Sunday, November 8, 2009

Exhaustd and Energized

Tonight we concluded our week long missions festival; Harvest Fest. While were weren't there every night, we were there quite a bit. This year was especially meaningful for our family and we all enjoyed many aspects.

Harry and Joe are signed up for the mission trip to the Dominican Republic (they paid their deposit!). Eleanor and Isabel continued to be inspired by the stories they heard. George was able to meet two men who spoke his native language. And Lincoln realized how much he loves worship at our church (we sat through it 4 times last weekend).

And as usual, Joe and I leave moved. Each and every year God tugs at our hearts, asking us to rededicate our desire to follow hard after Him. Every year God asks us, "Are you willing to do what I tell you to do?" and "Are you willing to go where I tell you go?". And each year, we leave this week telling God, "Yes!"

We have changed our lives drastically because of Harvest Fest in the past. First of all, we realized that our neighborhood WAS our mission field. I know that sounds like a "duh" moment, but we really felt like the people living around us didn't need to hear about God's love. How wrong we were. Our Tosa neighbors desperately wanted to hear the truth...but most importantly they wanted to see how a Christian lived. And we were far from perfect, occasionally they heard the fights coming from our house, or they witnessed our children being disrespectful. But, they all wanted to see what an Evangelical Christian looked like in today's world. None of our neighbors attended church, not even C and E church...but they sure wanted to know about how we lived our lives.

The second change came from the mission festival that focused on urban ministry. After that week, we got involved with New Beginnings are Possible. We started talking meals to 50some at-risk youth in the central city of Milwaukee on a weekly basis. That was three years ago..and we are still there.

The third big change was our adoption of George. We didn't hear a message or see a video or anything, we simply heard God's voice and we felt His broken heart when we saw images of hurting children. That really was enough for us to plant the seed.

So, what's coming after this year? I don't know. Joe and I talked about one specific thing on the way home from church tonight. This thing could really change our family again. This thing doesn't make sense, but it seems like God is leading us down this path. We need to pray some more.

But, we also leave this week and say, "Some day we will go!" And we hope that day really comes. We are so willing to go and we talk to our children about it on a regular basis. We don't know when...Joe thinks it will be in 10 or so years. But I laugh at him when he says that because we have been so convicted by God's word that challenges that way of will we know where we will be in 10 years? Do we even know if we will be alive tomorrow?

We spent more time today talking to one of the gentlemen who grew up in Soddo, Ethiopia. He was amazing, kind, enthusiastic...we were so drawn to him. He counted to 5 in Wolyatinga with George and we laughed about how Ethiopian children say yes and no. He "got us" and we "got him". He knows the people we stayed with at the SIM compound, and his daughter is now living in Awassa, ET! We had a wonderful conversation with him...and as we walked out of the church, Joe and I both just cried.

What is God doing in our hearts and in our lives? How can we be so moved, moved to the point of tears, by talking to a missionary who was raised in ET? Isn't everyone in that church feeling the same way?

All I know is this...I am so tired of the talk, talk, talk...filling up on the fat that is available, but not doing. This is obviously a big theme in our lives right now. Sitting in church, many ideas came to my mind - all good things to do. I am praying for discernment, with my husband, so we know the direction God wants us to go. I have learned that Christian service without God involved will amount to failure - and I don't want to fail.

God is moving....and I want to follow.

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