It’s Monday morning and God is still Good, all the time. Even when we don’t understand circumstances we are still called upon to trust God. We know His heart and His character and who He is and based upon that and our belief that He has our best interests at heart, we choose to trust Him.
Just a quick word here of sympathy to the Trevor Gage family. This is a young man, part of our extended church family, who was tragically killed yesterday. Our hearts go out to the family and as the Bible tells us, we mourn with those who mourn. Our hearts are heavy because of their loss. We are once again reminded that life is precious and at the same time it is so very delicate and short. I know this family is hurting today and my prayer is that the Spirit of God will comfort them in a very tangible way in this very moment in time.
Today I also want to add another chapter to our recent Mission Trip story. I “think” this will be my last chapter for awhile on this topic but I will listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading next week. It’s hard to believe that it has already been 2 weeks ago that we came back and at the same time it’s hard to believe that it has only been 2 weeks. Again, way too many stories to share from a 4 week long trip but today I want to focus back on the missionaries just a little. In coming back from our trip we could identify to a very, very, small degree with what missionaries face when they return on furlough or what they now call “STAS” (Stateside Assignment). We faced “jet lag” and just returning back to normal life was difficult. We were glad to be home and see everyone and sleep in our own beds and slow down a little but . . . at the same time we missed the adventure and the missions projects and the people we had met and the friendships that had been formed. In a very short amount of time we had grown to feel very comfortable away from home. We began to realize from our experience and from talking to some of these missionaries that they face this on a much bigger scale. One example is that when we came home it seemed that almost no one really wanted to hear the details of our trip. At first we were a little disappointed but then we realized that they wanted to tell us about everything we had missed here and that life had gone on here while we were gone. Our feelings of “hey, don’t you want to hear about all these amazing things” were in reality somewhat focused on self. I had all these crazy stories that I wanted to tell someone, like the 2 Italian women who had me trapped on a plane, or the day I got soaked in London and almost froze to death, or the lady I almost ran over with my luggage on a street in Rome, or the morning I figured out how to order real coffee at a local café. But I realized that life goes on here. Everyone else had stories that had happened to them as well. It wasn’t all about me.
Now, magnify this again for IMB missionaries who return to the US for 6 months and are thrown back into a different culture where time has not stood still. They have just left their overseas home to come back to a home here with family and friends whose lives have continued on without them. While these missionaries struggle with now leaving behind their new lives for 6 months and return hoping to share what God is doing and to reconnect with families the end result is often very different. Strangely enough there were a number of different missionary families that we met who are coming home this summer for their STAS. They shared how they have to arrange a place to live and they have to acquire a loaner vehicle to drive and they are encouraged to arrange various speaking engagements though thankfully none are “required.” One shared this particular article called “Repatriating Normally” that highlights some of the difficulties they face in returning home. It is a good read and I hope you will check it out. I also hope it will give you a new appreciation for our missionaries and all they face, not just on the field but even when they come home. Hopefully you will be able to lift them up in prayer and maybe you can even understand the sacrifice they make just a little more.
If you missed Larry Collins sharing about his mission trip to Cuba last night, you missed a real blessing. It was another reminder that we need to GO. I know some of you are physically unable to go but for those who can let me remind you that you need to be making plans to GO. God will bless you in ways you cannot even imagine. He will open your eyes to things you could not see. He will challenge your faith and give you a new perspective on missions here and around the world. If you can . . . God says GO!!