Brittany and I spend (almost) every Tuesday that we're in Manchester on campus at Nazarene Theological College. She studies for an upcoming graduate school module; I volunteer in the NTC archives. We generally attend chapel and eat lunch together.
A few weeks ago I attended a chapel service without her (I can't remember why) that was led by Professor Andrew Walls, a Scottish Methodist and pioneer missionary/historian to West Africa (among many other places).
Prof. Walls is an amazing figure, and one of the leading scholars in the field of 20th-century church development in Africa and Asia. His unique perspective as an historian-turned-missionary-turned-church-scholar absolutely fascinated and inspired me...the following are snippets from his talk about that journey:
"I went to the field as a Christian historian. Africa made me a missionary....God doesn't waste anything, any of our experiences. He uses it all.
"I've been amazed, over the course of my 85 years, how FEW decisions I've actually had to make! And I'm so grateful for all of the places God has taken me -I've lived all over Europe- sometimes kicking and screaming! I've sometimes gotten myself anxious about what decisions I would make, not the decision itself! But generally I've found that he makes his will so plain, there's often no real decision to be made...and I'm so thankful.
"Disciples are those who learn about Jesus; apostles (Greek) and
missionaries (Latin) are those who teach and tell others about him! In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said that he came 'to seek out and to save the lost.' In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus said, 'the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.'
"In the Gospel of John, after Jesus' death, he returned to his disciples and said 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' Then he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.' This is a calling without a retirement age!"
So...am I 100% certain what God has planned for the rest of my life as a teacher/scholar/missionary/minister? Not yet. :) But was I incredibly inspired by Prof. Walls' example and encouragement? Absolutely! Thanks be to God!!