Our very first yard sale is this Saturday! As we continue to simplify before our trip I am enjoying the feeling of liberating ourselves from material junk. When I say “junk” I’m referring to items we haven’t used or worn in the past year or more. Simplifying my wardrobe has been extremely satisfying, since it has made me a more savvy shopper. New clothes are always fun to shop for, but if I already own a similar piece or it doesn’t jive with at least 3 other items I own, then it stays on the rack. Michael keeps his wardrobe super simple, but I have had to toss some shorts and t-shirts that were starting to look like swiss cheese. I love him, but the man will wear stuff until it is literally falling apart…but he is learning. I finally convinced him that belts and dress shoes are not mix and match when it comes to color – all black or all brown. That is a fashion rule right?
Items that survived the yard sale purge have strong sentimental value or are items that we use regularly. We are hoping to have a good turnout for the sale since it’s our first one and thankful for all the help from friends to organize it.
Enough about our yard sale though. The topic of this post is all about the motive behind our New Zealand trip. Hobbits? Nope (although a tour of Hobbiton is on the list!) This trip is about going where the need is greater.
Michael and I have worked hard to simplify our lives to be able to travel to New Zealand for a year and help congregations in the field ministry. We are writing a letter to send to the Australian branch to find out which areas in New Zealand need help in the preaching work. This step will help guide our path and itinerary. Travelling to another country will give us a taste of the international missionary work and will give us valuable experience that we can use later if we decide to pursue additional theocratic training. Plus it’s a chance to meet new friends who love God just as much as we do. We are striving to follow in Jesus’ footsteps as he was preaching the good news. He told his followers to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:20) The bonus is exploring a beautiful country and experience a different culture, but these things will be secondary to our ministry work where the need is greater.
This is a big step outside of our comfort zones, but as a good friend told me:
“Growth and comfort seldom ride the same horse.”
Some of you reading may ask, “Why are you going all the way to New Zealand?” This may be our only opportunity to travel internationally since we are house and baby-free. The apostle Paul stepped over into Macedonia to preach and as two of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are doing our best to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and those first century Christians. Their primary mission was to spread the good news about God’s Kingdom and what it means for you!
This good news brings comfort, hope, and understanding to cope with the sorrow, anxieties, and loneliness that people all over the world are feeling.
Yes, we are Jehovah’s Witnesses.
No, it is not a cult and we were not brainwashed.
Yes, we knock on people’s doors.
No, we don’t find it restrictive.
We are happier than we have ever been as Jehovah’s Witnesses!
Never be afraid to ask a Jehovah’s Witness what they believe or why they don’t celebrate something the same way.
So the next time someone knocks on your door and they are holding a Bible, don’t hide or threaten to kick them off your porch. They won’t shove scripture down your throat and will kindly leave if you are not interested. But give them 30 seconds of your time and maybe ask a question you have been curious to know the answer to. As Christians, we are to give freely since we have received this information freely from the Bible.
Talking about God can be uncomfortable for some people. Talking about yourself and God in the same sentence can be even more so. This has been true for myself for pretty much my whole life.
Growing up, my family was never really religious, talked about God or Jesus, nor went to church on Sundays. Sunday was the day to clean stalls and tend to all of our farm critters! It’s not that we were forbidden to go to church or do those things, it just wasn’t a priority.
As I settle into adulthood and learn more about myself it has become easier to talk openly about God in front of others. But there are still occasions when it seems easier to just opt out of those conversations because of that uncomfortable ‘judgy’ feeling.
For me, there is a fear about what other people will think if I even mention the G-word. Thoughts turn into feelings, feelings turn into actions…and not all of them for good. Just watch 5 minutes of the nightly news and you are bombarded with what people’s thoughts, feelings and actions lead to. Scary stuff.
But we are told, “Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Just be yourself.” I’m doing better about the ‘don’t worry, be happy’ part, even if others just flat-out don’t like who I am. It’s true that you can’t please everybody, but I think there is a part missing.
It should read “You CAN’T please everybody, but you CAN please God.”
People are imperfect, plain and simple. We are judgmental, emotional, independent, and think we can run the show. But God IS perfect. Everything He does and has done for us is out of His love for us. Think of a loving father teaching his child to ride a bike for the first time. He makes sure his child is wearing a helmet, the environment is free from any hazards, and the training wheels are securely attached. Then as the child hops on the seat and confidently starts pushing the pedals, the father has a firm hold on the back of the seat, guiding the child in the way they should go.
We push the pedals to go forward, God helps guide us on a safe path. We put in the effort, He shows us the way.
So this is Michael and I putting ourselves out there, letting God direct us in the way we should go. Not everyone will agree with us or our path, and that’s ok. We love serving God and helping people learn more about Him, and the opportunity to serve abroad is something we can’t wait to do!