Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Laura, BJ, and Suzanne spent two summer together, ministering in Peru. Laura was with us last summer as well. Both ladies return with me this summer to once again, share the Gospel.

I remember when I was a child in church and heard stories of missionaries, how moved I was. I remember having this picture in my head of living in the jungles and connecting with tribes who dressed like Tarzan, and hung out with chimps. Much of what I believed about being a missionary was not true.

As an adult, after Deanna and I got married and began raising our children, I remember hearing the plea for people to go fill our churches short term mission projects to serve.

I heard testimonies, and they tugged at my heart. Kind of the way that watching "Little House on the Prairie" reruns would do. Still, I had a disconnected understanding in my head of what being a missionary would mean.

I found I was passing judgment on those who I knew to be missionaries, and even those who served in short term projects. Somehow, I saw them as hyper-spiritual, or disconnected with society in some other way. That somehow, God had called them to go to the ends of the earth because they did not fit in to our culture.

I was fighting hard for the American Dream. I wanted my children to have more than I had as a child. I wasn't really getting anywhere, but I saw myself as pursuing a better life for them.

My attitude began to grow a bit sour on the whole missions idea. It seemed an unwelcome distraction. An idea that seemed to take up an increasing amount of time in our church services. What was the deal? Why did they have to keep bringing it up? I knew I could not afford to go! The little money I made in human services, certainly wasn't going to allow me to go on such costly ventures.

Simultaneously, I was buying stuff I really could not afford to pacify my lust for my distorted corner of the world.

Through youth ministry, God began to open my eyes to the need and reality of His desire for me to serve. He had gifted me with an ability and a desire to connect with students. He showed me how to do this, and it was contrary to my suppositions.

I began to learn much from Him, once I let go of my own agenda.

Soon, the youth ministry at Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis was planning a student mission trip to Croatia. It was to last around two weeks. I remember being asked to pray about going and helping lead. I remember being terrified.

I had been to Canada. I had been to Mexico. I had even been to the Bahamas. I didn't need a passport for any of those. I never had a desire to travel. I have always been something of a homebody. A homebody who wanted to live in the mountains or woods. the idea of leaving our soil to go to those jungles of my childhood memories, and hanging out with chimps was way out of my element...or so I thought.

The Lord made clear His will for me to go that summer. I submitted, but had great concern. I helped plan in small ways, but spent a lot of time nursing worry.

I remember getting my passport, showing up at the airport, and being filled emotion. I did not know if I would ever return to my family or not. I had a crisis of understanding my purpose in life.

God broke my heart that summer. He showed me what happens when I walked in obedience to Him. He showed me what impact He would have through my "yes." He separated me from the team and had me preaching in churches, while the rest of my team worked together. Me...preaching! No one would believe this. What was God thinking?

I got to spend time with my team as well. I saw the Lord open the eyes of students in ways that expanded my view of Him. I saw God save many for His kingdom!

I remember saying to myself, "wouldn't it be cool if I could do this for a living?!"

Eight years later, through a seemingly unmeasurable journey, I would be doing just that!

A surrendered life changes lives.

When we fully surrender to what the Lord desires, He begins to move and demonstrate His power in ways that break down pre-conceived notions.

Your life matters. My life matters.

He can and will do much when we yield control to Him.



At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your continued testimony. Thanks for encouraging me!

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

So beautifully put Brent, if only we would remember it's not about us, but all about Him. I've just finished reading "I Would Die For You", only a few minutes ago, and want to say, what a wonderful book you have put together. My prayer is that those who pick this book up to read will be touched by the love that BJ had for our Lord, and moved to surrender their lives over to Him and His desires for their lives. Thank You for your obedience in this project. My prayers are with you both this month as you travel to speak. May there be ears open and hearts soft and ready to hear and receive the message of our Lord and Savior.

In His Love

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, dad, beautifully stated. Thank you for your continuing encouragement and obedience to our Lord. \0/

At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Have you seen FACING THE GIANTS? I couldn't help but think of that the whole time I was reading your blog. There is a part in it where this man is simply just losing ALL of life's battles, so it seems to HIM and the WORLD ... but, there is more than meets the eye! God is constantly moving even when our circumstances seem so immovable ... but, are we working off God's power or our own? In the movie, the coach uses the parable of the 2 men who needed rain for their fields. One man just vegged out and grew lazy because he didn't believe the rain would come and the other man prepared his field and equipment ... and then it rained!

God is CONSTANTLY moving in our FAITH ... all He wants us to do is prepare our fields and get ready for Him! TRUST!

I don't always see through the eyes of FAITH - we can watch these kids who once served the Lord whole-heartedly simply just walk away for what this world has to offer and we can feel as though we have failed or fallen short somehow. All we can do is pray! ALL we can do is pray? By golly, that is the weapon that defeats the enemy, so LET US PRAY and be willing! Youth Ministry and Missions are high callings that come with a high price ... you are not alone! Hebrews 4:14 --- Your Lord has gone before you :)

I praise the Lord for you!

Sending my love from Colorado,

Miss Laurel Lynn <><

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Amen Brent! Amazing to see what God can do when we just submit. God is so amazing!
In Christ's Love,
Miranda =)

At 2:55 AM, Blogger Alyson said...

I have not been able to read all of the posts, but no worries. I will. The other day I was in a bookstore looking for a book to read to "pass the time." When I saw the title, I started singing Mercy Me's song, and I had a brief recollection of BJ's story. Little did I know how life changing it would be. I still have about 20 pages left, but I couldn't make myself wait any longer to post here.
I am honored to have found his story. God has used your faithfulness in writing this book to rock my world. You have no idea the effect your son has had on my life.
The best part? One day, I'll get to tell him. I cannot wait until the day that I can give BJ a giant hug and thank him for every thing God taught me through him, and through his family. I can't wait to meet your son. And yes, listen to the long version of any story he wants to share. He is truly one of my biggest heroes.
I just thought I'd tell you that. And thank you for following His direction every step of the way.
I know BJ wanted to go to North Africa and it was a few years back, but his story will be with me this summer as I serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, BJ Higgins, and Alyson Walker in South Africa.

You are so deep in my prayers!! I look forward to meeting y'all one day. This side or the flipside, I'll catch you later!

At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey im praying 4 ur fam.
god bless....


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