Last week after running the same three and a half mile trail hundreds of times over the last seventeen months I decided it was time to use a new route. This is partly because my marathon training is starting to become quite intense (eleven miles last Saturday, twelve this Saturday) but the real reason is three miles down the road.
The Lord has allowed me to live in the suburb of Craigieburn since March 2011 less than five minutes away from the school where we hold the services for Cornerstone Baptist Church every Sunday. During that time God has given me a deep burden for the people of Craigieburn and a calling to reach them with the Gospel of Christ, but there haven’t been many opportunities to do so. there are opportunities to minister and share my faith in other places through volunteer ministries, conversations, and relationship development but not in my community.
In the Australian culture as with most other Countries the unsaved will rarely visit Church or show an interest in spiritual things, instead it’s the Believers responsibility to go where the people are and share the Gospel with them. The Lord since January 2010 has opened the door for me to volunteer in many capacities (dialysis visitation, religious education teacher, ESL tutor, English tutor, teachers aid, homework tutor, computer tutor), which have been used to share my faith and talk about Christ with many people. While the volunteer ministries aren’t the foundation of my work in Melbourne they allow me to go where the people are and share with them the good news.
Right now I only am able to volunteer once a week in Craigieburn as a computer tutor as opposed to three or four times a week in other areas of Melbourne. This has understandably been a source of frustration since this is where Cornerstone is located and the place God has called me to soI asked God for opportunities to reach my community.
He answered in a spectacular way…..
Less than three miles from my house is a development in Craigieburn called The Highlands which is currently surrounded by a brand new school, day care, library, assisted living facility, and construction is underway on one of the areas largest shopping centres. Already people from all over Melbourne are moving into Highlands which by the time my furlough ends will be the heart of Craigieburn. This creates dozens of ministries and hundreds of opportunities to share the good news of Christ with the unsaved there.
A few weeks ago my father and I sat down to create a budget that will allow me to live and minister in The Highlands…lets just say those three miles are VERY EXPENSIVE ONES :-). While it is discouraging to see how much new support needs to be raised during the upcoming furlough this area is a huge answer to prayer since it will allow me to truly reach the people of Craigieburn. My heart is filled with anticipation of the day God lets me move into one of the town houses they just finished building, but till then I can just run those three miles again, and pray.