WHAT'S NEXT: An Exciting Announcement
DEAR FRIENDS, FAMILY, SUPPORTERS, LOVERS OF JESUS First of all, thank you. Thank you for trusting Jesus, both in you and in me, to invest your treasures — time, love and finances — into the work God’s been doing through me around the world for the last 11 months. I deeply cherish you and your heart for His Kingdom. Thank you for your willingness to be in relationship, to sow eternal seeds, to go the distance and drag me back to the cross, to lavish me with grace and to love me unconditionally and display Jesus at every turn. You are citizens of God’s Kingdom and without you, the Church wouldn’t be the same. The end of month nine. That means only two months remain on this wild ride that took off in September 2016. In about nine weeks, I’ll be back on American soil and The World Race will be another beautiful crease in my testimony. And with just 65 days to go, one inevitably asks the question: what's next? The reality is, God didn’t call me to participate in a mission trip so I can skip back home and live for myself. If anything, it illuminated just how much further He desires to go. Lord willing and fueled by His Spirit, I’ll gladly continue running long after The World Race is over and “my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24
In light of this truth, I have an announcement! But I can’t get there without telling a story — it’s important you know how God brought me here (duh…you should know how I work by now). Let’s back up.
All the way to January 24th. On that night, The Awakening, a two day, multi-squad revival and conference, kicked off in Cambodia. During worship, Jesus took me aside for a pointed conversation. Amidst speakers spouting praise, my Father didn’t skip a beat convicting me about all the “plans” I committed to upon my arrival home. Not commitments to anyone outside of myself, but rather those I’d made within my own heart.
“When I get home, I won’t leave for a long while. I’ll settle down and relax. My life will be like this…I’ll be doing this…I’ll be living here…I’ll be working there…”
On and on my list went. Catch my drift? I’ve found such guarantees are virtually inconceivable to abandon on our own. But sweet friends, God has too big of plans to let us settle for our own. Earnestly, He spoke to me. “Okay, now that you’re looking at me, let’s talk. You’ve painted a picture of what you think ‘home’ should look like but I have to tell you…you illustrated all those details, not Me.” That night, He sweetly, yet sternly confronted how I collected my own hopes and desires and fiercely grasped them, rather than resolutely clinging to Him. As if I controlled my future and didn’t trust His next is my best. Wow — that’s a doozy in the best way! Right then and there, I made the conscious decision to repent. To stop moving, turn my face toward my Father’s and walk back to His side. I chose to lay my plans — all of them — down at His feet, to yet again trust and wait for what His direction. Cue the morning of the 25th. Through the Lord’s unrivaled orchestration, I found myself sitting at breakfast with the main speaker, Gary Black, who also happens to be the President of G42 in Mijas, Spain. Straight from the website, “G42 Leadership Academy is a 9 month training program designed to mobilize leaders to plant missional communities that establish the Kingdom of God around the world. Our graduates, and their communities, pioneer and serve at ministries and businesses that reverse oppression, and reveal God's love wherever they go.” I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Gary two other times and each encounter was saturated with Holy Spirit. Before I knew it, I was telling him a vision God gave me back in month three about opening a Kingdom-seeking coffee house (more on that later!) and he immediately asked me, “Are you coming to G42?” It was in that moment (similar to the moment my friend told me about the Race) Holy Spirit inside me cried out, “YES, YES, YES!” “No…no.” I answered and he just stared at me with this funny look and said, “That’s what you think.” From that moment, I wrestled with God about His will. “This is my next step for you” He told me. Even my own soul sang in agreement but my head’s skepticism persisted. “What about going home? Getting a job? Don’t you want to get married? What about money? How will your parents react? More fundraising?!” And then God, in His unmeasurable patience, gently reminded me about our conversation not more than 12 hours earlier…because, you know, His timing is perfect and all. He questioned if surrendering my plans and following Him included accepting all that He would call me to? If I’m willing to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness? The gravity of my choice — and my love for my Father — settled in my heart. I conceded to praying earnestly for His will to be done wholly and fully and as I did, He gave me more confirmations than I asked for that this, indeed, is His will for my next step.
Let it be known! God cemented His purpose in my heart.
The goal: His Kingdom — to make Earth look, feel, sound and even smell just like Heaven (ya’ll know heaven is about to smell like freshly brewed coffee). Recently, a friend gave me a prophetic question straight from my Father: “What do you want?” That question continues to reverberate in my soul because I know the answer will cost me my life and all I want to do is give it! My sincerest desire is to know Him — TRULY KNOW Him — more each day and to testify about the good news of His grace. To consume His Word as my sole source of life. To present the compelling nature of the gospel to anyone and everyone and witness people, by the power of the Holy Spirit, fall madly in love with Jesus Christ. To see the Earth be filled with new creations transformed by the truth of His life, death and resurrection. I want Him; to do His will and come what may, abide in God as His daughter and cultivate His Kingdom on earth for the rest of my days. The long-term vision: God’s crafted my heart to hear and hold people’s stories while highlighting the vital human need and longing to know Him. My heart throbs for the population the world deems ‘fine’. The world thinks, “They don’t speak much but at least she is still married. They have a couple kids but I don’t know if they get along. Sure, her job is mundane but at least it’s steady. They aren’t tight on money…heck, I think they even take a vacation every once in awhile. Yes, yes, she is doing fine…just fine.” I’m sorry, but when in God’s good Word, did He ever breathe out, “I’ve created you, my sons and daughters, for fine…just fine”?! With a label as vague as Picasso, we accept ourselves and each other without confronting that which blinds us from actually living every day as vessels transformed by God’s love. For if you are transformed by the Word and Christ is in you, you are far from fine…you are fully alive! For me, 99% these intricate, delicate, bold and vulnerable conversations float across a table strewn with mugs of half-drank coffee. In October, God gave me a vision of fostering a third space — not home and not work but a place where you’re free to spend significant time — where people are seen and heard; where people are known. As of right now, my intention is to enter into business-as-missions with a Kingdom-minded and directed coffee house. My purpose is to cultivate a space where anyone and everyone can enter in with three expectations. 1. Exceptional coffee (duh), 2. Ears that truly hear and eyes that truly see, 3. Organic encounters with Holy Spirit (whether they are perceived or not). The primary expectation: at any given moment, I, myself or one of my baristas will ALWAYS have the time and space to come out from behind the coffee bar and sit at a table with customers to truly hear their hearts, testimonies, life stories — Christian or not yet — and authentically display the reality of God’s glory and love. Getting there: G42 is the next move God’s directed me to make in order that I may fulfill His calling on my life in seeking and bringing His Kingdom. There I will be discipled on being a disciple of Jesus Christ so that I, by the power of Holy Spirit, may effectively and purposefully proclaim His love through business, relationships and cups of coffee. A bit about the school: The program goes from September 2018 to May 2019. I will be living with approximately 25 other people of all ages who are all committed to living their whole lives for Jesus. We will spend the first trimester in Mijas, Spain being discipled and taught by leaders and biblical scholars from around the world. It’s here we will prayerfully cast and discern the vision God desires to accomplish through us for His kingdom. For the second trimester, we will travel to a location where a mission similar to ours is being successfully executed. There we will learn and work as a mentee. For example, should God continue to confirm the coffee shop, I would travel to and intern at a Kingdom-minded coffee shop somewhere in the world. The last trimester will be spent back in Mijas, debriefing, learning more about practical application and launching the vision successfully, and actually helping to disciple the next round of G42 interns in their first trimester. In order to step into all the Lord is calling me to, my goal is to raise $15,000. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with me and investing in the vision the God’s given by way of a monthly or one-time gift? If so, please send donations through PayPal at https://www.paypal.me/LVanSomeren.
I will be out on the field until the end of June. Once home, I would love to catch up over coffee (seems fitting - ha!) and hear all about what God’s been doing in each of your lives over the last year and answer any questions you may have. I’m looking forward to that day and until then, I pray the God of hope fills you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13