People will ask me where I’m from. My response is usually something like this: "Well, I’m from Philadelphia, but I went to college in Minneapolis, and now I live here!" Others usually respond with a raised eyebrow and, "What brought you here?" At this point I love to share the simple story of how God sent me here. Until recently I didn’t fully get the concept of that, but now I feel like I have a better understanding of God’s plan.
***Allow me to interject the short story…I moved here to live with a friend, who was doing an internship, after graduation from NCU, but I was only going to stay for the summer. My plans were to move back to Minneapolis in August but God directed my heart to stay. It felt kind of crazy. I didn’t have a job or a permanent place to live…what on earth was I going to do in Michigan? I knew a few people and I had a great church, but what were they really going to do for me? I still wasn’t going to be close to my family or any of my best friends…they all stayed in Minneapolis, where I was going to be. God took me out of the comfort zone of the city I’d come to love, the college-life I’d become so distinctly apart of, and my large circle of close friends to be…in Detroit***
We’ve been talking about Jonah at Church of the King these past few weeks. We’ve been looking at how Jonah was sent by God to a sin-filled place called Ninevah (yeah, yeah, yeah, a big whale…heard that story in Sunday School when I was 5). But the perspective that Jonah was a missionary who lacked compassion for a city that needed God’s grace, just as much as he did, is not one I had the comprehension for as a five-year-old. God sent Jonah (and he eventually went). God sent Jesus. God has sent me…to Detroit.
We’ve been talking about how God is sending us from our homes into our neighborhoods, our families, our jobs, our supermarkets, our malls-everywhere in our city-to be disciples in the most Jesus-like fashion we can. I guess the funny thing is that I began to realize, a few weeks ago as I was telling my story once again, that God sent me from Philly, via Minneapolis, to Detroit.
It almost seems silly that I didn’t get it before, after having told that story a hundred times, but it has finally hit me. I am a missionary who left my family to go to an unfamiliar place, by myself, to see a city transformed in the name of Jesus.
You know, I asked Jesus to be the Leader of my life when I was 7, during a missions convention at my church. There were missionaries from Tunisia, whose son was dressed as a camel :), who prayed with me that night. Until my recent years, when I thought of missionaries I thought of people like them. Missionaries, to me, were people that travelled to other countries, ate scary food, learned to speak another language and dressed up in camel costumes! Fortunately, God has expanded my thoughts of missionaries to look like people with red hair and freckles, who live in Southfield, Michigan and work in Hamtramck.
Perspective is a good thing. I’m glad that Jesus is sharing more and more of His perspective with me about my life and my purpose these days. I’m called to Metro-Detroit and unless He says, "Move," I’m here to stay. I’m called to my church and I want to see it grow and mature. I’m called to be a part of church planting here, however God chooses to use me in that. I’m called to teach and I desire to see transformation happen through my students as they grow up to be future leaders in our city (that’s what I pray for them!). I’m called to live in Southfield-I know that because I look different than everyone that lives around me and I love that:)
Temptation to leave comes , but I just won’t listen, because I know that I’m called here…voices tell me about things like better paying jobs, "nicer" city, better schools, lower taxes, bigger churches…but they simply don’t compare to being exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to do. 🙂 It’s truly amazing!