Wednesday, November 23, 2016

More Travels East (and South)

Evening brushstrokes of our Creator God. (Seen in Grantville, PA.)

Blogging in recent months has become more difficult for me, as evidenced by the fewer posts written since June. At Many times, I have difficulty putting into words my experiences, thoughts, and emotions; like I can't rightly find the right narrative to adequately express what is happening around me and in me.

But, I am going to keep trying...and thanks for sticking with me as I stumble along. :)

About two weeks ago I returned from visiting my sister, Leah, who lives in south-central Pennsylvania. The visit included a 1900+mile road trip to Mississippi and back to visit the home office of my missions agency. The people I met and with whom I interacted were the highlights of the trip, aside, of course, from spending lots of quality time with my sis'. ;)

My beautiful sister Leah and I.

You know, for those in the family of God, the Body of Christ is so broad and rich!

Leah lives and works at Summit International School of Ministry, a small Bible college. I delighted in spending time with passionate young men and women who are dedicating two years to solely seeking the face of God. Two "formal" opportunities afforded me the chance to share about the work in Uganda and I loved the students' interest and probing questions. In chapel services and informal conversations, I witnessed a generation that is ready to take the world by storm for Jesus.

The group gathered for an evening session of "Missions Prayer"
at Summit International School of Ministry.

While these young people are essentially launching into lives and ministries for propelling the Gospel message worldwide, I also met up with fellow missionaries, including veterans of more than 30 and 50 years,who inspire me by their continued focus and energy toward God's calling. In their own words, one never really "retires" from service in God's kingdom.

In the home office of Global Outreach International in Tupelo, MS, I connected with dear people who tirelessly work to support, in a myriad of ways, more than 200 Global missionaries working in nearly 40 countries.

You have heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child," well, might I say, it takes a vast and diverse team to support a single missionary - from handling financial support, overseeing newsletters, paying insurance and other bills, to rallying prayer support, and more.

Rory Tyer and Steadman Harrison, of Global's
leadership team. share at the missions conference.

The "Made for Mission Conference," put on by Global Outreach and Hope Church in Tupelo on the first Saturday in November, emphasized that each Christian is made for mission, not just those who for a time wear the label of "missionary."

Carolyn Jacobsen, missionary to Uganda,
challenged us to be aware of what
God is doing around us and in us.

Informative and diverse workshops broadened our thinking and ideas of what it looks to be intentionally missional every day - with our neighbors, others we meet in the course of life, and some we need to actively seek out, like immigrants and refugees.

As Leah and I traversed the many miles between Pennsylvania and Mississippi and back (driving through Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Ohio), we stayed over with two women whom I first met in Uganda. Both served, for different lengths of time in Africa, and now continue to faithfully shine their lights in the communities in which they find themselves. They blessed us with gracious hospitality and comfy beds - welcome relief after many hours of driving.

So fun to see friend Mindy in Ohio!

I am discovering faithfulness is not determined by where God has called you - New York versus Jinja, Uganda, or the rural versus the urban, but in what He has called you to - a continual abiding in the Savior and seeking channels through which to pour out His love and grace.

Some may question the strength and potency of today's American church, but the real test lies with the individual Christian. And, in recent weeks, I have been challenged and encouraged by brothers and sisters across the U.S. who are faithfully representing Christ and sharing His transformational message of redemption.

Christ is the Head of a unified body, but each part plays an important role that another cannot perform in the same way. Be faithful to the places and people to which He calls you and the Body of Christ will be enhanced and strengthened as you do so.

Summit on a beautiful fall day.