“What are you doing?”

15 02 2009

Have you ever wondered why life wasn’t going the way you expected it to, even if you’ve been “blessed” with beauty, intelligence, on-the-job skills, title or money?  Has a little voice inside of you been whispering “there’s more to life than this”?

Part of our preparation for the mission field has been a complete 180-degree change of perspective on what’s important in life. 

Three years ago (almost to the day), we sat in our Sunday school class with no real plans to change our lives.  We had the “perfect” situation:  Dan had (still has) a rewarding job with a company he liked and co-workers he enjoyed spending time with; I was thriving in the typical lifestyle of the stay-at-home, soccer mom; our children were beautiful, intelligent, and well-mannered; we just moved into the home that we thought we’d retire in. … Then, it happened.  God opened our eyes to the fact that there is more to life than what we had, and opened our hearts to serving a greater purpose.

It was Sunday, February 19, 2006 (Dan’s birthday).  We walked into Sunday school, visited with friends, and welcomed a guest speaker to the podium.  As the speaker began his lesson, we could not have imagined the birthday gift God had in store for Dan. 

“What are you doing to serve,” he asked rhetorically.  “What are we doing to serve,” I pondered.  “A lot,” I thought.  “I serve as a Sunday school teacher. … We give generously. … We lead a Bible study. … We … could do more.” 

We sat and listened as the speaker updated our class on the global outreach programs of our home church — of the many lives touched through the service of our congregational members and their generosity.  He spoke of the joy shared by short-term work camp teams that traveled throughout the United States and Europe for ESL (English as a Second Language) and sports camps … of the teams who rallied around New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina … of serving a greater purpose in our world — our world.   “Hummm, interesting thought.”  He concluded his presentation the same way he began it:  “What are you doing to serve?”

We collected our belongings, scattered about the church to gather the children from their respective classrooms, and headed out to our mini-van. 

“What are we doing,” I asked Dan.  

“For lunch? …” 

“No, what are we doing with our lives?  What is the point of you putting in all those hours at your job? … of all the things that we’re acquiring?  What are we doing?” 

Boy, did I open up the proverbial can of worms.  We sat together that afternoon and had a long, serious talk. 

Years earlier, God planted the seeds of serving others in our hearts.  We both came from families that valued serving the church and reaching out to others in need.  We both had experiences with short-term mission trips abroad — experiences that changed our perspectives on poverty and wealth … the haves and the have-nots … what it means to live as Christ lived.

“What were we doing?’

Somewhere along the lines, priorities shifted, and materialism took over.  We did the normal things that college graduates do:  focused on careers and advancement … marriage and family … planning for retirement … life as usual. 

“What were we doing?”

That question sparked a conversation that was a pivotal moment in our lives, one that instigated our search into what we could be doing to serve a greater purpose.  We began exploring how two business-minded people could serve a Kingdom purpose.  We began to learn more and more about micro-enterprise development — and it all began to click.

“What are we doing?” 

We’re letting God take over the wheel and following His direction for our lives.  We’re setting out to make a difference through serving the holistic needs of others.  We’re freeing ourselves from the bondage of materialism to serve a greater Master.

“What are you doing? …”

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3 responses

16 02 2009
Sarah Lapp

Once again–as you have done countless times since your birth–you have filled my heart with joy! Your latest entry eloquently states your journey to this point. What a blessing it is to know that you have accepted the values that your dad and I hold dear. As hard as it is to think you won’t be a five hours’ drive away, we delight in the knowledge that you are following God’s leading. Our prayers are with you daily! We love you all so very much!! Mom/Gram

16 02 2009
Sue Cannon

Absolutely awesome! We are so very happy for you and will help support you along the way! God Bless!

25 02 2009
Kristin

Jenkins Family: What a touching and inspirational post. I think your decision is amazing, and I admire what you’re doing. You’ve got me thinking too 😉 I can’t wait for you to experience all the journey has in store. What an incredible way to make a difference, enrich your family’s life, and build an incredible, multi-cultural foundation for serving in your children! I wish you all the best!!!

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