Tomorrow is the last page of a long chapter in this volume of our life, and the first page of a new chapter in a new volume. At 10:40, I will fly north towards the great nation called the United States.
Looking back, it's been some ride. We returned to South America thinking we would do one thing. Before we even stepped foot on South American soil, we found that our job had changed. Not that we minded; we are here for the Lord's pleasure. It seemed that it pleased him to change our roles.
What have we seen in the past term of ministry? We have seen victory above all else. We have seen scores--hundreds--pray to receive Christ. We have seen dozens and dozens respond to the call to missions and Christian ministry. God started churches in some areas; in other areas, some churches ceased to meet. We helped build a community in one place. In another, the community gave us their building for us to meet church.
There have been joys in abundance. We have laughed and enjoyed deeply the presence of Jesus in our midst. Friends have been plentiful. There has been good fellowship with believers, both missionaries and nationals. Pam and I were even "officially married" in a local church in our 25th wedding anniversary. It was a fun celebration.
There have also been heartaches. But in all of it God has proven himself the faithful friend he tells us he is. We have been knocked to the ground, metaphorically speaking; but we were able to stand back up because our strength is not from us. Our strength is that same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at the right hand of God in heavenly places. There he reigns victorious, above all principalities and powers. Here he reigns victorious in our hearts.
There have been battles. You don't start churches, win the lost, train leaders, disciple new believers, and other things important to starting churches without them.
Sometimes the battles have been intense. It's only the grace of Jesus that has enabled us to hold our heads high in those times.
Sometimes the battles have been personal. We are flesh and blood. We are not perfect. There are times we think we are farther along in our walk with the Lord, when suddenly someone does something or says something that reveals that our old nature still lurks behind some closed door. That old nature stinks, by the way; it's rotting and rotten. My old tennis shoes smell better!
We are looking forward to this time of rest. Our supervisor told us today to be sure to do just that. He told us to rest, to love on our two daughters living stateside, and to do all we could to not be thinking on this ministry we are leaving behind.
We are looking forward to writing a new chapter in our next life volume. The pages are clean, the pen is in the hand of a ready writer. What will it say? I don't know, because I don't know what the future holds; but I know who holds the future, as the song says!
The next time I write, I will be somewhere in southern America.
Peace! Kevin Shearer