Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Update 7: The Journey Continues

I had planned on returning from Mozambique and spending the next week soaking in my parents' bathtub while they reconnected with the grandkids. Instead, we had a brief, but lovely, layover in Duluth full of washing clothes and eating vegetables. I had also planned on leaving Mozambique with a hand written letter (scroll?), or at the very least an email, from Jesus detailing the future. In my imagination it would include every step along the way - where we should live, where we should work, how far Whole Foods would be from Judah's school... Now I'm not saying that can't happen, I'm just saying it didn't. I had gone all the way to Africa and I thought for sure God would repay me by not requiring me to live by faith anymore. I mean, he would clearly show me how I could serve him more fully. Instead, we left feeling pretty sure that we were supposed to be in California for an Iris Reunion/Conference being held at Iris Central Coast in Pismo Beach. God had given us Step One.  

We stuffed the kids in the car and whatever camping stuff we could find in the trailer and headed west. We drove straight through arriving at the church just as worship was starting for that night's meeting. We didn't stay long that night because needless to say, we were tired.  The kids are amazing road warriors, but they were really happy to crawl in bed. The next morning we were at a meeting for Iris alum and Shawn looked at me and said that he'd had a dream about that very church. We knew were in the right place. One of the people there was Yonnie Cheng the director of Iris Relief and it was our intention to connect with her and see if there was a place for us with IR.  

We had dinner with Yonnie that evening and in between cleaning up spilled chocolate milk and various potty breaks we managed to have a great conversation and confirm in our hearts that this is what we were looking for. The next morning was even better. We met with the small Iris Relief team that was there and spent some time brainstorming and sharing our hearts. By the end of that meeting, Shawn and I had been given responsibility for building the North and South American divisions of Iris Relief.  I can't be too specific about what that looks like yet because we don't really know. Once we start digging into the logistics we'll know more - or less, but I'm pretty sure we'll need some coffee.

On a more relaxing note, we met an incredible guy named Nate who let Judah ride on his shoulders and drive him like an airplane for a LONG time, whose family has a home in Tahoe. He generously invited our family and a couple other Iris Reliefers to spend a few days there.  We quickly adjusted our road trip schedule to include this.

So, we take one step after another waiting on the leading of the Lord. Even though I would really like to know all of the details, I know that this is the grace of God for me. If I knew each step ahead of time I would want to skip to the end and, what's more, I wouldn't need to depend on God. I would run ahead thinking I could do it on my own. This way, I have to press into God, fully depending on his timing and direction. As we were driving through Nevada, I saw a truck pulling a boat and since I was driving at the time I was also having an on-going conversation with God. I mused how funny it looked to see a boat being pulled through the desert - it was so out of place. But, God said that's pretty much what we were doing. We were sure that we had the word of God that he was going to give us the next step and even though he didn't text it to us we had the peace to pursue it in California. Sometimes it looks funny, but that truck knew there was water for the boat and so through the desert they went.  Our journey isn't over yet.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Update 6: Flying High

Ain't no party like a Holy Ghost party 'cuz a Holy Ghost party don't stop. Our last week in Mozambique was silly crazy fun. It was a love fest. Let me just try to describe one of our last classes: Rolland Baker was due to speak and he got up and just said, "Ask Jesus what kind of mood we should be in for this session (or something like that - I wasn't transcribing at the time...)." Anyway, it wasn't long before people were laughing, hugging, falling all over each other and then a dance party broke out. When bandwidth permits I will post the video. All I can say is Jesus knows how to party. When the Bible says that all of Heaven rejoices when one person comes to know Jesus, I don't picture a polite golf clap. I'm sure the angels are chest-bumping, the great cloud of witnesses is doing the wave, and the Trinity is high-fiving themself. And after the 10 weeks we just had there is A LOT of rejoicing going on in Heaven.

And the party didn't stop there. We got on our plane yesterday and lit that place up. I think there might have been about 6 people on the plane who hadn't just spent their summer (or Mozambican winter) together. It didn't take long before the flight attendants were just relaxing and we were the ones serving the sandwiches and coffee, picking up trash, having prayer/prophetic time for the flight attendants, and finishing up with a fire tunnel exit. One of the girls was even invited to sit up in the cockpit for the last half hour and watch the plane land. It was her birthday and the pilots gave her that for her present. When the flight attendants were making the final announcements - put on your seat belts, the temperature in Johannesburg is winter, etc (they didn't let us do everything) - they also announced that this was the best flight they'd ever had. Yay God!

We are excited to be on our way back. We still don't have the master plan from God - I suspect one of the hallmarks of our life will be that we walked by faith not by sight - but He's giving us one step at a time. Right now our plan is to get back to Minnesota and sit still for a little while. And rest. And eat strawberries. Then we're going to shove the family in the truck and drive out to California. One of the things that struck a chord with us in Mozambique was Iris Relief. When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, people from Iris organized quickly and went in to bring food, water, medicine, and love to the people hit hardest by the disaster. From that, they started to work on forming an official Iris Relief. The people in charge of that task are going to be in California for a couple weeks in August and Shawn and I are going to meet with them and see if there is a place for us with them. We are just exploring our options and following the peace in our hearts. We know God has some more connections for us to make and it looks like we have to take a road trip to make those connections.

One quick Judah story before I wrap this up. When we were at the Pemba airport yesterday, we were watching one of the planes load up. It wasn't our plane, but one that a lot of Harvest people were on including one of Judah's new best friends. I asked Judah if he saw any angels and he said he saw 10. He pointed out where each one was and he said one was getting on the plane. When I asked him what that angel was going to do he said, "That one is going to keep everyone safe and give them hugs." That must have been a pretty good flight, too.