17 March 2008

Give me a…. C!

Try to avoid images of me in a mini skirt holding pom-poms… although I’m sure you can find the pictures… as I was captain of the powder puff cheer squad 4 years running… in a high school of 80 students you can be anything you want…

Instead I’m going to share about COAT… the training program that has had us in Fort Myers for 7 weeks now and will be ending on the 28th… this program is truly something to cheer about…

Initially I had my reservations… why are we going to missionary training after we’ve been on the field for 2 years.... it will be too long to be away from our home in Uganda… etcetera, etcetera… but its been amazing… and here’s the breakdown of what we have experienced… to the letter…

C is for Community… as part of our training we live on a city block that houses 50+ NMSI staff… living together is only a small part of community… we also have many activities that we do together… working and playing together does not always guarantee community…

Community here… which my words can only poorly describe… is trying our best to function as the body of Christ… its weird… not drinking red punch and hallucinating together weird… but just something I have rarely experienced…

It is not uncommon for someone to stand up in morning devotions and to confess their sins and struggles to the entire community… but instead of everyone acting weird and uncomfortable around them people chose to forgive, encourage and support them in their struggle… this creates safe space where people can grow… which is happening all around me…

It is not uncommon for there to be a disagreement between different people but I have yet to see an argument or fight… instead people chose to show grace and work on unity over seeking to be right and winning the confrontation… I wonder how many church splits over the color of carpet could have been resolved with a little humility and grace?

It is highly uncommon to see someone putting someone else down…even with humor... you would think the verse you would hear all over the mission would be “Go into all the nations”… you hear it but you also hear “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” … this is hard for me… in many ways I never noticed that I hadn’t outgrown this jr. high addiction…mostly in the form of humor but I'm learning its not funny... being in this environment has helped me see how destructive my words can be… but instead of “catching” my slips of the tongue… people here encourage me so I don’t want to slip up…

It is also highly common for community just to spontaneously erupt… … on Friday we sat around a new friend and laid hands on her and prayed as she was sharing her feelings of uncertainty over her upcoming move overseas… on Saturday morning we found ourselves sitting outside with an electric skillet making pancakes with 30 of our new friends and then that evening we had dinner at the presidents house and laughed over stories from their 14 years in the 3rd world … on Sunday instead of packing the toys up and calling the kids inside for dinner we ended up walking our dinner over to our neighbors so the kids could continue the fun inside… its seriously like extended summer camp without the drama, crushes and sunburns…

After such a long time a part of me wants to stay in this environment forever… but then another part longs to recreate it within our relationships in Uganda… but isn’t that exactly how the Christian community should be… open, honest, vulnerable, gracious, loving, addicting and contagious…

4 comments:

Jerry W said...

mad e-props for this entry. loved what you had to say.

Darren T. Rusco said...

accelerated relationships...how long do you suppose it would take to create the friendships you now have in your community, if it had to happen the ususal Christian way (sunday mornings + a weeknight "community" group)?

Rosezilla said...

My son, Josh, is in your COAT class, and he told me about your blog. I've really been enjoying it. I've gotta have some way to tell what he's been up to;). By the way, having raised 3 boys myself, I just wanted to say that your boys sound wonderful. Nice, normal, active, energetic little guys. Enjoy them in the knowledge that it just keeps getting better.

Teenietinyt said...

You are KILLING me...I am so jealous. It is REALLY hard to find community in the way you describe it, although it sounds much more biblical.