It's a good thing I forget how difficult reentry after a Mission Trip can be.
Anger is one of the emotions. I wont specifically vent here. It's not appropriate. The specifics are not my point. I just want to say that there is something about going cross cultural that opens your eyes up. You see things you've either been totally blind to or putting effort into ignoring. Something about getting away and seeing other places do things differently and are getting better results leaves you with a level of frustration that is impossible to ignore. Especially when you remember that not everyone was on the same trip you just came back from and their perspectives haven't changed one bit. There is a breaking down process that happens on these trips that few other experiences allows for. I am asking God to keep the anger from turning to bitterness. I am asking God to give me loving responses when I get close to "hot points" in my culture. I'm hoping that I do no harm with the anger that is sometimes within me.
Sadness has been another strong emotion. I could have burst into tears most of Thursday afternoon. I had two good nights of sleep so it wasn't all about being tired. I had to focus on work. So when I got home I processed with Dave for a while and then gave myself a break from my to do list and spent time praying. I was sad because... the "flip the switch process" from working with a group of people, all working towards the spread of the gospel to...BAM now I'm making sure I got the checks posted to the correct expense account. Well it was just to fast and hard for my soul to take in. (Why God gives us these passions and then limits the resources to pursue them is on my list of heavenly questions.) Once the sadness was named, it was easy for me to discover devotions and verses that brought comfort to me as I have prayed about all that was stirred up in my thoughts and emotions on Thursday. I am doing much better now. Frankly, now I am grateful for the sadness. Sadness always motivates seeing under the surface for me. God has met me there in very encouraging ways.
Okay enough of the hard stuff... because by far there is way more encouraging stuff.
One of the things I have figured out about myself is that I have been put on the planet to care about and encourage leaders. It was not an accident that I was placed on the Nenagh team. I mentioned in a previous blog why it was good for both Pastor Matt and I to spend time together. But it was also timely that I was matched up with Nev. Nev is 24 years old. From all I gathered, his leadership skills are being developed at a pretty rapid rate. There were so many similarities in how we engage with God and with engage with other people serving God. I think I was placed there to say, on a few occasions: You are on the right track. Keep trusting what the Lord is doing in your life. And here's why I am saying that to you based on my own history with the Lord. Here's what's fun about the time spent with these two gentlemen. When I applied to go on this trip neither of those relationships was on my radar of possibilities. For those of you that know anything about the Desires and Longings Map that I walk through with people, you will understand how significant this realization of purpose was for me on this trip.
Which brings me to the sermon this morning. Pastor Mike spoke about Mary. He shared the story from Luke 1. The time when Mary is doing the daily dailies and an Angel shows us up and says... by the way, you will be the mother of God. The title for the sermon was: The Model of Discipleship. Mary had a willing and receptive heart. Preparation had gone into that moment. Preparation had been done on both sides. God prepared Mary's heart to receive the message. Mary invested with her community in knowing who her God is so well that she was able to quote back a passage from 1 Samuel in response. Mary said yes to God. It was not an easy thing to say yes to.
When friends first asked me, do you plan to apply to go to Ireland, three quick reasons for why "no" was clearly the right answer rolled off my tongue on several different occasions. The Still Small Voice convicted me that I had not actually prayed about that and asked God if He wanted me to be on the trip. The more I prayed about it, talked with others who would help me make the decision and other events in my life the more I realized that there was a sense that I should be willing to go. And, I got to the place where I really wanted to go. I'm grateful the Lord made it possible. My life would be far poorer if I had stayed with my three quick reasons for not going.
It matters, that it is possible for the Lord, in his grace in mercy to increase our sensitivity to his voice and to follow wherever He leads us. I believe this with increasingly clarity. I understand the dangers here. I know that part of my life purpose is to help people as they learn to be more responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives. To God and God alone be the glory.
There is a lot involved in Reentry. It is not easy work. I haven't even discovered the half of it yet. Our team will continue to work through by reading The Celtic Way of Evangelism. I'll be reading with Dave on the road trip to Colorado this week. I'm really looking forward to it. Brent and Charlie tell me I'll like this book. I may have more to share after this week. That's it for now. Thanks for listening.
First pic is of Matt and Nev.
Second pic - Nenagh Team
Third pic - Team CBC