Anyone who knows me or have known me for an considerable amount of time, is fully aware of my heart and passion for Europe. Eiffel Towers, Fleur de Lis, and all things vintage French, Italian, or european adorn my walls, journals, computer desktop, etc. From a young age i have KNOWN that the call on my life was and is intimately connected to Europe. There has never been any doubt about that. I have traveled there on multiple occasions and long for the day God gives me the prompting that it is time to GO to reach the heart of Europe. Europe has become a dark continent and in the nation of France less that 1% own a bible and less than 3% are considered Christian. I went to bible school for missions all with my heart ablaze for the continent of Europe and the desire to pack my bags and move there! I was ready to GO, but then God spoke to me to go home and give to the Church that raised me.
I have to be honest, it was hard returning back home. This was tough. And, the past two years of being faithful to God’s instruction, have not been easy. These past two years have been hurtful, at times it felt like I stepped backwards in areas, and at times I felt like Jesus in Mark 6:4 and Luke 4:24, when He wasn’t even honored or welcomed in His own hometown. Its been difficult going from traveling the nation, getting to minister to the sick and being used mightily by God with some amazing ministers and spiritual generals in our day who treated me as an equal to returning home and feeling like only a handful of people see my worth or even see me as an adult. This has definitely been a season of patience and being faithful, in the face of slander, gossip, rudeness, pure hate, dishonor, and more. In spite of all that has taken place since I moved back to my hometown, I am convinced it is not a loss. I believe that at some point in my life I will look back on this season and fully see what God was working and adjusting in me. There have been many frustrations, many nights of crying myself to sleep, many times of questioning if i missed God, there have been lonely times where I felt it was just my family that cared for me and that everyone else was waiting for me to mess up and eager to “correct” and accuse me, and there have been MANY opportunities to chose forgiveness and love over bitterness and hate. In this time, God has been drastically shifting some things in me and has been changing my heart. I know Europe is still a vital part of my call, but its been set aside to simmer on the back burner of my life, until God says its time. So, what does that mean for this season? Well, I’m still searching out the full will and purpose of God for this season, but i do know some things that are popping up on the horizon and fresh vision that has God’s fingerprints all over it!
In our nation, particularly among conservatives and christians, i think its safe to say theres anywhere from slight frustration to pure hate towards muslims, jihadist, ISIS, Taliban, anyone who remotely looks or favors someone of middle eastern decent. Why? because we were attacked on our own soil by people who proclaimed the name of Allah and rejoiced in killing the “Great Satan.” I’ve been there. I’m not justifying this behavior nor am i justifying stupidity. I remember being at school, hearing about an “accident” where a plane flew into the first tower, then watched in horror as the second plane hit and as the realization overpowered my heart that this wasn’t an accident, and then the pentagon was hit and then the plane where heroes rose up and crashed it in a field instead of allowing the presumed target, The White House, to be hit. I remember the hate and the anger. I harbored thoughts of Nuke’s and taking out the whole middle east and “solving” this problem. I regretfully joked about this with people who held extreme right-wing political views. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hated muslims and islamic terrorists with a passion, but I was very close to that hate. While this attitude is understandable in light of the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, as a Christian it is not justifiable. And this is what God has been changing in my heart. If you go back and study history, the days many of us weren’t alive for or some were babies, Pearl Harbor was a ruthless and brutal attack by Japan on the United States. It was dubbed “a day which shall live in infamy” and we are all familiar with the old black and white reels of footage and the photographs of the attacks. What many of us today have forgotten is that americans hated Japanese people with a passion, so much so that anyone who resembled a Japanese person was often roughed up or attacked, things were so out of hand that magazines like LIFE and TIME released pages of the difference between a Japanese person and a Chinese person. And, the Japanese were evacuated to internment camps or concentration camps during the war. Many horrific and inhumane things took place in those times as people allowed their hate and racism towards the Japanese to consume them. Terms like “Japs” and “Nips” thrown around. and similar hate was focused towards Germans who were dubbed with derogatory terms like “Hermann,” “Jerry,” and “Kraut.” What is the point of all this history and what does it have to do with anything I’m talking about? My point is that when we allow our hatred over enemies in war or those who’ve attacked our nation to override our commands as Christians, we’ve abandoned our call and have left our post, so to speak. Following the end of WWII, as the Japanese were completely devastated as a nation having lost the war and with the aftermath of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, General McArthur is famously quoted saying that “Japan is a spiritual vacuum” and “Send me 1,00 missionaries and we’ll take this nation for Christ!” Sadly, less than 100 answered the call. Why? Because christians REFUSED to live a life of love. The love of God knows NO borders. It crosses cultural barriers and it overrides national loyalty. A heart in tune with the love of God begs for the opportunity to spread that love, anywhere and everywhere that it is needed! But, just as was seen in the end of WWII with people choosing to hate the Japanese over the war, we see the exact same attitude gripping the hearts of Christians today in connection with muslims. I was guilty of this, but I have been allowing God to shift and change things in me and my prayer is that more christians allow Him to do the same in their lives!
So for the past few years, I’ve become increasingly draw to the middle east. I think a lot of this happened during my time studying world missions. As I began to study missions more in depth and heard about the Joshua Project (www.joshuaproject.net) and saw the concentration of people who have never even HEARD the name of Jesus, my heart grieved. I began to realize something, those people we are so quick to hate and ready to condemn to an eternity in hell, those very same people, a vast majority of them, have NEVER HEARD the name of Christ, let alone the Gospel. While I sit comfortably in my western home and quickly pass judgment on the “towelheads” and “A-rabs,” they are dying without knowing the truth! Why??? Because people are refusing to GO to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8) and refusing to GO where His name is not known (Romans 15:20-21, Isaiah 52:15). And ultimately, people are refusing to live the life of LOVE we are called to live! John 3:16 clearly tells us that God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only son. Not that he so loved the people that already love Him or the white people or the cultured people or the non-nomadic people. It says He so loved the WORDL, that means everyone in the entire world. The scriptures also tell us in 2 Peter 3:8-10, that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come into eternal life. That tells me that he isn’t willing that ANYONE should perish, He doesn’t wish to nuke the whole middle east. He doesn’t want them to go out of this world and into eternity without hearing the truth about Him. I can only imagine the grief and pain that weighs on his heart when another muslim dies void of the Love of Jesus and void of the knowledge of who He is, because His own children so selfishly keep the Gospel to themselves because they “don’t like” or “hate” muslims. I know this simply breaks his heart! The more I come in tune with his Word and His heart beat, the more this attitude breaks my heart! Jesus loves these people so much that he is APPEARING to them! Jesus himself is appearing to muslims right and left telling them the truth, and you know what??? They are flocking to christianity by the thousands. Due to the current events in the middle east these days with the devastation of war, the rise of ISIS, the Syrian Refugee situation and more, the hearts of the muslims are rich and fertile ground for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His love and forgiveness. It is here that God is changing my heart. It is towards these people that I no longer look at them as the enemy in war and targets for bullets, I now look at them through the eyes of love, through eyes that cry at their state without God. My heart has been changed to where I long to touch these people, to reach their hearts with the love of Jesus that has set me free! My heart has shifted to the point if someone gave me a ticket to Iraq tomorrow to work with the refugees, I’d pack my bags and GO.
I now sit here writing this with hopeful expectation for the day I can pack my bags, board a flight, and step foot on middle eastern soil with the hope of the Gospel in my heart and the healing anointing and power of God on my hands, ready to be a vessel for God to set the captives free and make HIS name known to every tribe and tongue! THIS is the heart of the Gospel, and this is how God has changed my heart. My hope is that you allow Him to change your heart too!
Full of Expectation,