Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Missionaries of Apostles: The Farwells - Athletes in Action

John and Janie Farwell, with Tate, Kensie, and Sadie
We went to Israel with Athletes In Action to hopefully accomplish a number of things. First was to encourage, train and disciple our staff in Bethlehem.  Second was to develop some deeper relationships with the Israeli basketball federation.  And last to take some classes for personal development.

The questions asked of us upon our return from Israel: How was the trip? Was it worth it?  And for those in Raleigh, are you teaching Sunday School again?  The whirlwind that was the last year still lingers in my mind.  What God did to get us to Israel was simply awe inspiring and whole heartedly confirming, raising all the funds needed in less than two months was so encouraging.  Then came news of the use of chemical weapons in Syria three days before our departure to the region.  We prayed and relied on our previous experiences traveling to the Middle East to feel confident to go forward (after purchasing gas masks to take with us).  Not an easy decision when surrounded by family over Labor day weekend. 

Once there, we did life with our AIA staff and the families in our apartment building.  My mind went to all the things we hoped to accomplish during our time there.  I began to feel anxious.  My nature is to be a doer.  Things there got off to a slow start in terms of being ‘productive’.  I did all the usual things we are ‘supposed’ to do: prayed, worked towards setting up meetings, etc…

A sense of helplessness was and is a constant companion.  I felt the weight of responsibility to y’all, our family, friends and supporters as well as a drive to be productive and make the time ‘fruitful’.  There was literally nothing we could ‘do’ to reach any of our goals.  And yet, looking back, everything on our ‘to do list’ was done and more so.  We could not have orchestrated it any better.  The last month and a half were exhausting with all that we were doing.  I’m confronted afresh with the reality of our utter dependency on Him to accomplish His purposes.  The feeling of helplessness is so helpful as it forces me back to this reality, in every aspect of life. 

Speaking to the men in particular, our culture bombards us with the message that we have to be a mover and a shaker, make things happen to be a leader and a man; a pressure to initiate, make something out of nothing and persevere at all times.  Obviously, in the Spirit, these are all great attributes.  But God is the primary mover.  It is His agenda we are trying to accomplish, for His glory and not our own feeble blip of a reputation in the greater span of human history.  We watched God move in ways that confirm His plan and it is up to Him to make it happen.  Our job is simply to show up and be available. We can’t ‘make’ anything happen. 

My desire in sharing this with you is to let you into our hearts and be encouraged to keep ‘showing up’ and following God’s agenda in your life.  He desires the whole world to be reconciled to Himself and all of us are surrounded by those who don’t know Him and institutions which choose not to honor Him.  We have an opportunity today to be a small part of God’s restoration plan and there is nothing more exciting in life than that.

Ways to Pray:
Please pray for the ministry in Israel. 

Pray for the two trips coming up this summer.  
Pray for our staff in Israel - for their safety and protection.  
Please also pray for preparations for the fall tour and having Apostles be a launching pad to send young men out all over the world.

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