What to write? What to say? Sometimes I don’t blog because I don’t even know where to start. Do I tell you about Thanksgiving? About the good food but the realization of how much I miss home, my family, my culture. Or should I explain why we lost two team members in a week? Or I could talk about what God is teaching me about prayer through His Word. If I don’t blog in a while, it’s not because nothing is going on here. There’s always plenty happening and there’s always stuff I want to share with you all, but sometimes, I just don’t know how to put it all into words. Sometimes my mind can’t process all that’s going on let alone try to describe it here.
So, that being said, what should I share with you today? Today, I want to talk about 32 weeks. We have 32 weeks left in Puno. This Thanksgiving also happened to be the year and a half marker for us North Americans. Chad, Amanda, Trevor, Garren and I all arrived in Peru together on May 24th, 2010. Can you believe it? You probably can because you miss me like crazy and are counting the days until I’m home….right?! :) I was thinking on Thanksgiving and this past week about where I was at emotionally and spiritually last year. Last year the day before Thanksgiving we had been in Peru for six months. I remember thinking, “Wow, I’ve made it six months! I’m a professional at Spanish, I’ve got this Peru thing down, I know it all, I’ve been here forever!” And now, I’m a year and a half into this, with eight months to go, 32 weeks to be exact. Last year, six months seemed like an eternity, it seemed like I had been in Peru for forever. And now, I look at the future, I see those eight months on the calendar in Chad and Amanda’s apartment and I know this time is going to fly by. Eight months is nothing in comparison to the work we have to do, or rather, the work God still has in this city, the work He wants to accomplish through us.
So my vision for these 32 weeks…….work hard with heart and passion. I feel like this past year and a half has been about me. I’ve been learning and growing, becoming the girl/woman God had planned for me. He’s been molding me and polishing me, stretching me and challenging me. I’m not there yet, I’m still a work in progress and always will be. But, I feel like now is the time. God has been filling me up with His Spirit and His knowledge in the past year and a half. He’s been preparing me for a strong finish to this race. The truth is, I still don’t know how to do this job. Franci and I are regularly changing strategies and ideas, we don’t know what we’re doing, there’s no pattern to follow. I’d love to insert a spreadsheet right here and show you that my vision includes goals, deadlines, exact strategies. I’d love to say that my vision is a mapped out plan, color coded with numbers and dates, detailed with ideas and a plan of attack. That’s the business side of me. I’m missing my insurance days where I had a goal and a vision to complete that goal, all mapped out on paper. If I had to sell 20 life policies, I came up with deadlines and strategies. I would figure out who I would call, when, what I would say. Then, every time I sold a policy, I could add that policy to my excel spreadsheet for the month, showing me I had one more sold and x many more to go. I loved looking at that list, seeing my accomplished work on paper.
But here, I feel chaotic and clumsy in this job. I don’t have everything mapped out for the next 32 weeks. I don’t have exact strategies in mind, I don’t have a spreadsheet color coded and detailed. That’s not how this job works. So what’s my vision? To give more of myself and my time, to give more of what God has given me in this lifetime and especially over the past year and a half. I need to be faithful to Him. I need to be passionate about this job on a daily basis. And He will bless my time, effort, passion and heart.
Paul speaks in Philippians chapter 3, he writes from jail, and he says in a nutshell that the most important thing in this life is Jesus and a personal relationship with Him, everything else is a ‘loss’, a waste in comparison. Paul is humble, he disowns his own righteousness, he accepts his physical and spiritual suffering as gains for Christ, He so desperately wants to know Christ that he wants to know Him in everything, in His resurrection but also His death. And then verses 12 to 14, Paul goes on to say that all he just said in verses 7-11 are goals, he’s not attained a perfect relationship with Christ yet, he’s not received Christ’s righteousness, he’s not identified completely with His death. Paul admits to being in process still. Seriously, Paul! Paul was an incredible imitator of our Lord, he was an awesome evangelist, a great disciple and leader, a martyr and prisoner, and he didn’t have it all together. Of course then, neither do I.
God has done and incredible work in me over the past year and a half. I am not the same girl you once knew, God has molded me, polished me, formed me, not out of the girl I was, but into the girl, into the woman He originally created me to be. But He’s not done. I’m not perfect. I have not obtained all that I need to strive for on a daily basis (verses 7-11). But, God has been working in me to be able to use me. Oswald Chambers says on these verses, “God is not after perfecting me to be a specimen in His show-room; He is getting me to the place where He can use me.”
Oswald also says, “I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives.” My vision for these next 32 weeks, less than eight months, is to use let God use me, to let Him shine through me, that He would capture the hearts of these people through me. I realize in order for this to happen, I need to give more heart, more soul. I need to strive, to press on. Paul says twice, “I press on”. This race is hard. This past year and a half has been incredible, but its been difficult, there’s been times when I’ve wanted to go home and give up. And there will be more of those feelings in the rest of my time here. But I’m not here for myself. I’m not even here directly for these people. I’m here for Him. I run this race for Him. And He deserves my every ounce of effort, heart and passion. God is renewing me and exciting me about the time I have left here. He’s giving me His heart and His passion for this city. I’ve been listening to Chris Tomlin’s ‘God of this City’ often lately and this is such a powerful song, its my cry out to Him for this city of Puno. Take a listen and pray for this city with me. Pray that God would use me, that I would have determination to finish this race as Paul had, that God would use all He’s planted in me and taught me for His Kingdom and His glory. Pray that His vision would be a reality in this city through us (Franci, Garren, Geremias, Trevor, Sammy, Chad, Amanda, Ella and Thomas) as a team.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that i may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.