Sorry I left you hanging a bit after my last post. The fog of jetlag gave way to the next thing, and then I was exhausted.
Part of why I have struggled to write about it, is that it was SO. GOOD. I try to be aware of short attention spans, and I am unsure how to be succinct. Or which parts are most important.
If you got here in time, you know where I was. If not, I’m erring on the cautious side due to security concerns and saying, “Central Asia.” Our teams were connected with some really great contacts! In the city, the team connected with people through various established ministry events. One is Coffee Zone. There are different activities, but it is mainly a place for students to connect, learn some English, and hear just a little bit about the Gospel. (For example, the week I was there, one of our DTS students shared about forgiveness.) Those who are interested in hearing more pursue leaders, other Christians, and in this case, our team. Out of larger gatherings like this, the team connected with different individuals to share their stories, encourage, and pray with them.
The team in the village had a different scenario, with less well-established ministry. They worked with a local pastor, who connected them to people in the community: some of whom he is discipling, and some who have expressed interest in hearing more about God. They also were able to fill a few needs teaching English at a local library and a local school. It was lots of connecting with people, listening, and telling stories.
My job was to see how the teams were doing, address any issues, and meet with each person individually. I drank lots of coffee to help with the drastic time change as I listened, encouraged, and challenged. I knew going into it that I didn’t have quite the relational collateral with some of the people that Livé would have had, but I prepared well for each conversation, and worked to issue my challenges with gentleness and kindness. (Those of you who have known me for any amount of time know this is not a natural strength.)
It felt good. It was one of the first times in a very long time I have stepped out into any kind of ministry without a significant safety net. And I didn’t feel concerned or anxious. I felt capable, and invigorated by doing work that I love.
A couple photo highlights:
And finally, what I am calling the “cherry on top:” Some old friends arrived the day before I flew back to Canada. There has been a long rift. I have no words to say how good it is for my heart to have that begun to be healed and to see them flourishing in their work.