Looking for 20 new partners in our new call to serve the Diaspora of EastAfrica in Chicago. Please join us in praying for this!
I often get ask ," Now what are you all doing in Chicago? What is your job?" It is funny because this is a question that people have asked us through the years as we have served as missionaries.
I think before vocation was a buzz word ( or now it seems it is out of fashion) this is the word that described the calling on my life that is played out day by day. The term Vocation , I would define as a calling to do and be something that becomes comprehensive....a passion that one can not walk away from---a knowing that what you are doing has eternity effects.
I have always wanted to do what God asked of me...be what He wants me to be... I do not know if my holistic view of life came from my up-bring as a TCK ( Third Culture Kid) with East African world view influences but I have always viewed my job more as who and whose I am than just what I do for a living.
Even as I went through my educational training I knew that it was not going to be traditional 9-5 job for me. As I write this , I know there are others that have been called to a vocation that looks more "traditional" and that is where God has placed you...but I have heard the Levitical call. " The Levitical priests—indeed, the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance." (Deuteronomy 18:1 NIV)
I believe that as a church we all have to answer the great commission...some are called to go and some are called to send but all are called to the commission of God : "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.' " (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
Levitical call is a term that I have been chewing on lately. As we have transitioned back to the U.S. I feel more like Dave and I are in our early 20's more than where are age-mates are. What I mean is that we are renting as apposed to owning a home...we are starting over gathering household items not having so much stuff that we are renting storage units....we are starting something anew rather than being settled in our careers. I must admit that I have struggled some with jealousy, envy, and wondering what have we acquired ?????
In one of my quiet times I felt God gently nudge me that one I should not compare but more importantly that He has called us to a different path. I had been reading through the Bible ( actually listening on line to daily readings) and was struck by the different standard and requirement of the Levies who were in full time service to God. He reminded me of the cost of saying yes to Him so many years ago...I was saying no to using my gifts and talents to acquire wealth and although we have not and do not buy into the thought that missionaries should "Suffer" and we have certainly not taken an oath of poverty, we have lived on less and used most to serve others.
But just as the Levites needed Israel to also follow God's calling by providing offerings to sustain them...missionaries today need the church to answer God's calling to give so that those of us who have answered the Levitical call can put our full energy into serving others.
Now back to the question of "What are you doing in Chicago?" We are still missionaries. Even though we have relocated ,we are still serving the same people we have served over the last 20 years: East Africans that are now living in major cities in the U.S. --Chicago being one of them. Our hope is to Shepherd, Equip, Evangelize and Discipleship the Diaspora and out of this plant a multi-cultural church reaching the un-churched or De-churched of Chicago.
What does this practically look like? We are following relationship lines--30+ relatives of our last church plant --CCR ( Christ Church in Rwanda) and relatives of our friends in Uganda live here in Chicago. We have also gone to several functions of different East African Communities and have met new people and are beginning to build relationships. It is amazing how much credibility our time living in East Africa and also my childhood experiences in Kenya has given us as we met new folks. Often times we know someone who knows someone who is related to someone and a connection is formed! We have so many God stories ---way to big for coincidences! He has used this to open many doors.
We have had several of these new friends over to our home on Saturdays for shared meal and fellowship. We have visit many in their homes, places of work, schools and visit a few in hospitals. From this we have gathered a group that are leaders in their different communities and have formed a steering committee for Great Lakes Fellowship ( which is going to be a monthly fellowship for the Diaspora--folks from East Africa that are living in the States now). We had our first steering committee meeting last Saturday night. We had a great group with representatives from Rwanda,Uganda,Kenya and Tanzania!
|Our first GLF Steering meeting|
I hope this explains some of what we are up to and again I want to say that this can not be possible with out your prayers and support. Please if you are not one of our monthly partners and would like to be one of the 20 new partners we are praying for , you can find more information on
Rwanda Outreach and Community Partners (ROC): http://www.rocpartners.org
Contributions may be sent to:
- Jenkins Memo
3007 NW 63rd Ste 205
Oklahoma City, OK 73116-3605