Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Before I began this Mission year in September, a common question I was asked was, “Stephen, what are you most excited about for this year?”  I answered in the same way to every single person, “To grow in Christian brotherhood.” I thought that it would be easy to do since I was going to be living with five other guys at Covecrest. This desire actually seemed like it would be granted to me rather easily and I wouldn’t even have to work hard at it. Well, the Lord had different plans.

Now, I am no longer one of the Missionaries at Covecrest. Rather, I am part of the Missionary Team in Europe. When I moved to good ol’ Deutschland at the end of October, I went from living with five other guys to living with just one: my missionary brother and I were the only two guys of the community of eight people.  At first that didn’t sound so difficult, but it was. We talked about this a couple of times, how it wasn’t that we weren’t getting along but that it was just difficult living with six women and having only one other guy to go to. It also didn’t help living in a village in Germany where few speak English. The ones that did weren’t able to satisfy the deep intentional conversations we desired to have. Honestly though, there was no reason to complain about it.

Let’s face it; the Lord put me in this community with only one other guy for a reason. At first, I thought that maybe it was for me to learn how to have a real and intentional relationship with one brother as I couldn’t go to anyone else when I didn’t like what he had to say. I have done this for so many years with my friendships. If I didn’t like what someone had to say, I would just see what someone else thought. If it sounded better, I would go with what they said rather than with the previous person’s advice. So, I thought the Lord was trying to teach me that I couldn’t do that anymore.

Well of course, I was wrong again! My missionary brother discerned that Europe wasn’t where the Lord wanted him.  So last month, he returned to Covecrest in Georgia to serve the rest of this missionary year there. I’m still here because the Lord has revealed to me through prayer that I am supposed to be here. But now I am the lone guy in our community with five women.

Honestly it has been very difficult and frustrating for me at times this past month. I still don’t totally understand why the Lord would put this desire for brotherhood on my heart and then have me in Europe as the only male Life Teen missionary. I went from living with five other guys to living with one guy and now living by myself in a small apartment in Germany. Some days I am sitting in the girls’ house with all them and I feel so alone because I am the only guy there.  I desire so much for another guy to be here day in and day out, someone I can share with on a daily basis how I am doing. Well that isn’t what the Lord has provided thus far for me.

Recently, the Lord revealed to me that, even though He was taking all of these people out of my life, it wasn’t without reason. I have been seeking and longing so much for brotherhood that I have forgotten to turn to Lord. It has been revealed to me that God is the Father and that Christ is my brother. And that desire that Lord put in my heart for brotherhood so long ago was not for brotherhood with people, but for brotherhood with Him.  The desire to have that brotherhood with other guys is important, but I need to continually remind myself that it is nowhere near the importance of the brotherhood with Christ, where I’m called to dive in deeper.

Please pray with me that I may have Holy Indifference that I may be indifferent to everything except for what the Lord wants. Also, pray with me that more men will rise up to not just the call to missions, but more importantly to follow the Lord in every aspect of their lives.

About the Author

Stephen grew up around the world because his father was in the Air Force, but he calls Tampa home now. He currently lives in Tiger, GA and is in his third year with Life Teen missions. He loves Jesus, the beach, chinese food, soccer, traveling, and dancing. He is always up for a good dance party. Feel free to contact him at [email protected]