Been Around the World and I, I, I…

Well, I can find my baby…he’s asleep in his crib. But I digress (so soon? You just got started!) (And unless you remember this Lisa Stansfield song from the 90s, this entire reference is lost on you.)

Our church kicked off it’s first annual Missions Festival this past Sunday. (Yes, I know “first annual” is an oxymoron, but I’m feeling moronic in an oxy kind of way.) Our little Missions Festival Committee worked tirelessly to plan a special week, and a few have the burns and cuts to prove it. (Not me though, I just have a crick in my neck from mouse-clicking.)

The goal of our week is to educate the church on what we are currently doing in global missions, and inform on what we plan to do. We kicked off the first Sunday with a missionary guest speaker, an international picnic and missions-focused worship. We handed out special prayer cards so everyone would know what the church is doing and in where.

And all this was wonderful. And it educated. Mission accomplished.

Tonight at our Wednesday service, we Skyped in missionaries from three countries — Ukraine, Tanzania and Boliva. They shared with us what they are doing in their ministries there, and what their prayer needs were for their personal lives as well as the ministry.

And all this was wonderful. And it educated. Mission accomplished.

But in all this, there are two things specifically that stood out to me.

On Sunday, we organized a flag processional where ten of our middle schoolers walked up the center aisle of the church with a flag in hand from a specific country we are supporting. One by one, they walked up alone with their flag and placed it in the base, while the worship team sang, “All God’s people singing ‘Glory, glory! Hallelujah, He reigns!” I don’t think our church had ever seen something like this before (I could be wrong…there’s always a first time for everything). By the time the last flag came down, the entire congregation stood and clapped. And I had goosebumps up and down my arms and tears in my eyes.

At tonight’s service, we heard from the missionaries in Ukraine, Tanzania and Bolivia via Skype. (Oh the technology! I wonder what Dr. Livingston would have presumed about that.) And when they listed their prayer requests for themselves and their ministries, I was fine. But then sweet Patty from Bolivia asked if she could say something in Spanish. She spoke with such heart and sincerity, blessing us of all things. Hearing her in her native tongue was too much. And I had goosebumps up and down my arms and tears in my eyes.

I’ve been on a total of five mission trips. While I wouldn’t call myself Mrs. Rick Steves or Samantha Brown, traveling abroad and serving God among the nations is just something I do. It’s something I love…something I treasure. And I haven’t done it in over four years.

And this week has tugged hard at my heart.

I miss it.

I miss meeting God’s children in the lands that He placed them, learning their culture and seeing how He is the same regardless of time, space or location.

I miss worshipping with God’s children in other languages, singing the same songs in a foreign tongue but familiar heart.

I miss praying for someone in the only way I know how, not understanding their words but my heart knowing exactly what’s happening in theirs…my heart breaking with theirs. And then experiencing the ultimate blessing of them praying for me. And neither of us knowing a single word of what was said.

I miss closing my eyes as I experience all these things, and feeling automatically transported to heaven…knowing that it’s really just a poor imitation of what it will really be like when all God’s children are singing “Glory, glory! Hallelujah, He reigns!” in a hundred different words all at the same time, that all just mean one thing, in front of The King.

I miss it terribly. I miss it fiercely. My heart longs for it.

I know that right now is just not the season for me to be traveling on mission trips for a week at a time. With two little ones, my purpose is here right now. And I’m happy about that, very sure of my calling for this season of life.

But oh how I miss it! The longing doesn’t go away.

It doesn’t fill the hole in my heart when I hear a blessed child of God praying in their language. It doesn’t remove the desire to ‘Go and make disciples’ when I kiss my husband goodbye as he leaves, passport in hand, to take a group of high schoolers on their first-ever missions trip. It doesn’t keep my spirit from leaping when I see the nations come together in unity.

It’s woven into me. I can’t extract that one thread, no matter how hard I try.

Mission accomplished.

It makes me so grateful to know that I’m still rendered weak and humbled at these things. That it was never just something I did until I got married and had kids…or just got into because it was the “in thing” at church at that particular time. It’s real. It’s a heartfelt, God-given love. And I’m so happy that God allows these things to pierce me still, so I know that for myself.

God has a perfect timing and perfect season for everything. While my flesh would say I’m willing to drop everything and leave tomorrow for Tanzania for two weeks, my spirit knows this isn’t my season for that. While my heart would say don’t worry, it will all work out…my head knows it would be a futile effort.

So until the time comes when I’m released to be Jesus’ hands and feet once again, in person, to His children around the world…I will have to be content to pray, to give and to serve where I can. Knowing that the going will come…but only when He’s ready for me to go.

Until the, I have a mission to accomplish right where I am.

And that’s pretty wonderful, too.

“It’s the song of the redeemed
Rising from the African plain
It’s the song of the forgiven
Drowning out the Amazon rain

The song of Asian believers
Filled with God’s holy fire
It’s every tribe, every tongue, every nation
A love song born of a grateful choir

Let it rise about the four winds
Caught up in the heavenly sound
Let praises echo from the towers of cathedrals
To the faithful gathered underground

Of all the songs sung from the dawn of creation
Some were meant to persist
Of all the bells rung from a thousand steeples
None rings truer than this

And all the powers of darkness
Tremble at what they’ve just heard
‘Cause all the powers of darkness
Can’t drown out a single word

When all God’s children sing out
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
All God’s people singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns”
by Peter Furler and Steve Taylor, copyright 2003 by Arise Music

3 thoughts on “Been Around the World and I, I, I…

  1. Of course I knew the song you were singing before I ever opened up the blog. All I had to see was "been around the world". I agree with Melissa. How I long to go on another trip, especially with my husband. My time with you both and the wonderful SOZO participants in Hungary dramatically changed my life. (And I am not refering to my chair wipeout scene, in case you needed a laugh). And Missions week at church, still to this day, is one of my favorite times of the year.

  2. Hi Missions Buddy!!This blog is sooooo timely for me. I was just talking about my trips to the Philippines and Hungary to the ladies in my new bible study group. I was explaining to them that these two events in my life completely changed me and I can't Praise God enough for blessing me with these amazing experiences to see His Shining Glory!! You were a great part of my life-changing experience so I THANK YOU!! But as I was explaining to these ladies abuot the missions trip, I started crying thinking back to the precious faces of the children in the Philippnes and then to the awesome power and amazement of hearing all those languages singing praise to the Lord in Hungary. As you, I am definitely feeling to need and desire to go on another missions trip. We will see what the Lord has in store. Praise the Lord!! Praying that you, Greg, Jaana and Paxton are wonderful! Miss you very much!

  3. i hear you, times 3 little ones.i thought i'd grow up and be a missionary. well if you consider Ohio a mission field? ha ha, [technically it is, i know i know i know]the world [and myself at times] doesn't place much value in making disciples in our own homes [i.e. raising kids], but i know it matters all the same if not more to the Lord.i find myself daydreaming about taking a cruise with Charles or traveling to a foreign country with him. he's never been on a mission trip. i'm torn between "wanting to get away" and wanting to go back to my roots of mission trip traveling. i went a lot as a single person.not sure what the next few years holds for us [Monica], but I really hope he throws in a few mission trips for us stay at home mommies. some-how-some-way.

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