And it astounds me how often I don't see how God is going to use a moment today to encourage and motivate me later when I'm called on to use a set of muscles that are untrained. When atrophy set in unawares. How He loves me enough to not let me settle or get too comfortable. And the way might be shaky, painful, and exhausting...
One step at a time.
He begins to read from the book, At the Foot of the Snows by David Watters, and I grapple with this lifestyle of being present. The art -- and discipline -- of presence. How this culture slowly unravels all of my paradigms, gently landing me fully in the moment.
"Rarely does it happen, but when it does, you know that God has smiled on you: you are allowed by God to become part of another man's narrative. The walk is vicarious at first, but as you watch and listen, the journey quickly becomes your own." From the Foreword of At the Foot of the Snows
Chink, chink, the Master chips away at my pride, my addiction to performance and accolades. This false humility I wear as a token -- how I default to a position of service so that I'll feel like I'm enough -- believing the lie that my efforts will prove myself worthy of grace.
Khukuri knives, the traditional weapon of Gurkha soldiers. Of course, Israel chooses one, too.
Then we stop by the grocery market, the one that caters to Westerners with luxury products... like toilet paper. We linger to visit with the proprietor... because this is what I'm learning we do in Nepal... build relationships, build into people. (Not buildings?)
2006. And I'm wrapping my mind around time frames and history and wars and freedom and families enduring life in the midst of persecution.
Our little group reaches a large gate, yielding to allow each person to duck as we pass through the small doorway.
I smile to myself as I ponder one of my favorite quotes, the one printed on Ethan's t-shirt,
"Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." -- St. Francis of Assisi
This mission's trip... I know it's the first day but I'm realizing that the reality of quietly bowing low, yielding to others, and reveling in the grace of engaging in the moment... that the daily mission anywhere in the world is to remain fully present and available...
Sitting here in the Himalayas, I can feel God smiling on me. I haven't done anything but show up. And I don't realize it yet, how God means to woo me all over again in this place where relationships mean everything. It's true, it does feel vicarious, this entering into another culture, not exactly a part of it and yet partaking freely of its nuances and customs. All of my paradigms about "missions trips" are being turned inside out, and grace, pure grace without any strings or striving attached... that God would bring me all this way to teach me the importance of presence.
*VBS stands for Vacation Bible School... our Western idea for reaching out to children in the community to introduce them to Jesus.