Matt Hannan often says, “The first art of loving is listening.” Over the years I have learned that listening is active rather than passive. Active listening demonstrates to the person sharing that I am truly engaged, fully present, and genuinely care about the person sharing – even if I am not personally interested in the topic. Listening like this has become rare. When a team member asked me how I was doing and I said something other than a pat answer, like fine, good, okay, or nice….they sat down and looked me square in the eye while saying something like, “Oh really, tell me more” and I could tell they meant it. Wow! To know someone has your back like that, what a blessing.
On my fourth trip to Slovakia and I have found the very best way I can serve is to listen, ask questions which demonstrate I am listening, and then listen some more. I have found no greater joy than serving others. I have noticed that people outside of our team are always watching, and listening. It is not just the students and not just during lessons or activities. It is humbling to be a part of such a tremendous team who bears the fruit of love for one another. Matt Hannan also says that people are messy. I am always amazed at how God takes a bunch of messy people, puts them together, and uses them to serve each other, the staff, the students, and everyone so well! We serve a great God!
(Full disclosure, part of this happened last summer. SJ, you know who you are and I want to thank you again, very much!)
John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”