Wednesday, May 29, 2013

and the countdown begins

I purposely haven't counted down the days to Mozambique for a variety of reasons. Days go by longer. July seemed far away. Drive myself crazy.

That is ... until today.

32 days

...until I hug my Mozambican family ... each and every one of them.
...until I speak one of my favorite languages.
...until I walk barefoot on the sand.
...until I worship and dance with my brothers and sisters.
...until I pray for the people in the community.
...until I eat some (bomb) rice and beans.
...until I see Mozambican sunsets.
...until I return to a place I truly love with all my heart.

Oh boy. Here come the ugly the tears.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

the church in antioch

If there’s anything that I’ve learned throughout this Acts series, it’s this: I haven’t lived for the moment. Each week, I learn a new lesson, a new understanding in my faith, and I always leave service wanting to learn more of God. Needless to say, there have been times where I felt the Holy Spirit really working in me during the response time, and I find myself leaving wanting so much more.
Leaving Sunday’s service, I felt once again God tugging at my heart.
As Josh mentioned during the service, there are three reasons why we, Christianity, exists.
The people, the disciples in Acts believed they were living the life of Jesus.
Every minute, every breath, was spent living out the Gospel. Ever want to look at how you can truly live out the Gospel? These guys had it right. They shared everything. They prayed together. They lived each moment together worshipping their hearts out. That’s where we need to be today. Not just raising our hands, tithing only what we want to give away, or putting a “church face” every single time we set our feet in the church. We need to live as the church; we must shift our mentality to think that way.
The disciples not only believed what Jesus taught them, but they were living it out in their community.
The presence and power of the Holy Spirit was living in them and enabling them to do God’s work. Through His presence, they were filled with a greater purpose; and through His power, they were able to bring thousands and upon thousands of commoners to Jesus — it spread like wild fire, and the world would never be same since.
There was unity in the body of the Christ.
The church in Jerusalem and the church in Antioch are a perfect example; though 300 miles apart, both of the churches were unified in the body of Christ (Acts 11: 19-30). How often do we think that our church, the way we practice our faith, is on a higher level than other religious practice within Christianity? As Josh bluntly stated, “We exist for the church; the church doesn’t exist for us.” Instead of separating ourselves from our brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s unite and be a family.
We have the same Father; therefore, we have the same purpose. So why are we wasting our time comparing our rituals, the way we worship, or even how we dress compared to the rest of the churches in the world. If our focus is on how we need everyone else to be like us in the church, than what Jesus did, why he came down in the first place, defeats the purpose. What we need to do is follow what the disciples did in Acts…because they got it right. If the Jesus we read in our books is the same Jesus now, why are we struggling to find our answers?
In the beginning of Acts, Jesus ascends into heaven, leaving the rest of the world’s fate in the disciples hands. What most people thought impossible, Jesus made it possible through them — from 120 to 3,000. And what we think is impossible is doable through the grace of God and presence and power of the Holy Spirit. So let’s continue this movement as the body of Christ.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

two months away

Brian & I have the opportunity to go on a journey with this amazing group of people. Expectations were shattered, obstacles were overcome, and we grew together. We're an interesting bunch. Different personalities, different walks of life, just different. And I like that. 

Prior to our first official meeting back in January, I was anxious. I was so nervous meeting our team. Feeling overwhelmed by my emotions, I realized two things. One, being nervous was a good thing. It showed that I really cared about our team and I wanted to make a good impression. And two, God is going to lead.

Being to Mozambique three times, I knew what we were going to do as a team for the most part. Obviously there's lots (and lots) of flexibility when you're on the mission field; nothing can prepare you for the unexpected. In fact, it's during those times I find myself relying on God more than anything. So, I wasn't really nervous about that. But it is my first time leading an overseas mission team. And leading a group with my husband. I've stepped into leadership roles in the past. And I've also co-lead teams and groups. 

But leading with my husband? 

We're leaders in similar ways, but also different in other ways. We're laid back; we try not to dominate conversations and allow the team think of ideas. He likes to prep what we're going to say before our meetings; I like to write out frivolous two-page notes of what we're going to go over. He has more of a natural flow with his thoughts; I have index cards & post its (for days). I'm good at remembering details; he has me to remember details. It's been a process learning how to lead a team together, but we make it work. And when things didn't go our way, we learned to shake it off and to keep going. 

Learning to let go of my expectations was hard. Really hard. I wanted to make this trip, this journey about God, but often found myself stuck in my fantasy of how things should run, what is to be expected from everyone, and how a leader should be. It was a constant battle, and often times felt spiritually attacked; but I knew God placed us in this position for a reason. Each time we met and/or hung out as a team, it became clearer that He chose each of us for this team specifically. So I learned to let go, learned to take a deep breath every now & then, and learned to just sit in the moment and be present with my team. 

When we found out we were leading back in October, July seemed like an eternity. But now as we have our final meeting today, these two months are going to go by quick. As I type this, my heart is overflowing with so much happiness and joy. I hardly ever cry; False: I'm a crybaby, but only in the confines of my home (and baptisms). When I look at pictures from the past and present, talk about Mozambique memories with friends, or, even worse, dream about sipping some hot cha and eating fresh pao with the crianças in the refettorio, tears emerge and I have to hold myself together before I become the sob monster.

I can't wait to go back home to Mozambique. 

Of course, Brian & I made similar faces.
Moçambique, we're coming for you!