Thursday, February 9, 2012

Decisions, Part 1

This is a big year for us.

We are officially debt-free. 

Not technically, but we have enough money wrapped up in our Korean pension plan to cover what's left on the student loans. What's more, we should, Lord willing, have a little bit left over as seed money for wherever we end up being planted next. 

Praise God. We came to Korea with a goal, and have, by His grace, accomplished it. 

The question that everyone keeps asking and that looms over our thoughts on a daily basis is, of course, "What next?"

Truthfully, we don't know...and it's tough, the not knowing. 

One thing we do know, we don't want to work for another year in our current positions. We have wanted to find different jobs for a couple of years though, and God has made it very plain, year after year, that we were to stay where we were at. 

This year, it was especially difficult to re-sign with our employers. The organization seemed to be crumbling around us. There was very little stability. Our schedules changed from week to week, with someone always thinking of some half-baked program with which to fulfill our contracted hours, lacking curriculum, students, funding or preparation. What's more, our pay was being nearly $1000 per month. This was definitely not the same unbelievable job it had been when we first came to Korea to teach. However, we still felt the Lord very obviously communicating to us that we were supposed to stay, knowing it would be a difficult year...and perhaps because it was going to be a difficult year. We signed those contracts, believing that God had lessons he wanted us to learn this year, and by his grace, we are learning. 

We are learning to be better spouses. We are learning to be better employees. We are learning to shun wickedness and pursue righteousness. We are learning to live healthier. We are learning how better to spend our time, our money and our energy. We are learning about ourselves and our desires. We are learning more about church ministry, both some of the great things and the painful things. We are learning about fellowship. We are learning how better to follow Jesus. 

But we still don't know where we're going next...

I recently wrote a bit about a lesson in patience we are learning, affirming that Jesus is the good shepherd, who cares for his sheep. I mentioned that the Lord is my shepherd. I am secure in the knowledge that under his care, I shall not be in want...even for guidance. So we wait. 

As we do, I wanted to share with you some of the opportunities we've already been offered, the places we're considering and the people in those places, who would love for us to be there, too. 

I intend on this blog being part one in an honest to goodness series. 

So, without any further jibber-jabber on my part, let me tell you about :
Option 1:

we stay right here. 

Oh our goodness!  We can't believe I just said that!  

But I did. 
And it's true. 

We have seriously considered staying right here. 

The early church father, Abba Antony is quoted to have said, 
"In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it."
and I believe there is depth and wisdom in that statement. I believe God placed me here for a reason. If so, I should not leave until I have a clear understanding of him wanting me to go. 

We have great opportunities here. Just yesterday morning, I received a phone call asking me whether or not I would be interested in a job teaching at a university. [for those interested, I declined, as the job starts at the end of the month] The point is, here...there are jobs! At least, for experienced English teachers there are. I have no such guarantee waiting for me back in the West. I realize that where the Lord leads, he provides. It just makes sense to stay in a place where your specific skill set is in demand. 

In addition, I have been wondering more and more whether or not the Lord might be leading me to plant a church, here. There are churches. I currently go to one at which I have found family, fellowship and many ministry opportunities. However, there's still this inkling that God might want to use me, my experiences and my skills in this place, for his Kingdom in church ministry. 

Other things that drive us to consider staying are familiarity, very cheap healthcare, and wonderful friends, who have become like family to us. One such pair of friends are the Lantzes. God has intertwined the stories of our lives together for more than 2 years, and truly they are extensions of our family. 

And so, we have reasons to stay: friends, work, ministry. 
It really is an option. 
As much as our families back home may hate the idea, we cannot discount it. 

As we consider all of these things, we covet your prayers. 

Until next time. 


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