“So we don’t open the house until 6:30. But R—— and C—— said they are bored and would like to clean or paint or something. So I made them a deal that they can come in after school, NO ONE else, lock the doors and paint until their hearts are content. They were over the top excited. I showed them the trim they could paint, one particular wall, stuff like that. Well I came back 3 hours later to find that they painted the entire dining room baby blue!…. I almost crapped myself right there…. Trim and everything…. And… they painted the trim between the 2 big rooms black, all of which was still wet when the others started to show up…. Yeaaaahhh… It was interesting, and fun. Both of them were covered in paint! My wife said she would supervise this week.
So far, 1 life has changed, mine.
Posted in Bucharest, Spring Green
Tagged bucharest, camping, evangelism, letter, ministry, missionary, prayer, prayer letter, testimonies, youth ministry
Everybody responds differently when they feel overwhelmed. Some people grit their teeth and just keep plugging away, doing what they’ve always done and beating the hare like the tortoise. Others freak out and do something crazy, sometimes even ending up with awesome results. Others are like me. They flee.
When I get overwhelmed, I need to get away. I need to take a breather, get away with God, find his perspective on things, and then come back full of the faith and confidence that he will do what he promised.
So this week, I took a couple days to relax, hang out with some of the guys, and seek God in the woods.
Last night was our last ever meeting of REALife, and it was awesome. Although I’m going to miss everyone incredibly, I can’t think of a better way to end our two years of ministry on Thursday nights. (And, actually, it may not be the end; the kids were talking to Josiah about keeping things going on over summer.)
But I can’t really think of any better way to describe tonight than to say God showed up. (Yes, he’s always here (Matthew 28:20, Matthew 18:20, Deuteronomy 31:6), but there are also times when he’s more here (2 Corinthians 3:17, Exodus 19:18-20, Luke 5:17, Psalm 46:1, Isaiah 57:15, Acts 2:4, 2 Chronicles 5:11-14) or, at the very least, when we notice him more.)
It was a late night yesterday for me–or an early morning, depending on how you measure it–but it was awesome! I got home from the men’s group around 8:30, and I planned to talk with James and Seth about some issues going on. They were both gone, so cooked up a pizza then grabbed my guitar and spent some time worshiping. That was probably the best thing I could’ve done (the worship, not the pizza).
When they came home, I never got around to the issue I wanted to bring up. (In fact, worshiping and getting my heart right had made it no longer an issue, anyhow.) Instead, we talked about Jesus for the next 4 hours. We prayed, laughed, cried some even, spent some time worshiping, shared how Jesus has been leading us, shared our concerns and questions… It was great. I got to encourage both of them with the calling on their lives and challenge them to give themselves fully to that call. Man, it was great.
“Are you really sure you wanna leave?” I’ve been asked that question many times over the last few months. Partly, I think it’s asked because people will miss me here, but also I think it’s asked because things are starting too get exciting here.
A few years ago, when I first began to seriously consider leaving, the desire was born more out of frustration than anything else. I had grown tired of small town ministry, frustrated with watching people grow cold in their love for Jesus, and just plain weary of having few like-minded believers here. Basically, I had grown tired of my post, wanted out, and was contemplating shooting myself in my foot to get an early discharge.
But, though I was stir-crazy and worn out, I didn’t sense God’s permission for me to leave. So I hung in there. I figured I’d give it a few more years so I could end with a nice round 10 years of service under my belt.
I’m always really happy and really sad when graduation comes around. With this being my last year in the River Valley, the feelings are definitely accentuated. I’ve known some of the kids walking across the stage today since they were 10 years old. Some I just met a few weeks ago. Some I didn’t even know. I’ve subbed for most, nearly all, of them at least once, and for many I’ve subbed numerous times. Some I’ve gotten to know quite well, like younger brothers and sisters. Some are still like strangers. Some I’ve been able to help through difficult times in their lives. Some I’ve seen grow in their spiritual life in remarkable ways. Some I’ve seen make some major mistakes and then get back up and do okay in the end. I’ve seen some screw up in little ways their whole lives and still not have things figured out.
Some I’ll see again, I’m sure, somewhere down the road. Some I’ll never see again. Some will have changed much, some for the better and some for the worse. Some will pursue their dreams; some will fail miserably.
Tonight was a happy/sad time for me.
It was the last Seniors’ Night I’ll ever lead for River Valley Campus Life. It was the last normal Campus Life meeting I’ll ever do. It was probably the last time I’ll see all these great kids together in the same place. (Shoot, I gotta stop or I’ll make myself cry just writing about it.)
As I’ve been getting ready to go to Romania, I’ve found myself from time to time thinking through the last 8 years here in the River Valley. Sometimes, I find myself reminiscing, thinking about the kids I worked with who are now grown up. Other times, I think about what I would have done different. Other times, I think about how I’ve changed.
Tonight, I looked through my prayer letters, going all the way back to 2004 when I first started working here in Spring Green. (I’m planning to put a section in my next month’s letter titled “8 years in review.”) It was good to look back through the things that God has done.