Moving to the mission field was one of the most exhilarating, exciting, and terrifying things I have ever done. In October of 2015, my family and I packed up several storage tubs and carry-on suitcases and arrived at the airport with our one-way tickets to Honduras. After two years of praying and planning, including 18 months on the road visiting churches and sharing our vision, we were finally ready. “This is it,” I thought. “I am ready. We are moving to Honduras and soon we will be settled in for the long haul. I am 100% certain that this is God’s will for my life.” Many times while we were preparing to move to Honduras, and even after moving, I encountered people who asked this question: “How long are you planning to stay?” I would give them a quizzical look and say: “I’m moving there. I have no plans to do anything else. This is it. Forever!” And then one Wednesday afternoon, sixteen months after leaving home and planting my wife and children in a foreign country, we found that we had to move our work. I was suddenly faced with a question I had thought was already answered: “Where do you want me to go, Lord?” The setting, the scene, the backdrop that I pictured playing out in real life was seemingly all gone. I had to ask myself if the vision God gave me was gone too. Even more difficult questions had to be answered. “What am I doing here? Is this my work, or is this God’s work? Can this vision be transplanted, or was this a one-time shot? Where did this vision come from? If I truly believe it came from God—and I do—what is the purpose? If I knew then what I know now, would I still have come to Honduras in the first place?”
Someone asked me, “If you could go back to the beginning, what would you change?” Both my wife and I agreed: “Nothing.” So where do we go from here? A family of six, 4700 kilometers from home, and wondering “What to do? Where to go? What is God’s will for my life now? How do we find it?” The answer to these questions was not a great revelation; I learned it as a child in Sunday School. Read your Bible, pray every day… walk faithfully with God and He will lead the way. One thing that I believe is very important in finding God’s will on the mission field is to not try to force anything. I simply ask God to open the doors He wants me to go through, and close the doors He doesn’t want me to walk through. That’s what we did.
Sure enough, God began to open new doors. I received an email from someone I had never met, who told me I had been recommended to him by another man I had only met once. I was begging God for direction and He led a man I had only briefly met once, to contact a man I had never met, to call me. The man suggested we meet and discuss the possibility of working together. This is not the only way God works. He works differently with different people. I cannot tell you how He will work for you. I can only tell you what He did for me. It was not only an answer to prayer, it was a miracle!
Another thing I believe to be important in finding God’s will on the mission field is to never make hasty decisions out of fear or impatience. Seek Godly counsel, discuss everything with your pastor, be willing to listen and accept the counsel, and pray earnestly with all of your might. After two survey trips to meet and get to know this missionary and his family (someone whom I had never previously met but was still located in Honduras) I knew that God had led me through this door. God gave me peace that this was where He would continue His plan for our family. We would remain in Honduras.
I am sure that this new road will not be easy and that trials await in the new direction in which God is leading. But when we trust God to lead, He gives us the peace in knowing that He will guide us through every obstacle, every roadblock, and every challenge. He will do so with His power and His grace.
Most of our future plans are mapped out in a setting we fabricate in our minds. “This is what the vision will look like. This is the setting. This is how I see it playing out.” But when the time comes that this setting is stripped away, and we are left alone with just the bare-bones of the vision and nothing more, we need to be willing to give it all to the Lord and trust Him to direct our steps. Follow what we know is right. Follow God in all the “everyday” areas of life. Be obedient. Be faithful. Allow Him to be our guide. We need to be willing to take all of the goals, plans and dreams we have—and hand them over to God. Let God do what God wants to do with the vision. After all, it’s His vision to begin with.