Last Saturday, as I sipped my sweetened coffee in the soft sunlight, I reflected on my time here in Costa Rica. I came upon the realization that this season has been one of preparation.
In January of this year, I returned to YWAM San Jose with the four-month plan of simply giving back to those who had invested their time and love into me during such a crucial turning point in my life. Only three days upon my arrival wind caught, sails shifted, and I headed in a different direction. Before me lay the opportunity to take a 6 week seminar on Islam. I never actually felt ‘called’ to a specific country in the Middle East, nor had I ever really known any Muslims. Nonetheless, it was a relevant topic in light of everything going on in the world. So, I decided to take the course mostly because of this feeling in me that I was supposed to for some unknown reason. All the while, I didn’t really know for certain if there was some greater purpose in my choice. The course came to an end and the next door opened.
One small favor I asked of God before coming here was that He would please, please, not let them ask me to do hospitality! Hospitality is pretty much the tasks of a hotel maid: cleaning bathrooms, making beds, washing dishes, it’s a never-ending list of tedious, mundane, daily duties. Well, of course in His grace, not only did He allow them to ask me to help out, but to run the entire ministry. Throughout this time there were a couple of volunteers to help for a few hours, but besides that it was hours a day spent in solitude accompanied only by the Spirit of God and my poor attitude. In this desert I was taught what I hadn’t yet grasped in the area of hospitality – the intentional heart of love behind it.
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:7-10
May 4th was just around the corner, and I had a one way ticket back to Colorado Springs. The day passed. I stayed. Once again wind caught, sails shifted, and I headed in a different direction. Before me lay the opportunity to staff a five month Creative Arts Discipleship Training School. I felt inadequate, uncertain and insecure in my leadership abilities. Regardless, I took the risk. Shortly after, I adopted the belief that leadership isn’t so much about others submitting to my authority, but rather my own submission to the Truth.
During the second month of our Discipleship Training School our team piled into a van for a three day trip to the border of Panama. Hundreds of Congolese refugees sought freedom and fulfillment deeper than a destination. We knew they would truly thrive only once they had placed their hope in the One thing that does not disappoint. Feeling the weight of the situation challenged us to ask ourselves if the Peace, Love, and Compassion we believed in were enough to bring contentment and comfort even in the toughest and darkest circumstances. I danced with doubt, stumbled in pride, yet was met by the mercy of a faithful Father. He can handle the hard questions. Christ goes beyond rituals and religion.
Clothed in white, we sat to dine with our students- kings and queens. Each placement set with a thin golden crown (made of paper and glitter, nonetheless made for those of royalty), a gifted bracelet wrapped and ribboned, and a small brown paper rolled and twined with an unforgettable invitation. All a reminder that this family of nine we had formed is merely a small reflection of the greater family connected by the eternal source of love we all call out to as Father. We are His children made perfect and pure, given authority over evil as Kings and Queens. The Spirit within us is greater than the spirit in the world. In this posture each of the students unrolled the brown paper scrolls with the same rushed excitement as a child tearing open gifts on Christmas morning. In jubilation with screaming and crying, they wholeheartedly accepted the call to show the intentional heart of love to refugees in Greece – a people bound by the chains of the spirit of Islam. God had been preparing me, before I ever knew anything about this trip, to love these exact people.
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect for all time those who are being made holy.
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
As I reflected on these experiences, savoring the sweet sips and struggling to swallow the bitter ones, I began to realize that God has been preparing me since before the beginning for an eternal Love. There is something much bigger happening, something global, worldwide, in every nation and tongue, in households and schools, in governments and in the arts. Christ is preparing His Bride. He is reestablishing His Kingdom! A Kingdom that we are a part of for eternity. Whether it’s in the way you love your family, the sleepless nights spent in prayer, or the way you run your business – you have a part in bringing the Kingdom reality of redemption as Christ prepares each one of us. Don’t miss the divine opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself, than me, than YWAM. Don’t hold back from taking action, standing firm in prayer, or continually walking in worship. Send or be sent. The choice is yours. The need is great. The harvest is plentiful.
“I, Jesus, sent my Angel to testify to these things for the churches. I’m the Root and Branch of David, the Bright Morning Star.”
“Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride.
Whoever hears, echo, “Come!”
Is anyone thirsty? Come!
All who will, come and drink,
Drink freely of the Water of Life!
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