What Was The Point?

This August will mark eight years since coming home from YWAM and my time around the world. Lately I have been mulling over my time overseas wondering if I really did anything. I keep seeing news reports of terrorist attacks on so many places I love and where friends have been and I start to ask myself, “What was the point?” I personally didn’t see any professions of faith or miracles although I know of teams in my school who saw great things. Then I remember the parables Jesus spoke of about seeking out the lost sheep and going after the one.

 So He told them this parable: “What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?  When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.

Luke 15:3-7 HCSB

That was the point, the one, I may not see how their lives unfold but I will never forget their faces and I will forever pray for them.

These two young ladies are just a small portion of the ones who captured my heart in Jaipur at a VBS we put on. Being in the slums with the Bhat people was something I will never forget. The joy that these kids had in the midst of so little was awe-inspiring. When my kids start to complain that they can’t continue playing on the iPad I remember how the simplest of things brought them such glee.Kampala Jaipur Beauty

This girl and her mother were on one of my bus rides in Turkey. Her mother was so incredibly generous to me, she saw that I was a fair-skinned blonde which is often targeted by men and so she stood up and insisted I sit with her daughter so I didn’t have to sit by a man on the bus. To see her heart to protect me was beautiful and this girl, she stole my heart. Although I only knew a few words in Turkish our time was full of smiles and giggles as we played with my camera.

Turkish Bus

The other woman in Turkey who captured my affection was a shop owner from Selçuk. She was the only lady shop owner and she told Jemma and I stories of abuse she had faced in the community just for being independent thinking. She also asked Jemma and I to pray for her which was an honor. Some of my favorite souvenirs were from her shop.ShopOwner in Selçuk In Cairo the church filled with kids where we put on skits and the room was filled with laughter is something I will never forget. Egypt was a hard place for me, I physically was ill a lot of my time there and there were multiple times where I felt demonic attack nevertheless I fell in love with the land and the people. Only to come home to meet my husband who had spent a prolonged time there shortly before I arrived. When we first married we thought we would move there, who knows maybe one day.IMG_1998

Why do I share all of this? To remind myself that they are the point, the one, the random person I met on the bus, in a shop, at a VBS they were the point of it all. For nothing else than to show them love in that moment. I may not know what impact if any was made this side of eternity but I am grateful I was given the opportunity to go in search of the one.

Maybe the one is the kid at the park who is being obnoxious but really just wants someone to play with, or perhaps the cashier who is huffing and puffing as they scan each grocery item or maybe its your very own kid who in that moment needs you in a different way and you take the time to be who it is they need.

May we always be in search of the one.

Impact in Ephesus

This morning I woke up to an article in my newsfeed from a YWAM team serving the refugees in Greece, seeing it made me both nostalgic but also reflective on my time spent with YWAM now seven years ago. I had no idea my time doing international missions would be interrupted in the beautiful way it has been and often I forget the impact made on me until I am thrusted into someone else’s story and I remember my own. My time there was not easy, I honestly have a lot of sorrow mixed in with my experience but the lessons I walked away with are some of the most precious treasures I have.

When praying about my outreach location I strongly felt a call to the Middle East, which didn’t surprise me but it also didn’t line up with my lifelong obsession for the heart of Africa. I am grateful I listened and was exposed to an area that required a more covert form of spreading the Gospel. In many areas we visited you weren’t surrounded by in your face poverty and need, the most effective way to bring the Kingdom was to pray and love those brought into your path. This is where some of the sorrow is interjected for me, unity on our team was greatly lacking which makes pressing in and calling forth the Kingdom difficult. I am confident that the Father still used our time there and I walked away knowing, I am called to a life of boldness.

Ephesus was one of our two “leisure” times on outreach, where we took a break from service and soaked in history. My time in Ephesus was incredible. We stayed at an awesome hostel, Atilla’s Getaway, where they had great food and you could see the ruins of the ancient city. To walk and sit in a place where Timothy had once preached was humbling. Leading up to YWAM the scripture given to me over and over was 1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Seeing where it was this man, who was told to be an example, from his youth, taught and lead from was inspiring. This was no small church or minuscule task, he had fears like me but chose to overcome them. The boldness planted in me in that place is still germinating and growing all these years later. Sadly, I have not been diligent in the cultivation of what was planted but I am grateful it took root and hasn’t fully died. Where Timothy would have preached

Library at Ephesus

There were two experiences I loved most though on our holiday in Ephesus and they took place in the tourist town of Selçuk with different shop keepers as I explored alone, enjoying my introvert time. One shop was ran by a woman which was unheard of in that area. She told my teammate Jemma and I how she often received threats from men in the community for being there. She invited us to pray for her and both the protection and prosperity of her business in the name of Jesus which was an honor.Shop owner in Selçuk

The other highlight was when I bought a beautiful orange scarf. I had gone shopping in town and picked out something I loved only to realize I had left my turkish lira in the pocket of my other pants. I was so disappointed but when I went to put the scarf back and the owner told me to take it and to bring the money tomorrow. I told them not to worry about it but he was insistent so I did just that. When I came back the next day with means to pay they invited me to stay and eat with them. They could see my hesitation but they showed me the outdoor table that was by the street so people walking by would know I was there. I decided to go for it. We sat there and enjoyed a traditional turkish meal of aged cheese, cucumber and tomato salad, olives and fresh flat bread. They finished the meal by going and buying a tub of ice-cream that we all ate straight out of. We sat there navigating conversation with their broken english and my finite knowledge of Turkish. I was able to some capacity share why I was there and how all I wanted to do was share the love of Jesus with those around me.My Orange Scarf

I won’t fully know the impact I made during the time I spent in Selçuk and Ephesus on this side of eternity but I will forever impacted by the encounters I had there.