"The seventy-two returned with joy.."
St Francis followed Jesus's instructions for heading out on a Faith Walk, yet unlike the twelve and the seventy two, he never returned from his walk back to his cultural normality.. yet those Jesus sent out as a part of his discipleship training did return, and they returned with Joy.
Where am I? Why haven't I been around? Is it over? yes/no..
I had initially intended to only work part time at World Vision for a month, to earn some money towards the cost of my impending marriage, and I planned to continue with the streets on my off days. But getting married is very much like starting a Faith Walk. Your not really sure what lies ahead, and you don't understand all the implications of what your getting involved with, and you just have to trust in God that it will all work out. Many things change.
The biggest impacting decision we(my fiance and I) made was the wedding date: March 8th 2008. Once that was decided all discussion and focus other than the wedding was pretty much set aside. I was moving around between house sitting, overnighting at my fiance's parent's place, visiting her at her place and trying to get in some streets in as well. The problem was she lives in Werribee and World Vision is in Burwood, which are the opposite sides of the city, and I was traveling back and forth for about 5hrs each day and only getting 6hrs sleep a night. It wore me out pretty quick.
I had been balancing streets and relationship pretty well, but as time became more valuable I studied the Bible and listened to sermons that became pretty clear that you need to prioritize a marriage above mission, when they are at odds. So streets got reduced down to a few hours a week, as I focused on the new direction God had set for my life.
A wedding is also much more expensive than I realized, which helps me understand why some street couples are yet to make their partnerships a wedded one.. So when World Vision invited me to stay on longer than a month. I agreed and ended up staying there for 3 months and decided to leave at the end of January, just last week. For February I am focused on getting the final wedding plans in place and hoping to get back around the streets for a month, re-connecting and building on my experience there last year.
So it's finally dawning on me that my Homeless Faith Walk Journey is over. But hang on.. am I giving up? is it biblical? Well yes and no.
No I am not giving up. I plan to be involved and around the streets of Melbourne for the rest of my life, but in a different way. I am going to try and get backing to do paid street ministry around Melbourne, else I will work to support my family and do as much as I can around that.
Yes it is Biblical. The disciples returned, Jesus returned to Heaven, and each has his own path to be drawn to God, and you need to be true to God's plan for your life above all others expectations. As the disciples did, I have Joy about how I have walked with God and I also have great Joy about where my future with God is heading.
Jesus went ahead to prepare a feast to those he has invited to the banquet. I am excited about inviting many of my friends from the streets to share in my wedding banquet next month. My hope is that I can continue to help them (and others) find Joy with God.