Steps Towards Home: 2. Furlough is a Practice Field

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Last month I went through a forty-eight hour time of discouragement about what the Lord was doing in my life, and the current furlough situation.  This attitude came after my Permanent Visa application faced some serious challenges that will keep me from returning to Melbourne in early 2014 as planned (more about that in my Visa update on Wednesday).  While I do love being in the States with friends and family, my heart desires to be involved in the work God has for me in Australia.

The Lord has called me to start two outreaches for Cornerstone Baptist Church (where I serve as Associate Pastor); Conversational English Classes for individuals who know English but aren’t comfortable speaking it, and one on one computer tutoring.  Both of these ministries will allow Christians to develop relationships with unbelievers in their community, share the Gospel while answering questions about God through conversations, and invite them to Church.  As furlough continued God made this calling of “relational teaching that opens doors to share the Gospel” clearer.

During early June I was excitedly creating lesson plans that would be used to teach English and Computers to Australians, but that changed when the Visa issues started a few weeks later.  Suddenly the material that would minister to personal and spiritual needs of Unbelievers was set aside because my departure date had been pushed back.

This wasn’t done with an attitude of anger or frustration….instead part of me felt (selfishly) that there was no use in preparing for the outreach ministries if there was no possibility of my returning anytime soon.  Eventually the feelings of discouragement turned into self-pity and for almost an entire day I indulged in one of my world famous pity-celebrations (most people have pity-parties but my celebrations are much bigger; They include pity-cake, pity-punch, and a pity-piñata).  Of course as is the case when giving into feelings of discouragement, I just felt worse after the two days were over.

Since then God has shown me that one of the most important steps towards home (Australia) is using furlough as a practice field, or opportunity to start teaching now.  Just like all athletes practice during the week in preparation for the big game (unless your Allen Iverson) it’s important for Missionaries to get experience using their skills for God’s glory.

The Lord has used this idea to help me to start a project I call “cuppa class.”  A cuppa is one of the most important cultural traditions in Australia, which consists of drinking a cup of coffee or tea with a friend and talking for at least one hour, preferably two.  Aussies enjoy having a cuppa because it develops true friendships and gives opportunities for in depth conversation with those you love.

God wants me to use the cuppa idea and create one on one teaching sessions that meet not only mental needs (learning English and Computers) but also relational needs (being able to vent frustrations, ask for advice, minister in times of need), and of course spiritual.

While Cuppa Class is meant for the Australian culture it can also meet needs right here in the US, which is why next week I will begin looking for perspective students (guinea pigs 🙂 )who would be willing to meet once a week or every other week to learn about computers, social media, and technology.  If your interested in becoming a part of Cuppa Class or getting more information please contact me using Facebook, it would be a huge encouragement to get some practical experience teaching this information before leaving for Melbourne.

Please also pray I will be submissive to God’s timing, which is always perfect by spending furlough practicing instead of complaining.

Published by

John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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