Blessings in this New Year our dear friends and partners in the ministry of Bible translation,
We want you all to know how much we have appreciated your friendship and prayers for us over the past several months. Since our last communication in November when we sent out an email about needing some time away to recharge, and talk with God, God answered your prayers by giving us some rest, some hope, and an assurance of His love and His leading. It has sometimes, no often, led us to tears, to silence; to listen and hear His voice through His Word and the words of His people.
Briefly, Jim has been released by Wycliffe to his new assignment and Judy returned to recruitment the last week of Dec. We agreed with Wycliffe to take a slight reduction in our monthly ministry budget in order to be at 100%. We thank the Lord for the 24 new partners who joined our team this year and for those faithful ones who increased their support. Great is His faithfulness!
Below, is the expanded version with most of the details.
Twenty-six years ago, when we joined Wycliffe, we chose to accept that we would be trusting God to supply our ministry needs through His people, the Body of Christ, and churches. God has always been faithful. In the past fund raising or developing our prayer and financial partnerships hasn’t been easy. But, the last 12 months has been the most difficult and discouraging we have experienced. (We think largely due to the present down economy).
Around the middle of November we were really weary of constantly doing fund raising in order to continue in our ministry. We were just worn out, emotionally and spiritually. As we were praying, we both felt it was time to get away and get some rest. So we counseled with our Wycliffe supervisors, who agreed we needed some time away, and the next morning we left to go camping for several days.
FYI: After twenty years of service with Wycliffe, they give its members four weeks of vacation a year. Wycliffe also allows its members up to six weeks of sick leave per year, which we rarely use. They fully accept that being over stressed is a good reason to take some of that sick leave. They want to keep us well and working effectively. After that time, which was awesome and restful, we went to see our new granddaughter for a few days in North Carolina. We are so grateful for our son Josh working for US Airways which allows us to fly standby and less expensively.
After I (Jim) had my granddaughter time, I was summoned away to be with God, solo, for five days the first part of December. It’s something God has been suggesting for the past year or so. I finally got the message that this is something I REALLY NEEDED to do. So I climbed aboard my motorcycle and headed to Death Valley. I have always heard God best when in His natural creation and needed an isolated place that wasn’t too cold this time of year. It was the best solo time I’ve ever had with God. We talked about a lot of stuff, I cried more than at any time in my life. It was painful looking at old wounds and yet lots of joy being wrapped in His love. Somehow pain and joy seem to complement one another. Being in that place I could hear Him more clearly.
The main take-away I’ll share with you is…
Sometimes when we get a calling from God we tend to shape our whole lives around it, even if He intended it for only a season. In 1977, I had a calling to use my mechanical skills for missions; which lead me to mission aviation. Some people, very few I think, get a life plan from God and that’s what they are suppose to do for their WHOLE lives (like Billy Graham). Most of us get seasonal callings from God. We are to do this thing He has given us for a season and then go on to the next thing. The problem is we get comfortable in what we are doing. We find security in knowing how to do this thing and get fearful of change. We forget that our security is in our God, not our jobs or the things we attempt to do for God. So when He finally gets our attention that He has a change of plan for the next season it may be hard to accept.
In my first 20 years of a ministry in Wycliffe, I was so blessed. It was great! I was doing my hobby, doing it as ministry for the furthering of the Kingdom of God globally. I was living my passion! From 1998 – 2001 I had the most enjoyable job ever as manager of the JAARS aviation maintenance program. But after some difficult circumstances and the depression that resulted, my passion and love of aviation vaporized. At that time God may have been asking me to change but I had a hard time with that idea. It was scary thinking about leaving the security of Wycliffe. I loved what I did and why I did it. Wycliffe was our family and we had identity there, as well as the blessing of medical and retirement. Friends said maybe I should go find my new passion. But I didn’t, instead I found other jobs in Wycliffe. Since then, some positions or parts of positions, I have enjoyed and felt I really contributed to the global work, but none have stirred my passion as aviation once did.
During my time in the desert, God said I needed to get back to ministering in my areas of passion. That passion was a bit difficult for me to draw up from my heart. The only thing that surfaced was getting back to working with Jr. and Sr. High and young adults, using adventure to help them expand their self imposed limitations. Something I’ve been doing on and off for the past 30 years. (mostly off) Helping them come to grips with the importance of their relationship with God. Helping young men grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally to healthy young adults in this society. I don’t see myself as a youth director say in a church youth group, but rather as part of a team working together to help our youth grow into Godly leaders of tomorrow. I don’t know what this means at this point. I don’t know how it’s going to develop, God hasn’t yet plopped something in my lap. I’m looking, investigating ideas and waiting. I’m spending more time with my Creator who knows me best. That relationship has deepened incredibly in the past two months. So until the next season begins I am supposed to stay serving in Wycliffe at the Wycliffe Retirement center in Tucson, AZ. I am really enjoying this ministry of helping our heroes of the faith in their final seasons.
Judy and I covet your prayers for us at this time. We would love to talk with you about any ideas.
Thank you God and thank you friends,
Jim and Judy McCabe