May 7, 2013

Pray for Phillips County.

It's been almost been six years since I first was called to the Delta. I was young, so young, and came with a mix of ideas (some good, some horrible) on how to be a world changer, friend, and community member. I'm taking some time to reflect on it all and I'm also asking YOU pray for my community.

Six years ago I thought missions was an international calling. Yes people told me of the need for Christians to serve in this country, but I thought "how boring, I already know this country's culture". Little did I know the South was a whole different world, and on top of that the Delta was even more unique. Lesson learned: Missions is an international calling and that includes the United States.

Six years ago I surrendered my singleness to God. I put my desire for romance aside to serve Him. My grandma hinted at my future when she said, "You're going to Arkansas and you're going to meet your husband". I told her she was wrong and we weren't allowed to date in the Greaterworks program. She thought this was awfully suspicious considering I'd be living with guys, ha! Grandma was right of course! God knew best and began my relationship with my (future) husband in a day in and day out humble ministry life....much like our life would be in the years to come.

Six years ago I came to love a community, but knew little about what that meant for loving my ministry teammates. There were so many ways I hurt them with selfishness and an unwilling spirit to befriend them and be open to our differences. Nate and I also let our relationship consume us and we missed out on some of the richer community around us. But still we have many good memories of life together and with God's grace many friendships remain!

Six years ago friendships looked different; for one thing they were mostly all female! So thankful for Megan who has been my gal pal through all these years:) Delta friendships are unique-we're bonded by having been in the trenches together & by experiences hard to relate to our friends and families back home. Like l-o-n-g waits at Pizza Hut and/or for there to be no medium crust. Normal right?

Six years ago I didn't love children the way I do now! Read more about that in She Grew.

Six years ago I thought church would only be relevant with modern music, lights, multimedia, tons of programming, coffee houses, and Saturday night service options. I'm not gonna lie it was hard at first to see God in hymns, pews, quiet worship songs, sermons without flashy media, and mediocre coffee at best. Oh how spoiled I had been! But it didn't take long to come to love two church families that preach the gospel with their generous love for others and commitment to Christ in their daily areas of responsibility. The relationships built in these communities are worth far more than any mega church perks.

Phillips County, Arkansas has been a mission field and a home to me. By the statistics it is one of the poorest counties in the U.S., with epidemic issues of fatherless childhoods, violence, abuse, theft, drug use, racism, student dropouts, teen pregnancy, political corruption, and lack of local leadership. The need seems endless. Truly it can be overwhelming.

Thankfully God is at work. Community redemption is at the heart of local citizens, local leaders and a handful of transplant leaders. The faithful efforts of individuals, educators, health professionals, businesses, mission groups and community non-profits are lights in the darkness.

Phillips County needs light, it needs to reflect more of God's glory. Stand with me in prayer for Phillips County. Comment with your prayers if you'd like!

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  1. Great Post Rachel....praying with you as you serve there in Arkansas. :)

    1. Thank you Wendy for making it through this long post & for being a prayer support!

  2. Thank you for sharing this story Rachel - nice to "meet" you today!

    1. Yes agreed. Thanks for the blog visit Kerri!