Manage episode 206135827 series 2158786
In this week’s episode of ‘ACTS In Motion’ Steve Hughey describes the adventure of following God’s lead. beyond the safe borders of culture and country. This is a good week to sit back and soak in the wisdom that is developed through 50 years of a life in motion!
Special thanks to Coachworks Car Wash in Bee Cave, TX for their support in the launch of this podcast.
Also, we’d like to thank Alex of ‘Songs for Story‘ for allowing us to use his music.
The hardest part of setting an object in motion is starting (0-60 mph). When do you first recall saying ‘yes’ to what you sensed God was asking you to do?
I’m not sure there was just one time when I sensed God was asking me to serve Him and His people. And, I’m not sure it gets easier to get into motion in a new calling. Each time it requires looking at a number of things such as “What might be best for my family at a particular season of life?” And “Where can I best use my gifts to make a difference in a particular season of life.” And, “Where could I develop some new gifts and thereby become more like the person God wants me to be?”
If you had two minutes to tell someone the story of what God has been up to, through you, what details would you be sure to include.
For sure my family and those who know me best would say that my life has been defined by a strong call to cross-cultural mission efforts. For over 50 years now I’ve served as a cross-cultural missionary: first in South America where I served as the director of the Spanish Lutheran Hour; then as a church planter and equipper of missionaries in El Paso, on the border with Mexico; as a mission leader with international responsibilities serving with LCMS World Mission; and most recently as executive director of CALMS – a mission agency focused on helping make and grow disciples in at-risk villages in Central America (with which the ACTS Network has served). Presently I am involved with ACTS Church Leander as an elder and as one of the teachers in our Spanish Bible study group, working to find ways to connect with our Hispanic neighbors.
What factors helped you overcome the inertia of ‘staying put’?
My answers to that question are not going to sound particularly ‘spiritual.’ But as I look back on my life, I can see how at different times when I moved on to a new opportunity, God used circumstances – including some pain at times – to ‘kick me out of the nest.’ When I got the call to serve in South America, I am now sorry to admit, I hesitated and looked for excuses not to go forward. I remember telling the placement director at the seminary that I wasn’t sure I wanted to learn another language. And besides, I wanted to go on to graduate school. Thankfully, he was persistent – and God was patient with me — and my amazing wife Grace helped a lot by agreeing to go with me on a journey that would take us into uncharted territory and a new adventure. I’ve never regretted moving out of my comfort zone and eventually came to see that real growth only happens when you are willing to keep moving in new directions as God directs.
Launching out into the unknown, living in a strange culture, learning a new language, learning to navigate different norms, dealing with water shortages and terrible traffic, having to move so often, waiting in long lines at the bank, etc.— all of these things were God’s way of taking off some rough edges and teaching me to rely on Him. I know for sure that our challenges in adapting taught many valuable lessons that have helped me in life—things like patience, being adaptable, becoming a better listener, praying for wisdom, looking for answers in God’s Word, and becoming more focused on others when I begin to feel sorry for myself.
What factors helped you overcome the inertia of “staying put?”
I remember very well that leaving our first ministry in Venezuela was even harder than going there in the first place. I was fulfilled and my ministry was very interesting–and I was able to be creative. But I had also been pushing myself with a lot of responsibilities. Because of my work with the Lutheran Hour, I had to travel a great deal to the other countries in the Spanish world—and I was also trying to plant a new congregation. Eventually I came to see that my ministry, while fulfilling, was negatively impacting my wife and young family. God got my attention when I developed some stress-related issues related to trying to keep too many balls in the air. That helped me evaluate the need for balance and margins in my life and ultimately led me to seek a new ministry opportunity in El Paso Texas. That ended up being the right choice for that season of life in that it helped me slow down and find a better balance in my life. It also ended up helping my kids have a great place to grow up, Grace to continue her education, and for our whole family to develop some wonderful friendships. The big spiritual lesson that I eventually learned is that even though we will go through some pain whenever we leave a set of friends, our church family, and a ministry we love, we also can anticipate some new blessings. Most of all I learned that as we take those leaps of faith, God helps us learn new lessons of faith and add new memories and relationships.
Over the last three years, what new belief or behavior has most changed your life?
I think I have known for some years that our relationships with family and our friendships especially with fellow Christians are among God’s greatest gifts to us. But as I have gotten older I’ve come to see even more how this is true. Not working now for pay has allowed me to spend more time with family and friends, to phone old friends and through internet connections to stay in touch with people in many different countries. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time in the past nurturing relationships. On the other hand, I am very thankful that God has given me the good health, resources, and energy to nurture my grandkids and make some new friendships. I’ve come to believe that we should never stop serving and being missionaries!
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