"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

Sharing Zambia stories...and learning from them

It's been a little over 2 months since team Prosthetic Promises returned from Zambia. On one hand it seems like it's been longer than 2 months--I suppose it's being back to the fast pace, schedule filled life in the U.S. where much has happened since we've been back--but on the other hand it seems like just yesterday we were in the African bush of Zambia. 

I find myself talking to anyone who will listen about our trip (Chris told me this would happen). Whether someone brings up their church and faith, or vacationing and travel, or sometimes our conversation seems to just wind right to the topic of missions. I've always heard that mission work is just as much, or more, of an impact on the one who goes on the mission as it is to those who are helped. And I definitely feel that may be the case with me. I feel I have a completely different view, thought process, even reactions to things about the world and people around me than I did before. Perhaps no one else has noticed a change, but I certainly feel it. 

As I talk to people about our experience and review it in my own thoughts, I find myself wondering whether I conveyed well enough to the people we made prostheses for that I was there because God called me go---to go and provide them with not only something physical to help them, but spiritual as well by telling them about Jesus and His love. Did I say the right words (through a translator)? Did I say enough? Did they have questions they didn't ask? I feel like it should to be harder, or more complex, than what it probably really is. I tend to over analyze things in my own world, so I feel that explaining anything to people of any complexity should be thorough, lengthy, a well-rounded explanation. But explaining everything in the detail I really want to could take hours, even days. I guess I've been internally struggling with this a bit. And I guess the point is not to completely cover everything but to plant the seed, so that people hear the good news and know that Christ is the way to salvation...then I pray the seed will grow. *Still learning here. 

In addition to what our incredible experience in Zambia taught me, I've been reflecting on some similar things from reading a book. While we were in Zambia, we were talking about different books to read and John recommended Radical by David Platt. John gave me a copy when we got back, and I encourage everyone to read it if you haven't already! To briefly describe the book, I'll tell you what the cover says---"Taking back your faith from the American dream". Yeah, pretty powerful stuff here. Mind blowing really. I really could go on and on about this book but clearly reading it is much better, so please do. 

I do want to share one of the many things that really impacted me from reading Radical. Platt described a situation where a friend had spent time in a remote area of Southeast Asia where the people had not heard the gospel. "They were warm and hospitable, and they invited him to share a drink with them. One man went into his small shop and reappeared moments later with a classic red Coke can. Immediately, it hit home with my friend. A soft-drink company in Atlanta has done a better job getting brown sugar water to these people than the church of Jesus Christ has done in getting the gospel to them." (pg.158-159) This makes sense to me! We were in rural Zambia where people live in grass huts, have no running water or electricity, perhaps no shoes---and there is Coke and cell phones. This completely set me on a domino effect of "Yeah, how is a soft-drink company more effective?" and "Wait...this isn't just remote villages or third world countries, companies and advertising reach people everywhere while the church does not" and "My goodness, we're completely falling down on the job here...why aren't we as the church out there telling everyone Jesus is the way, the truth and the life!" So basically I ramble on here to tell you this---this completely solidifies my desire and calling to global missions and makes me eager to do more in my life at home to spread the Word.