Our Calling

I’ve never heard the voice of God. 

Whenever people have shared stories about this, either from the pulpit or in conversation, my first two reactions have always been jealousy and skepticism. 

Let’s dive into that for a moment. 

Jealousy. Whenever I hear someone say they’ve personally heard from God, my first thought is, “I wish that was me.” Wouldn’t it be nice? 

Skepticism. Simultaneously, my reaction is, “but did you really?” I chuckle to myself as I write that, knowing how true it is for myself and how human of a reaction it is to constantly try to put God inside a box. That box is made of walls that define what we think is possible or likely. It is not how God operates, that’s for sure. I am a doubter by default. 

So, how do I know what I’m supposed to do with my life? It’s an odd question at 35 years old, but I know it is a question we all wrestle with.

I once had “Calling” described to me as the intersection of Passion, Talent, and Opportunity. 

Passion: What drives you? What motivates and excites you and keeps you moving forward? 

Talent: What are you good at? What skills, abilities and experiences do you possess? 

Opportunity: What are you being asked to do? What roads lie ahead of you? 

I have found this description so comforting over the years since we decided to move to Burundi almost 12 years ago now. Nadine and I have used these questions time and time again to help us navigate living abroad, moving to different countries, and finding the next thing that God wanted us to do. 

It was a heartbreaking experience to have my calling stripped away in such a brutal way in 2021 after I got sick. My mission was stripped down to its barest roots; survive. Try not to get worse. Hang on. It felt like I was working so unbelievably hard to keep my head above water. Not swimming or going anywhere, just desperately trying not to drown. 

Where does calling fit into any of that? 

I don’t have an answer for you. I went through it, and I can’t tell you. I have yet to reconcile that something so awful could have ever been God’s “plan” for my life. 

But I do know in my heart that He plans to redeem this. 

I will be boarding a plane bound for the African continent in April. It will be a short trip, and I won’t have Nadine and the boys with me, but I’m going back. It will have been 22 months since my family and I left Uganda.

This time last year I had to summon all the strength I had just to leave my house. Now, I’m going a bit further than that!

I know that my passion still burns bright. Over the years, our family has developed a deeply personal mission to safeguard and care for orphaned and vulnerable children. My experiences and the lessons I learned working in East Africa have given me the abilities and talent I need to make a difference. And finally, I was given the opportunity to join a ministry caring for children and communities in the small country of Eswatini, in Southern Africa.

After everything that has happened, God showed me a path and gave me the passion and the skills to navigate it, so that’s what I will do. 

So have I ever heard the voice of God? No. 

Do I know what He wants me to do? Yes. 

I am so thankful to have clarity and direction for my family. I pray for peace and contentment for each of you in God’s calling for your life.

I’ve already started the work, and I’m excited to tell you more about what God has in store for our family and the calling that he’s given us in Eswatini. 

Talk soon, 


FYI — Edmonton is our home for the foreseeable future – I’ve renovated an office room in our house and will occasionally be travelling throughout the year. So we’re not going anywhere at the moment!

7 thoughts on “Our Calling

  1. This is wonderful! I pray for your family to have strength. You are all amazing and I wish you all the best with your ministry in helping children.

  2. Blessings to you all. Your posts are so honest, and you so eloquently express what many of us can’t. Doubts, questions without answers, discouragement, and hope. I see in your posts what I see in the Bible. After the lamenting…”but God.” (Ps. 10:14, 20:7, 31:14, etc.) We must all hang on to our mustard seeds of faith. You are such an inspiration to people like me whom you don’t even know!

  3. There is joy and fulfilment when you know you are in a place where God wants you. We are very happy for you.

  4. Hello Josh and Nadine,
    I am so pleased that you have the strength to be working and travelling, not just strength for Josh but also for Nadine and the boys to let you go for a while.
    I suspect the vast majority of Christians have never heard an audible voice of God, perhaps we only read about that in stories of God’s exceptional intervention. May be He has to speak audibly when all other means of communication have been ignored! I am soon to be 64 and I can’t say I have heard God’s speak audibly to me in over 50 years of walking with Him. But I can quote what God said to me in 2005 “time to make it happen” and I know that God gave me a vision to work in food in Sub-Saharan Africa when I was a teenager but I was 48 before I arrived in Uganda. The bible has very few instances of hearing God’s audible voice, perhaps most are connected with Jesus who was the least in need of audible instruction!
    Why did God allow you to be sidelined for so long? Perhaps it was a spiritual battle of which we were not aware. Perhaps God will show you or in time you will begin to see God’s wisdom. Until then we have to trust that the Lord was sovereign.
    But it seems that you are hearing from the Lord and He is opening a new chapter for you and the family.

    The Lord will lead you, and bless you, and provide for you because He is faithful.

    1. Thank you for these words of encouragement, Geoff! Yes – I am very thankful to be in my position. This time last year, I did not know if I would ever feel well enough to travel again! It’s been a tough road back, but I’m excited about what lies ahead.

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