Far From the Warm Fuzzies

Today’s article is a bit different from some of  the ones that we have posted before – I think you will enjoy it and be encouraged by it.

“Our first winter was one of the coldest in 25 years. We went often without heat, electricity, and water. For pampered Americans, it was a rough beginning.

It all began in an old, Communist, youth indoctrination camp located in a small fishing village, called Myaki, about 50 kilometers outside of Odessa, Ukraine. The first Messianic Jewish Bible Institute boasted in nothing, only small and humble beginnings. Located at the end of an unpaved road and lined with mud-brick homes and thatched roofs, the village resembled something out of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

The events of one morning left a lasting memory. The heat and electricity were out, so my daughter and I were in the kitchen bundled up in winter coats. Julia worked on her home-schooling for the day, while I endeavored to cook an egg for breakfast. Not entirely surprisingly, the stove went cold too!

I told Julia that she could not have an egg and offered cold cereal instead. Suddenly she sprang up from her schoolwork at the kitchen table and broke into tears. Only eight-years-old at the time, she had been very courageous through the rough transition, but this caused an emotional outburst.

Finally between sobs she said, “Mama, I feel like I am losing my life.” I ran to her and threw my arms around her neck. I sobbed too. After a couple of minutes, I said, “Julia, we both are losing our lives. Jesus has granted us the privilege of suffering. Something dies in us, so that something can live in others.”

We talked about the life of Yeshua – that Indescribable Gift that was given to us by God long ago—so we could experience new life. That was a hard moment, but one filled with life. I would not trade it for all the memories of Julia’s childhood. It was a lesson learned in living color about embracing the irony of God’s kingdom—give to receive and die to live. Those moments paved the way for things that God had prepared for us and the MJBI.

We stayed in Myaki for the first MJBI school year. I recall it now as the sweetest year of my life. God’s grace lifted and carried us. It was full of contradictions like the stark difference between the warm fuzzies you feel at the church altar when you respond to an emotional call to the mission field, and the cold reality of living life alone in a foreign place.

I would have given up and gone home, but somehow God graced me to stay. I would have turned back and said, “Forget it. It is too hard.” But God just wouldn’t let me do that.

God’s plans were for our good and to bless others. He saw a hungry Jewish generation who had to know Him as Messiah. He gave us the courage to make the right choices. Now there is an online School of Messianic Theology connected with The Kings University, schools, correspondence courses, and affiliates in over 11 countries. God alone receives the glory!

As a believer, you understand, along with me, that the will of God may take you far from the warm fuzzies of the familiar church community. Making a choice to lose your life in order to gain life is not easy, but it is the pathway to true blessing in this world and the world to come. Yeshua, your prime example, comes to strengthen your journey.”

(c) 2015 Bonnie Saul Wilkes Used with Permission http://mjbi.org/farfromthewarmfuzziesofchurch

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