Monday, August 29, 2011

God Help Me

 “You can’t even love the people closest to you.  You expect to go to another country and love the nationals there but you can’t even love your wife, your brothers, your sisters, your teammates.  How are you going to love people who are so different from you?”  I sat in my seat at Missions Training International (MTI) and tried to let those words sink in.  At first, I thought perhaps Robin, our South African instructor, was being a bit harsh.  I mean after all, maybe I don’t love them perfectly but I certainly do a better job of loving them than most Americans.  Yet as I continued to chew on those words, I began to realize that Robin wasn’t referring to love lightly.  He wasn’t referring to our temporal, shallow, bought you a new trinket so you feel good for a few days, type of love.  He was referring to the sacrificial, suffer on the cross, perfect kind of love that Jesus displayed.  In John 13:35, Jesus calls us to display that love to one another.  "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Robin was right.  I can’t love my family like that.  I can't love my teammates like that and I definitely can't love people from a totally different culture, who speak a different language like that.  I sat in my chair knowing that I wasn't qualified to love like that.  I wanted to love perfectly but I knew I wasn't capable on my own.  God Help Me

As we continued struggling our way through different things that we would face over the next years of our lives, it became brutally obvious that God Help Me was a phrase I would say regularly.

When I’m working at my new job and I’m struggling to understand my new language.  Would you give me patience.  God Help Me.

When I'm trying to navigate my way through the muddy waters of "helping" people.  When someone has an need and it is hard to determine if giving them a handout will truly help or hurt their situation.  God Help Me.

When conflict arises and I don’t know the appropriate steps to fix it.  God Help Me.

When cultural differences arise and I have a hard time discerning if something is simply just different or wrong.  Would I suspend judgment and extend grace.  God Help Me.

When the expectations of my teammates, the nationals, my supporters and myself are pressing me in four different directions. God Help Me.

When I don’t want to deal with the loss that comes with moving far away from home. When I simply want to insulate myself from the pain of loss.  God Help Me.

When the unthinkable happens and disaster strikes.  When I can’t see God as God, God as good, or God as faithful because my circumstances seem to be shouting the opposite.  God Help Me.

God Help Me.  As Americans, we often shy away from being helped.  It is a sign of weakness.  We pride ourselves on our abilities to take care of ourselves, make it on our own and blaze our own path.  We champion the strengths of individuals who can do it on their own.  Yet somehow God is and has been in the business of choosing the weak to accomplish his purposes.  For God chooses those who know where their help comes from, that through their life, they may bring glory to His name.  As I begin this new journey of my life, may my purpose of bringing glory to His name remain the same. God Help Me.

Pics from MTI

I just thought I would share a few pictures from my time at Missions Training International in Palmer Lake, Colorado.
Eating really good food with new friends, Josh and Sam.
Crossing the "bridge" from one culture to another during class.

Spent at least a small portion of each day playing with some of the kids.
A sweet rainbow outside of MTI.  I saw a few of these while I was there.

View of Pikes Peak from the top of a mountain near MTI.

Hiking one Saturday at Seven Falls!