Lassin 2011

A calling to serve the Lord by helping a village to rebuild their church building and minister to the children.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Called to Service

Peg and I have spent a lot of time figuring out "What next?"  As Peg put it, she doesn't want Cameroon to be a "once in a lifetime experience."  Rather, we want it to be the start of a pattern of service.  We don't know whether we'll be called for longer term mission work, but in the meantime, we're looking forward to shorter trips with our children.  Through some research, we've found some great organizations that help to match volunteers with needs throughout the world.  We pray that we will take one of these trips as a family at least once a year.  Our two main objectives are to serve and glorify God and to teach our children to have selfless, servant's hearts.
Anyone interested in joining us?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Expression of Love: Obey

We start early in life trying to express our love.  It may be a hug and a kiss or a bouquet or a poem.  Entire industries have been built on helping people to express love.

As kids, we already had it figured out: Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15)  This isn't strict legal test where if you don't obey then you must not love.  Rather, it's a truth known deep in our hearts.  If we love someone, don't we wish to please him/her?

What I miss most about the trip was knowing every minute of every day that I was expressing that love.  I woke up in a foreign bed expressing that love.  I ate strange (to me) foods expressing that love. 

Back in this world, actions and thoughts with the purest intentions still leave room for doubt.  How I miss the simplicity of those days...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Who's wealthy?

The typical Cameroonian has little material wealth.  Most farm and depend on the little income they get at market from their farmed goods for subsistence. 

Judged by their homes and outward appearances, Cameroonians appear impoverished.  But spiritually, riches abound.  They take great pride in their labors and farms.  What they have was eagerly shared with us.  Our lunches came straight from their fields.  After a day of farming, they came to sing and dance with us to lift OUR spirits.  On the last day we were in Lassin, to express their thanks, they gave us more food than we could carry on our car and van. We were outfitted with shirts and dresses out of fine cloth.  These are the same people who may not have EVER purchased anything beyond food and material required for the farm.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on."  (Mark 12:43-44) 
Lest you think I came back and gave away all of our possession and took to wearing sackcloth and eating locusts and honey....  Don't worry.  My appetite is still plenty healthy for much more.  What I did bring back, however, is a more acute sense of what's important.  Like any gift from God, riches can be a blessing.  We're not called to be poor, but we are warned to not cling to material wealth.  
  • Matt 6:19-21: Store treasures in heaven
  • Matt 13:22: Parable of the Seeds, "fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it"
  • 1 Tim 6:9-10: "love of money is the root of all kinds of evil" is well known

Monday, May 2, 2011

Africa: 2 Weeks Later

We've now been back for weeks, which is just enough time for some of the feelings to sink in and for words to form but not so long that memory has faded.

When people have asked, "How was it?" my simple, yet honest, response has been, "AWESOME!"  I don't mean that it was 'cool' or fine.  I mean we got to serve God.  It wasn't just a theoretical experience.  The Creator of the universe knocked and we answered.  How else can I describe that but AWESOME!

And in case I had any lingering doubts whether He called me there, He answered prayers as often as I prayed.  At 2 AM on a warm night with no electricity and slat digging in your back, there's not much else to do but pray.  After our first day of work, arms, face and neck were bright red from the sun (and my foolishness for failing to put on suncreen and wear a hat).  I prayed.  Though the sunburn was evident, I felt no pain that night or any other time.  In Cameroon, my regular aches and pains disappeared.  Now, after two weeks back on a memory-foam bed, the aches are back.

Cameroonians are joyful.  Smiles come easily and are often unprovoked. When you greet someone, there's no doubt that it will be reciprocated.  (It was a hard habit to shed at the airport.  But a couple of cold stares were quick 'cures'.)

One week, we worshipped outdoors because the church was roofless and filled with scaffolding.  The next Sunday, we worshipped under a roof, which hadn't happened at that church for 3 years.  So we rejoiced (which, in that part of the world, meant a lot of singing and dancing!).

I miss the simplicity of having heeding God's assignment for us.  Hammer some nails and bring joy and hope to the nationals (and anyone we came across).  Back home, it's just not clear.  How firm should I be with my son (Prov 22:6 vs. Eph 6:4)?  Every major decision seems to be either a calling or a test...