Sorry for the late post, y’all. Last week was intense though. Like wooo! You know how I would ask you to donate to me for a mission trip and you’d say, “Oh sure, Matthew, we’d love to” and follow up with the proverbial: “Where are you going?”, and I’d sit there sheepishly like “uhhh I don’t know, they’ll tell us after we’re at the base in Madison for a few weeks”. Well guess what. I’ve been here for a few weeks(2 to be semi exact). And last Saturday we, the students, had the outreach locations revealed to us. 5 of them. So for our group of 20-25, there would be 5 total teams: Columbia, South Africa, Papua New Guinea/Indonesia, India, Sweden/Latvia (* “/” indicate multiple locations for one team). And I chose South Africa. That whole week Africa had been on my mind. As I went upstairs to choose my location the first exhibit I saw was South Africa and I felt a calm warmth inside of me that I didn’t feel as I checked out the other 4. So it was simple. South Africa ftw!
Okay, now that we’re caught up lets read about other stuff. Let’s ask questions. Matthew, why did you choose a Greek word? Well, I’m very glad you’ve asked. I- just last week- spend a good chunk of dollars on a Greek/Hebrew Study Bible. And so as I’ve been reading I’ve been able to dig deeper into the texts.
Now the question is: “Matthew, how has God worked in your life this week? GLAD YOU ASKED! I’ll get to that, as I’m answering a different question, “What’s it like being at YWAM?”
It’s honestly felt disorienting at times. I’m not used to being around so many people all the time. I find myself void of energy. I don’t sleep well, and end up snoozing in class(which we have every day except weekends).
It’s embarrassing. But more than that it’s disrespectful to the teacher and symptomatic of a greater issue. The root of which is my needing balance. Now there’s a good word: Balance.
Here I am in this community of 20+ young adults and it feels as if I’m in a bubble. It’s surreal. I know that “REAL” life is nothing like this. Why do I say that? Because how often do we find ourselves in Christian communities, isolated from the rest of the world, dedicated to serving each other in Love, and to knowing our Divine Creator more intimately?
So far in my life: twice. A Teen Missions International mission trip 5 years ago, and this Youth With A Mission mission trip right now.
Indeed, I’m quite aware that once I leave (Be it God’s Will) YWAM in June, this bubble of relative safety and spiritual encouragement disintegrates. But I was told not to think of the future. The analogy I was given was this: imagine you’re driving a car, and instead of scanning the usual X ft. in front of you, you were always scoping through binoculars trying to see what was coming 400 yards away. It wouldn’t be too wise would it? You’d miss the street signs, cross walks, and traffic that was right in front of you. In the same way, my anxiety over knowing the impermanence of the bubble was/is causing me to lose focus on the road right in front of me.
So that’s been big for me this last week. Really truly setting in roots here. I’m working on being present. Not thinking of the future because I don’t want to miss what God has for me in this moment.
For a lot of my life I’ve been focused on myself. Commanding God to work for me.
Truly I say to you I desire His will.
There’s a warmth I feel as I type that. A peace has come upon me.
God has shown me that with Him I am all the more potent. But it was not an easy lesson for me to grasp, as it’s taken 20 years.
There is a story (Genesis 32) of a man named Jacob who wrestled Another man(God?) from the onset of night until day break and didn’t win. The other man, after breaking Jacob’s hip, rechristened him Israel, saying, “you have struggled with God and man and overcome”.
Jacob (now called Israel) named the place of this encounter Peniel, meaning “Face of God”(he believed he had seen God face to face and survived) and as Israel left Peniel, he limped due to his newly broken hip.
I read this story and I can’t help but wonder what my Peniel is. Is it here, for the next 4-5 months as I’m in YWAM? Will I have a moment where afterwards I am completely changed, as from Jacob to Israel?
I hope so. But, rather than focus on the future, I’ll take it day by day Trying to manifest Peniel daily. A tough challenge, sure, but with God on my side I can achieve anything.
θεοκρατία (theokratia) is my journey to Peniel: the moment of total submission to the will/rule of God.
Below are some pictures of last night’s Love Feast
CLASSY!! (Aishah, I and Bethany before Love Feast) 1/28/16
Why can’t I just smile (Riley and I before Love Feast) 1/28/16
If you’re wondering what you can pray for, here’s some ideas -I need about $700 for outreach still -that I sleep better -Our community to bond -strengthened relationship with God (As I draw near he will draw near) -Guidance and Provision
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