As I titled this post, I was reminded of one of my favorite songs is “I Can Play the Background” by Lecrae. The connection seemed arbitrary at first, but as I thought about the lyrics, the association became clearer. The second verse says:
I had a dream that I was captain of my soul
I was master of my fate, lost control. and then I sank
So I don’t want to take the lead, ’cause I’m prone to make mistakes
All the folks who follow me, going end up in the wrong place
So let me just shadow you, let me trace your lines
Matter of fact, just take my pen, here, you create my rhymes
‘Cause if I do this by myself, I’m scared that I’ll succeed
And no longer trust in you, ’cause I only trust in me
And see, that’s how you end up headed to destruction
Paving a road to nowhere, pour your life out for nothing
You pulled my card, I’m bluffing, You know what’s in my hand
Me, I’m just going to trust you, You cause the dice to land
I’m in control of nothing, follow you at any cost
Some call it sovereign will, all I know is you the boss
Man, I’m so at ease, I’m so content
I’ll play the background, like it’s an instrument
Here, Lecrae expresses one of my greatest fears: to focus so much on my own plans that I no longer listen to God or trust in Him. I am excited about beginning this adventure of an Associate with New Tribes Mission because it will force me to trust Him completely. Nearly a month ago, I was shocked into stunned silence when a random stranger dropped a hundred dollar bill into my hand to support my move to Papua New Guinea. Last weekend, I meandered into an opportunity to share God’s testimony in my life leading me towards missions to a hundred high school and college students. Monday was my first day teaching full-time in a position that by all logical and expected paths, should never have opened and I should never have gotten. Day after day God pours out blessing into my life in unexpected, miraculous ways and asks me only to trust Him. His plans are so much bigger than mine—I can’t even fathom what He has in store for me!
While all of that is very cool and excites me to think about and share, it was not the original intention of this post. Because I am beginning a journey that I want each of you to be a part of, I want you to know what it is I am doing and with whom. Some of that I may have shared in bits and pieces over time, but this post will hopefully bring it all together. (If you are interested in the “why,” see “Application 2012,” where I explained why I want to be a missionary.)
In July, it is my intention to travel to Papua New Guinea where I will be living and working for the next two to four years. I will be teaching high school and middle school English at Numonohi Christian Academy, a school for missionary kids. As an Associate with New Tribes Mission, I will be joining the other missionaries at the school in teaching approximately 180 students grades K-12 who represent ten different countries. The purpose of NCA is to glorify God and to assist in the establishing of indigenous tribal churches throughout PNG by supporting parents in providing a Christ-centered education for their children. I am privileged and excited to have the opportunity to join in the work of tribal missions in this supporting role.
I will be serving under the head of New Tribes Mission. Their primary purpose is the planting of tribal churches. Of the world’s 6,500 people groups, 2,500 are still unreached. New Tribes Mission helps local churches train, coordinate and send missionaries to these tribes. These tribes’ cultures and languages have isolated them from the Gospel, thus requiring missionaries to learn their language and understand their culture in order to clearly present the Gospel and effectively plant a church. Through chronological Bible teaching and following the pattern seen in Acts as God’s people carried out the Great Commission, missionaries seek to establish mature churches that can take their rightful place as agents of change in their own communities and partners in the Great Commission.
As importantly, I am also serving with you. I firmly believe that I will only be working in Papua New Guinea as a representative of the Body of Christ. In 2010, when I traveled to Papua New Guinea for the first time on Interface, the most incredible experience of the entire month was worshiping God with believers from around the world. When we joined together in song, with Simbari voices, German voices, English voices, and American voices, it was the Body of Christ worshiping our Savior as one. (For a more extensive description of this and other Interface experiences, check out all my Interface posts.) It is my desire that my ministry teaching would only be an extension of the Body of Christ. It is for that reason, that I aim to update friends and family around the world as often as possible, keeping the Body aware of the stories God is weaving in and through my life for His glory.
If anyone still has questions, I would love to answer them as much as possible either publicly on the blog, or privately through e-mail, Facebook, the phone, or in person! If you hadn’t already noticed, I get pretty excited talking and writing about this… God is so good!