An hour and a half. That is nothing. But driving between our last stop in Chicago and our temporary home in Berrien Springs, we began to feel that we were no longer who we had been. During the next three months at AFM training, we will learn who we are going to be. As we continued driving, I looked over and said to my wife, “What are you hoping to achieve?” Her response was very much like mine. We are hoping to grow, reflect, and heal.

As the pastor of a church we planted with family and friends 12 years ago, it is hard to walk away from the beautiful people we have met along the way. But serving God is spiritual warfare, and the last four years have not been easy. Conflict often comes along that same journey. The enemy is like a roaring lion, and he has sought to devour us, but we have persevered. Still, sometimes it is hard to know who we have become. Our AFM training will help reveal that to us.

At AFM, we discovered that, instead of being in leadership, we are here to just be students. We have no responsibilities but to learn. We are moving through our training as empty cups, wanting to be filled with humility by the Spirit. It is a somber and bittersweet feeling. I often feel as if I need to be somewhere doing something. My pastoral self feels that I am forgetting something. I have no one to minister to anymore. Then I looked in the mirror and saw myself. The Bible says, “Love others as you love yourself” (Mark 12:31). It is hard to rest and be served when you are accustomed to serving others. So I am here, learning to learn and to focus on my growth in Christ. Our training will help us become the best missionaries we can be. To see ourselves through the loving eyes of our Heavenly Father will make us unstoppable weapons for the Lord. That is what we aim to be.

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