" there are random moments - tossing a salad, coming up the driveway to the house, ironing the seams flat on a quilt square, standing at the kitchen window and looking out at the delphiniums, hearing a burst of laughter... when I feel a wavelike rush of joy. this is my true religion: arbitrary moments of nearly painful happiness for a life i feel privileged to lead. think of the way you sometimes see a tiny shaft of sunlight burst through a gap between rocks, the way it then expands to illuminate a much larger space - it's like that. and it's like quilting, a thread surfacing and then disappearing into the fabric of ordinary days. it's not always visible, but its what holds everything together"
- "the art of mending" by Elizabeth berg.
In Thailand, the religion is not too diverse. it is about 94.6% Buddhist, 4.6% Muslim, and
that, for me, is reason enough to move there for forever. but, right now, i'll just be there 8 weeks with a group of stellar people.
(Just so you know and can be specifically praying, our team consists of:
Philip Beckloff, Christine Black, Rachel Cheslik, Shelly Cooper, Richie Fordham, Luke Griffith, Katy King, Milcah Kirubel, Bill Kotas, Courtney McAlister, Kathryn O'Brien, Townsend Owens, August Rhea, Taylor Steel, Laura Ruth Stubbs, and me. And we will all be lead my Matt and Erin Francisco... )
our team got together in mid-march to hang out, pray together, get to know each other, and go over logistics. in that time, my excitement grew to an indescribable level. as a team, we all sat down and discussed the things that we want to define our time there. words that we want to define how our team operates together.
service, love, flexibility, perseverance, and friendship.
that is my prayer for this week before we leave. that God would be working in each of our hearts, preparing us to be those 5 things and more. our prayer as a team is that we would be able to go to the Thai people and demonstrate the gospel to them through our actions. to show them the love, the servants heart, the perseverance, and the friendship that the Lord shows us. gosh i am so pumped!
i was reading a sermon by john piper and he was talking about the driving convictions behind foreign missions. under conviction #3, worship is the fuel and the goal of missions he said,
"if you say that you love the glory of God, the test of your authenticity is whether you love the spread of that glory among all the peoples of the world. missions is not the ultimate goal of he church. worship is. missions exists because worship doesn't. God's passion is to be known and honored and worshiped among all the peoples. to worship him is to share that passion for his supremacy among the nations"
that is the mindset i pray that i and the rest of our team keeps all summer. that we be a team made of selflessness because of the desire we each have for God to be proclaimed. my prayer is that every selfish desire in me would die because the desires for Gods glory to be seen are so great. just thinking about this is where the quote at the top plays in...
as i prepare for this summer and all that i know the Lord is going to do- i cannot help but get just giddy. oh my goodness i get so excited. its in the smallest things that i get excited too. like, ill be sitting in the kitchen eating an apple and ill just kinda start smiling because in my head im thinking, 'in 8 days ill be doing this...... in THAILAND!' its getting a little out of control.
but it really is in the smallest things that the greatest amount of joy are being seen. and that is what m prayer is for our time over there. that in the smallest things, the smallest words, the smallest actions- the the joy of Christ would overflow from our hearts to impact the Thai students, the Americans there, and each other.
to wrap this up, i'll quote piper again. later in that same sermons he got to conviction #5 which i think should just freaking pump everyone up.... Gods purpose is to be praised among all the nations CANNOT FAIL. it is an ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN PROMISE. it is going to happen. piper says:
"there are 4 reasons we can be absolutely sure that the mission for God will triumph in the world.
1. the word of Jesus is more sure than the heavens and the earth (Matthew 24:35)
2. the ransom has already been paid for all God's elect, and God did not spill the blood of his Son in vain (Revelation 5:9)
3. the glory of God is at stake and in the end, he will not share his glory with another (Isaiah 48:9- 11)
4. GOD IS SOVEREIGN and can do all things and no purpose of his can be thwarted (Job 42:2)
...this kind of sovereignty we mean when we say no one, absolutely no one, can frustrate the designs of God to fulfill his missionary plans for the nations. in the darkest moments of our pain, God is hiding his explosives behind enemy lines. everything that happens in history will serve this purpose as expressed in Psalm 86:9,
'all the nations you have made
shall come and worship before you,
and shall glorify your name' "
thats powerful. that gets me excited. that is the light that seeps through a crack and brightens an entire room bringing joy to everyone it touches. that is why i have had a count down for the past 63 days. that is why i LOVE serving the God that i do.
the only way to fail at evangelism is to not do it.