Saturday, October 5, 2019

Time to Rest

My plan was to take two weeks of vacation after Congress before New Wineskins.  That was spoiled when Dorian delayed my return, and I had a series of unpleasant tasks (like insurance issues and credit card disputes) to deal with.  I was so adamant to have a vacation that I was stressing myself out trying to relax!

I finally accepted a week and a half into the two weeks that this simply wasn’t the time to take a vacation.  I had much to do to prep for New Wineskins and the upcoming trip to SE Asia.  While I knew I needed rest, I had peace that the timing was not now and surrendered my need.

As I read one of the questions in the Bible Study I’m attending, it spoke to me in a convicting, yet enlightening and even liberating manner.  It referenced Isaiah 30:15, and the thought that came was that spiritual rest comes through repentance, when I turn my heart away from the things I’ve let it wander to and back to God who deserves my complete affection.  

I started thinking holistically.  Yes, my body is tired, but what if I gave my spirit the same attention I’m desperately trying to give my body and soul?  And interestingly enough, it takes time to really search the heart and go deep with God, which in and of itself is a sanctified sort of rest.  

I haven't arrived yet, but am pondering this and praying that my heart with align more with this truth.  I don't want to just be a hearer of this word, but a doer.  I don't want to idolize rest, but to worship the One true God who gives rest--body, soul, and spirit.  

In returning and rest you shall be saved.  In quietness and trust shall be your strength.  ~Isaiah 30:15

New Wineskins

…is one of my favorite things!  A large part of it is being with so many other like-minded, missions-minded people for the very purpose of informing, exhorting, and encouraging each other in God’s Great Commission to make Him known, but also fellowshipping and worshiping the God we serve.  In the words of one of my pastors I ran into the first night, “these are your people.”  These words echoed my own thoughts hours before “these are my people.”  Like I wrote in my last post, at New Wineskins, I get to be normal for a few days. :)

It’s like a huge family reunion with divine appointments everywhere you turn.  I admit it was exhausting for me, but the joy is more overwhelming than the stress of over-stimulation.  

It was so special to spend time with St. Michael's group (I don't have that group photo) and
 to meet  some old and new faces from St. Andrew's (group shot above).

I’m so grateful for all I was able to meet, including a few from or living in SE Asia.  While I was still serving with EE, I was completely focused on my responsibilities, committed to finishing well.  I didn’t have time to really think much about what’s ahead.  This was a perfect opportunity to start opening my mind and heart more for the upcoming transition.

It was affirming to hear the need for more workers in this area.  Friday was committed to unreached people groups, and many focused on M*slims or Hind*s, but no one on B*ddhists.  It’s not to say that there aren’t people serving them.  I know some!  But there’s a real need.  This need was reiterated by one of the Anglican deans who asked for help.  While the Diocese of Singapore is doing an excellent job from what.I hear and know, they pointed out their tiny population in comparison to the nations they are responsible for.  I felt thankful that SAMS and another Anglican sending agency are actively promoting the needs there.

Hard to believe that I’ll be going in a little over a week!!!!  Just for the placement trip.  Thank you for praying with me to discern God’s leading about the position, location, and timing.  It will be good to be able to share more!

SAMS Retreat

Two weeks ago from Tuesday, my sister and I drove up to Ridgecrest for the SAMS retreat before New Wineskins.  It was special to have her with me, for her to meet everyone, and to participate in the retreat herself.  The theme was lamenting.  If you’re thinking that sounds like a downer, I confess that was my first thought as well.  I’m so very thankful for this topic which is the first ever for me as a retreat (or any Christian function’s) topic.  

The last night of the retreat, I shared how I wasn’t particularly excited about the topic when they announced it, but how thankful I was and how I left thinking very differently about lament than I had before.  Honestly acknowledging pain and bringing it to the Lord isn’t new’ but the process of lament was.  Verbalizing and expressing not just the pain, but the questions that come along with it, especially “How long, O Lord?” Is a starting point.  My favorite part, though, is resolution which helps us move forward. :)

Besides the talks and small group time about lament, I loved being with SAMS’ staff who I rarely get to see, but email or call often.  I got to meet some of the trustees I hadn’t met before and spend some time with cherished supporters/friends.  

I love my life, but I admit that I don’t fit the norm in many or most ways.  At the retreat, though, for these few days, I was in the company of many who have very different location or roles, but very similar lives, having left homeland, families, and friends for foreign lands with foreign customs and languages.  For a few days, I got to be normal. :)