Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I’m not really sure how to sum up the last month of DIVE school and India into one blog entry.
I have this problem with being so wrapped up in significant moments/trips that I fail to take good pictures and journal often. It’s as if I don’t want to press pause on what’s happening in front of me, I’d rather just experience it. Of course this comes back and “bites me in the butt” most of the time, so let me just say this: If you’re interested in knowing more, let’s make arrangements to get coffee or something. I’ve been jot-listing my thoughts in this head of mine, and I may be able to spit it out to you in some sort of rationalized order better in person.
All that being said,
I’ll share a small part of what I came away with:
There are times when obeying God requires much more sacrifice than we Christians are OK with. (Don’t worry. I won’t go off on a rant about American Christianity. For now let’s just say Christians.)
This sacrifice may be in the form of giving up money.
Close vicinity to family and friends.
It may ask that you learn a new language.
Be content with not receiving your desires.
Give up something of worth for the sake of gaining another’s soul to the kingdom of God.
You may not be completely leaving your home and selling all you have to move to Angola, but I believe dedication in ministry does require sacrifice of some kind. And if you’re not feeling that, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Effective ministry isn’t always our idea of beautiful. Or maybe I should use the word prosperous. It isn’t enjoyable at times. Sure, there is joy in fulfilling and obeying what God requires of you, but joy is not always equivalent with prosperity. You may not have success in numbers. Even conversions/salvations may be minimal.
Yeah, I know. I’m not the first to say it. It’s just been in my face lately.
And it may be a very trying process, requiring years of consistent acts of love to the unlovable.
Sometimes I look up simple words that I’ve grown accustomed to just knowing, to see if the dictionary definition brings new life to it for me. I looked up loveable.
Loveable: inspiring or deserving of love or affection.
Now, reverse that.
We’re supposed to love those that are uninspiring/undeserving of our love.
I’ve met people in the last two months that have inspired me. They’re real. They’re ministering in completely different atmospheres, but they’re equally effective in loving people in their vastly different environments, and bringing glory to God in all of it.
They’re lives are messy at times. But, it seems that every trial they face brings them closer to an understanding of why God has them in their present place. They’re fueled in their pursuits through times of hardship.
In all of this, they don’t believe they deserve to be honored and praised. Even honored and praised by God, as we sometimes tend to think. It’s just what the Lord asked of them. Why wouldn’t they keep doing what they’re doing?
Luke 17:7-10 7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”
I needed to see this.
I needed to meet them.
It’s beautiful really. Dying to self.
And, it’s taken on a completely different meaning in my life.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say it scared me some. I just know it’s expected of me.
And whether I get my huge “thank you” or not, I’ll do it.
Do it out of my love for Him.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Crystal and I are sitting in the Newark airport trying to kill our 8-hour layover with a deck of cards, magazines, and quite a few hours of people watching (our favorite). Airports really are the best places for that.
We've even spied our favorite flyer of the day: a man displaying a red thong out of his surprisingly "dad-like" attire. Crystal caught this treasured moment, and I'm not sure I'll be able to compete with her on this one. This guy wins, hands down.
Ok, yes we're feeling a bit delirious at the moment from the traveling and this unexpected encounter, but we are ecstatic about this trip. We just spent a few moments reflecting in the speed at which God supplied the funds for this endeavor, and it's quite surreal and humbling to actually be in this place about to board this flight.
There's an expectancy about us. It's going to wreck us. We know that. But, our minds can't comprehend what's to come. We're ok with that though, and we can feel your prayers already.
While we are in Nainital, India, we will be living in a girl's orphanage and teaching, playing, ministering and falling in love with the kids there.
Please pray for our safety. Yes, traveling such long distances can cause some apprehension, but pray for our encounters with people. May they be safe, meaningful and favorable.
Pray for receptive minds. We want to share the Lord with these people in a way that makes them feel loved, cherished and purposeful.
Pray for our hearts. That we may grow daily in compassion for the lost and hurting. That we may be changed and effected.
Most importantly, pray for the people of India.
We can't wait to share stories of his faithfulness and beauty. We love you.
-Allyson and Crystal
P.S.- I spared you all a photo of red thong man. Yeah, you're welcome. ;)