Nearing the Finish Line


 

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

It’s hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of another two weeks here in Slovakia. And, as always, my brain goes into overdrive as it tries to process all that’s happened. Here are just a few thoughts:

  •  God is the God of the WHOLE world. Seeing what He’s doing here always brings encouragement to me there (back in the “Couve”).
  •  God’s love is able to break down ALL barriers. Differences in culture, age, job, status, beliefs, language, etc. None of them stand a chance in the face of God’s unreasonable love shining through His people.
  •  God continues to be great at “job placement”. Moses, Joseph, David, Deborah, Mary, Paul. Throughout the Bible we see God calling ordinary people to do extraordinary things in His name. And He continues to do so. At the end of each year, Mark and I wonder how next year’s team will possibly be as great as the the current year’s team. And each year it is. Because God is awesome like that. And so are the folks who say “yes” to Him.
  •  God really is the source of our strength. By about the end of our first week, I see enthusiasm start to wane, and exhaustion start to settle in on the faces of our teammates. Because? This. Is. Work. Not in a physical labor kind of way – we’re not building houses or schools or  digging wells – but in a mental/emotional way that can’t really be explained until you’ve “been there; done that”. And yet, every time, without fail, I see these same exhausted faces walking into classrooms with genuine smiles and greetings and a warmth that can’t be faked and can only come when one is relying on the Source that is much greater than oneself.
  •  God is the Lord of the Harvest – even if we don’t get to see the fruits of our labors. I think one of the most challenging things about a trip like this is that we don’t always almost never get to see what the Lord does with our hard work. I’m actually OK with this. It’s a reminder to us that it’s not about us or what we do. It’s really about God and what He’s able to do – with any offering we bring Him – big or small. He’s the one Who brings about transformation in the hearts of people and we have the privilege of being a part of what He’s doing. That’s reward enough.
  •  God still performs miracles – and we should always be looking for them. I wrote a post a few days ago about some specific needs here at the CCE and asked people to pray. And they did. And He answered. Big. Time. (More on this at a later date.)
  •  God loves a good celebration. Throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, we read about celebrations commanded by the Lord. I think He still loves to see His children celebrate – and we have definitely had opportunity to do so because of all He’s done here.

Tomorrow, we’ll say good-bye to our students – many tears will be shed – and then we’ll say good-bye to our friends and partners here at the CCE – and more tears will be shed. But we’ll celebrate, too. Because God is good – all the time – and we have seen first-hand that He “IS able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Eph 3:20)

And we give Him the glory.

 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.’”

– Matthew 16:24

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