I’ve now been here over three weeks. One major thing I’ve learned is that it’s difficult to fully understand the culture in a one week mission trip. Culture is so vitality important and yet we miss so much in a week trip. The blessing of being here longer allows you to see anew. To see and hear themes, commonalities and so much more. You have time to notice and ask the questions for clarifications because you are focused on more than just today’s task. Therefore having more time to be present among the many groups, observe, ask questions, work and talk with them so many and try new things. I’ve noticed more than I’ll remember to share back home or even write about.
For example, yesterday I watched young adults grow in excitement if they knew they were going out with friends as they looked at the list for the days work. Their concern as they approached the list to see their name was more one of comfort than God’s call for the day. Yet, that’s what God does, He calls us out of comfort and what we consider safe. God calls us into the places and areas of our lives in which we might normally avoid or not go. Yet, these young adults wanted to be with their friends. People they knew and not the people they didn’t know. No different than at home right? How often do you call a friend and say “did you get invited to x? I’ll go if you go.” We find comfort and safety in what we know, but God calls us out from there daily. He calls us into the unknown. He didn’t give Abraham all the details of the promised land in advance. Nope.
Moses was afraid, Mary was afraid, and so many more in scripture and we read “Fear not”, yet we often reluctantly go to a new land – and land isn’t always geographical. Comfort and safety of the known can leave us blind and deaf. We say things that “that’s how it looks” or “that is how he/she sounds etc”. When things are new we see differently and hear differently – sometimes for the very first time. It is then we understand more fully. It is then we get ourselves out of the way, and make room for God to move.
I’ve witnessed so many actions of people because it what brings them comfort, but the bigger question is does it bring the person your ministering to comfort. As it’s about serving God and the other and not one’s personal needs. Think about the word ‘ministry’ whose root is the same as “minus.” Ministry is about being less; the antithesis of power, just as the Lord asks us to decrease so he can increase. Yet, it’s interesting even here to witness power, control, competition etc. among fellow missionaries. So many have said to me what will you do each day, where will you go? Most days I just wake up and go where I feel most called and often have no details of the day nor do I ask.
I’m not negating the important of organization and administration, those are important with large groups. That too is important. But is the Holy Spirit calling to organize how it should be done or are you putting your self in the way…?
I have to wonder if we want control and then become upset because it’s just not our way. Or is God calling us into territory of the unknown. A land we don’t know yet. A land of letting Him have control. Letting God be God.
God does His best work when we let Him be God. When we decrease to let Him increase. It’s in our smallness we fit into the Potter’s hands for shaping and molding. That’s where we learn to trust. That’s where we start to become dependent on Him. There’s freedom and joy waiting there for us all.
Things change often here and it’s not really any different than home, it’s just here we are in a land and culture we don’t fully understand. So I wonder if God calls us here to this place of mission to minister to the lives of the poor or is it about transforming us to see and hear differently?
My guess is it’s both. I know it’s been that way for me.
So where today in your life does God want you to see Him anew? Hear His voice anew? Let go of control and trust Him. Lean in He’s waiting for you…