I've given a little time for the emotions of our Wyoming trip to die down and for me to be able to really see and think about what I came away with from the WY13 trip. Bruce said it Sunday night and I happen to agree, sometimes we come back from these trips on an emotional high and need some time to rest and reflect on what God truly did in our lives. While the emotions are beautiful, sometimes they are provoked by lack of sleep, poverty, desperation..so after time, what really remains may look totally different than what we feel as we are pulling out of the parking lot of the mission church for the last time.
So after begin back for 8 days, I'm a little more ready to share how God worked in my own life.
I was reminded of the difficulties of small, rural American churches. The work that it takes when one couple is doing most of the work. This impacted both Bruce and I and we've shared many conversations about the memories we personally have of how difficult it is when you carry the load alone. It's given me a more clear look at how to encourage those who do much of the ministry alone, while growing a congregation in obedience to the service of the Lord.
I was reminded of how beautiful the body of Christ can be when we are working, encouraging, loving and genuinely caring for one another. While of course someone had to take charge of the trip, there was such a sweet humbleness of servanthood that drifted from the construction team to the ministry team. Men worked hard in the rain and hail, women scrubbed toilets, teenagers moved chairs and moved more chairs, kids dug up cactus. There were no "I'm too good for that" jobs. Everyone pitched in and did what they could or what was needed.
I was reminded how important humility is in the body of Christ. As we served each other and ultimately, the Lord, I was so blessed to watch and participate in the activities of the week. It's not about who is doing what...it's about doing what needs to be done for the furtherance of the gospel of Christ. It's not about who has power or control, it's about serving the least of these, the last, the forgotten and the tired. It's about tearing away the pride we can so easily wear and humbly walking beside someone, listening to them, not yourself. It's about doing things a different way than you're used to and it being OK. It's about being perfectly OK with not understanding a culture...but learning from someone who does. It's about being moldable, bendable, teachable.....so we can be more affective in a community.
So...there you have it. WY13 is a wrap...but the lessons learned there will be etched in my heart forever.