(The Global Acts Group oversees and works with Church of the Cross’s supported missionaries, and provides updates to the congregation about our supported missionaries, often with newsletters. This update comes instead as a personal testimony. Cindy Schmickle, a member of Church of the Cross, was until recently a supported missionary, but has now followed God into other work. She shares some of her story below.)
I find the timing providential that the season of Advent came on the heels of this newest chapter in my life. Advent is a time of waiting, hoping, expectation. This would describe my 8 month job search, as well. Change is never easy, especially when it is “unexpected.” My decision, 40 years ago, to serve the Lord in the Muslim world was made as a result of the overwhelming need for this people group to hear the Good News. Laborers among them were (and still are) few. I wholeheartedly committed my life to the task. First called to the Philippines, I was prepared to invest my entire life there. I soon realized, though, that any such commitment needed to be solely to the Lord and not to any pre-conceived plan for my future. The Lord shook up ‘my’ plans and projects . (No matter how noble and dedicated they seemed to be.) Israel eagerly awaited their Messiah but He, as well, did not come in the form anticipated ~ that of a victorious king. Expectations always accompany our waiting.
My circuitous missionary career took me to mission headquarters following a term in the Philippines and then to France for 20 years. I returned Stateside sooner than I had expected but continued to be involved full-time with others who are committed to reaching the people group to which the Lord had originally called me. Almost a year ago, the Lord asked me to follow Him on a journey which would take me on a different path. It was difficult to walk away from full-time missionary service after 35 years. I loved it. But I love my Lord more and have tried to adopt Mary’s posture and response when life presents an unexpected turn in the road, “…let it be to me according to your word….” Do I trust my Creator and Savior enough that, “come what may,” my hands are open to receive it? As His handmaiden, I am grateful to serve Him, once again in an unexpected place. The wise men came to see Jesus in an unexpected place with their offerings. I, too, want to bring the offering of my hopes, dreams, and expectations to each new place of service knowing that the Lord is the one who goes before, prepares the way, and then walks beside me.