CS Lewis said: "I pray because the need flows out of me, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God, it changes me."
For me this statement applies to this mission trip as well. Holding little abandoned babies actually changes very little about their circumstances, and it doesn't change God. But it changes me. I want to keep my heart tender and broken to the needs of people. Africa does this in a stunning way. When I grow weary and burdened with the frustration of sorting purpose out of the American Dream, looking back and forward to our time in Africa brings clarity and motivation to my days.
Recently Daniel and I took my younger sisters to a Rend Collective concert. We quickly realized we might be a little older than the target age for the attendees when as we struggled to find seating, we found no chairs. We'd had a really long week, and had been looking forward to sitting and taking in the concert. Looking around, this lack of chairs, designed, I'm sure to avoid spectator entertainment and encourage participation- this bothered no one but us, and it was a beautiful concert. A two hour participitory worship concert. As I looked around at all the cardigans and skinny jeans, I was impressed with the young people I saw. They were absolutely passionate, in love with Jesus; they'd taken packets to support children through Compassion; they were on their feet singing to Jesus with direction, focus and energy. As I sang 10,000 Reasons, too, with a little less passion because my feet were numb, I thought how that passion leads to action.
Because active worship is not usually easy street, 10 years down the road, that passion will be working 90 hours a week in order to support a family and still give compassion, coming home from work and then leading a discipleship group, pouring into the local church, maybe running an orphanage in India or Africa. But there may be a lot less energy. You see a lot more discouragement. You have more responsibility on your shoulders and more people depending on your passion/action .
Passion led to action for the staff at RHI and they are on their feet in what God calls true worship, caring for orphans. My main desire this trip is to metaphorically - offer them a chair. Please sit. Take just a moment and breathe. We value you. Your labor is not in vain. Thank you for pouring your lives out. Can you just let us serve you for a moment? Can you - just for a moment- let us care for some of your needs? What you're doing for these little kids matters. Thank you for not wasting your lives. If they can feel refreshment - for just a bit- the trip is totally worth it for me.
In Exodus 17 the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites; As long as Moses help up his arms, the Israelites won, but when he put his arms down, the Amalekites started winning. When Moses' arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on and they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites. Then Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner. . . He said "hold high the banner of the Lord."
I can't wait to go, and I'm so grateful for the unwavering support of you all here. Thanks for helping to hold the banner high.