Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Glimpses of God's Big Picture

Right now, Nate and I are in Grundlsee, Austria on a retreat with the WorldVenture teams from Germany, Austria and Slovenia. It has been a blessing to get to know our fellow missionaries. Through talking with them, we have been absorbing knowledge about living cross-culturally and what it is like to doing ministry in Western Europe.

We are meeting many missionaries for the first time. However, I met one of these missionary couples here back in 2003! The summer after my sophomore year at Wheaton, I had the privilege of touring Europe with the college's Women's Chorale and Glee Club and we visited Prague, Moscow, Vienna and Slovenia. It was my first time in Europe and the only other time I have been to Vienna. In Slovenia, we partnered with Mel and Patty Davis and put on some concerts that served as outreach opportunities for them in the community. It turns out that Mel and Patty Davis are WorldVenture missionaries and are now on retreat with us! 8 years later, it has been fun to reconnect with them and think back to my trip to Slovenia back in 2003.

When I went to Slovenia, I acted like a lemming... I did as I was told, sang many concerts in a variety of venues, and participated in all aspects of the 3-week trip, but I did not really know the impact we were making or the "big picture" reasons we were there. Talking to Mel and Patty this week, I now have a different perspective.

Our choir trip in 2003 opened many doors for the missionaries in Slovenia, allowing them to make new connections in the community and get a foot in the door in the local public school system. They were able to use our concerts as an important outreach and to follow up those connections and share the gospel with many new people. Now, the Wheaton choirs have been back to Slovenia 3 times and those connections have expanded.

It is neat to come full circle and see how God used our time there not just to praise His name through music, but also to strengthen the ministry there. I think the lesson I am learning is when we are faithful to serve and do what we believe God calls us to, He is faithful to use our efforts for his Kingdom (even when we don't know it)!