The monthly newsletter for the Wycliffe ministry of Jim and Lauren Killam
"We may be content to remain what we call 'ordinary' people. But He is determined to carry out quite a different plan." — C.S. Lewis
A decade of transformation
Decade-to-decade photos were the big thing on social media this fall. You'd post a photo of yourself in 2009 next to one from 2019, and people would comment on your transformation.
For us, at first glance, not much has changed. Here we are in both shots, hiking in beautiful places. But in that first picture, we had no idea what we were in for.
As 2009 ended, we already knew life was changing faster than we had anticipated. All three kids had launched; our nest was suddenly empty, and not without some heartache. I (Jim) remember feeling restless, both in my career and spiritually. We helped start a new church in Rockford. We thought it might be good to start doing overseas mission trips, so we ordered passports. We decided to make ourselves fully available to God, whatever that would mean.
Whatever that would mean. Little did we know it would include leaving a long career to go work in Christian mission. Five moves, most of which we knew would be temporary. Living in a shed. Living in a retirement center. Living in … Texas?!
For Lauren, it was driving auto-parts delivery cars. Managing two ministry-connected coffee shops. Managing hospitality for a Bible translation organization. And now, serving residents of the same retirement center where we once lived.
For me, it was visiting Syrian families in refugee camps. Interviewing brave Christians in post-revolution Egypt. Getting arrested in Russia. Giving a sermon in rural Indian village. Teaching journalism workshops on four continents. Co-writing a book. In between the crazy stuff, doing a lot of regular stuff. And leaving two different jobs to follow God’s leading, even though we didn't yet know what it was.
Today, much of life has come full circle. We live in Rockford again. We’re part of the same church we’ve attended most of our lives. Our family continues to grow, with grandchild No. 5 due next week. We have reconnected with longtime friends and made new ones. Lauren and I still love to hike together. But now, we also get to be part of a global movement of God unlike any the world has ever seen.
In next month’s letter we’ll bring news from our new journey with the Wycliffe Global Alliance. This month, as the decade ends, it just seemed right to build a pile of stones — seven things we have learned more deeply over this past decade. Each is a reminder to us of God’s guidance, mercy and faithfulness:
Our plans, our jobs, our house and every possession all need to be held with a light grip.
Taking a big step of faith usually means we are “rewarded" with the opportunity for an even bigger one.
God shapes us much more during periods of waiting than in periods where everything seems in its right place.
Kingdom opportunities and great adventure often arrive disguised as fears.
Trusting God — really trusting him, with everything — brings more peace than we ever could have imagined.
Humility, servant leadership and radical generosity change the world more than power, pride, politics and money.
None of this is ultimately about us.
The long, good hike continues.
Merry Christmas (a day late)! Thanks for being on this journey with us.