“I Flourish in the Shade” (Sum Umbra Floreo) is a motto I can get behind. It’s the motto of the country of Belize. I know this because I looked it up Sunday when my good buddy, Mike Fink & his family, were visiting with us over lunch.
They are leaving the U. S. in September to do mission work in Belize.
Mike and his family- Rebecca, Cheyenne, & Samuel- were visiting in Grapevine this past weekend. Mike & I don’t have a lot of opportunities to get together, so with him being in the area for a couple days it was a no-brainer for us to carve out a few hours to hang out & talk. That was Friday night.
Our visit mostly centered around our families & our churches, but we kept coming back to the one thing I couldn’t get off my mind- Mike is going on the mission field. And he is leaving next month.
You see, for as long as I have known Mike (going on 17 years now!) I have known that missions was his heart. It’s what he always wanted to do. Whether it was college, grad school, work, pastoring, whatever… missions was always there in the background- flourishing (in the shade if you will)- waiting; waiting for the time when Mike would be leaving for the mission field.
And that time is upon us.
Is it the right time? I don’t know. I’m not sure they know for sure. We never really know about these things until we do them- that’s why it’s called FAITH. Believers don’t always know, but we do because we BELIEVE.
And they believe (God help my unbelief). Mike & Rebecca believe- so it’s Belize or Bustfor them.
And I’m not joking when I say BUST. Mike & his family are going alone & unsupported. No organization is sending them. No one is paying their way. They are selling off almost everything they have to buy as much time there as they possibly can & figure out how to make it work. If they bust within the 1st year they will probably have to come home.
But I don’t think they will bust. I know his passion. I’ve heard their plan. We’ve said our prayers.
There is a purpose.
After deciding where they would go- Belize; Mike & Rebecca discovered the why. The Baptists of Belize have been praying for some people to come help them in the area of Punta Gorda. There is a church there with a pastor & they are looking for help, specifically in the area of discipleship. There is a tribe there, the Kekchi Indians, who are descendants of the Mayans. The Kekchi were at one time considered a reached people group, but because of a lack of discipleship the current percentage of believers is well below the number required to be called “reached”. Mike thinks they can help.
And if not there, then somewhere. Anywhere.
So they will be going next month. My buddy & his family are leaving the U. S. for Belize next month. I cannot tell you how proud I am of him. He is one of my heroes.
Mike preached for us last Sunday, and these verses come from the text he took in 1 John 5:3-4- “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” You can hear that sermon here.
They may bust in Belize, but I am convinced that Mike & Rebecca will bloom in life because of their faith. In spite of the “shade” of the discouraging things they are encountering, I fully expect them to “flourish”. With the Lord’s help Mike & Rebecca’s family will ”flourish in the shade”.
And so can we.