Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Confessions and Commitments

I must start with a confession. I already told my team, at dinner, so I feel comfortable sharing this here. Every night when I go back to my room after dinner and before I go to sleep, I eat a little bag of chocolate chip cookies that I brought with me. Why do I do this? I don't do this at home. When I was a kid, each afternoon after I'd get home from school, one of the first things I did was to grab four Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookies out of the bottom drawer in the kitchen. I wrapped them in a paper towel, poured myself a glass of milk, and smuggled this treat into my bedroom to eat. Now, here I am 15-20 years later, in Africa, a grown woman, eating miniature chocolate cookies before bed. A feeling of home, I guess.

Here's another weird thing. Tonight for dinner, our team went to a restaurant called Deja Vu (a French word, as you know). As we entered, we were greeted by Hindu gods and goddesses. From the menu, we ordered chicken spring rolls, fish and chips, nann bread, roasted chicken, and lemon chicken with rice. Near our table was a silver disco ball hanging from the ceiling and a stage for performances. The music playing over the loudspeakers included: Lionel Richie, Michael Bolton, Toni Braxton, and Rascal Flats. Yeah. Have I mentioned to you that we are in AFRICA?

Most importantly, God did amazing things again today in Ndola, Africa at the Jubilee Centre. No words adequately describe the transformation, the dreams, the struggles, and the worship. The impact was in the eyes of us all as we walked out and headed home or to our respective places for the evening. Something was different. We had identified the needs in the communities in Ndola: medicine, clean water, HIV/AIDS help, better leadership, better roads, and more. But we also identified and gave thanks for the life-giving elements of the communities: the trees, the streams, the markets, the clinics, the schools, the people, the churches. And we committed to being leaders who will equip and inspire our congregations and our teams to address these needs. Something shifted in our hearts and we all agreed together that there is at least one identifiable step we can take to stop our analysis-paralysis. We committed to show up and serve and be examples to those we lead.

Tomorrow is our last day teaching in Ndola. We head to Lusaka next. God is not done with us yet though. We "press on to take hold that that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me . . . One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which Christ has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14.

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