A few reflections upon the mid-way point of my trip around the USA, following Jesus and seeing what God just may do at any particular moment (in no particular order):
1. Being away from home has given me the time, space, and distance to see the things I love the most about life and ministry in Cape Town… moves of God, passionate Jesus-followers, a complex city in need of ongoing transformation, amazing friends. I suppose stepping back, and in many cases speaking of such wonders, gives words to things I have only taken notice of in my heart.
2. I live where I am. This was, in fact, a reason to leave Cape Town for a while – to remind me that there are also amazing friends and moves of God happening across this planet. While I am home in Cape Town, that’s my focus. You know this because if you live in Cape Town you get my attention & if you don’t, you only hear wisps on the wind of what I’m up to because I lack the discipline to stop and share the stories to my broader audience. And so, while in USA now, the same is true. I am here. I haven’t done well at telling who I am with, where I am, etc. Please forgive – the days have been so full, full of God and amazing moments, seemingly without rest to process and share. In a way, its a testimony to just how amazing God is – changing lives, living in shared moments, filling laughter and tears alike. But admittedly I need to say more so you can see these things too!
3. Wherever two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, he is there. I’ve had coffee with a pastor, lunch with a friend of a friend, spent hours in conversations, answered questions about the nature of God, shared dinner with another fellow traveler, met with a man about to embark on a missionary journey of his own, walked neighbourhoods, prayed life and hope with saints, reconnected with old friends, made new friends, have been reminded of parts of my past I had forgotten, discovered mutual friends, seen family, shared about South Africa with college students, sat with friends in distress, and have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it (remember, I am slightly introverted)! But this is not wearing, it is life-giving – shared moments of the Kingdom of God, definitely changing me, and likely others along this Way. Jesus continues to fill my days.
4. I love what God has allowed us to be part of in Cape Town. That is as much true of ministry as just plain life. I am happy my kids are happy. I am settled knowing my wife feels more settled. We are in a good place. I’m reminded of that in every story I tell here, recounting how we moved and have spent the past 2+ years making a new home. Its not perfect and isn’t always easy. But it is good! We have been blessed with friends who have welcomed us into their lives, and they are amazing lives. And I continue to be amazed at how many of you pray for us, follow along with our pictures and stories, are indeed in this with us. I am greatly encouraged.
5. Things are definitely stirring – opportunities, connections, possibilities for the next few years. In some ways I can see seeds being planted, but I’m not sure what they will grow into, or when. I find myself smiling and wondering a lot. What is God up to here, with this person, with that idea? I don’t know, but live in anticipation of the day when life bursts forth from the ground. Perhaps some of these are closer to appearing than I might expect. All very mysterious, I know, but all I can see right now is movement, so I hesitate to give name to anything… yet.
6. Traveling around the country by myself and meeting with lots of people has been pretty easy (see #3 above). Not having my family with me to share in the experience and talk about what God has done in the day is difficult. It is also strange to be back in California without Melissa and the kids. I just miss them.
7. I have lived an amazing life so far! I suppose this jumps out because I have been with so many people from different parts of my past on this trip. O, if you could see the threads I am seeing, you would undoubtedly share in my awe at the hand of God over the years. It has been so good, and so healing, to look back over the years with friends. Even today I was reminded of some things I have not thought of in years. I feel like God is helping me reclaim promises, memories, and even unrecognized hurts from the past. Powerful stuff.
8. Although I don’t feel like any specific thing has become more clear (yet), I do feel so much more focused on God. I’m ok with that. I came into this trip believing I needed to go where God led and connect with the people God had for me. So far, this has been nothing short of amazing. I think God loves me enough to organize this trip only for my own sake, knowing its been exactly what I needed to grow my trust and put myself in a place of listening and depending on Him. I also think this trip is about a lot more than me, and hope I am leaving a trail of encouraged hearts behind me…
thank you friends for praying for me
thank you Jesus for loving me more every day
let’s see where the second half of this trip takes us!