Per our pastor's request, for the last 8 weeks Reese and I have worked to set up a children's program at our small church and to equip Kelly (a young church member) to run with the program. With Kelly's remarkable help we have found a way to meet in a dirt-floor wood-shop amongst tools, chickens, cats and dogs. The kids sit on benches and some only come chin high to the table but we make it work and they don't seem to mind one bit.
Over the weeks we've come to see how very well equipped Kelly is to serve all these little people. Kelly and I meet once a week to plan and to get on the same page. Kelly's keen eye, attention to detail and understanding of the learning styles of the kids has challenged me. After hand-writing 15 bible verse cards she perseveres and draws a detailed picture on each card. Let's just say we don't share the core value of, "good enough is good enough." Kelly would say, "excellence is enough!" We have so much to learn from our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters. What a joy to learn and grow together!
Each week more and more kiddos come with their smiling faces and their inquisitive minds. Together we are learning that the Bible is our map for life, that Jesus is the way and that we can walk and talk with him as we navigate life's joys and challenges.
Please be praying for these 15+ kids and that they would be protected and come to know True Love. Also, please be praying for Kelly as she faithfully leads this troop as we are away.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
In our ministry we talk a lot about "inviting everyone to have a seat at the table". Strategically this is done through engaging the "Three Waves" - the foreign church, the national church and the tribal church. The longer we live abroad and "stir the pot" to make an aromatic soup of unity the more convinced we become that this formula is the solution for sustainable, authentic impact. Our prayer is that the fragrance of our love for one another will be beautiful worship and will draw non-believers to the One who makes all this loving, forgiving, and cooperation possible.
Lately our resolve has grown for a ministry of hospitality and encouragement. We see very clearly that Hospitality = Depth of Relationship = Trust and Mutual Understanding = True Partnership and Empowerment. To truly have the Three Waves at the table we need to first invite all the players to the table to be known, heard and understood.
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Lately we've been actively seeking out people who haven't sat at our table; people who may not often be invited to sit at the table; people who maybe aren't "our type of people." They may not be our type of people but they most certainly are God's type of people. And, guess what? More often than not, we find common ground, we uncover together shared passions, burdens and visions. Ultimately He is glorified and Christ's prayer for unity (John 17) is fulfilled, right there at our dinner table.
Sitting together at the table is the beginning of the work. Relationship is the ongoing, never-ending work. If we are going to work together effectively, we need to know each other. And may others come to know Him because of the aroma of the rich and fulfilling unity we share.