The last couple of days have been good ones for us here. Encouraging ones.
On Saturday morning we spent 4 hours and drank two pots of coffee while visiting with a friend from Canada. This friend works for Crossroads – part of the 100 Huntely St. family of ministries. They’ve provided a large amount of funding to CWH in the past and we’ve had a good relationship with them for years. When we have the opportunity to be in the same place at the same time it’s a good thing.
As we visited Chris and I were so incredibly encouraged. This persons wisdom and experience in ministry was food for us. Because the of the relationship he was able to speak into so many parts of our lives right now. I feel like saying we were incredibly encouraged doesn’t do things justice. He works in Canada but because of his role with Crossroads he has opportunity to travel extensively and spend time with missionaries all over the world. The level of understanding that brings to people like us is invaluable.
At one point during the conversation he said, “Missionaries have to have a tougher backbone than those of us back in North America.” Wow. It’s so true. The situations that arise, the things you find yourself dealing with are not normal. They don’t have a North American answer. They require a higher level of resolve to move through.
Chris and I walked away from our visit feeling understood and encourage. It was like someone had breathed life into us. And someone had – our Heavenly Father. I love how God uses our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ to supply our needs. He uses people to speak truth and encouragement into us when we may be doubting or feeling discouraged. He can use those voices to help us move through the difficult times.
After Chris dropped our friend off he made his way to the airport to pick up our Vision Trippers. We love hosting Vision Trips because it provides an opportunity to get to know people from all over the US and Canada. We never know what we’re going to get as far as personalities go, but I’m happy to say we haven’t had a bad experience since we started doing the Vision Trips in 2007.
We have four guys here from the Seattle area. We are LOVING them. They are all from the same church and circle of friends so they dynamics are very different than when we have strangers meeting here for the first time. They have been so easy to be with. Last night we were up later than Chris and I normally stay up just visiting and, wow, I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
Aside from enjoying their company, God is again using these guys to encourage us and to speak truth into our lives. Just this morning at breakfast one of them shared that last night as he was praying God pressed some things on his heart to pass on to us. As we sat around the breakfast table this morning he said that he felt God wanted us to know that we need to stop and look at what we have been a part of here. That we need to look at everything that has been accomplished through our work here. There are over 14,000 filters in the field. The number of people those have affected is immense. He said that God wanted us to see that his blessing is in fact on this place. It is his hand that has grown it and brought the funding and given us the things we needed/need to get through all of the things we face here – and HIS blessing is on that.
Those words resonated with me deeply because I have been reminded of that over the last few years many times. Through the things we have experienced there have been plenty of reasons for us to say that we were done, and no one would think poorly of us. In fact, many times people have questioned why we have stayed. We stayed because God said we should. He wasn’t/isn’t finished with us yet. This is where he wants us. This is our calling. We need to walk in obedience.
They resonated with me too because it is so easy to get caught in the trap of only seeing what is immediately in front of you, the hard stuff you are trying to navigate through. Sometimes a person needs to stop and turn around though and see where they have come from, what God has brought them through.
When I do that do you know what I see?
I see many attempts by Satan to break down what God has established here. He has tried it through situations, he has tried it through wearing us down, he has tried it through relationships, he has tried it so many different ways. But you know what? In all of those times as we’ve wept and prayed and emptied ourselves before our God, he has settled in us the peace that comes with knowing we are in the center of his will. It’s like being in the eye of a storm. Everything else around you might be swirling and twisting and chaos, but in that place there is calm and peace while you watch things swirling around you. There is a knowledge that there is safety there.
I see too that through all those things, all those trials, all those things that would have been enough for us to close up shop and head home God has done amazing things. In times where you would think that things would be falling apart the opposite has happened. Instead of falling apart things have grown. They have multiplied. They have become stronger. We have been more effective as an organization. We have helped more people. Our funding has increased. The things God is doing here, through times of trial are just such a testament to his power in this world.
And because of that we are encouraged.
It’s also helped that one of the guys is a hair stylist and just when I was ready to hack off my hair in frustration he emailed to ask if he should bring his scissors. Yesterday I got a hair cut in the seaside salon of Joe Bae. :)