Sunday, March 29, 2015

T minus 31 days -- Colombia & Siloam

Back in 2009 I went on an Operation Christmas Child distribution trip to give out shoe boxes in the Dominican Republic.  I'm afraid I had some fairy tale expectations for this trip--the dream trip of a lifetime to see the work of OCC firsthand.

Don't get me wrong; there were some wonderful moments on that trip.  But I also struggled--overwhelmed by my failure to connect with the children as I wanted to; uncomfortable in another culture.  I took a packed shoe box with me to give to a child, but I lost track of it in the chaos of a distribution and never was able to actually see it opened.  

The main thing I learned on that trip is how many children are still waiting to receive a box to let them know of God's love.  I saw what I needed to see to be able to give that message to churches and groups in our area.  And I told people I'd need a clear message from the Lord to get me to go on a mission trip again.

So I was surprised right before Christmas when I got a call from our regional staff members extending an invitation to go on another shoe box distribution trip--this time to the country of Colombia from 4/30-5/4/15.  They needed an answer in two weeks.  I told them I'd pray about it, and I did.

I prayed about it a lot.  And, finally, God helped me realize the trip was not about me in any way--not even about me being able to minister directly to anyone in Colombia.  It's about giving me an opportunity to see what He is doing through Operation Christmas Child so I can share that with others as He allows it.  So I committed to go.

A few weeks ago I got another confirmation about this trip as I was in a group studying the miracles of Jesus, based on Mark Batterson's book, "The Grave Robber."  We were discussing Jesus's healing of the man born blind as recorded in John 9.

John 9:5-7 reads "'While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.'  When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam' (which is translated, Sent), so he went and washed, and came back seeing."

Mark Batterson explains that the pool of Siloam was quite a distance away from the area where Jesus first encountered the blind man.  This man could not see Jesus spit and make mud--he only felt the mud applied to his eyes.  And Jesus never even promised the man he would be healed.  Jesus simply told him to go wash in the pool, and he had to make the choice to obey and make that trip.  He had to walk quite a distance, unseeing, and travel down many stairs to do what Jesus told him to do.  But he was rewarded with vision.  And did you notice that Siloam means 'sent'?

Reading that story convinced me Jesus is sending me, too, and as I obey He will somehow allow me to see what He wants me to see.

Will you pray that happens?

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