This past Monday, the 8thof July, Wendy and I celebrated 19 years of marriage. In that time we’ve experienced many transitions, some good, and some not so good. Only by the grace of God and his daily mercies have we been able to handle transition. There was a time Wendy tried counting all the homes we had lived in together. The number reached over 20. Like I said, by His grace. Life transitions are ever happening. One day your newlyweds and the next day your parents. The career you once had is 180 degrees different from the previous one. Your children grow and all of the sudden they begin to leave, for a good reason I hope. The dreams and desires, which used to consume you change and you find yourself 20 years later doing something completely off your radar. People come and people go…this might be the most challenging transition of all. Circumstances change and we are baffled.
Emma, our first born, is leaving the nest next month. It’s been planned for sometime now, but that sometime is now here. The Gilliland home is forever about ready to be rocked. Life as we know it is going to change, and nothing we try to do can change it. The continuum continues. I was asked just this morning from some of the FNC teachers how we were all coping with Emma’s departure, to which I answered, “I have to be strong for Wendy, thus I need you all to be strong for me.” As we had a nice laugh about it, one of them commented, “Now what about giving your daughters away?” I decided to save that one for another day.
Years ago a fellow musician taught me the art of transition. This is what he said. “Todd, the key to playing a song well is transition.” I’ve found this true in every single aspect of song. When I first learned to play guitar, it wasn’t the chording which tangled me, but it was the switching from G to C to D without a pause. Over time and with much practice, it has become like breathing, I don’t even think about it. Think about the various parts of a song, the intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, verse, pre-chorus, chorus x2, bridge, chorus, outro…and that’s just one of the hundreds of ways one can put a song together. Now, take a band and have them perform just 5 songs…the transitions are endless, until the set list is finished, not to mention the lighting, sound, and other technicians which are as essential as the band themselves. If they don’t transition well, the performance of the band and the experience of the listener will suffer. I believe I could write pages and pages about musical transitions, but again, let me save it for another day.
Over the years, FNC has undergone many transitions. From the name, to what we do, and who we are today, looks entirely different from the plan Wendy and I had in mind when we first came to Uganda. Ok, that last statement is for sure the understatement of our lives. As we have shared our story time and again with fellow pioneers, we’ve found we share common ground. The details usually vary, but the principle of transition always comes into the mix.
Here we are again in what seems to be the greatest transition in the history of FNC. From February to May of this year, a company called EMI (Engineering Ministries International) worked on a master plan for the future of FNC Academy. The document contains over 90 pages of plans, drawings, and renderings…it’s quite impressive. For me it’s a daunting task. I wonder what Noah felt when asked to build the great boat, or Moses when given the plans to build God’s ultimate dwelling place? What about David, Solomon, or Nehemiah? All of these men are hero’s of the faith, and have books which have stood the test of time to prove it. The common bond for all of these great men: Determination and their Faith in God. If I’m being completely transparent, I’m scared. Scared to begin such a large God sized vision. I’m scared of the sacrifice, financial cost, and responsibility. I’m out of my depth and way in over my head. I’ve often asked myself how in the world we got here? If you sense an insecure man, you probably are right. I’ve read the books, spoken to many wise men and women, confided in my leaders, prayed and then prayed some more. This is the conclusion I’ve come to…I need God. Noah, Moses, Solomon, David, and Nehemiah needed God just as much as I need Him. Though to have Solomon’s checkbook wouldn’t be bad…
It's a God sized vision for sure...and for the record, it wasn't mine. All credit goes to the EMI team who worked tirelessly...1900 man hours to be exact. That said, I can testify, they give and continue to give all glory where it is due. So how does one conquer such a task...one brick at a time, one prayer at a time. So this is our mountain, our Everest, our Ark, and another place for God to dwell. Lives continue to forever be changed by the power of the Holy Spirt working in and through this little school. It's now our time to believe He really can do all things.