A little over a month ago I started feeling guilty about being a slug and not getting any kind of regular exercise so I decided to start walking. Besides, my doctor had been nagging at me for quite a while so to get him off my back I have gradually worked my way up from 1.5 miles a day to 4.2 miles and I walk every day. In fact, I just got back from my evening constitutional. I usually go out for my walk in the late afternoon or early evening. At first I would come back weary and footsore. Now I've gotten used to it and it doesn't bother me anymore. In fact, now I'm a lean, mean, walking-machine, although I don't think I've lost a single stinkin' pound, which was another one of the reasons I started walking in the first place. Bummer! Ramel has gone with me a few times but most days she declines my invitation. She says that I walk too fast for her short legs. I've offered to slow down and cut down the distance but she's still not buying it. I'll keep working on her.
As I was walking along the road today I got to thinking about all the expressions or song titles we have about roads: "Hit the Road, Jack." "Take a hike." "Let's get this show on the road." "Back on the Road Again." "King of the Road." "On the Jericho Road." The list is endless.
But for Christians the metaphor of the road has some special meanings. We speak of life being a road, a journey. We refer to our walk with the Lord. We talk about running the race and staying the course. The road of life is a word picture that all of us understand.
Ramel and I are on a kind of road. We started down this road in January 2012 when at the Mission ConneXion NW Conference the Lord spoke to both of us and said that it was time to step out in faith and move back into missionary work. Over the next few months He focused our eyes and our hearts on Ireland and then confirmed in a variety of ways that Ireland is indeed the place where He wanted to put us. Since then this road has taken us through many different transitions and adjustments: resigning my 19+ years pastorate at Sellwood Baptist Church, resigning from the Portland Police Bureau chaplaincy, explaining to our 3 children and 10 grandchildren what we are doing, talking to countless friends and family members about what this will mean for our future, speaking in churches, camps, conferences, and retreats, etc.
We are still trucking along, confident that we are on the right road and going in the right direction. However, sometimes the journey gets difficult. The road gets a little steep. We get tired and grouchy. Well, at least Ramel does. And frankly, the journey is taking longer than we anticipated. We thought that by now we would have around 60% of our support raised and a whole team of prayer partners and financial backers walking with us on this journey. However, we are closer to 15%, meaning that we still have a long way to go.
Don't get me wrong...we aren't throwing in the towel or doubting that this is the path for us. We are just hoping that more folks will get as excited about the Open Door in Ireland as we are, and will want to help us carry the Gospel to Sligo.
Some of you have already signed on to be our partners, and for that we are very grateful. If you have not yet done that will you at least consider it? Please ask God if He wants you to come with us on this journey we're on.
*If you want to contribute with a one-time gift, large or small, click HERE.
*If you want to make a commitment, no matter the amount, even $10/month, click HERE.
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We'll do our best to let you know about the mileposts we come to along this journey. Please pray that we will keep on keeping on and not grow weary or discouraged. Pray for open doors to share our story and tell people all the wonderful things God is doing in Ireland to build His Church. Pray for us to have courage and wisdom as we try to pare down our belongings to lighten our load in anticipation of our move across the big pond. Pray for our family as we try to prepare them for getting along without us for a while.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Your servants for His sake,
Mike, for both of us
P.S. You keep on truckin' for Jesus, too.