Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Time Away

This month, after a busy summer, we finally were able to get away and take a vacation for a week. We decided to try going to a hotel where all of our food was provided, and we found this to be an incredibly restful way to vacation with little kids. Not having to cook and clean for a week was a real treat! The kids spent a lot of time in the pool and at the beach, and we each did lots of reading. (We each finished a book on vacation - I can't remember the last time that was possible!). Overall, we were really thankful for the time away, and we returned home refreshed and ready to jump back in.

Here are a few photos from our trip:

We ate lots of ice cream...

Vacation hat!

Posing with the local camel

Mexican food night (Maya's hat is a little big...)

The kids enjoyed participating in a few kids activities, including crafts and cookie making

Seeds Sprouting

This last weekend was the end of the gardening season for us. Bethany pulled out the remaining tomato and pepper plants from our raised bed. I've finally harvested the last of my cayenne and jalapeno peppers from the balcony. The air has changed from the summer heat to fall's cool winds. School has started, and we are finding our rhythm of life and ministry. But in the middle of all of this, spring is happening again. Things are sprouting and growing.

I remember when we first planted our garden. We tried to start as much as we could from seeds. When you get baby plants from the garden store, there is something tangible from the beginning. It takes a little while before they are established, but the tiny plant is there. It is shows you a piece of what is to come. However, seeds are different. With seeds, it is hard to know where you stand. Seeds require a great deal of patience.

With the initial planting of seeds, it isn't always clear what would happen. Will the seed germinate? Did they put the right seeds in the right packet? Am I going to get hot peppers instead of green peppers from this plant? There is a period of time where you just stare at the ground and water it and hope for the best. Days go by, sometimes a week or more depending on the kind of seed. In this time, all we see on the surface is dirt.

Then suddenly, a small plant emerges out of the ground.

Sometimes, I have felt like our preparation process for this church planting project has been like those days or weeks in between planting and sprouting. We've worked and prayed and sown, and we hope to see that first shoot break through the ground. But we are still in that preparation and waiting process. We're still watering and waiting. But the roots are forming and God is moving. We're seeing growth in our small group (we just agreed to split it into two with regular community gatherings to keep the groups connected). We're seeing growth in our team (another couple from a different organization has joined our team!). We're developing the vision together to reach our target area with the love of Christ and the transforming power of his gospel.

All in all, we believe that it is worth it. We believe we should take C.S. Lewis' "long way around", which is to say, we want to take the hard road. We want to be faithful to see God build His church, in His timing, and to His glory.

I'm not sure how far this metaphor goes. To be honest, I don't know if our first Sunday Service is the point at which the tiny plant first sticks it shoot out to collect sunlight. Sometimes milestones are hard to come by. But we are glad to see the movement and growth, even if most of it is under the surface for now. I think that is where God does some of His most important work in our lives. Not in the huge sweeping changes, but in the small things. 

Let's keep praying diligently for God to move.