Thursday, November 21, 2013

Poland update

After much prayer, and talking with other mature Christian leaders, we do not see that we are able to pursue going to Poland in January.

You have no idea how hard that is for me to write.  In fact, it makes me very sad (understatement) to say that.

We always hear about people who "attempt great things for God" (William Carey) and how they overcome incredible odds to get to where they think they need to be (Gladys Aylward).  We hear preachers talking about asking God for "something bigger than you can do on your own" so that you have no doubt that if it happens, you know that it came from God.  And all of these things can be good and true.  There is something to be said for seeing things through the eyes of faith.

But for every Gladys Aylward that made her way to China, there are thousands who wanted to, but did not.  Were they wrong or out of God's Will?  Were they walking by faith and not by sight?  Did they not have the eyes of faith to get them there?

Seeing through the eyes of faith is important (Heb.11:1) However, that is not the only lens to use.  We must also see things through the eyes of circumstance.

I have no problem asking God for big things.  But how do I see it?  What can I expect to happen?  When will I receive my answer?  Well, as best as I can determine, God is sovereign and in His providence He allows things to happen and can prevent things from happening.  And the best and most sure way to know if something is in God's Will is to see if it's happening.

(Of course there are different ways we think of the will of God. Here, I am speaking of His decretive/sovereign will. This is a good link to read regarding the different wills of God:

I can't know it's God's Will in this sense, until it happens because "the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever." 

I can pray for a million bucks to fall on my head right now believing it with my eyes of faith.  But when nothing falls down, I must interpret that as my answer.  I must see the circumstances around me to see what God is actually doing.  I cannot force my plans to happen for "His ways are higher than my ways".  And He "knows the plans HE has for me" and He tells me to "lean NOT on my own understanding".

So if I ask Him for $15,000 to go and it's not there, then I don't go.  What if that IS how He is answering me?  Maybe it's a "no", maybe it's a "not yet".  Either way, it clearly is not there.  So do I lament my lack of faith?  Or, do I see things through the eyes of circumstance?  Do I look at what is actually happening and say, "if He wanted me to go, it would have happened".  So the answer to me going right now is definitely a "no".

Now as sad as that makes me, my challenge is to move forward from here and see His "No" as good and right.  I can trust God because He is the Alpha and the Omega.  I can trust His vision for my life.  I can rest in knowing that Jesus Christ loves me and will use me however He wishes.  It might be painful, uncomfortable, confusing, or even contradictory to what I think I should be doing, but I know that it is right because "He is the light and in Him there is no darkness".

We can see both the unseen (faith) and the seen (circumstance) and know that God is sovereign over them both.  He teaches us to trust and He teaches us to submit.  So in pursuing Poland for January, I submit.  I submit to a kind and benevolent God who seeks my good and His glory.

Again, the money simply isn't there.  And that is not to guilt anyone.  That is to praise God for making it clear.

Does this mean I will never ask for big things again.  C'mon, you know me better than that!  God is still able!
He is able to do His holy will.  Nothing can stop Him!  I am stoppable, He is unstoppable!  And when He stops me from something it IS part of His unstoppable plan to bring glory to Himself.

I love Jesus!  I will continue to pray for Poland.  If you pledged anything and still want to use it for the furtherance of the Gospel in Poland, I urge you to let me know.  There are many brothers and sisters I know who are there doing the work of sharing the Gospel and they would surely use these funds for the glory of God in reaching the Polish people.

As for me, I am here.  Through the eyes of faith, I want to see the circumstances around me as opportunities to glorify Jesus in all that I do.  And I will do what I know to do from God's preceptive will, because in His Will of Disposition, He desires that all men be saved.  Even in Gallatin, TN.

I love you guys and thank you so much for your support and willingness to pray for me and my family. Praise God for the right answer!

(If my thinking on this is incorrect, I pray that it would not influence you in any way and that the Lord would give you sweet forgetfulness.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sending the Richardsons to Poland

Isaiah 6:8, "And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here I am! Send me."

"Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible." — C.T. Studd

Let's get this out of the way first and I'll come back to it soon...I am going to ask you to financially and/or prayerfully support us so that we can go to Poland and share the Gospel. There...nothing like broken china around my hooves!

38 million people are trapped under a boulder and I want to move it. Must be a HUGE boulder! Although my rippling biceps might fool you, the problem is that I can't move it. And no matter how many of you I get to help me lift, that boulder still won't budge. So what are we to do about this?

You see, I used to be underneath a HUGE boulder myself. Truth be told, I was born under it. It didn't take long for me to get used to it either. After a while, I even enjoyed being there. Sick, huh? I didn't know anything existed anywhere else because my whole world was under that rock with me.

One day, someone was standing on top of the boulder and told me that I was being crushed to death. I examined what she said, looked at my surroundings, and realized she was right. I begged for help for someone to move the boulder. But instead of the boulder moving, my prayer was answered in a different way. Someone gave that lady a shovel. She dug a hole around me and pulled me out. I was weak, so she had to teach me how to strengthen my legs. And when I began to walk, she was gone. But the boulder remained.

Today, I stand on a boulder with 38 million people under it. I want to start digging but I must wait for a shovel because the ground around these people is so hard I cannot possibly dig with my hands. I, myself, bear the scars of living under a boulder on my own back so I know what it's like to finally be free from it's constraints.

You would think there's only one boulder trapping people. Truth be told, there are many all over this world. A couple of them even have a billion people underneath them! So why am I at this boulder?

Well, when I look at all of the other boulders, I see many people digging around them. There's a LOT of digging to do! Enough to last a lifetime! But this boulder I'm on only has a handful of weary diggers. So that's where I want to go.

Of course I'm talking about Poland. I have wanted to go there for years now on a longer term basis (I've been 3 times for a couple of weeks at a time). Finally I applied for a job with Worldwide Tentmakers after providentially meeting David Nunnery at a Teach Them Diligently homeschool conference where he told me of a work they were starting in Poland a couple of years ago (David leads this mission and also helped start the conference).

After not hearing back for many weeks, I actually said this to Michelle, "I really think it's not going to happen, so I need to just move on." The next week, I find out that David wants me and my family to serve at a preschool teaching English to children and their parents using the Bible and sharing the Gospel. Catch is, this position is needing to be filled for the start of January.

And I just want to be as wide open and transparent as I possibly can so that you (the Body of Christ) can advise me, share Scriptures with me, encourage me, rebuke me if needs be, and most of all to pray for me. The shovels that my family wants to dig with can only come from God. But the means God uses might be you.

Here are some facts for you to consider (and I can and will provide more info to anyone who's interested):
  • There are 7 of us who would go. 
  • This is initially for 12-18 months. I hope it can turn into something more permanent, but this is the initial agreement. 
  • We are willing to sell whatever we have. Sadly, our total assets might buy us a couple of plane tickets. 
  • We are all in perfect agreement about wanting to serve in this way. 
  • Our current church is very supportive (yet small), and we would place ourselves underneath their leadership. 
  • I would be paid $500/month through the school. 
  • I'm meeting with David on Monday, Nov.18th in Knoxville to pray and to hash out more details. 

Here is a rudimentary budget we came up with (these are our best guesses as of today based off of conversations with 3 American missionary families we know who are currently in Poland):
Up front money needed:
  • Passports (for 6 of the family)=$660 
  • Visas (within a few months time)=$1050 
  • Translation of birth certificates=$200 
  • Plane tickets=$7000 
  • Furniture (depending on if an apt we find has any furnishings)=$2500 (mainly beds,mattresses, dressers) 
  • Winter clothes for everybody=$2000 (this might be a little high, but since we would spend a lot of time outside and walking in below-freezing temps, we want to make sure everyone has enough clothes) 
  • Washing Machine (we understand that some apts come with this and that almost all Polish people don't have dryers)=$300 
  • First/Last month rent (we have no idea how much it would be to rent a place in Jaworzno, Poland and could use a lot of help in this area, but this is based off of rent for an 800sq ft, 3 br apt in Krakow)=$2200 

Monthly needed:
  • Rent=$1100 (again, this is only based off of what our friends with 2 kids paid in Krakow and Gdansk). We are not having much success looking online for places in Jaworzno. 
  • Utilities=$400 
  • Food=$800 
  • Insurance=$370 (Samaritans Ministries insures overseas missionaries. This is their family rate) 
  • Transportation=$120 (monthly bus passes for everyone) 

So as you can see, we are trying to grab the impossible.

I always have heard to ask God for big things, that He is able. I tremble even writing this. Everything in me wants to do this myself. But the goal is just too big for me to tackle on my own. I need the rest of the Body. If God wants us to go now, He is perfectly able to make the way for us. But He uses means to accomplish His will, one of which is the Church.

It would not just be my sacrifice, but it would be yours as well. One thing I know, my life seems to have led me to this point: moving around, acquiring few possessions, training at seminary. We have handed out tracts and preached on the streets (even the kids).

“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes; and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35).

"If the Christian is truly obedient to the Great Commission, he will give his life to go down into the mine or to hold the rope for those who go down (William Carey). Either way, the rope will be burned into his hands. The depth of the scars will demonstrate or prove the extent of the obedience. Have you surrendered your life to go to the lost peoples of the world, or have you surrendered your life to support those who go? What has the Great Commission cost you? Where are your scars?" (From Paul Washer's HeartCry Missionary Society's website)

We are supposed to go down and dig people out from underneath this boulder. But we need some shovels. Please reply to this message if you will commit to either give or pray for us, both are needed. And please let us know if you can give, what the Lord is leading you to do.

Also, please pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested in partnering with us.

Thanks for your time in reading such a long post. And thank you for your prayers.

Biting off more than I can chew for the glory of God,

Jay Richardson

Monday, November 11, 2013

Here we are, send us!!!

Be looking for my first post tomorrow describing what we are asking the Lord for so that we can get to Poland and share the gospel.