Words have always been my favorite. I use a lot of words. Just ask Chase.
But this last season the blog has been empty of my words and thoughts. That is mainly because I didn’t have words for the several different seasons we have walked through since my last post. Don’t get me wrong, there were so many thoughts and emotions, SO many; but for the first time in a long time I was not able to share them coherently, constructively, and with purpose.
Quick recap since the last post: Chase and I suffered a major break in in February and then experienced rich and sweet community in our people surrounding us here. I helped direct a YoungLife camp and Chase plunged into the throws of busy season in March. In April, we mourned and reflected with our friends in the wake of the atrocities experienced in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, but also celebrated the beginning of a new adventure when I accepted a fellowship with Global Health Corps. In May, I said goodbye to my precious preschool kiddos and we ventured home for the first time. Our time at home was vibrant, fruitful, sweet, busy, and enlightening. And now here we are.
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
2 Corinthians 4:1
Tonight I will get back on a plane and travel to Yale for my Global Health Corps training. This is truly one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking things I have ever done. I am more confident than ever in my calling to be in vocational ministry alongside health professionals seeking health equity for all—no matter the socio-economic status, demographic, gender, region or age. I believe that health is a human right—that Jesus sought to meet physical needs before he ministered to people. He healed, performed miracles, and provided for his followers in real tangible ways as a representation of the gospel. And now I get to be a part of an entire movement seeking health development all over the world. What a privilege.
We have seen so many triumphs and challenges in the last four months. We have experienced victory and heartache all in the midst of the extremes of another culture and context. We have lived life in the extremes physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. We have struggled through new spaces and ideas and failed and succeeded and celebrated and loved and suffered and learned. Like I said, so many words.
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
2 Corinthians 4: 13-14
Life in Rwanda, or in any home away from home can be so beautiful and so difficult. We live in extremes, fight through the discomfort that comes and seek to find the words to explain our days. One of our first days back I was in an office setting up our new internet when some street boys with two puppies approached me and asked for money. They were homeless, likely living without a family and certainly living without knowing where their next meals would come from. They played rough with the puppies, as if they weren’t living things but just toys. Who knows the last time these boys experience real relationship and love. The scene broke my heart—as I walk into an office to pay for my internet, that money could have fed those boys for a month. Later that week some more boys approached my car and pleaded for another handout: “I have no mother. No food. I have nothing, I’m hungry” he said. In the midst of those words that pleaded in brokenness I was on my way to buy meat for our dinner. Another situation where the extremes of our daily life were flung into my path and it crumbled my heart. This is the reality of poverty. And yet we work: we work for a better future for the people we have come to love and care deeply about. We work so that generations of families can stay together, provide for each other and thrive. We work to do for one what we could never do for everyone. We are not the rescuers, we are not the Saviors. We are simply vessels in this grand Story and we will use our words: our influence, our capacity, our dreams, our very daily interactions, to seek justice, to seek change, to seek sustainability, to seek joy and to ultimately seek Kingdom members. We are broken so that we can be poured out.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
1 Corinthians 4: 7-12
Everyone has the right to reach their full potential. Everyone has the right to live a full life, and when we see the physical brokenness around us we are reminded that Jesus is the only way to true full life (John 10:10). We believe every person has a purpose, a unique calling on their life, and has words to share that will change their world. As we work to help those around us achieve all that the Lord created them to be, we lean in to the daily experiences we have. We use our words to process, to encourage, to grieve, to learn, to share, and to love.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18