Dear Kerusso Partners,
In March 2010, a month after moving back from Hong Kong, I escaped into our bathroom to be alone, away from Anne and the girls. I was mourning my circumstances. Not only did I witness my daughter going through painful, deathly chemo, but I was mourning our life back in Hong Kong. We were so happy and felt we were being obedient to God’s call on our lives. Our ministry in Hong Kong was sowing seeds in our community, our church, and our family. The girls were happy with life and friends, and we had welcomed our third daughter into the world and were enjoying seeing her grow into a toddler .
So alone in my room, I wept knowing we would not have that life again in Hong Kong. In my prayer I asked God if he would send us back overseas… if we would return to our calling of serving Him overseas? In that moment, I felt a calm and a peace. It was His assurance that we would go back someday. At the time, we thought it might be six months. Six months turned into a year, and a year turned into two years, then three, and four. In the midst of these past four years, God has continued to close doors to resuming our life in Hong Kong.
February will mark 5 years since we returned to the U.S. If God would have told me it was going to take 5 years before giving me a clear picture of going back overseas, I probably would not have recovered. But as always, God has plans for us in our waiting and preparation. I am glad he didn’t tell me how long the waiting was going to be.
What plans did He have for us?
1- Most importantly, He healed Sarah and protected our family. Over 75% of marriages end in divorce when their is a child with a life-threatening disease. God in his grace kept Anne and me together and made us even stronger.
2- He added to the Clark family. We probably would not have added Deborah and Leah to the family if we would have stayed in Hong Kong. What a joy these two have brought to our family. God knew we needed to add Faith and Patience (their middle names) to our family.
3- Although I was not living overseas, he continued to bless Kerusso so I could still go overseas 4-6 times a year and continue the work we had started.
4- God opened the door for me to start and finish a Ph.D. program which gives me the ability to better serve our brothers and sisters around the world.
We are able to look back and see God’s hand in our lives, but many still ask why would we go back overseas now? So before I communicate our specific financial needs, I want to show you our heart and God’s calling on us to go overseas.. I hope this will give you greater clarity and allow you to support us in prayer and finances.
Four primary reasons we are going:
1. We believe that developing godly Christian leaders is fulfilling the Great Commission. Recently I wrote in a blog “In the great commission, Jesus commands us to ‘therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,’ Matthew 28:19. The more I research the foundations of leadership theory and witness the need for leaders in Christ-centered organizations, the more convinced I am that Kerusso is meeting the great commission directly. By our expansion into the nations, we are part of going therefore and making disciples.” You can read my entire blog on this belief at http://kerusso2.wpengine.com/kerusso-is-answering-the-great-commission/.
2. We believe in reaching the unreached. The first step is developing national Christian leaders to reach the unreached in their own nations. Two of the largest populations in unreached areas are in India and China. This is why we work primarily in these two countries. By living in a city like Dubai, it will allow us to serve more leaders in order to reach more people for Jesus. The second step is our personal ministry. In the Emirates there is a diverse population and many are part of unreached people groups. Read a blog by John Piper on this subject, http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/dubai-amazing-and-strategic-city.
3. We believe God has a calling and purpose for our life. This calling is not general, but specific. For me, the verse that has always challenged me in Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” My task given to me is serving those who are “Kerussoing”. Kerusso is the Greek word for ‘preach’ or ‘herald’. The work we do was built upon Romans 10:14. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” I believe with great passion that the more godly Christian leaders developed in indigenous mission organizations, the more Kerusso (preaching) will happen and be a blessing to those who have never heard. To fulfill this calling, Anne and I need to be in the middle of the process.
4. We have a pilgrim mindset. In February we were blessed to go to the Linger Conference and this message by John Piper really was the spark that started pushing us forward http://www.desiringgod.org/conference-messages/pilgrim-worship. A quote that reminded us of our calling was “The Bible calls us exiles and sojourners (1 Peter 2:11) who are laying up treasures in heaven and not on the earth (Matthew 6:19). This note is the strongest in the New Testament. And if the settler mindset dominates a church we will not reach our neighborhoods or networks of unbelievers, or the nations of the world for Christ. It isn’t just missionaries that need a risk-taking, comfort-disturbing, semi-nomadic, pilgrim mindset. We all do. Christ did not call us to settle in on this earth as it is. He called us to be exiles and sojourners on the earth.”
Finally one last question. Why the whole family?
Anne has the same calling to go to the nations, which is one of the reasons we got married over 12 years ago. And God has called our family as a whole to serve him this way. We are excited to be following him once again to the ends of the earth. As we experienced in Hong Kong, our daughters play a part in sharing the Gospel and serving the nations. And we have a lifestyle where we are able to easily move together and remain a close family unit. And the girls are so excited that Daddy won’t have to be gone on long trips anymore to Asia!
We hope you will believe in what we are doing and pray about giving. In the next week or so I will give more details on what we need to make this move a reality.
Jay and Anne Clark