Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's like this...

"So what is it like?"  This is a question that we are frequently asked as we sit down to visit with friends, and the answer can get long and complicated.  It is a question that is asked of us as we move through Ministry Partnership (support raising) with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF).  Most people are very aware that traveling around talking to people and seeking out supporters is not a favorite thing to do for most people.  I have to admit that even though  it is not tops on my list of favorite things to do either, it has become something that we enjoy quite a bit.  So.. What is it like?

It's tiring, but in a different way than I have experienced much before.  I often describe it as a kind of emotional tiredness, different from the physical or mental tiredness that I am much more familiar with.  There is definitely physical and mental weariness that is a part of this new tiredness, but it is more than just that.  It's difficult to describe accurately.  Some days we get to wherever we are staying that night and we feel good.  It has been a busy day and we have talked and visited with friends and for whatever reason we reach the end of the day feeling fairly good, maybe even a little rested.  Then there are the days where the end of our day arrives and it feels like my brain is swollen to the point of exploding.  I wonder, "If I would walk over to look in the mirror, would I see smoke pouring out of my ears?"  Everything feels like a jumble inside my head and it seems to take a long time for my brain to process information.  I think this tiredness may be in part a result of opening up our lives and inviting others to come on in and take a look.  We are passionate about the impact of mission aviation in the world, and it's part of what we are doing to try and share that passion and vision with those we meet.  Doing this seems to open us up and make us more vulnerable to this emotional tiredness that I am attempting to describe.

If it sounds like I am complaining about this, let me be clear.  I'm not.  Karen and I enjoy this part of our ministry and we have had so many good times with many different people.  Although tiring, it is also very rewarding.  When times of tiredness come along it is so easy to look inward instead of outward, but it seems like it is during those times when our eyes begin to turn inward that God will do something to sharpen our focus again, and for that we are very thankful.  It doesn't make the tiredness go away, but it stops the pity party before it ever gets started.  It can be anything.  A verse that speaks to us during devotions, a phone call from someone, a visit with a friend, an email or maybe even something as simple as a friend's random facebook post.

Last evening I was out with a friend who is a gifted photographer.  He really enjoys taking pictures at night when he can do creative things with different flashes and lighting.  The results are often astounding.  We were out in no-wheres-ville taking some pictures at an old burned out house when his phone began to vibrate.  It turns out that he is a part of an effort to pray 24 hours a day for 7 days straight for the country of Japan, and 10:00pm was one of the time slots that he had signed up to cover in prayer.  We paused what we were doing and spent the next 30 minutes sitting on a cold, hard wooden floor in an old burned out house in the country praying for Japan.  Little things like that are such an encouragement and a great reminder for me.  It reminds me of many things.  It reminded me that God is with us wherever we are, both in an old, rotting, burned out shack in the country and with the hurting people in Japan at the exact same time.  It motivates me as a pilot, that my skills are useful and needed.  It reminds me that my little feelings of tiredness are not that big when I stop to look at the people of Japan or Haiti and what they are going through every day.  It reminds me to look at others through the eyes of God.  In a weird way it also reminds me that we serve a great God who has called us to this ministry and who will provide our support in His time.  We just need to be faithful in what He has called us to be doing right now, which is sharing His vision that He has placed within us.

Please pray for us during this time, that we would keep our focus and live and work to glorify our God every day in whatever He has asked us to do, not only in future mission work but also in our ministry to the people with whom we interact with as we travel around raising our support.  Please continue to pray that people would come on board and join our support team as the Lord leads them.  Remember also to pray for those around the world who are hurting because of natural disaster, war, or anything else.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  ~John 3:16

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