The night before the CLB Council of Directors faced the decision on calling us to be missionaries, the Lord put on my heart Isaiah 6—Isaiah’s call to ministry. I am very familiar with verse 8, where the Lord asks, “Who will go for us?” and Isaiah says, “Here am I! Send me.” But the verses leading up to that were especially pressed upon my heart that night. Isaiah lamented the fact that he was unclean and unworthy of God’s holiness. Then one of the seraphim “touched my mouth [with a burning coal] and said: ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’” This triumph over sin, and atonement for sin, was completed for all mankind in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are not worthy in ourselves, but God still calls us to go. And because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are freed from the weight of our sin—to go!
We are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), God does a new thing (Isaiah 43:19—even rivers in the desert!), and ultimately God makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).
Watching the snow fall now in April, I reflect on being called to serve in Chad with Lutheran Brethren International Mission. This is likely the last time I will see snow in April for a while. There will be snow in France, peut-être, mais pas comme ici à Fergus Falls (maybe, but not like here in Fergus Falls)! White as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Is that something a Chadian would even understand? The sheep look like goats—do they know what white wool is? Is this a hopeless situation? If it is up to us, the answer is yes. But because we serve a God who uses all things for his glory (Romans 8:28), there is an infinite amount of hope. And in that—who does the working? It is God. He will use our brokenness, our weakness, our shortcomings, all for his good and his purposes. We cannot get in the way of that.
God tells us in his Word that he calls us by name, and he equips us (Isaiah 45:4-5). Not only that, but Jesus promises to go with us (Matthew 28:20). When we visited Chad in January 2020, that verse was specifically impressed upon me. After he calls and equips, he does not abandon us. Rather, he tells us, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
What now? Given the current civil unrest in Chad, there is much that remains unknown. What we do know is that we serve a God who knows, a God who has always known that this would be. We continue to seek him as we navigate this path. We remain convicted of our call and obedient to his leading. We did not forge our own path. Only because of God’s grace, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, and provision have we been able to travel this path. We continue to move forward with the plans we have in place. We are traveling some this summer—I have Medical Missionary training in North Carolina, and Dan has Solar Power training in Missouri. We will have cross-cultural and language acquisition training in Colorado during July-August. We are moving forward. Lord willing, we will go to France in August or September of this year to study French outside of Paris.
This time is so exciting, but it is also intimidating. I will have fear, weakness, and uncertainty, unless I remember Who has been guiding our steps from day one, and Who will continue to guide us until our time on earth is done. In Christ alone is our hope, strength, and assurance. The people of Chad do not understand Jesus as we do, and do not have that hope, strength, and assurance. That is why we go. Because HE is worth it. Because God loves them as much as he loves us, and they do not know it yet.
Claire R. and her husband Daniel have accepted a call to serve as the Church of the Lutheran Brethren’s next missionaries to Chad.