In the early days of The Wesleyan Church, a little abolitionist community in North Carolina asked for a pastor sharing their convictions to move there. Young Wesleyan Minister Adam Crooks picked up the mantel and, in 1847, responded to God's call. Before the American Civil War, Crooks and his family moved from Ohio to North Carolina.
The same story is played out again in 1930s Germany. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was living in a time of distress and difficulty. God’s prompting him to act resulted in his commitment to The Confessing Church.
Sometimes, we are not just called by God to go to a place in need. Sometimes, the conditions of life place a need directly in front of our eyes, and God spurs us to act.
Our world is unstable. War, famine and disaster are chronic problems. Thus, I started Wished Incorporated to be an organization that helps churches in hostile or difficult environments.
We do not live in a world with guaranteed outcomes or acceptance.
Many see the problems of our world dimly, with poor clarity and often act on incomplete information, which can result in mistakes, failures and even sin. Thankfully, God has given us the grace to walk in our world so we can fearlessly face uncertainty. God has offered us free forgiveness so we can act with conviction in a world full of question marks and instability.
Followers of Christ like Crooks and Bonhoeffer choose and act boldly in this world of uncertainty instead of craving assurances and positive outcomes with money-back guarantees promising satisfaction. Christ sent his apostles out into the world with very few guarantees. He sent them out from Jerusalem to Judea, and to Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. They had no idea how their obedience would turn out. Christ promised trouble but also his presence.
Guarantees are antithetical to the life of faith because if we knew the outcomes, we might never take the steps in the first place.
I experienced this journey, feeling drawn by God to go to Ukraine. In January 2023, I packed up my bags and went to Ukraine alone, determined to find out what God was doing in that nation. I had no extraction or health insurance, and if something went wrong, my loved ones would just stop hearing from me. I, like the early Christ followers, had no idea how my obedience would turn out. I knew though, like Crooks and Bonhoeffer, I was spurred to act.
Two months later, I was living in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and hearing reports of a million Russians about to invade and take over the city. I had handed out food within two miles of the battle lines. Having served in the U.S. Army for 10 years, war was familiar, and I saw the battle lines and tactics differently than many others.
With the practiced eye of an infantry officer, I evaluated the best course of action. Moving to a city just an hour away was tactically sound and vital for the mission. However, to do this meant I had to cut myself off from resources and supporting relationships.
Was it dangerous? Perhaps, but God opened new opportunities when I took a step of faith.
I rented an Airbnb and moved to a new city, not knowing the language, with very little funding and without a single contact there. But God met me. I found a Christian church dedicated to helping suffering people and connected with believers ready for new relationships. The relationships I forged there, alone, have provided for the next stage of my journey.
Having left Ukraine in late April, I will return there this fall. I believe we can find Christ followers willing to step out into the world with no guarantees. Are there people willing to act in the face of danger without promises of success or reward? We are convinced there are.
For the next year, Wished Inc. will operate near the frontlines of the Ukrainian conflict building relationships and working with local believers. It provides an opportunity to walk in faith without certainty and live a life of obedience spurred by God’s call.