In light of the Barry Manilow concert postponing tonight, I have a little extra time to write today.
What an odd opener, eh? I felt the need to offer the following tidbit of personal info as a background to the story that is unfolding. I recently made a conscientious effort to seek a job as a server at a downtown restaurant. Call it a bucket list. Call it writers research. Call it a cop-out. Call it what you will. I call it fascinating! While I try to figure out what is happening in the industry where I banked my career the past 27 years, I am now living a dream many have wondered about. Truly, this venture seems to be on many folks bucket list but few are in a spot to take it on. It isn’t for the faint of heart. One day I’ll write more about my midlife experiences in a dirndl, today I will write about Africa.
After six years of hoping to go, God saw it was time to send me on one of our churches short-term mission teams. He orchestrated His plan with the same unassuming circumstances as He seems to carry out most of His finest work. You know, the virgin birth and all… I enjoy the way He executes His way. So why not make way for the unemployed chick with debt up to her eyeballs to finally raise the funds to travel around the globe? I hesitate to write about how He managed this feat. As with many blessings, they are met with skepticism by those who lack faith and cynicism by those who believe more in their own willpower than a God who created the universe while still caring about small details in each of our lives.
Truth is, God cares about details.
Truth is, when you take notice, He really does have everything under control.
So, we made it! We made it to Rwanda safely and we made it back home safely. He had us in the palm of His hand and we didn’t contract Malaria, Ebola, fungi, or any of the other things people thought should have kept us in the comforts of our American homes. We had a great team of 12 from our church made up of diverse backgrounds, diverse personalities, diverse ages. It just occurred to me… 12 people. Twelve people called to go. Twelve ordinary folks. Honestly, if we tried to form a dream team of evangelists to head out to answer the call, man would likely put together a cluster of egos who couldn’t band together to make a sandwich. But God…
…God knows exactly what He is doing. He knew when He called the first 12 disciples and when He called our team of 12. We didn’t always have Kumbaya moments of peace and unity on our trip. A lot of what happened in Rwanda will likely stay in Rwanda or at least in our memories. The point of our going may or may not be seen during our lifetime. The trouble with mankind is that we like to see tangible evidence of our efforts and Americans want to see immediate results. The best things in life aren’t tangible– they are everlasting and eternal.
I hope to return to Rwanda in the near future, it is my hope that the lives I encountered were not just touched but moved. I pray the actions of my heart and the words from my lips moved them to seek a relationship with God that will last an eternity. If I never make it make it back to Africa, the souls that I met will be with me after this world is gone. I trust this.
I have pondered quite a bit about my short, short trip half way around the world and back. It has only been a week since my return. I won’t promise to blog daily or weekly. I won’t promote a series of five things I learned. I cannot. My writing has to be prompted by the Spirit. As much as I want to tell the world about the insights I gained and as much as some friends expected the words to flow immediately, I’ve learned this past year to be still and let God do His thing. Stay tuned…