Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oriented North

Life makes more sense when it’s oriented north. Even sinks that face south are confusing to me. Suddenly hot water comes from the east knob and cold from the west. Everything is backwards and confusing.
Every time I look at a map I feel the same way, it’s like playing mental twister trying to figure out what the heck is going on. But then when I get it spun around so that north on the map is north in the world, everything suddenly makes sense. East things are east, west things are west and north things are north.
My life here in Oregon is not so different. Bible college; the education, the experience, the people, none of it really makes sense till I spin it around and point it north.
I’ve never been called anywhere but Alaska. While many of my Alaskan friends are anxious to get out of Alaska, to travel the world to see and experience the world, I still have the same mindset as when I turned 16. My Grandma traditionally takes her grandchildren on a trip when they turn 16. I could have asked to go anywhere in the world! What did I want to see? Southeast Alaska, one part of the state that I love that I had not seen yet.
If you would have asked me in 2007 when I completed my Surveying education, what I wanted to do if I grew up I would have told you that I wanted to live and work in Alaska (rather broad don’t you think); in 2008, full time ministry in Alaska; In 2009, Ministry for the church in Alaska; In 2010, Ministry for the church in Alaska with the possibility of serving the native community; and now in 2011, I have a call to serve in Port Alsworth Alaska in a new ministry known as Tanalian Leadership Center. It is a ministry, centered around building up Native leaders to serve in their own communities and churches…

It’s amazing what happens when you walk with God, not knowing where he’s taking you but following one step at a time.

I am especially amazed that he has provided me with this opportunity when I consider the three primary loves in my life. (not counting individual people because that’s a whole different category)
1.     Jesus Christ: The one who has redeemed me from a pointless self centered life and called me to participate as a character in his epic plan of redemption, the greatest story of all time. There is nothing and no one I love more that Him.
2.     His church: His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all, the physical manifestation of his presence in this world. She is broken and hurting from living in this world, but she bears the image of her creator and He is making her beautiful. I would / will give my life to be a part of that.
3.     Alaska: My home, the last frontier, the vast and untamed land that will try to kill you. That land where a man can still be swallowed up by the wilderness and reminded of just how small he really is. The land that carries in its heart the people that I love.

I have never fit in Portland and I don’t suspect I ever will. As Josh Turner would say, “I live in the city but don’t fit in.” I can love the people here, but I don’t feel very useful. The majority of my skills and experience are completely irrelevant in this environment. I feel a little like a polar bear in Hawaii.

Needless to say, it would be easy for someone like me to get confused and disoriented in a place like this when suddenly I have be south when everything in my life has pointed north. Thankfully God’s compass is still working and he knows where he’s going.

So now, here I am finishing my degree in Bible / Theology and Pastoral Ministries and Tanalian Leadership Center needs a guy who is single, has Bible education and a heart for discipleship. Preferably with vocational skills outside of ministry and experience living and working in Alaska, especially among natives. Hm, Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check.

Life does make more sense oriented north.