We just returned from a week on the rivers with a team from Grant’s Pass, Oregon. This team came with one primary motive: to show the people living on the rivers that they are loved and valued in their hearts and in the heart of their Father.
I have not encountered yet a team that came so prepared to serve. Their leader, Midge, has been coming yearly to this region for 15 years and her passion for these people was demonstrated not only in her enthusiastic presence but also in her and her team’s remarkable preparation. Her church collects items to bring (eyeglasses, clothes, medicine, toys, etc) throughout the year and their many crates were organized and labeled for easy access. At each village that we visited, while I did a medical clinic with a great deal of support and help praying for each person, the team "worked" and played with the kids. These kids just loved it. What memories were created! This team poured themselves into every activity and every moment. They passionately worshipped, passionately played, passionately taught, passionately served, passionately encouraged, and passionately demonstrated love. I’m reminded through these guys that work done with excellence and passion is so honoring to the one being served. Whether we are a doctor, nurse, pastor, receptionist, laborer, etc, God can use us greatly to love and honor people by the manner in which we work.
This team’s passion for Jesus and for blessing Him through blessing others greatly encouraged me. At times I question the value of what I’m doing here and after spending a week with these guys, I more clearly see the value in serving these people living in the interior. At least three members of this team are considering full-time missionary work overseas. It’s always uplifting and encouraging to converse with others who are walking a similar path to what I’ve walked. The same questions, insecurities, joys, and challenges. I’m reminded that I’m not the only fool around!
I was at a place of discouragement and maybe depression when this team arrived. Perhaps, I was a little worn out. This can be difficult work in a difficult, wearing environment and the fruit of our labor is often not immediately apparent. Our good friends are on furlough, it is very hot, I’ve been away from home a lot, etc, etc. As this team leaves, however, I find myself at a different place on that deeper, motivational level. I’m grateful for the change, grateful for a lighter burden on the inside, and grateful to my Father that He knows where I am and walks with me through it all.