Reflections on our week in Matagalpa
It was a pleasure to serve with the Celebration Youth this past week. God assembled just the right team to come and share with Adrianna’s Kids. Each team member brought their own unique insights and giftedness to be laid on the alter of our King, to serve some homeless and disadvantaged kids in Nicaragua. The presence of the Spirit among us was prevalent from the very first day. Greg opened our devotions for the week with a call to follow the selflessness example Paul gave of Christ in Philippians 2. Each student responded with enthusiasm, pouring out their hearts to these kids.
In addition to serving Adrianna Kids, God provided opportunities that placed us in situations that required our dependence on Him. Wednesday afternoon we visited the pediatric ward at the local hospital with members from Primera Iglesias. This was an eye opener for all of us as we encountered suffering and conditions that we could not have expected, praying with kids and their parents asking God to bring healing and hope to each situation. Grappling for understanding, as we engaged a family whose one year old child was struggling with, what in the states is, a curable heart condition but, because of the lack of available resources, education and equipment, this child might not survive. But God our healer is still sovereign in this world, as broken and fallen as it may be, and he hears the prayers of his humble servants.
Thursday brought more challenges as we went door to door in a poor barrio over looking the wastewater treatment plant in Matagalpa. There we shared the gospel and prayed with the people in their homes, giving testimony to the hope of Christ that is within us. God used this opportunity to move us from the “comfortable” to “frontlines” of battle to reach the lost for the kingdom. We all came away encouraged and more determined to share the gospel of Christ, by whatever means possible, with those whom God has placed in our paths.
God was at work in our hearts as well. Early in the week we talked about how Jesus had been with the disciples for about three years and after ministering together they came to the region of Caesarea Philippi. There Jesus asked the disciples, “who do the people say that I am?“ Some say, John the Baptist, some say, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. But Jesus asked again, “who do YOU say that I am?” Of course we know that Peter replied, you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. The scripture says that this pleased Jesus very much because he knew that it was God who had revealed this to Peter and it was not just something he had heard.
We talked about how God might be asking us this week the same question. Who do you say that I am? We discussed how our view of God determines how we respond to God’s call to discipleship on our lives. If we see God as a far away God who is inactive in our daily lives, then it is easy for us to live our lives as we see fit, only relying on God when we have a crisis. But if we view God as the creator and giver of life, if we understand that we were made for his purpose and he has a plan for our lives, then we are more willing to respond to his call to discipleship. Greg shared that discipleship is a long obedience in the same direction, not just a one time, some times kind of thing. God wants all of us, all the time.
I have shared this quote before but I think it is worth repeating. “Small steps in a consistent direction take you a great distance.” Discipleship is a long obedience in the same direction. God is looking for the heart that is humble and seeking to follow him. In Matthew 11 Jesus beckons us to come to him, “come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus is calling us to take upon ourselves the life HE has for us, to live in that easy rhythm of gentleness and humility, learning, through the spirit, from the Son of the living God.
I am so excited about the future God has in store for this group of eight. Several of this group are already contemplating and praying through a call to surrender to vocational ministry. But all of them are developing a greater understanding of what it means to live the disciple life. There is a special sense of camaraderie among this group to pray for, encourage, and to support one another as they individually and collectively seek their places of service in the kingdom. One of my long time prayers has been God if you will allow it, I would like to be a part of a great Kingdom movement. This could be the beginnings…