Faith has been described as belief in the things not seen. After years of anticipation, I leave for my video ministry trip to South Sudan in a matter of hours.
The excitement is constant. I whittle my checklist several times a day. It’s a far cry from how I’ve typically conducted my business–at the last minute. For this trip, I’ve been doing a little bit each day for weeks, getting shots, organizing travel docs, packing my luggage…so I won’t have a big panic attack as the airport shuttle arrives.
Earlier this week a friend asked me about this upcoming adventure, which will have me out of the country for six weeks. “Do you consider this trip as a signal of big change in your life,” I was asked.
No, I responded. This opportunity fulfills my destiny in life.
Years ago, I took a swing at sportscasting, my original love. Then it was more than two decades in a state cubicle farm, moving paper from here to there, creating talking points and reassuring taxpayers that all was well.
I enjoyed those work experiences at times, made great friends along the way. Inside me, though, there was a constant sense of greater work ahead.
Forty years ago, my father, brother and I spent a month in a church rectory on the island of Antigua, in the Caribbean Sea. We had a beautiful, secure home, with plumbing, and electricity. In the community around us, residents had corrugated tin roofs over their heads, carried buckets to a common well to get their water. The youth played soccer on a rock-strewn pitch. As a young teenager, it was my first exposure to a different way of life from what I enjoyed in the opulent US. It was also a foreshadowing of what awaits me next week.
My TV career fueled an interest in writing and video production. Over the years, as Apple improved its product line and made desktop publishing and non-linear video production accessible and easy, I polished skills and awaited the call.
A first opportunity came as newsletter editor for my local bishop. I produced a monthly newsletter for nearly ten years, while juggling a full-time job with my role as a new father, husband, Little League coach, and executor. More skills and contacts were developed, then placed on hold in anticipation.
Years of service with my local church put me in relationship with wonderful, selfless individuals, who served others as missionaries, instructors, pastors and cheap labor. I watched the mission trips affect lives. I participated for the first time and felt a renewed sense of purpose. I worshipped with a couple who sought missionary work in retirement. Their prayers were answered as God led them to South Sudan and elsewhere.
Their experience and my interest made for an easy match. An introduction was made to the organization that founded and operates a secondary school in South Sudan. They could use what I possess. In December 2011, my call was confirmed.
It’s hard to be in the moment on the journey. We just want to see where we’re going and not get tripped. Looking back, I can see many instances where a still, quiet voice inside me, or a friend beside me, nudged me in a direction that set me on this path. I say daily prayers for guidance and quiet confidence.
My journey has been long, with distractions and failures along the way. My compass has been influenced by prayer and loyal friends. They’ve encouraged me to regain my footing and find my voice. I am being fulfilled.