Thursday, June 23, 2011

True joy...

Bangladesh was not what I expected. Well, the country of Bangladesh was the same, except it was a lot cleaner and nicer looking because of the Cricket World Cup. My experience was Bangladesh was not what I expected. Looking back, if I knew what would have happened, I would have not said yes. Luckily, God knew that, so He convicted me in October 2010 that I had to lead, no matter the circumstance.

What a journey it has been. Those of you who receive e-mails from me know that it was a hard time, with numerous medical issues and spiritual heart issues, but God was faithful and we came together as a team to form an incredible family. There's still a lot of work and reconciliation to be done, but we're on our way.

One lesson I learned was God's relentless love for me and for our team.  We would repent and turn away from our sins, but we would turn back to them, again and again. Just as faithfully, God would give us opportunities to turn and seek true repentance. It was Day 40 when we had our minds and hearts fully changed and chose a different option.

We pursued trust for one another, speaking with grace and truth, honesty, and true love, rather than suspicion, fear, and lies. There was an incredible change as I witnessed an undeniable joy that filled the room. It came because we went through suffering. We went through hard work. We went through the wilderness and we were ready to do the mission of God and proclaim the Good News.

Being on this journey gives me an immense hope that this won't be the only time I witness something so profound. Paul's words ring true that the Gospel brings about suffering and joy (see 2 Timothy). When we really suffer, we understand joy in a way we wouldn't have before. I am glad we suffered because we won't settle for lame joy anymore. We want a joy that comes from God, one that can't be taken away when life brings hardships.

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