During the Heaven on Earth convention which was held at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, our aunt Sarah, who had highly recommended that we come, let us know that there was an open mission opportunity for Annie and I. It was a casual comment made during a lunch conversation.
It was Annie who first took notice of the opportunity and continued asking questions. I on the otherhand thought of it as something that would not make sense at this time in our lives, and that it might be outside of God’s plan for us. So, hoping that it wouldn’t happen, I stayed quiet for a little bit and let things happen.
First of all, I must mention that I have not seen my wife this excited or passionate about anything during the time I have known her, so I knew something was up. However, In the case that God DID confirm that we were to go, I was ready to follow. The chances seemed very slim, so I let her do what she needed to do to get more information and other such things. I basically let her take the steering wheel on this and sat back to observe if this was God’s plan or not.
Back to the convention. The sun was shining and there was a light breeze and a certain energy in the air while Annie asked question after question about the mission opportunity. I too was interested, yet deep inside I felt that it was just something I had to let go, since it would not be possible. A strong reason why I did not think it was possible was because I had accepted the calling to be a pastor at that convention and was excited about coming back and sharing the new God-given fire / power / authority given to me. It did not make sense in my mind to leave the youth, that I had recommitted to serve.
After the convention, there was small chat about Paraguay here and there between Annie and I. She was still so very excited about the possibility. I, on the otherhand, had already put it behind me and had inner peace about staying at WLAKC and serving as a youth pastor. Nonetheless, the wheels kept turning, and God kept moving.
Only 2 days later, we got a call from Aunt Sarah telling us that the missionary, who in normal cases would NEVER be able to come back to the U.S. was here due to a family emergency. Sarah connected us with her friend ( a pastor’s wife ), whose husband ( a pastor ), was hosting Rev. Pedro Cho ( the missionary ). We drove out to Cerritos Presbyterian Church ( Korean ) to meet and hear him speak about his work.
We were not able to officially meet with him that day, but we exchanged contact so that we could set an appointment. I must mention, that Annie orchestrated this whole thing. So, there we were, at the pastor and his wife’s home where he was staying, talking to him about Paraguay, exchanging contact information and asking each other for prayer & confirmation. I still didn’t think it could be a possibility.
That very next Sunday, Annie wanted to tell our current youth pastor about this opportunity. She also thought it would be right to tell the head pastor and all the deacons early on so she went and gathered them. Luckily, they were going to have a meeting anyways, so they came to the room. We asked them to pray with us for confirmation. We told them that we were ready to go if they would send us as a church according to the vision and plans God had for the church. The meeting ended rather quickly with them asking us for more details of how much it will cost for them to send us. We prayed and we stepped out.
The reason that Annie had rushed this meeting was because our youth pastor was going on a business trip and would be absent for 3 weeks plus. She felt the need to tell everyone while he was there.
The friday after the meeting, I get word from a student that they heard that we were going to Paraguay. This person was distressed. It was strange for us to hear this because we had not yet made up our minds, or have received a “go” from the church. It turns out that the head pastor had told someone about it with the notion that we were going to go to Paraguay whether we were supported or not, on our own as our own mission trip. This was so far from what we were trying to accomplish.
That saturday, with much encouragement from my wife, I called the head pastor to clearify what we ment during the meeting. It turns out that the whole of the deacons had thought we we had made up our minds to go.
At this time, I was personally struggling with the idea of going because it had become all too real. I didn’t think it would come this far, but it did.