You may already be connected to Mission Builders International. Perhaps you love the idea of lifting the arms of those in long-term missions. Or maybe you support a friend or family member in such efforts. Or is it that your curiosity has been piqued by missions? Whatever your reason, this letter could confirm what already resonates in your heart, or it could be God’s nudge for you to go for it!
I spent five years longing to know God more in a safe and set-apart season of my life. I remember talking, for the umpteenth time, of my desires to my good friend, Melisa, who’d spent years in YWAM, living in the Middle East. She had something I didn’t—a maturity and well-roundedness—but more than that, a heart able to expand toward people and places in a way mine couldn’t. I told her once more, “I want what you have!” In a moment I’ll never forget, Melisa pounded her fist emphatically on the coffee shop table and said, “Then you just need to GO!”
Go? Me? Oh no, no, no. That’s not possible. I’ve already established myself in a career. I’d have to quit my job! That’s a lot to ask of me financially too. How in the world could I afford to do that? I’m pretty involved in my local church; how can I be released from my commitments? What about insurance? Rent? Leaving family and friends? And the clincher: YWAM is for those “young pups.” I’m too old!
Now, with a humble and knowing smile, I’m writing this on my last full day of outreach in Romania. For the first time in my walk with Christ, I didn’t allow fears and my over-analytical brain to define my desires or my future. Months ago, I took a leap of faith and declared, “I’m going to Montana!” I finally allowed God to be Himself. When I cut through the tethers of human understanding, the poison of people-pleasing, and my anxiety over many things, He showed me places of freedom and provision I’d only dreamed of.
How has a Crossroads Discipleship Training School changed my life? I received precious revelation about God’s character and grace, missions, evangelism and relationships. I surrounded myself with people who love Jesus and who encouraged me in how God has fashioned me. I was sharpened by different life perspectives, cultures, personalities and life situations.
Ups? Most definitely. Downs? You betcha. In fact, if you were to part the grass-is-always-greener curtain on anything in life, in time you would see—the ordinary. Did I just kill the mood? I certainly don’t want to paint a bleak picture. But as I read Romans 12 this past week, I recognized the beauty of the common dirt my Jesus walked on daily as He sojourned on earth, and the apostle Paul’s loving encouragement to do likewise.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Recognize what He wants from you, and respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, which drags you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you and develops well-formed maturity in you. A DTS enables you to embrace the everyday, ordinary life and to place all that you think, believe and are, at Jesus’ feet as a “living sacrifice.” As you do this, you allow Him to open your heart and eyes to people, places and experiences you never would have before.
At a Crossroads DTS (for those 30+), you can continue the journey of life-long learning and discipleship. It’s a season of receiving without apology, working out frustrations you’ve had and lies you’ve believed for years, making new and lasting relationships with other believers, gaining a heart for things that never before crossed your mind, wrestling through the hard questions of life and seeing God take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.
What would a Crossroads Discipleship Training School do for you? Only God can answer that. Just go for it! –Anna Patton
MBI’s next CDTS begins April 4, 2016. Visit www.missionbuilders.org for details and fill out the online CDTS application. For a photo tour of Anna’s 2014 outreach to Romania, visit the YWAM Mission Builders International Inc. Facebook page and view the photo album.