as I am able, but I haven’t really decided if I’ll blog through the experience like I did with chemotherapy or not. Or maybe I’ll just write whatever comes to mind (like I am apt to do). Do expect my sarcasm to continue even in Scotland, though. Also, expect lots more awesome photos since I’ll have quite the scenery change from Midland to Edinburgh (did you notice that freakin’ amazing castle on a hill [or for Midlanders – a “mountain”] in the middle of the city in that first photo?!?).
Anyways, a blog post of mine wouldn’t be complete without a good quote, and one of my favorite quotes is: “A shared joy is a doubled joy.” So I’m excited to share this opportunity with you in hopes that your joy and my joy will be doubled through this experience.