Deputation Travel Log: February 12th – 16th
From North Carolina back to Orlando
As the missions conference in North Carolina wrapped up, we flew back to Orlando. When our plane landed, the clock started ticking, we had much to accomplish. We picked up our car and rushed from the Orlando Airport to Deland. The work that was done on our excursion was complete and we needed to pick it up before they closed for the day. The guys at Deland Transmission were able to get much done for us while we were out of town. We are grateful and the upgrades have been a big help while traveling.
Now in the Excursion, we made an unexpected, but a necessary trip that we did not have time for. There is a young man that Kristin and I met on Church Street in Downtown Orlando some three years ago. The conversation with him began that night when he walked by loudly explaining the impossibility that God could save such an one as he. I asked him if he knew of Moses, David, and Saul of Tarsus, all of which were murderers and worse. He suddenly realized his sinful life of criminality and drug addiction did not compare to the wickedness of these men, yet God not only saved them but greatly used them.
We went through the gospel extensively together, that night he made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. For months on Saturday nights in downtown Orlando, he would come out with us. We were excited to see his growth over a short period of time. He was able to get a job, got his own apartment, and he would try to witness to the “Fake Hebrew Israelites” that stand on the Orlando street corner near the group from Bible Baptist. Unfortunately, he began to become inconsistent about coming to the street corner. When he did come, his eyes were glazed over and he stood quietly, lost in the space around him.
I questioned him about his sobriety, he refused to admit the obvious fact that he was high. Soon, he stopped coming altogether. Nearly one year later, I received a text from Chris Jones with a photo of this same young man. As a dog returns to his vomit he chose to return to the ravages of street life rather than the stability of Christian life. It seems the duty of maintaining daily responsibility as well as climbing out of the hole in which a life of destructive choices placed him was too difficult. As a result, he disappeared, seemingly never to return.
That is until he appeared again on the same Orlando street corner and spoke with Pastor David Brown. Since their conversation that night he removed himself from Orlando and moved to a place in Daytona where he can receive some assistance. He calls me fairly regularly so that we can stay in touch. He was able to get a new job, for which he needed to purchase a uniform. This would be the reason for our now necessary trip to Daytona Beach. While the trip was inconvenient, the blessing of seeing a young man hopefully follow through with getting his life together made it worthwhile.
Light at the end of the tunnel (I hate tunnels)
After finishing up in Daytona, we made the long trek back to Orlando. Our travel trailer was still in Deland waiting for pick up, and I still had a few days of work left to complete in Melbourne. The following day was a Tuesday, I left work a few hours early so that I could make it back to AMP Trailers in time to pick up our travel trailer. The trailer went through their inspection with no trouble, praise the Lord. We did have the tires and wheels upgraded to a set that is of higher quality. Now on our way back to Orlando, my time was filled with thinking about how I was going to repair our front door before we leave on Friday.
My last two days of work went by peacefully. I received much encouragement from my colleagues and managers. My time at Harris was pleasant, I had no trouble working there as a Bible Believing Christian. That does not mean there were not situations that bothered me, but I was fully able to be my Bible-Believing-Self. Over the years working there I was able to lead a co-worker to the Lord, encourage and be encouraged by other Christians and unbelievers were confronted with the gospel. They were also presented with the reality of the blessings of God in my life and in the lives of other Christians there versus the often troublesome lives of their own.
When they ask why I thought this difference existed, I reminded them that burdens are lifted at Calvary. The Lord Jesus Christ could surely help them and all their house if they would come to know him. None the less, Thursday was my last day, I went as far as necessary so that the name of the Lord was not blasphemed. My exit was smooth and encouraging, though I did have a very interesting conversation with Human Resources during my last meeting of the day.
My employer asked that I complete a survey a few days before my exit from the company. At the end of the survey, the question was asked, “Have I identified any areas of concern that would help the company improve?” So I took the liberty to respectfully note the influx of certain internal rules and regulations that I considered to be intrusive and dangerous. The new rules dealt specifically with discrimination against homosexual and transgender employees. Keeping in mind that I was not hired to influence the internal workings of the company, Human Resources requested I further explain my concerns.
What followed was a conversation that lasted more than one hour. The HR representative took detailed notes. I explained that while working there I experienced great freedom to be myself as a Christian. Yet in the past year or so, I noticed the influx of new rules and regulations that consistently boxed in my ability to continue in that freedom. One such rule was announced very discreetly in a FAQ hyperlink tucked away at the bottom of company training on the topic of discrimination. I clicked on the hyperlink and found a series of very serious Frequently Asked Questions the company anticipated would come about with this new training.
One such question was “What should be done with an employee that is uncomfortable with a person of the opposite gender using the same restroom as them?” – the answer “Immediately send that person to Human Resources.” In my explanation to the company, I first explained the hypocrisy present in the question. Looking at the wording of the question, the company revealed they anticipated problems. Questions are great because they often reveal the assumptions made by the person asking, thereby giving insight into their thinking. The companies use of the term “opposite gender” in reference to which restroom may be used reveals that they understand there are certain societal norms and expectations regarding the use of public restrooms. Yet, like many companies, they have chosen to enlist into this state of confusion.
Their reason for doing so? Most likely to protect themselves from the growing packs of ravenous wolves that came to be insatiable after graduating with a degree in humanities studies. I further explained to the very respectful and friendly Human Resources lady that their attempt to implement rules giving special place and favor to certain groups for the intended purpose of preventing discrimination was problematic. This approach requires them to take those rights away from other groups that already peaceably exist. Therefore, their noble act of preventing discrimination requires them to discriminate against everyone else within the company not found within that particular group.
Furthermore, as a Christian, I signed up for the job with the understanding that there would be numbers of people there that see the world differently than myself. The company was not paying me to impress my opinions about the homosexual and transgender communities upon others, they paid me to be a communications engineer. Yet, before these new rules ever made their way into company publications, I had freely worked side by side with atheists, homosexuals, drunkards, environmentalists (who may be the worst group on the list) etc and never had a problem with discrimination. The new rules began to become battering rams used to silence dissidents rather than a form of protection for the intended groups (groups whom more often than not never asked for any sort of special protection in the first place).
The meeting was summed up with my reminding them of the beauty of a republic. Rather than participating in identity politics and dividing the company into identifiable groups, rules of any sort should be in place to protect each individual person. My summation is that as long as the company continued with this trend, their inner workings will soon resemble the current public debacle that is politics in Washington D.C. With great respect and consideration, the Human Resources representative listened and asked questions. She took detailed notes, of which she remarked would be shared with her management for discussion regarding future implementation of rules. At the completion of this conversation, my badges were turned in and I walked out the door ready to move on to the next phase of life as a missionary on deputation.
A Great Resource for deputation!
Read a great article concerning Deputation written by veteran missionary Keith Stensaas.
Thomas and Kristin Irvin
Ambassadors for Christ
1. The act of appointing a substitute or representative to act for another; the act of appointing and sending a deputy or substitute to transact business for another, as his agent, either with a special commission and authority or with general powers. This word may be used for the election of representatives to a legislature; but more generally it is employed to express the appointment of a special agent or commissioner, by an individual or public body, to transact a particular business.
2. A special commission or authority to act as the substitute of another; as this man acts by a deputation from the sheriff.
3. The person deputed; the person or persons authorized and sent to transact business for another; as the General sent a deputation to the enemy to offer terms of peace.