Sunday, February 24, 2008

What's it all about? Reality check

A friend of mine just came back from a mission trip to Swaziland. She took her two teenagers with her. The 5 other little ones stayed home with Dad. And yes, he is brave, and capable. She's having a hard time being "back". I'm not sure if we can come back, when we have had a taste of real life. Americans in general are a very giving people, but we give out of our excess. We don't know anything about hunger. Even those on the dole are well fed. Most of us wrestle with obesity, so how can we know anything of want or need?
God sent me to Colombia, in South America. The place with the guerrillas and kidnappers, the place where they make and sell illegal drugs. You see a lot of military men and machine guns. I'm usually quite cowardly, but I've never been more at ease or felt more at home.
From my first breathtaking view of the luscious green mountains, from the first sounds of singing and merrymaking in the night, from the first blast of sweaty heat; I couldn't stop smiling. My heart was soaring; how I desired to understand their language. It was singing and pretty. The children were so lovely with big soft brown eyes. Here no one looks you in the face, people are in a hurry talking on their cell phones doing business making money, spending money, borrowing money, worrying about money. MONEY.
In Colombia, in Swaziland, in India, there is little money. In just about any third world country the priority of the day is not to starve to death. So why is it, that these people will look you in the eye? These people will share a deep love quickly, these people are receptive and hungry for the good news of Jesus Christ.
I had an incredible trip. It was my first time to travel out of the US. Don't get me wrong I am grateful to be a citizen of this country. We are a blessed people.
My week in the barrio was extraordinary. I had witnessed a miracle and seen 600 people believe in Jesus. We had story after story of how God's holy spirit was moving in power here.
We had one more day a day scheduled to have fun. We had purchased a ride in a motor boat out to the Cartegna Bay to snorkel. It was breathtaking. It looked so much like the ocean in Monterey Bay, only clearer more aqua. I felt so at home. My face was nearly sore from this grin that wouldn't quit. We had very cute guides, the epitome of young South American sex appeal. When we got out to the place where we would snorkel I was horrified to discover that I was required to hurl my mass of blubber out of the boat with the fins and goggles on. Oh the humility of it. White dimpled flesh glaring in the bright Caribbean sunlight, awkwardly groping the side of the boat and squeaking down the side of it like an old rubber squeegee I landed like a brick s--t house in the water. My oh so attractive suntanned guide with black curly hair and teeth white enough for a bleach commercial ignored the whole awful moment and was a gracious gentleman. He offered me a rope and a floaty ring as I was now gasping and drinking too much water, bobbing up and down like some freak of nature. I got a grip. He talked to me in his soothing South American way to relax and enjoy the water. He showed me how to work the snorkel and there was no problem with floating. I'm so stinkin buoyant that if I wanted to scuba dive they would have to put weights on me, disgraceful. My days of beauty and a nice figure are gone.Forgetting that, I did relax and I loved it. I was in the Caribbean sea and looking at a real coral reef!I told my guide, " this is one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me"! He replied very graciously, "Good, I have been a part of one of the best days of your life".
In America we would think he was scmoozing, trying to get a big tip. But he was genuinely happy. Right then I decided to give him a gift. I would tell him the story of Jesus. I didn't have an interpreter anymore, but we had 2 Colombian friends with us. I asked one of them to explain to him the salvation story with the evangecube we used. My guide wanted this gift. As we rode in the boat back to the mainland I shared everything I could think of to help him as a new Christian to grow. He listened intently to every word. Finally he asked a question, "This is good, what you say all these things you have shared with me, but why didn't you tell me this when you FIRST got in my boat"? Zing, pierce,....why indeed? News this good should be shared immediately with everyone should it not? I mean having forgiveness of sins and eternal life is the best thing we have ever heard isn't it?

I'm home again. I too struggled with coming back. I cried when our Galapa Boppa drove away from Via Estadio for the last time. When the people and the children cried out to us, "When will you come back to us?" We had not even been through the entire neighborhood. The work is so big the workers so few, the people so hungry for God, so full of love, so eager to receive hope. It's hard to come back home, I wait to return. I wait for another call to go another place. For God to move to chose to use the weak and foolish things, to be so honored as to serve Him. It is a joy to be chosen. God make a way, and comfort those afflicted with desire to go. Prepare their way in unity. Stamp eternity in our eyes, that we would see.


Elysa said...

Oh how true, how very, very true. They are begging for people to come and tell them, come and teach them, come and love them. Oh God...send us!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Hmmmmm ... I thought I'd be heading back to the Ukraine for another mission's trip but God whispered "Africa" to my praying heart. So I pursued a trip to Africa with World Vision, but alas the door swung shut. Could this be the path to Africa? I hope we can chat with Elysa while I am visit'n y'all in April. : )

Karen Deborah said...

will do it. Elyssa's blog is Musings from Graceland, she went to Swaziland with Childrens Hopechest. I would love to go to India, Turkey, and back to Colombia.

Flea said...

What a moving post. The pastor of our 2,000+ member church recently asked everyone to get their passports updated, to be ready when God calls. I've never been out of the country, but lately the tug ...

Elysa said...

Karen---Please let Debbie know that I'd love to get together with her when she's in the area.


Angela said...

I'm starting from the beginning to read all your posts. I added you to my blog list. I pictured you getting out of the boat and into the totally crack me up. LOL...I just love it!~ Your another blessing that God has brought into my life. I LOVE how He leads us to our 'siblings' that we never knew about before. Have a blessed day sister! I'm Canadian, we just say eh? none of the sista talk here,,LOL.
I'm off,,need to read more now.