I am so excited. Is there a better word? There must be a better word. Why, oh language, is it that I have not mastered you to explain this effervescent anticipation frothing inside of me?! This is it, this is lift-off, this is the beginning! The idea is becoming reality. The rubber is meeting the road. I'm really going! And this makes me feel just giddy, that this is really happening and that I would be so privileged. I find myself asking over and over, is this real life?
So I'm leaving for a month of training, and then in August catching a flight to Kazakhstan. My church supports a worker who got his start on the field through the very same agency and the very same language school through which I'm headed out. Because he has already walked this same path he has been a source of invaluable information and cheering encouragement. He wrote me this week, "Try to see what God is doing in you as you prepare to go, since this is part of your training, and not just a means to an end."
This is why I chose to be with Ignite Serves Providence the week before leaving. When I woke up Monday morning and frantically packed a bag, it didn't feel like a good decision. I left the house panicked about how much still was left to be done and overwhelmed by the idea of exhausting my stores of enthusiasm and perseverance during the week's heat wave. Surely this was too careless a preparation for stepping blindly into something I've never done before. But some time after we had finished washing the dust out of our living quarters, maybe just as we were met with effusive thanks from the men staying at The Urban League, something inside me clicked into alignment. I remembered.
It floods my heart with all kinds of warm fuzzies when I think about the privilege it is to serve and to share. To hug little girls and prove Jesus loves them by loving them oneself. To listen to a homeless man's life story and offer hope for the future with a cold soda and hot meal. To approach strangers and ask them the hard but humble questions about how they came to believe what they believe. And the students! To work alongside brothers and sisters who are growing in love right before your eyes! To watch them face their fears, risk their comfort, push through fatigue, and work so hard . . . I can take no credit for the understanding unfolding in their hearts, but I am proud, so proud, of how they have sought Jesus in this work.
|Passing out water in Kennedy Plaza during the heat wave.|
And what better send-off could I have asked for? A reminder in my own backyard of why I'm going half-way across the world. A model for how God wants to move through us to love and reach other.
I've been haunted all week by this quotation from Perelandra, "In all these other matters what you call obeying Him is but doing what seems good in your eyes also. Is love content with that? You do them, indeed, because they are His will, but not only because they are His will. Where can you taste the joy of obeying unless he bids you do something for which His bidding is the only reason?" A girl so guarded, so skeptical, so preoccupied with analysis and pro/con lists, how will she learn to obey by doing simply what He asks? Answer, practice. And it is an unfathomed privilege to be starting this adventure.
Last week I was looking back, mourning the interruption of the community I hold so dear. This week I am looking forward, anticipating the faithfulness of a God who would work through me, and will teach me to do His will.