Scout, Settler, Explorer: The Risk and Reward of Being Out Front

image courtesy of State Records NSW via flickr

Do you think you would want to be a scout in the military? Going close to or behind enemy lines to gather information, so that you can send back crucial information to your fellow soldiers.

Or would you want to be an early American settler? Going to an uncharted land to clear a space for your family to live in, and to pave the way for others to follow.

What about an explorer like Meriwether Lewis or William Clark? Traveling across land and water, meeting new people, to give others a picture of what could be.

Being a scout, settler, or explorer means that you are out in front others. It means risk. It means being a part of something bigger than yourself.

This is similar to how we view our mission in Allendale. Ultimately, we are here because we feel God has called us to be here. But it only came about because of how Grace Church has been involved in Allendale for the past few years. Grace Church has laid a well-tread path before us. (So, in truth, we are the second wave of scouts — but the first wave of settlers — from Grace in Allendale.)

I have now been living in Allendale for just over 7 months, and my family has been here for 4 months. This adventure has been fulfilling, and challenging. We are here to be “feet on the ground” for Grace Church.

Even though we’ve seen the rewards for our family and for the church, living here has also been lonely. For all that enjoy about living here, we miss the loss of community the most — community that I’ve had at Grace Church for over 15 years, and that Joanna has had for 13. We are trusting that God will help us maintain those relationships, while also giving us the opportunity to build more here.

We miss the conveniences and comforts of Greenville. But we are reminded that this is small compared to what Jesus gave up in the Incarnation (Philippians 2:6-8).

We know that God has us here for a season. And we are thankful for Grace Church, who is partnering with us in this adventure. Yes, we are out front, but we are not the first or only ones to be here. And even though we have been “stationed” out front now, we are continually receiving support — physically (financially and volunteers), spiritually (prayers), and socially (friends coming down to visit and serve).

Oswald Chambers wrote (My Utmost for His Highest): “A servant of God must stand so very much alone that he never realizes he is alone.”

So what are the rewards for being out front here?

  • Growing intimacy and dependence on the Lord
  • Making new friends
  • Being a part of the beginning of a ministry opportunity
  • Being a part of something bigger than ourselves
  • Helping others (from Grace and from this community) be able to connect and serve
  • Our kids having the opportunity to see what it looks like to give your lives away for the gospel. That is, it’s a way for us as parents to pass on our faith.

As we all go forward on our adventures — as part of God’s bigger adventure — we need God to strengthen us. We must look straight to God, and after that we could seek counsel and comfort from others.

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