Questions from friends often touch on my intention to make the Institute of Foundational Learning (IFL) in the Philippines (PI) more of a home base than my present home. After all, everything I have here is paid for; I live in a beautiful area; I can travel to and from places easily. I could “kick back” and coast for the rest of my earthly life. Furthermore, the tropical weather in PI is tough on my body. If I was to consider things in terms of comfort, finances, close friends, and some sort of “retired” living, nothing would change.
When a believing person decides, however, that God is truly Lord, that He provides direction for his children, and that He means business, then the equation changes. Linda and I married because He put us together and we had the same goal: know Him and want anything He had for us. I initially learned hospitality through her. We never stopped opening doors to people, feeding them, and doing one sort of service or another. We made lots of mistakes, but our goal did not change. It was not a religious thing; it was a relationship thing, because God’s direction was that real to us. She fully intended to be in the Philippines long term, while I was not so sure.
Now that she is before Him, I continue to do the same sorts of things — love people and obey. It is the cornerstone of the message I will share with two local churches when I report about the last three month trip to the Philippines, which I made alone. The functions have not changed from previous trips; they have just become deeper and more encompassing.
Last night I had a dream that captures the sentiment of a “calling”. I was sitting but holding a little girl who was standing in front of me. She needed consolation and I was acting as a father to her. I don’t know what I said, I don’t know who she was, but when I was done and she was more settled in her heart, I gently put my hands on her waist and turned her to the Father. That is all I did. That is my job, or you can call it a “calling.” The same sort of thing happened during this last trip over and over again. Sometimes it was with adults; sometimes with children; sometimes with couples. What do you do when a grown man stands up in front of men and women and says with all earnestness, “Would you let me be your son?” After awhile, I got the message: that is where He wants me. I did not reason it or choose it — other than responding to the Spirit of God. It is not complicated.
The biblical creation curriculum that I am writing will affect thousands of people. That, alone, was enough to keep me going back and forth to IFL, but I never expected the breadth and depth of the human relationship part that unfolded on the last trip. I cannot remain home in Virginia. You must understand, I am acutely aware that it was not been my ability (it’s not significant) or charm (there isn’t much) or anything else, because it’s really about Him. When the Counselor does things, I have to obey. So, I loved others and obeyed. That is all I did. But when God empowers these things, and I could often tell when He did, the equation changes, the home can change, and anything else that needs changing will just have to change, too.
Will it be permanent? How long will this last? What if things don’t work out? What if you get ill? The “what if” questions have few answers, but it is better to walk with the One who has the answers than second guess details of a path yet to be walked. That is the way it is when you have a sense of “calling”. I pray and occasionally cry over people who are not even with me. I cannot get them out of my head and heart, and really don’t want to. Too often, already, I have prayed for this one or that one, only to find out that something really was happening that needed to be taken before the throne. But, it is better to be with them than run text messages and emails back and forth.
I have a mountain of work and things to work out at my home in Virginia. Whether Crozet VA is a future home as a US base or it is somewhere else in the US will work out one way or the other. I have to return to the IFL in the Philippines. I will be there most of the time starting late this year. A report, which I still have to write, will be posted in about a week that has more nuts and bolts details, but underlying all the “facts” is this “sense of calling.” That is why I am doing what I am doing.