I had the opportunity to travel to Mongolia from June 29 - July 14. What an amazing ride it was. Over the next several days (or weeks :)) I would like to share my experiences through this Blog. I pray that this isn't just about me sharing about me, but that as you read, you may recognize God's presence, and that you, in turn, can be nudged or touched by His mighty hand.
Collision - when two moving objects strike each other.
I feel like I have experienced a collision. An experience where I was in motion...coming out of a very fast-paced, busy time. Brady's graduation, VBS, family vacation, new upcoming Love INC ministries....I was in motion. I was moving. I was being driven by family, church, responsibilities. I was on the move.
On the other side of the world, there is a country called Mongolia. The people of Mongolia are on the move. They are in motion. They are continually moving in and through a new (20+ old) season of Christianity. They are being driven by church camps, ministries, discovering ways to spread the Gospel. They are moving. They are in motion and on the move.
A few weeks ago, these two vessels collided. What happens when two moving objects collide? Both of them are changed, sometimes one is affected more than the other. But when two collide, there is bound to be change and transformation. The outcome of this collision is what I hope to express in this blog and the next several blogs.
The path I traveled towards this collision is worth mentioning - a 1 1/2 hour van ride to the Cleveland airport, a 1 hour plane ride to Toronto, a 14 hour plane ride to Seoul, Korea, a 3 hour plane ride to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. This 20+ hour trip (including layovers) ushered me into a new pace.
As I told people about the anticipated 14 hour plane ride, some cringed. But, oddly, I almost looked forward to being in one place, not being able to go anywhere or do anything. Time to just be. Time to anticipate how God was about to shake my world. Time to unwind. Time to breathe.
The first impact of my collision caused me to shift gears. We landed in Mongolia at night, and so we got dropped off at our temporary apartment for a night's sleep. While the next day's events brought us right into our first adventure, my gears began to already shift from being one who thrives on coordinating, planning, making lists and checking them off - both for Love INC and at home...to one who was now in the passenger's seat. There was a "plan", but I quickly learned that it was a very flexible plan.
Our first endeavor was to help out at a church camp. It was worded to us that the church would love for us to jump in and give some of their leaders and teachers a break. They invited us to lead games and activities, and do some Bible teaching. We weren't able to prepare or do much of that ahead of time, but as we arrived at the camp that very first day in Mongolia, we met our translators and jumped in the best we knew how. Some of us were assigned to work with the youth, and others of us with the younger children.
I had to shift from being an organized leader/facilitator to a foreigner who couldn't understand or be understood, and yet was in a position to lead. Two worlds have just collided.
This first session was a bit difficult due to the language barrier and to trying to get a grasp on how all of this was going to work. How in the world can I be a blessing and offer a break to these teachers, when they are now my translators and are still needing to rally up the children and be the one to instruct, control and guide? I felt as though I was adding more of a burden on to them.
I had to shift gears. Relax. Shift out of my high-strung coordinator hat, and ask God to shift me into His gear. His pace. His approach. IT WASN'T ABOUT WHAT I COULD DO! In Matthew 6:33-34, Jesus says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." Seek Him. Seek His ways and His plan. Each session improved as I allowed God to take over, as I shifted my attitude and became open to learning new ways I could connect with these beautiful children. We discovered hand gestures, clapping and facial expressions that could bind us together. The rest of the 3 day camp unfolded smoothly, and became one of the many highlights of my trip.
We worshiped together - they sang in Mongolian and I sang in English. (Or, by the end, I caught on to some of their Mongolian songs and sang along, even though I didn't know what the translation was.) BUT, what I DID know was that we were worshiping and singing about and to the very same God! He is God the Father to us all. What joy I found in meeting more of my precious brothers and sisters in Christ.
In addition to worshiping together, I was able to have some heart-felt conversations with some Mongolian women who could speak English. It was through these relationships where I felt not just my Type A mind shifting gears, but God was shifting things around in my heart.
I listened to, cried with and prayed with some sweet sisters who have found themselves Christians in a newly Christian country. I could see the passion in them as they desire to live a bold life for Jesus, while being surrounded by pressures from family members and communities. Oh how they yearn to serve others and to bring Jesus to all around them.
As I collided with the beautiful people at this camp, my gears were shifted. When the "on-the-move" vessel in me collided with the spirited, "on-the-move" Mongolian brothers and sisters, something happened. My gears were shifted. The Holy Spirit moved right on into the driver's seat. I don't know how my Mongolian friends were changed in this collision, but I pray that they too, experienced the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are you in the middle of a collision? What are you colliding with? Are you heading for a collision? Are you on the move? What might God be seeking to shift in your life? Are you able to scoot over and allow Him to take the driver's seat?
More little tidbits about my experience at this camp:
* We taught them how to play Dutch Blitz and gave them a set of cards!
* We ate their "camp meals" which included rice, "meat", potatoes, noodles...some of our group had the opportunity to try intestines!!
* We had "jam" sessions with their musicians (Brady had his ukelele which was a hit!)
* The foundation of Scripture the children knew was outstanding!
* The camp was located out in the country and was stunning!
* They baptized about 8 people in the river (there were cows that crossed through the river as they were singing - right before the baptisms! :))
More on My Mongolian Collision to come...