I really felt it on my heart to share with you the words of a song that I wrote the other day. It pretty much describe where I'm at:
Leadership gets defined when you are thrown into the back of an airplane wondering if all the team members are on board. Or when, a supposedly agreed upon, 5 minute per person shower, turns into a self proclaimed 10 minute spa treatment with 6 other people waiting for their turn with a "what are you going to do about this" expressions on their faces. Or even that moment when someone tries to convince the guys that lentils have the same amount of protein as a steak. And all this before breakfast.
Taking a peek back on the journey, I realize how you really only see the bigger picture of God's master plan, once you turn around and look at the memory.
I am currently sitting in Colombia writing this update surrounded by sounds of a river and jungle. We are at a mission base of New Tribe Missions which is on a Finca (farm) on the outskirts of a town called Fusagasuga. What was once a place that was robbed of its life because of guerilla warfare is now a place that is filled with students and families that have all dedicated their lives to the furthering of God's Kingdom in unreached tribes in Colombia.
Our journey took an unexpected turn due to the civil unrest in Venezuela and we were detoured to Santa Marta. The team has had a great time just pouring out what we have received, serving with La Esparanza chuch and South American Missions. And what an interesting time we've had! The South-Americans have quite an outward focused culture. Since that first week in Sao Paulo I've been amazed by the sense of community facilitated by living on your front porch and in the streets. As a result, outside-church seem to be the order of the day. We've had church and other meetings under amongst others a mango tree with a monkey watching the proceedings from a rooftop, an orange tree, in neighbourhood parks, a city park, a closed-off street etc. The culture has also facilitated a "new" manner of evangelism for our time here... Picture this, a group of gringo's* invading a park filled with late-afternoon, post-work Colombians, inviting them to a central place. Here they do dramas, share a bit of who they are, why their God has the power to save, and a testimony of His grace in their lives. This as been our " gameplan" on a few occasions, and I love it! There is a reason why Paul was found preaching in the marketplace. There is something to this approach that is inclusive and accessible, something that is sadly so often lacking in traditional churches. Something that is fresh and new, it makes people take notice! The story is shared to tourists, beggars, street vendors and business men alike. The story is presented in a simple and pure way with no extra baggage. And man has God shown up! The Spirit moved in the dusky heat, hearts were touched and lives changed through simple conversations fueled by His love. What a creative God we serve - the inclusive, loving, inviting, not-bound-by-church, marketplace God! *Gringo: grin·go n. pl. grin·gos Offensive SlangUsed as a disparaging term for a foreigner in Latin America, especially an American or English person. This gringo is reminded on a daily basis of how much God loves people! And that He loves me enough that I was made a minister of reconciliation, that if you say you are a Christian but you don't have a heart for the lost, you're missing something!
Our bodies have been described as temples of the Holy Spirit and as clay in the hands of the Potter. It is an awe-inspiring, intricate tool for the Kingdom, made according to a blueprint designed by an Almighty God.
And so it begins. One overcast morning in Fusagasuga, Colombia, four team members received their first challenge papers as the Green Team. After tearful goodbyes to the residents of the New Tribes base, we donned our heavy backpacks and started the long walk to the "mercado", or the market.
What defines a family? Does the term only refer to a collection of people that are united by their similar genes? Is it possible to apply this term to ten people you've known for only four months?