The work of listening.

One of the core values of Grace is if we are going to do a thing, we endeavor to do it well, meaning to do it in a healthy way that honors God and loves others.  This is a value Jeremy and I picked up on when we began attending back in 2009 and have appreciated to this day even though the healthy way is often the slow way.  It’s that long obedience in the same direction which continues in hope while waiting on any tangible result.  

We have been on the ground for 2 full days and I have nothing tangible to report from the work we have been doing.  And make no mistake, we have been at work - it is a work that is foundational and essential to conducting ourselves in a healthy, God honoring, and loving way.

Although there is nothing tangible to report, I do want to invite you along into this foundational work, both so that you can grow alongside us as we grow and also to further your understanding of mission work as our understanding is broadened.

Ephesians 4 is the text scaffolding us on this trip and we have been spending focused time seeking to grab a hold of the first 6 verses: 
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
“To walk” means to be molded such that our actions match our reality as called ones belonging to Jesus.  There is much to unpack from those verses and each of us on the team finds ourselves identifying individually with a specific phrase or concept.

What of those verses speaks out to you as a called one urged to mold your actions to match your faith?

Secondarily we have spent time listening and learning.  I will share later what we have come to understand about our Rwandan brothers and sisters, their unique experiences, challenges and needs.  It is too early in the process for conclusions as learning and understanding take time to cultivate from the soil of the loving work of listening.

But I would like to share with you this 7 minute insightful video:
Do you identify with the other 2 non-western cultures in any way?  Are there people in your life you know well enough to identify which cultural perspective they are operating from? How can this knowledge help you as you seek to share the gospel and point them to Jesus?

Lastly we have been resting in a restorative way.  This is vital work in our endeavors to honor God and love others (which we often struggle to hold as equally important as we do our traditional definitions of work.  Ask me how i know) ;0)

I would like to leave you with a few photos.  A group photo taken at the Hotel Rwanda (yes the real place from the book/movie)  It has a new name now which I’ve forgotten and neglected to write down.  A really cool bug I saw. And a view of some of the 1000 hills that makes up this beautiful country.
Please pray:
  • We would each live out Ephesians 4:1-6 with the Lord’s enabling.
  • We would flex and mold to the needs of the moment as they present themselves to us.
  • We would not turn away from the very hard to process evil that this country has experienced, but look it square in the face and bring to the Lord our questions, our distress, our heartbreak over the horrible ways we humans develop to treat each other.  That we would receive and be satisfied with His comfort in the midst of our heartbreak.
  • We would embrace the beauty that is here and maintain awe at the Lord’s ability to bring reconciliation and hope from such darkness.
  • That we would receive from our Rwandan brothers and sisters what they can teach us and would give to our Rwandan brothers and sisters what we can teach them, so that we both grow and mature as we are built up in that Ephesians 4:13-16 way.
[that] we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Thank you for following along and joining with us on this journey!
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