"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."
— Ruth 1:16
Silk and I recently enjoyed a wonderful vacation. We celebrated 30 years together (on our 32nd anniversary due to covid travel restrictions). For us, it was also an opportunity to get away, relax, go “off the ministry grid” and refresh our lives and renew our marriage and life/ministry focus.
During our marriage ceremony in 1990, we chose this verse from the book of Ruth to mark our day: we were going to stay together, commit ourselves to one another’s families, and allow the Lord to be the focus of our lives. We also asked our nuclear families and bridal party to lay hands on us as the pastor commissioned our marriage for a life of mission. What a journey it has been so far. We are blessed!
For this vacation, we chose a land with significant ties to our family. Silk’s family comes from Macedonia, the country known for Alexander the Great, Mother Teresa, and the Macedonian call. The country is in the Balkans, an area devasted by factions, tribalism and brutal wars. Today, the Balkans, especially Croatia, has some of the most gorgeous places you can imagine, so we were eager to spend time along the beautiful Adriatic sea and amazing Plitvice Lakes and waterfalls.
We got to visit Silk’s family for an extended weekend in between. We attended a family reunion where 38 relatives gathered, half of whom Silk only met once when she was 12 years old! It was my first time to meet them. We had a wonderful time, despite the language barriar. Being with them, laughing, talking, enjoying the food was pure joy. And, hearing the heartaches of the land reminded us of how tough these folks are. One of Silk’s cousins proudly stated she was a “Balkan woman”, meaning she was tough and has handled many difficult seasons in life. No wonder Macedonia produced leaders like Alexander the Great and Mother Teresa!
Being in the region for two weeks, completely off the ministry grid, renewed our spirits and refreshed our souls. It recaptured our commitment to three core values of our life: faith, family and mission. We spent time with God, time with family, and were re-energized in the core calling God gave us when courting years ago.
While in Split, Croatia, we saw a statue of Bishop Gregory of Nin, known for bringing revival to the region through his preaching of the Word. For me, it inspired my sense of calling, similar to how the Apostle Paul responded to the Macedonian call. I know. I know… Someday, you’ll have to ask me about why I married a MACEDONIAN heritage woman AND felt called to expand a ministry across the SILK ROAD!
The Lord works in mysterious ways!
This 32nd anniversary celebration proved to be a time of renewal, which is a key part of our walk with God. At A3 we say that everything hinges on our Love Relationship with God. And, it is in times like these, when we take a break from the normal routines of life and ministry, that God can speak to us, refresh our spirits, and renew our sense of call and ministry.
And, this getaway also served to renew our sense of mission as A3 is looking to serve in new continents and across increasingly diverse spheres of society. You may have heard that we have explored entering North Africa and Europe in 2022. And, you likely know we’ve been working with business leaders and young professionals already.
While doors closed for us in some countries, the Lord is providing opportunities to engage outside of Asia, and expanding our reach beyond senior pastors. We are eager to follow this call just like the Apostle Paul and Bishop Gregory of Nin. As Silk and I begin the next 32 years together, may we see revival come again to Macedonia, the Balkans, Europe, North Africa, and continue in Asia and beyond. Lord, bring revival to this world.
He’s strengthened our marriage, renewed our sense of call, and taken us toward the next Macedonian-like vista. May he stir in your lives as well. Go deep with him and seek his face. See where he might be calling you and discern what Macedonian calls might be there for you to discover!