A post by the girl in the Miller family. Part 2
I am so behind on putting this post out, but late is better than never, right? 😉
As you might remember, I hope, cause that was a ways back, I wrote about Sierra Leone, and also about the calling for us all to become a disciple wherever we are. I wrote about the needs of the people in Sierra Leone and how Ty and I are called to go and help them. I had also promised to follow up with the way we came to realize this specific calling for our family, what we’re praying to accomplish, and how you, yeah you!, can help us 🙂
In a perfect, God led way, Ty last wrote about Gods not so subtle signs. Now, I can assure you all we didn’t compare notes before hand. How perfect God led Ty to write what he had though.
When we were called to Sierra Leone, Africa, becoming missionaries in another country was far from our radar. I stress another country because we were looking to be missionaries. We were just searching closer to our own back yard. Ty and I had both been praying and seeking how we could use our God given talents to bless others and show the love of The Lord. Ty, being a carpenter and a lover of helping people, had been searching for people who needed home repairs badly but couldn’t provide the means to do them. He would often obsess over this project and pray daily for God to show him the needs. At the same time, I was discussing a crisis-pregnancy center of sorts, with a slant towards adoption and a focus on Jesus, with my good friend Ginger. Each of us willing and wanting, without the sureness of how to start. Mostly, ultimately, we were praying sincerely for God’s will to be done in us.
Now last year, about October 2011, our good friend Chance, went on a mission trip with our church, Athens Christian Church, to Sierra Leone. They were putting on a VBS for the kids in the villages, and paying a visit to Rick and Paula Miller, the family our church supports who are living there today. (you can find more information about this awesome family in our homepage of our blog) When Chance returned he was changed forever. We met with he and Ginger one afternoon shortly after his return to spend a fall day pumpkin picking. We were carrying on our conversations when Chance asked Ty “hey, I have a question for you. What would you do if I told you I found a way for you to use your carpentry skills to help others?” and of course Ty said “That would be amazing!” Then Chance said “What about a way for your wife to go and help kids and moms?” Ty replied “Wow, that would be the best!” and then came “What if I told you it was in Africa?”. OK, so here’s where we slam on our brakes and switch our excitement to a “No way, are you nuts? Us in Africa? That’s hilarious! What on earth would we do in Africa?”
And thus, a seed is planted. We spent a good amount of time that day asking questions about our roles, about the culture and how in no way this would be a possibility. Excuses and many a “…but” came pouring into our minds. But you know what? God is bigger than any self doubt, fear, excuse, or selfish reason we could ever compose. As the time went on, Ty became more willing and more called. I became apprehensive and scared. We talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have a son with special needs. We have no money. We’d have to live among people with diseases. We’d miss our family. What if something horrible happened?
One day I was particularly overwhelmed with the idea and was trying to figure out a way to convince Ty why God doesn’t want us in Africa. I was invited out with a group of friends for a bachelorette party to see a band in a country western themed bar. I would have no chance of feeling the overwhelming pull to say yes to this new calling and the inner struggle I was experiencing to say NO that night. I could take a break from the big decisions and just to listen to some terrible music. Right? While we were out laughing and having a good time I was still feeling this nagging in my heart that I was saying No to my Lord. I took a trip to the bathroom and there in this stall of this country western bar was a GIANT, Boldly worded poster saying “Volunteer In Africa”. Are you kidding me?! I took a picture, in this bar and sent it to my husband who was at this point very sure that no doubt was bigger than Gods call. He of course, thoroughly enjoyed this display and my frustration at the inability to escape the tugging of God on my heart. I cried and said “ok God, you win”. IF only I was sincere. So yet again I found myself struggling with this inner desire to stay in my comfort zone and far from Africa. On a rough night that was sleepless, before a big doctors appointment for our son Sullivan, I was thinking to myself “God can’t expect us to take this boy to Africa. He has so many struggles to fight here. I am not taking him there. Nope. It’s not meant to be. So, in an effort to gain more clarity, and to have some more ammunition in this decision Ty and I were mulling, I opened my devotional, looking for something bold and biblical to back me up. In that perfect, God planned moment, I opened to a page titled “out of our comfort zone”. I read about a woman who was currently in another country in a hut with other women and their babies, preaching the Gospel. She wrote about how we should get out of our comfort zones, be willing to go where God calls us, and to love others and Christ loves us. God 2: Sarah 0. I was beginning to see that God was after me more determined than I gave Him credit for, and that He has a plan for me. Bigger and better than my own. Thank YOU God for loving me enough to stay on me.
At the end of November 2011, Tyler, Chance, and Ginger (my good friend and Chances wife) went to Sierra Leone. I stayed behind, unwilling to leave our boys and to tend to Sullivan who has feeding struggles as well. During the time Ty was away, I have never missed him so badly in my life. I cried a lot and was sure that if he is called so are we. I can’t be apart from him. As God is sooo good, during the time Ty was away, Sullivan made an amazing turn in his struggles. At the time he was mostly fed by G-tube and rarely was able to drink any good amount. The day Ty left for Africa, Sully began drinking entire feedings orally, and not using his G-tube at all. Hows that for confirmation! Each day Sully improves and while he will continue to have mental and developmental delays, he will be as God wills. I couldn’t ask for more than that!
When Ty came home he was forever changed as well. Seeing, is life altering. He knew that there was no way we could stay here and live our lives knowing that we could be doing so much more to further God’s Kingdom somewhere else.
So, what on earth will we do in Africa? Rick and Paula Miller are doing amazing things, but as the saying goes “the work is great, but the workers are few”. They have amazing, God led plans for helping the people of Sierra Leone. Bringing the word of Christ to this Muslim centered country is the first and biggest goal. To do so, we need preachers. Men of God, equipped and ready, to go share the Hope of Jesus. They’re building a seminary school of sorts in the village of Brigitte with a focus on ministry and a background in trades so these ministers of can support themselves when they’re out leading their churches. As you can imagine, being the poorest country in the entire world, they can’t earn a living on leading a church like in the US. Tyler will be teaching carpentry classes to these men in training so they can earn a living. In this, he will prayerfully be able to teach these men valuable skills in their trades and also help better the community around them by using the needs of those in the village as projects. It’s an amazing opportunity.
I will be able to fulfill my dreams of helping women and children too! I will be working with Children’s Redemption Orphanage Home, caring for the kids daily needs and showing them the Love of Jesus they’re already gaining as it’s a Christian based orphanage. I will also help teach English in the primary school to help the kids gain literacy. I will of course, be a teacher to my own children with home schooling and doing the daily duties of a stay at home mom as I have been privileged to do here each day. As a bigger, long term goal, I am praying for the opportunity to begin a women’s bible study with the women of the village and have the opportunity to help them with parenting, nursing, and basic sanitary care. I am so excited to fulfill this goal with my best friend Ginger.
Now, with all of these plans, I have to say our biggest, most important job will be spreading the word and the Love of Jesus to the people of Sierra Leone and ultimately Africa entirely! Its a big goal but not one that’s ever beyond His good and perfect plan. He can do anything, including sending this small town family to do His work in another part of the world. God has called us all to share the love of Jesus. As the disciples did after Jesus left this earth, the work is far from done. I am so excited and privileged to be a part of it. When we live like Christ, and we love others as He did, when we go out and meet a basic need for these people and expect nothing in return, they will see that we’re different and prayerfully, will want to know what it is. I want to stand out, not because of what I did, but because of who He is.
Now comes the part to where you can help. Perhaps the toughest part in all of this for Tyler and I. We need your support. We have to have the income to support our family while there, and to send us there to begin with. Its a hard thing, to ask others to financially commit to you. Yes, we believe in what we are called there for. We know its meant to be, and we know that God will send us. We also know God uses His children to fulfill His plans. So, I ask you, as a missionary in need of support, to stop and pray. To ask God if He wants you to help us. If you feel compelled to do so, will you? Through your support we can show Gods love to an entire country, perhaps continent, that never before knew it. We are part of a group called Ripe for Harvest. On our blog is a link to their site. Every donation you make is tax deductible and we will be held accountable for our funds. We will share our budget transparently so you know what you’re helping us with. I want to thank you for praying for us, for considering partnering with us in this mission, and for your time in reading our blog. If you can’t financially support us, we are so thankful for your prayers alone. God bless you all!