so i'm finally here...in south africa...after a very long journey that included one very long pit-stop in London where i was able to see the kensington palace, the buckingham palace, the parliment building (better known as BIG BEN), westminster cathedral (beautiful might i add) and many other great sites. overall, i found myself getting lost on this day...living a live an annonymity...and as odd as it sounds, it sort of felt good. but one day was enough for me. in fact, that day and a half alone really allowed me to think of the people i was leaving behind in grand rapids and the people that i am returning to in south africa. in a way, in London, my alone-ness was being sandwiched by two communities that have become very dear to me.
first of all, there is my grand rapids community which includes family, friends and ministry partners. what an incredible two year season this has been...learning and growing and being challenged together. and in leaving my family in the airport and (transparent moment here) bursting into tears on the flight to chicago as i read letters from loving loving and supportive parents and siblings and encouraging words from others that will remain in grand rapids...i realized that they were tears of joy that i was crying. yes there is a certain sadness that comes from leaving what is familiar, what is loved and what is growing. but even more, when i can stand back at see how the community that has been surrounding me the last two years is one that truly understands the call of the wild goose and so they send with joy and not reservation, knowing full well that what is about to take place has been ordained way before our time. certainly i will miss this community of family and friends...and that is okay...and confirming that what has taken place in this last season has been rich and full and fruitfull...and it is exactly what what required to prepare me for this introduction to this new community.
of course, thursday was not the first time i stepped into this community...having grown friendships a year ago here in south africa. however, it is indeed the time that i will be stepping into this community and engaging with them in the ways that i engaged with those that i have left for a time. as i sat in london, there was anticipation for reunions with best of friends who were sent out themselves earlier this year and have since shared with me exciting moments that i look forward to experience. and there is the excitement of seeing those that are dear to me though i have known them but for a short time. none the less, when people work together in community to see the kingdom of god built up and lived out...there is pure excitement and joy in reuniting together.
and so now i am here and the reunions have been sweet and the work has been placed before me and there is an exciting sense of equipping that has taken place over the past year that was missing last time i visisted this beautiful yet tormented land. and God himself is here. just as he is in grand rapids. and i praise him for that because it means that it is right that i am here. and so i think fondly of those missed in grand rapids knowing that you are in my heart and that i am in yours and that what has been know is not a vanishing vapor but a strong bond that will continue over these next couple of months.
and when i think of you i will pray for you, for his richest blessings in your life and for his overwhelming presence to be upon you and in you and through you. and i will pray that you will be a vessel of the kingdom of our great and powerful God.
and i as that as you think of me, that you will also do the same.
i look forward to sharing with you the stories, both remarkable and mundane that are taking place here in this beautiful land. it is truly a privilege to serve in this place and to meet those who i will meet.
please share with me what God is up to in your life. in the spirit of connecting these communities that make up but one body of jesus freaks and followers of the king, i invite you to see what God is doing...here...and where you are.
we are blessed ones.