Thursday, 1 May 2014

Living a life of love


"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his 
dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example 
of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a 
sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God."
Ephesians 5 v 1-2

One of the groups of people that I think exhibit an ability to live a life of love more than most are missionaries. Now I'm not saying that missionaries are superhuman, should be placed on a special pedestal or are any better at this than the rest of us, but I am saying that most of the missionaries that I know do this as second nature, primarily because they are called to live a life different from the norm and one that points people all over the world to God. 

I do believe we are all called to be missionaries in our little corner of the globe, but the people I wanted to highlight here are those who are called to leave their family and friends in order to serve God overseas. I'm talking about the people who automatically sacrifice the home comforts, having a support network right around them and who have to learn to live, work and share in a culture totally different to their own. 

So over the next few weeks I want to introduce you to someone new - some of my friends who live this kind of life day in day out. I want to ask them 5 questions each and hopefully we'll give you an insight into how they live, what the culture is like and what makes them live a life of love right where they are. 

And to start things off I thought I'd share a little about me!!



With my mum :)

1. Can you introduce yourself?

Hi!!! I'm Tanya, and I'm a 38 year old house-wife/missionary/support to my hubby. I've been married to Alan for nearly 14 years and we have 4 wonderful boys. We work together doing sports ministry - well hubby does the sports ministry and I support him, host lunches for those he works with and do all his admin!! Thankfully, we are slightly different from the rest of the missionaries I'll feature, in that we work and still live in our home town of Newtownards, just outside Belfast, which means we do have all of our support network on our doorstep! 

2. How did you feel called to work here?

My husband had been a teacher but was also a footballer (a very good one too) until he damaged his knee badly in a match. As he was thinking about what direction his life would take he got involved in doing some summer soccer camps with an organisation called Athletes in Action - part of Campus Crusade for Christ International. We realised that the job they were doing - using football to share the Gospel - really combined Alan's two greatest loves and after praying about it felt led to join staff. I'm not particularly sporty but I was able to work with women players and physics while he worked with footballers, rugby players and basketball players, to name a few. We left AIA a couple of years ago so we could enjoy working with a range of organisations (AIA included) and my husband works all over the world doing clinics while I concentrate on opening our home, meeting the WAGs and encouraging women. 

3. What are the biggest cultural differences you've had to adjust to?

I grew up in a house where my mum was a great hostess, always welcoming everyone so the idea of opening my house up to people isn't a strange one. But the idea of bringing my boys up where we had people coming in and out has been interesting! They all love having lots of people and we are so thankful for that - it could have been so different! And I'm not sporty so to actually be in a job/life surrounded by very sporty people can be challenging enough. I do have to remind myself that my self-worth is not in how I look but in God's love for me. 

4.  How do you live a life of love where you are? 

We live by faith - totally reliant on God to supple our needs - and we have a wonderful support team around us to support us prayerfully and financially. But one thing that we make certain of each and every day is that we give, give a little more and then keep on giving. It's not unusual for us to be given a gift and automatically take some of it out for someone we have been dying to give a gift to or do something for. We believe that through living a life of love in front of those around us, whether it's making them a Sunday roast, or inviting them for supper and making loads of food, doing something practical for them, or taking phone calls at all hours of the day - being there when they need us - we hope to show them that there is a much greater One who loves them even more and is always there waiting for them to turn to Him. Little things can make a big difference in someone's life, especially when you have made an effort with them. 

5. How can we pray for you? 

I would ask you just to pray for my husband as he travels, especially when he travels to countries that aren't as safe as I'd like - but they do seem to be the countries he loves!! I'd ask for prayer for the teams and families we work with here, that they will see something different about our lives, and for our boys as we seek to bring them up in a lifestyle that honours God and welcomes everyone into our home. Thanks!! :)


We also would love to hear some of your stories, on how YOU live a life of love in your community. If you have any stories please email me at shinefortheking@hotmail.co.uk - looking forward to hearing from you!!! 
Keep shining xx 

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