I’m not afraid of a whole lot. I have a healthy fear of snakes and sharks; nothing that would keep from hiking through jungles or surfing in the ocean. Some things make me a little nervous but that’s all the more reason to try them in my opinion, like karaoke when you know you’ll sing flat or skydiving out of a plane that is literally duct-taped together. I’ve had a fishing hook imbedded in my finger, had the roof of my hut blown off by a tornado, been caught in a runaway bus careening down a mountain, been mugged, been shot at by roadside bandits and was most recently in a car accident. But I’m not afraid to fish, ride a bus, trust a taxi driver or drive my own car.
But there is something of which I am afraid. For the past two weeks I have been stuffing support letters into envelopes and mailing them to friends and family. Yesterday I sent out support emails. Today the Facebook messages will get sent. Trying to raise support is scary! And it’s probably not for the reason many of you may suspect.
I am not worried about getting the money. I have faith that if this is where I am supposed to go then the money necessary for me to go will come. The issue is being emotionally vulnerable in front of pretty much everyone I know. If you have walked alongside me during the past year then you know that the journey just to get to this point has been physically, emotionally and spiritually taxing. I have put all my eggs into this basket- following Jesus wherever I am led. Laying that out there on the table leaves me wide open for judgment.
It’s so much easier to keep your faith in a box that’s only opened on Sunday or Tuesday at small group, when it’s a completely safe environment. It’s much harder to live it everyday and share it with those around because then you’re vulnerable to be criticized. Last night I read this in the Tangible Kingdom Primer: Throughout scriptures, we see God calling his followers to live a life of “sentness”. Stability, social comfort, relational control, safety, success, respect, or clarity were not expected. People had to go purely out of obedience, a personal sense of calling, in faith, and simply because they love God. Outcome didn’t matter; faithfulness did.
That’s where I am- compelled to go, I find myself reliant on the support of friends and family. I cannot quietly slip away to fulfill my mission. I have to shout it from the rooftops or in this case, in letters, emails and Facebook messages. Many may think I’m crazy. I’m giving up a good job and the chance to move up through the ranks. I’m leaving air conditioning, ice cream, pulled pork sandwiches, cheese and my brand new car. I am leaving my family. I will miss seeing my little brothers and sisters grow. I’ll miss the weddings of my friends and seeing their first children. I tear up just writing about it.
Yesterday in church we talked about 1 Corinthians 15. In verse 19, Paul says, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” Meaning if I am only living for this life, you have every right to think I’m crazy. Without the hope of something greater to come after this life he goes on to say, “’Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’” But I do have that hope and so I rest in the promise from verse 58, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
So I continue to stuff envelopes and send emails. Though it fills me with trepidation, opening my heart to so many, I know it will not be in vain.
 Halter, Hugh, and Matt Smay. The Tangible Kingdom Primer: An Eight-week Guide to Incarnational Community. [S.l.]: Missio, 2009. Print. pg. 7