For quite some time I had felt “frustrated”…I call it a “holy frustration”, because it seemed I had several different callings, giftings, passions, etc, but I couldn’t seem to sort out which one I needed to focus on. I knew that “Mama” was more than a title for me. It’s a calling. And not just for my four grown children, but for my many “Kingdom Kids” all over the world! I knew I’d been called to intercession and I have the spiritual gifts of teaching, hospitality and faith. I knew I was passionate about educating people about wellness, which is the nature of the home-based business I’ve done for a few years. But which of these areas defined my area of ministry? Isn’t it funny how we tend to compartmentalize everything? I’ve always felt so scattered, as if flitting from one ministry to another, never quite finding my niche. I’d had seemingly random puzzle pieces here and there, but had never been sure of how exactly they all fit together.
Then I attended a conference where Lou Engle was speaking and it was as if all these various things I felt called to came crashing together in one beautiful collision of calling!!
First, some background…
Because of the example set for us by my wonderful in-laws, Eddy & I have always said that wherever we have lived wasn’t ours. It belonged to God and we were the stewards of it. (Deuteronomy 8:18)
It didn’t matter if it was an apartment, townhouse, or traditional house. The size and location didn’t matter either. What mattered was that we shared it with others. In our 28 years of marriage, we have lived in ten different homes in five different states. We have raised four children in these homes. We have hosted various types of celebrations in each of these homes. We’ve also hosted Bible studies and worship nights, and even had childcare in our house when our church first began! We’ve been blessed with lots of “extras” who have made a temporary home with us along their own journeys. “Friends are just family one finds along the way” has become our motto!
Among our favorite Kingdom family we’ve been honored to host through the years are those sent into all the world with the Good News of Christ. We have such a “Mama” and “Papa” heart for these "sent ones". One reason for this is that our own daughter served overseas as a for a season, so we saw up close and personal the needs and challenges that are unique to these sent ones. One of these precious ones we were blessed to host ended up making her home with us for over a year! One morning in 2012, while sitting at the breakfast table with this Kingdom daughter, she was explaining to me that her parents who lived in another state were trying to sell a large house they’d purchased as an investment property. She said that made her sad, because she’d thought it would’ve made a perfect place for sent ones to come and stay when they were in the states and in need of a getaway. When she said this, something in my spirit leapt to attention! Here is an excerpt from my journal about this conversation:
September 18, 2013
YES! I want to do that! I mean we already have sent ones stay with us regularly, but how awesome would it be to have a place that feels like a get-away for rest & refreshment, yet is close enough to town for fellowship and corporate worship opportunities. Suddenly bits and pieces of words and pictures I’ve had over the last few years began falling into place…including all the words about me being a mama to many and my heart for my Kingdom kids. Isaiah 60 about my sons & daughters coming home…I still want to GO myself. That dream is still alive, but I also want to provide a place for those who GO regularly or for extended stays a place to come home to and get filled back up .What an honor that would be! I can see a big house in the country with a huge porch, restful gardens, a place of escape, yet close enough to churches and city life to give a place for fun and fellowship. Comfy rooms like a bed and breakfast but totally run from donations.
Something we had observed when our daughter was serving in the field and through our many chats with numerous others who have stayed with us through the years is this: When these sent ones come home for a season, they usually spend a little time with their families, then they hit the road, going from speaking engagement to speaking engagement raising support. None of these are bad things at all, but very often they don’t really have much time to simply rest and get filled back up before heading back out. We want to provide a space for this! Whether they start out their time in the states with us to be ministered to before hitting the speaking circuit, or whether they come to us at the end of their time here before going back out, or at some point along the way, our goal would be to minister to those who minister. To love on them. To pray over them. To allow them time to simply BE. To minister to their health and wellness needs. In other words, to NURTURE them. We’ve also noticed a growing number who aren’t sent out by one particular church or “sending agency”, so one practical need is to have a place through which donations can be funneled. We want to provide that as a 501(c)3 organization that allows donations to be tax deductible. We also want to be blessed big, so we can bless big! We want to love lavishly and give generously!
Unfortunately the adage “Out of sight, out of mind” too often rings true with sent ones. We want to provide a point of communication and connection to keep their needs, prayer requests, and testimonies in front of their support systems, so they don’t feel forgotten.
Isaiah 60 is a KEY SCRIPTURE for our ministry, especially the themes of our “sons and daughters” coming from afar, and the “wealth of the nations” coming to us. A key phrase in these verses is “Gather Together”, so we also want to be a gathering place for prayer, worship, and fellowship. We see this taking place in a converted barn. Speaking of barns…One of our favorite Scriptures as a family has always been Proverbs 3:5-10. Our ministry name came from Proverbs 3:10,
“Honor God with everything you own; give Him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over.” (The Message)A barn represents provision, a place to store what’s been gathered. “Make our sons in their prime like sturdy oak trees, Our daughters as shapely and bright as fields of wildflowers. Fill our barns with great harvest…” Psalm 144:12-13
We want to minister to sent ones in the following ways:
Pastoral Care, Intercession, Communications & Connections, Stewardship of Resources, Hospitality & Re-entry Support.
Jill Perry, founder of Bursting Barns Ministries