"Too often the church buys into the five-year plans of the business world. But God tends to work in five-generation plans. He moves over the years and generations. It often took a generation for the gospel to take root in a place, so why are we so unwilling to spend time, even our entire lives, to see the gospel go forward?" – Anthony Petrillo, TEN3 Curriculum and Material Writers Guide.
Somehow, as God gradually began to stir my heart for being active in missions, He was also growing my respect for those who devote their entire lives to service – the kind of long-term service from which they may never see great results, but the impact of which grows for generations. A five-year plan might have a fifteen-year impact. But a five-generation legacy of continual sowing can yield a harvest of immeasurable magnitude. That is what I want to be part of; and that is a key reason I love TEN3.
Another example Anthony likes to use is of wood, since he likes working with it. Thorn wood grows quickly. It is light and easy to carve. Thus, pieces made with thorn wood are cheap and do not last long. Mahogany, on the other hand, is a tree that grows slowly. The trees are strong and long-lived, and items made out of this expensive wood are strong and last a long time. There is a place for thorn-wood items, but we want to build something valuable and long-lived, like mahogany. It will take much time and hard work, but will be more than worth it.
"So is this what you're going to be doing for the rest of your life?" E asked me after I came back from Nigeria this summer. My reply: "I'm called." I'm in this for the long run. I can see myself still doing stuff with TEN3 when I'm sixty. Or maybe in another fifteen years I'll be able to hand off my position to somebody in Africa, and I'll be doing Bible translation with frontier missions. Only the Lord knows, but I believe that our labor of faith will continue to expand and bear fruit long after our names have been forgotten.