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More peaches, more story telling, more quests to “the castle”, more hugs, more serving, more LIFE .
This week included a visit to the city of blue doors (& men of red shirts.)
And seeking Tunisia’s hidden beauty.
My search was surely rewarded.
I am amazed every morning when I wake up and begin to live another day amongst families who have dedicated their lives to serving Christ. It is neither glorious nor thrilling to the subjective eye and it is surely not without angst or tears. Yet, I can assure it is a life worthy of pursuing. I am beginning to see the depth of God’s purpose for man.
“My son, if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.”
It is the alternative journey only an exceptional few of us choose to embark. It consists of selling everything and saying goodbye. The disciples were the first of their kind. They left their boats and their dead unburied all to follow man walking in the other direction. We call it missions, but I believe a more suitable name is followers of Christ.
When I begin to think about the disciples, the pedestal I put them on starts to swell. I think their calling was greater, the purpose was more substantial, and their accomplishments far beyond my capability. I deem that they truly discovered what it like to search for treasure.
It the book of Mark Jesus begins to preach. A crowd of 5,000 has accumulated. We all know the story. When dusk begins to set, Jesus askes his disciples to prepare dinner. In the middle of nowhere, with no food, and no Fry’s/Dillion’s supermarket on the corner with a conveniently located Starbucks, their response all in unison is to mock the request. Yet, with 5 loaves and 2 fish, all things become possible. A miracle takes place and this is the climax of the story we remember.
It seems incredible and our tendencies begin to filter that “Christianity” was truly only meant for the disciples. However, how many of us recall this same story taking place a second time. If you continue to read, it is explained that they had just fed 5000 people with 5 loaves and two fish and not long after they were asked to feed 4000. This time, with 7 loaves and a few more fish on hand. With the odds in their favor, I expected this to be a nobrainer. Yet, just as in the first case the disciples stood defeated when Jesus asked them to accomplish the task. Just like that our heroes become ordinary. They had forgotten about God’s control. They had been consumed with worry and doubt. They had ceased to seek for her as silver and hidden treasures. And, in that, we are just like the disciples.
I am reminded that God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Even the disciples didn’t understand at times. So what am we waiting for? What book is waiting to be picked off the shelf? We have been called. We have a purpose. And we are capable. It is time we begin to seek the silver and search for the treasure. It is time we sell it all, say goodbye, and become a followers of Christ.
God I pray for my brothers and sisters, that we can be like Paul and Barnabas who not only suffered but rejoiced together. I pray we begin to see you and your truth. Allow us to give over control. Strengthen our faith. Stir in us a longing to seek you with desire and passion. God all Glory is yours, watch over my brother and sisters.
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8 days in & I am beginning to fall in love.
[Exceptions are as follows: mosquitoes, lack of giraffes, couscous, stray cats, no boys to bag my groceries at the grocery store, Tuna on pizza, tuna on burgers, and tuna in the form of candy.]
The list is short because, well, I have taken a fondness to just about everything Tunisian, which includes eating chocolate in bed, Tunisian peaches, Arabic chants on the hour every hour, running out of electricity, not using door handles, and speaking Arabic. [Jeaan = I’m hungry] Not to mention that the Groggs and their team have been incredible.
My days are simple. I spend my mornings with these boogers.
They are jammed packed with tea parties, bible lessons, and pretending that I am a witch who is married to a rock star (JT, of course) where I have joined the planting trees club who loves to push kids on swings. I fit right in.
Then my afternoons are swept away with errands and, i hope, soon to be more frequent trips to the orphanage.
Finally, my nights are a trade off between girls nights, church, world cup, and listening to the incredible stories of the missionaries I have come to love.
God is teaching me how to serve and love his people.
Recently I read a post. It described the similarity between the books we want to read but never do and, ironically not, our own personal lives. It stated that these books stay on the shelf collecting dust or in my case, are widely traveled but never started. It seems that something “better” always comes up, and for one reason or another we never even seem to flip the first page. A predicament not even the iPad can conquer. For me, however, this explains a lot elements in my life. These “On the shelf” items of our lives get talked about over at dinner with friends or standing in line to see the midnight showing of New Moon. We come up with grand ideas that usually start with, “dude, wouldn’t it be cool if…?” And yet, when we have eaten too much or the movie is over — for whatever reason– that idea never makes it into the seems of our daily lives. Our aspirations and dreams seem to be stuck on the shelf collecting dust.
“The problem is that many of life’s most fulfilling moments, most rewarding risks and most exciting opportunities tend to stay on the shelf. Like an autographed baseball or our collection of beanie babies—we hold those possibilities with such high esteem that we never bother touching them.”
I am stuck in awe that my journey to Africa could have so easily become another one of these items. The code to unlocking the parts of our lives we most desperately want are sitting on the shelf, right in front of us. They are those that we have held onto the longest and have compiled to most dust that need to be unleashed. Just imagine the difference you could make and lives you could change.
To be honest, the risk I took had nothing to do with me. All the glory goes to God. He caused me to shake off the dust and move. Therefore, if you’re ready pick up that book I suggest you begin to pray.
God I pray for my brothers and sisters that your will be done in our lives. Rekindle in us a desire for adventure and risk! Move us to be bold, all while bringing you Glory. Allow us to hear your whispers in the wind, and rid ourselves our selfish ambition. It is all for you.
“The purpose of man’s heart is deep waters.” Proverbs
Salam wa aleikum (peace be with you)
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Summer began with a visit home.
Praise the Lord for two more houses.
God is Good.
Then began my trip to Africa. A longer stay in Atlanta than I had hoped for, but the luxury in First Class was worth the wait.
Socks, a bed, and a gourmet for breakfast is my type of flight. AND yes, that is a personal TV in the top right.
Then there was Paris for lunch, and then a stroll to Tunis. [too-nis]
My first fix of Tunisian food was more than I could handle.
I wish I could tell you that this was the best part, but my journey didn’t compare to the welcome I received in Tunisia. I am excited for the next 34 days as I will be living in Tunisia, Africa serving in anyway possible.
I pray this summer will be an uncomfortable, challenging, and moving journey that will bring glory to God. I am stoked to pour into this family and serve them in every way possible. I want to come home with stories sharing the greatness of my summer, not because I found happiness but because I gave it to the Lord. I seek to make this summer worthwhile as I am taught, challenged, and replenished by Him and Him alone. As someone once said:
“If you are taught by Him. If you learn how to be INTIMATE with Him and he becomes your best friend. If he Molds you and shapes you to the point where you are on your knees everyday. It WILL be the most uncomfortable thing we do, learning how to go to God first and rely on His voice approaching His Word, making ourselves still before Him and allowing Him to WORK IMMENSLEY in our hearts.”
This summer is not meant to be safe or easy, but rather just as God intended it. Please pray that God’s will will be done no matter the cost.
“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit- just as it has taught you, remain in him.”
1 john 2:27
Brother and sisters no longer must we worry about our inefficiencies or doubt our abilities. Christ has called us and in Christ we are given all things. He is enough. We must believe in him, and in doing so give over our lives. God I pray for your people. Put an eagerness and passion for you deep in us. Let it pour from within us. Allow our summers to become the greatest summer of our lives as we hand it over to you. Rip from us our selfishness. It is all for you and for your glory. Amen.