“So, you guys are missionaries? What are you doing while you’re here?”
“We’re driving around, praying about where God wants our friends (the Funderburks) to be in northeast TN.”
“…really?” with an eyebrow of disbelief raised.
My friend Kenneth nods his head with a grin, “What do you think of that?”
…thinking, then accepting, “Yeah, that’s a good idea.”
There were five of us.
Five guys…three from Colorado, one from Louisiana, and one half-and-half (me). Our ages ranged from 24 with cool hair (not me) to 50-something with a white beard (not me either). I felt like I was on the cast of a super-cool TV show or theater crew…everyone worked together so well, each played his part on the trip so well.
Last week, we went to northeast TN to pray about where the Lord wants our family to be.
I’ve never been on a trip that more obviously had God’s fingerprints all over it.
I think the theme of the trip was “open door.” We had an open door at every meeting (whether planned or not).
We had a restaurant manager who opened up to us and shared her heart and honesty with perfect strangers. A young missionary fellow gave us the royal tour of Greeneville and Jonesborough, educated us well on the area, and then brought us home to let us meet his beautiful family.
One afternoon, the Lord rearranged our plans by canceling meetings I had planned and led us downtown Johnson City. We stopped by a benevolent ministry, met with the director, and spent two hours praying and worshipping and encouraging each other with his staff. The Spirit was obvious in that meeting. The director was thrilled that the Lord is sending our family to stay.
We met a couple who owned a business in Johnson City…delightful they were. The husband really wanted to join us for conversation but had to get home to his kids. He gave us his cell number for later.
We met with the director of missions of the Southern Baptist association there. What a treat. Such a humble man he was, praying for God to do something in that region…watching for the Spirit to do something. He told us of several folks in the area who have been praying for the Lord to work in their region. We saw light there. When we move, I hope to join him in praying the same prayer and seeing with him the Spirit work.
We also met with two ministry-leader ladies in Elizabethton…one spicy, one sweet…both wonderful. We got a tour of their benevolent ministry and had a prayer time with one of the ladies, praying for a little church, which was obviously her heartbeat, that met in the worst part of town.
Most meetings ended with a prayer time where the people who were blessing us with their time and heart-stories were blessed by us as well. How kind is God to benefit everyone involved, not just us? I hope I can have a part in joining with each of these TN folks in seeking the Lord.
In short, the whole trip, start to finish, was orchestrated by our Father. Every meeting was another open door showing us again and again that we are supposed to be there.
I went asking for the Lord to show us where we will live and have community. I believe He’s zero-ing in on the west side of Johnson City/Jonesborough/Telford/the country spaces outside there. Looks like that’s gonna be home.
Back in Colorado, as I was looking online at the maps of that area, I noticed these many, many “roads” that twist and turn every-which-way. “That’s a lot of roads,” I thought. As I zoomed in, I realized they weren’t roads…they were streams and brooks and rivers…as many of them (or more) as there were roads. Then I remembered the scripture the Lord gave us a year and a half ago to nail-down that northeast TN was the place He was calling us: “For the Lord your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills.” Yep, there are lots of brooks and springs.
He also said the land was “valleys and hills”, not mountains. Guess what that area is called?
“The Ridge and Valley.”
With no exaggeration, the Lord went before us and led us the entire trip.
Those who prayed with us, thank you! I’m grateful you are out here with us.
Davy, Laura, and the Gonna-Be FunderHillDwellers