A couple months ago, I had a few hours to spare before Tuesday evening church, so I decided to hang my laundry on the roof and then finish a project I had been putting off for a while. When I got up to the laundry lines, I realized a storm was about to start. Storms here can be kind of finicky, so I stubbornly started hanging up the clothes anyway on the off chance that it might hold off a little bit. As I began hanging and pinning, I felt God whisper, “stay up here with Me.” I half chuckled looking up at the storm cloud. My laundry can’t stay up here, much less me. “Stay.” This may be the only chance I get to finish that project. Then again, I’ve already been procrastinating. Maybe we can talk downstairs? “Stay here.” Ok. I’ll stay as long as I can. I’ll stay as long as the weather’s nice. “Really?” Sure.
I was almost done hanging up the laundry and it started sprinkling. I like the rain, so I continued praying and watching the clouds. It felt nice. Just me and God. Knowing God wanted to spend time with me, even if just for a few extra minutes. Then the rain stopped. The wind changed. I sat and started unloading on God all of my worries. Things were not going well in Argentina. There was nothing I could do to fix it, but I desperately wanted to. People I loved dearly were treating each other poorly and weren’t willing to change. If only they could let go of their pride. If only they would trust You. Sorry. You asked me to stay here. What did You want to tell me? What should I do?
I started to worry, torn between my promise to stay and the work waiting on my computer downstairs.
“You said you would stay.”
Sure. Just until the rain really starts.
And then I realized-the wind wasn’t blowing in the storm. It was blowing it out of the way. The skies over my house opened. It continued storming a block away, but the sun was shining directly above me. I couldn’t believe it.
I stared in amazement at the beautiful dark clouds over the city, and found myself praying against a sunburn twenty minutes after praying against the rain. After a time of awestruck joy, I settled back into listening. “What are you doing?” What do you mean? I just can’t believe this! I can’t believe you want to spend time with me so much that you’re moving the weather because of a stupid thing that I said. You’re just so amazing and loving and great and caring and “What are you doing?” I’m looking at the incredible thing you’ve done. I’m looking at the beautiful clouds. “But I’ve given you sunshine.”
This struck me to the core. How much time do I dedicate pouring over my problems and the problems of others looking for reasons and solutions and if onlys? This wasn’t some trite reminder to count my blessings, rather a serious challenge for me to turn and lift my eyes. To see the amazing things that God is doing rather than obsessing over the difficulties that have been far too abundant recently. In the moment, two months ago, God promised that the storms clouds of Argentina in my life were passing, and that this new period in my life would be full of sunshine. Still difficult, but different. Today, as deadlines are slipping passed and we are once again looking for pastors to lead the Anápolis team, I’ve had to ask, “Where is this promised sunshine??” And God replied, look up. And I saw my beautiful team of committed, funny, earnest, faithful, goofy missionaries. Because that’s the true problem with my obsession over the problems- I don’t see the blessings that God has given me, and I forget that my blessings are my responsibilities. I over-analyze other people’s problems until my ears bleed and neglect the precious people that God has placed in my care.
But God is gracious. He doesn’t give me an easy out. He allows others to suffer my neglect so that I will let go of what isn’t mine and focus on the important things. The lovely things. The blessings.
We were supposed to deploy to Anápolis on April 27th. After months of searching, we still don’t have pastors, a support family, a house, or a church building. “Still” might be the wrong word. We have had all of these things and lost them. God is gracious. He doesn’t let us keep things that aren’t in His purposes, even if we’ve worked really hard to attain them. What we have are nine missionaries handpicked by the Creator of the universe, and a great deal of faith in the same. The missionaries have now finished their training, they've learned a lot of Portuguese (and are still learning), and are super excited to start sharing God's good news in Anápolis. Please pray with us against church politics, good intentions, and human wisdom (to clarify-I'm not blaming anyone, I need prayer for how I communicate with church authorities and my own responsibility to be an authority and prayer against my good intentions and my human wisdom). We hope to select a house in Anápolis on Monday, April 30th, move to Anápolis on May 10th, and have pastors who can meet us there in the following month. Please pray with us for patience, clarity, and unity in the Holy Spirit. He is still good.
|Aline, Alyssa, Olivia|
The head massage that brings more delight to the
givers than the receiver.
|Dave, Bernard, TJ|
|Alexsandra, Alyssa, Hannah|
|The whole team with Pr Marcos and Ericleia (in pink) and their family.|
Pr Marcos and Ericleia have been our host pastors during training.