Friday, June 18, 2010

The Thrill of Daily Life

"We are meant to see ourselves as part of something so much bigger than we are. Something vital. Something incredibly thrilling." - Beth Moore

I'm settling in here in Ft. Wayne. I realized that today, on my day off, when I didn't feel the need to rise with the sun but I did feel the need to do laundry, when I didn't want to buy souveneirs at the mall but instead buy veggies at Walmart. I'm over the initial "mission trip" high, and am beginning to see that this is my life now, rich in culture and relationship and learning. Life is not settling down - it continues to careen forward at a breath-taking pace, but I think I'm learning how to crank up my speed dial to keep up.

Daily life here is different - it can't help but be different. This morning I had French toast and a homemade 10-fruit smoothie, then I read my Bible, studied my Zo language notes, planned ESL and Bible lessons for next week, and studied a current African map so I won't embarrass myself anymore with geographical ignorance. My evenings are spent teaching English and Bible, learning to speak Zo, eating ethnic meals, learning about Ethiopian and Malaysian society, and being entertained by the kids in the house who will grow up to be fully bilingual and bicultural.

I want to learn, I want to serve, I want to give... I just want to live and be a part of something bigger than myself. I want to remember that as far as the population of the world goes, I am not a majority. I am not even a majority in my own big, beautiful house. And I love that! I love knowing that there is so much I don't yet know, so much I can gain from people who are different from me.

I was sad this morning when I was reminded that there are so many people who fear those who look and sound different from them, as though relationship across races, ethnicities and cultures is harmful or damaging. What I am finding here is that as God brings his people together from every tribe, tongue, and nation, life becomes what it was intended to be - a colorful, beautiful community of love that brings glory to his name.

Last night my ESL class studied Psalm 1, and we talked about what it means to be a "tree planted by streams of water." One by one, believers from Mexico and Burma said slowly and carefully, in broken English: "I am a planted tree because I trust Jesus... because I know God loves me... because God has protected me and my family... because my grandfather taught me to read and follow the Bible... God is so good..." Tears came to my eyes and many "Amens" came to my lips. What a sacred time of sharing - what a blessing! Praise the Lord for the "trees" he has planted in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South and Central America, Europe, Australia, and here in America.

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