Saturday, October 26, 2013

What's our mission?

I shared this with a class at NU in 2006, while I was alumni director. Seems apt for what we're going to do in the future. It also might encourage those still considering their own place in this world.

My Russian samovar is for sale.
There's Indonesia tea in our future
Our mission is to participate in God's kingdom. NU Alumni serve around the world. We're role models as companions, friends, spouses, parents, teachers, lawyers, doctors and nurses, ministers and social workers, or other employees. This is what I learned from watching and listening to our alumni:
  1. When the gate creaks open, follow and see where it leads. God's work is here AND there. We have to begin where we are. We nurture our spiritual life to become Christlike. Genuine expressions traits of goodness, kindness, patience, love, joy, and peace may win us friends and influence. Being egotistical and self-focused will close doors against us. Wherever we go, we must be prepared to become part of the culture.
    • Jeremy and Carissa (2000s) live in SE Asia. Jeremy grew up there and knew what to expect. However, Carissa has made adjustments to the frenetic pace where they live, raising young children and working long hours.
    • Gary and Priscilla worked as teachers in a sensitive country. They became NU scholarship donors to pass along the legacy of their family (P's Dad was an alum). In this way, they invested in students here as well as abroad.
  2. Don't wait for some grand mission. Start here and now. Get training and find a job: we become useful and experienced by engaging life. Though W and I felt called as children to spend ourselves overseas, working hard in Seattle has given us access and relationships across the globe.
  3. Every culture is full of beauty
    and lovely traditions
    • "Bones" ('70s) does relief work in S Asia. He was on the spot for efforts after the great tsunami. He loves sports so he trains young people, giving him a heart for their parents as well. 
    • Nancy ('80s) has been an AIDs worker in Africa and eastern Europe. She's had challenges like typhoid and malaria, and was flown to Paris for appendix removal and other surgery. She continues to teach, train, and develop material to educate against this horrible plague. She's relocated recently and is learning a difficult language to make the transition possible.
  4. Look at jobs, experiences, and hardships as opportunities to understand the world and interact with people. Everyone wants to be loved and welcomed - and most people want to be served.
    • Rick and Audrey founded a foundation that rescues Kenyan kids from street life. They support national efforts by raising funds from the USA. They've demonstrated their real love for those they serve by adopting two children after their own were grown and gone.
    • Greg and Kim ('90s) run homes in India and other countries. They have planted churches and taken care of many children.
  5. Don't be afraid of hard work! Working builds character. I read a study that an embassy had 4000 applicants for 4 positions. In the end, they chose people with integrity and work skills to fill those posts. Would they choose us?
    • Mark ('90s) took his family from a comfortable life in Seattle to India and Sri Lanka. They teach in schools and work with organizations against human trafficking.
  6. Don't be afraid to be yourself. Each person is uniquely designed; there are places on the planet -- "Kingdom work" -- for which we were wonderfully created.
    • A river flowing in MT: whether
      here or there, life is beautiful
    • Debbie ('80s) is an interpreter. Her home base is Seattle and she works around the USA, but she lives in Europe, funding a spiritual community by her work here.
  7. Don't be afraid of people! They are not our boss, just our manager. (God is our boss and we are accountable to Him first of all.) It may take courage to do something different.
    • Everett and Evelyn ('63) have no home. "We're homeless by choice," they told me. They live out of suitcases, traveling widely because they are unencumbered. In 2005-6, they taught at schools and conferences and mentored young people in Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, Siberia, Africa, and Romania. Now past retirement age, their efforts continue unabated.
  8. And finally, don't be afraid of God! Life will be an adventure, custom-fitted to our bent. God won't give us more challenges than abilities or resources, provided we depend on Him. He promises never to abandon us no matter how difficult the journey or complicated the process of sharing Good News.
    • Where does your name belong on this list? Have you been places you'd never dreamed of? Or stayed closer to home? How have you lived an extraordinary life, whether your surroundings were ordinary or exceptional?
    • If we're following where God calls our heart, we join Him on the mission! He's taking care of us day by day.

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