Friday, January 27, 2017

Walking with Jesus

"What's it like to walk with Jesus through that?"

This has become sort of a mantra in my Growth Group. All four of us are completely different; we have a recent college grad headed to Europe to work with youth, a married mother of 4 headed to Ireland, and a single mother of two teenagers who is headed to Asia, and me. We often share things we're learning or things going on in our lives that don't have a clear resolution or a simple answer. We're learning to not discount each other's experiences and journeys with God, or step in and offer advice we don't have. We share truth, we share tears, we share dark chocolate, and we share Jesus.

When confronted with a hard situation, an inter-personal situation that seems to be forever unresolved, a huge joy that makes my heart sing, a problem I can't puzzle my way out of, or when all I see is chaos and mess--what does it mean to walk with Jesus through that?

Sometimes I don't know What Would Jesus Do? Sometimes I don't know how to view it from God's perspective. Sometimes I don't know how to see what God might be doing in my life through this situation. But I can learn to walk with Jesus through it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Transition

Transition: The experience of the gradual, physiological reorientation process that happens inside us as we respond and adapt to the external change. Transition often results from a change, but it may also be triggered by the news that a change is imminent and, so, start before the change actually takes place. (William Bridges)

Last week we spent an entire morning talking about transition. We visualized the transition to a new country/ministry/location/people group as a bridge with five different stages:
  1. Settled
  2. Unsettling
  3. Chaos
  4. Re-Settling
  5. Newly Settled
On our own papers, we wrote both our positive and negative feelings and word associations with each stage, then circled the one word (either positive or negative) that most describes our feeling in that stage. The instructor asked six people to share with the class their words along the entire Transition Bridge, with positive words above the bridge road-bed and negative words below (these are charted below in 6 different colors). Then the rest of the class chimed in to build a "word cloud" (these are written at an angle).


I loved that we were allowed to speak in paradox, and we did not have to follow up a negative feeling or word with "Yes, but remember God's promises" or "It'll be OK." Because no matter how many times you've done a major transition, or if you're navigating it with a family or supportive team, or if it's to a similar culture, transition is still hard. And it is normal to feel either positive or negatively--or both at the same time.

And if you want to know what I'm feeling in this transition, follow the purple letters across.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Four things

There was a young adult Christian fiction series I really enjoyed in middle school. I distinctly remember the last line of one of the books and it's been coming to my mind frequently over the last few days:

"I may not know what the future holds or where I'm going, but I'm positive of these four things. The moment. The people in that moment. God. And God's promises."

That's what I'm hanging onto today. There's 4 more days here at Mission Training International, and about a month before I leave for Nigeria (don't ask me exact number of days left or I might cry). I'm trying to stay grounded in this moment, relating to and engaging with the people in the moment, remembering God's presence, and choosing to believe God's promises.

Monday, January 16, 2017

1 Corinthians 13 for New Missionaries

"If I speak with the tongue of a national, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I wear the national dress and understand the culture and all forms of etiquette, and if I copy all mannerisms so that I could pass for a national but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor, and if I spend my energy without reserve, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love endures long hours of language study, and is kind to those who mock his accent; love does not envy those who stayed home; love does not exalt his home culture, is not proud of his national superiority,
Does not boast about the way we do it back home, does not seek his own ways, is not easily provoked into telling about the beauty of his home country, does not think evil about this culture;
Love bears all criticism about his home culture, believes all good things about this new culture, confidently anticipates being at home in this place, endures all inconveniences.
Love never fails: but where there is cultural anthropology, it will fail; where there is contextualization it will lead to syncretism; where there is linguistics, it will change.
For we know only part of the culture and we minister to only part.
But when Christ is reproduced in this culture, then our inadequacies will be insignificant.
When I was in Britain (Korea, the US....), I spoke as a Brit, I understood as a Brit, I thought as a Brit; but when I left Britain I put away British things.
Now we adapt to this culture awkwardly; but He will live in it intimately: now I speak with a strange accent, but he will speak to the heart.
And now these three remain: cultural adaptation, language study, and love.
But the greatest of these is love." - Author Unknown

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Winter Fun!

It's all melted now, but about a week ago, we had a pretty good snow. A few of the younger girls wanted me to go sledding with them, and I was all too happy to oblige!


This morning I was invited at the last minute to go with two of the families on the Manitou Springs & Pikes Peak Railway. I thoroughly enjoyed the 45min ride over about 4miles  with a 5,000ft elevation gain. We couldn't make it to the 14,114ft peak due to the heavy snowdrifts, but at times we were on a 25% grade!




The scenery was beautiful!




It started to snow during our ascent, and the conductor could not resist a few jokes: 
video

We made it to Inspiration  Point at 11,500ft before having to stop due to snow. It was so foggy that we could barely see the nearby peaks. 


Then we returned to 4 Mile Point where the train let us off to walk around a little bit.






All in all, I've enjoyed the wintery weather here, but am glad I don't have to deal with ice and snow and high winds either in Texas or in Nigeria!