We recently had a roller coaster of a weekend. It’s not unusual to have a weekend with some good points and some not-so-good points, but the weekend of December 6-8, 2013 included an event that was unusually high sandwiched between two parts of an event that really took the wind out of our sails.
That weekend, a week ago as of this writing, was the Sola13 conference in Lansing, Michigan. It was a great conference! It was half a day Friday followed by a full day on Saturday, both filled with excellent preaching and teaching on the five Solae of the Reformation: Sola Fide (by Faith alone), Sola Gratia (by Grace alone), Solus Christus (through Christ alone), Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (to the Glory of God alone). There was also a message on the Solae (called Solas) overall, and one on Ad Fontes (to the sources) which also came out during the Reformation.
I was there with my wife, Debi, and my study partner and his wife. Though it was frigid in Lansing, MI, it was well worth the time and effort.
The Thursday before the conference, Debi and I had a second Skype interview with the organization that evaluates the psych and personality testing necessary for membership at SEND International. (If you don’t know about this step in our journey in missions, please see our Facebook page Martins in Missions. In short, we’ve been seeking membership with SEND, seeking to become vocational missionaries.)
The Skype interview did not go very well, to say the least. Without going into too much detail, it was the opinion of the psychologist that evaluates the psych and personality testing (a separate entity hired by SEND to do these evaluations) that we would not be well suited for missionary work. This was a blow. Honestly, we were stunned. We contacted Steve, SEND’s manager of the Personnel Selection and Training department and arranged to meet with him for lunch on Sunday afternoon.
We now had a strange mix of emotions. Our excitement about the upcoming Sola conference was dampened by a mixture of disbelief and shock. We were all-in for membership at SEND. Though we didn’t take the process for granted, and we knew and understood that God could stop the process at any point along the way, we did not expect that the psych and personality testing would be the problem. We drove to Lansing the next day trying to separate the mix of high and low emotions.
As I mentioned, the conference was excellent! We had a great time there and enjoyed ourselves immensely. But I must say that the information we received on Thursday, and the anticipation and concern over the coming meeting on Sunday, dampened my excitement a bit.
Sunday afternoon came and we met with Steve for lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant where we spent close to two hours discussing the psych results. Toward the end of the interview we were informed that the Missionary Selection Team at SEND had decided not to invite us to continue the process.
Whew! This we did not expect. Even after the Skype interview three days before, we thought that since that’s not the only determining factor in whether or not a potential candidate can continue on, we might just be able to move forward.
Well, it was not to be.
I have always respected SEND’s very long and thorough application process; they want to be sure only those who are truly prepared in every way make it to a mission field. This prevents a lot of possible problems down the line. Regardless of how I may feel about the results of the testing, I still respect this process, I still respect the Missionary Selection Team, and I still respect SEND International.
As we’ve posted on our Martins for Missions page, this is not the end of our life in missions, nor was it the beginning. I will continue to serve there as the SysAdmin, I will continue to support missions in general and SEND in particular, and I will continue to promote missions and SEND.
We are going through a sort of grieving process right now. As I said, this was a blow and was unexpected. But God is a sovereign God and he has seen fit to take us in another direction. We don’t yet know what that direction is, but it’s exciting to know that God is still working.