At the beginning of 2013, Jamie and I were almost certain that our next step after my graduation from Indiana Wesleyan University, was to continue my education at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky. As many of you already know, God sometimes leads in unexpected directions. This past February, Jamie took a mission oppurtunity from her work, Lifeline Youth and Family Services, to go down to the Dominican Republic and serve at their recently acquired residential center for troubled American youth, Caribbean Mountain Academy (CMA).
While Jamie was there, many of the staff said they could see her coming back to serve at CMA. Jamie considered the idea, but figured I could never be convinced to give up my plans for seminary. She prayed that if God wanted us to come down, He would change my heart without her having to do any convincing. At one point during her stay we were able to have a video call. I was amazed by how vibrant and alive Jamie seemed to be. I remember thinking how much I wanted her to always be in a place where she is able to serve in ways that God has made her passionate.
God Changing My Heart
I believe that God has called me to be a pastor to the hurting Church of America. My greatest obstacle to accepting this call to ministry, was a competing passion for missions. Jamie and I support a missionary couple in the Amazon rain forest, and I have never been able to get through one of their newsletters without crying. For my entire life I have always been moved like this when I encounter people who are willing to give up almost everything in order to bring the Gospel to the lost. For the longest time I have tried to suppress this God-given passion in an attempt to obey my call to ministry. What I have now come to realize is the reason for this passion. God has made me passionate about going where the Gospel is not, in order to empower Christians who might be unwilling to go.
Yes, I believe I am still called to be a Pastor in the States, but I see that God has given both me and Jamie this opportunity to teach us how we can more effectively fulfill our calling for when He directs us back to the U.S. Our desire is for everything we do, to have a part in building God’s kingdom here on earth. Whether that is working on our marriage or discipling youth at the CMA in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. Our greatest need right now is your prayers. We are both trusting in God to bring together the many lose ends that need to be tied up before we can leave. In our next post we will give more details on exactly what we will be doing in the Dominican, and what needs to happen before we can leave.
Love Matthew, Jamie, and our soon-to-be born Baby