Carl and I were sitting in the fire tower on top of Garnet Mountain (I know, right?) when our dear friends asked us what we were most looking forward to in going back to Ethiopia. That wasn’t a hard question for me to answer as I responded with an answer that surprised them. “I want the God I experience in Ethiopia to be the God I experience here. I can’t wait to encounter that God.” Let me back up for a second.
Upon our return to the United States last year, our team had a follow-up meeting and one of the team members (who is coming with us again this year), made a comment about how tangible God feels in Ethiopia and she said that exact same thing; “I want the God I experience in Ethiopia to be the one I feel here.” The group nodded in agreement as we all understood exactly what she was talking about.
In that conversation with our friends, I came to a realization that I am craving an encounter with Jesus. I am craving to feel Him and know Him in the way I do when I am in Ethiopia and with the kids. More importantly, I am excited for God to invade my heart and teach me how to be more like Him. Our friends beautifully asked why it is that we think we experience God differently there and we proceeded to brainstorm all the “American things” we could blame for disrupting any encounter with God: The glorification of busy, the grip of consumerism, and the misconception of comfort and security. All these things get in the way of depending and relying on God because it makes us the god of our own hearts.
As I have been reflecting on the conversation we had that night, I keep praying that God would open my eyes and reveal what exactly is keeping me from “experiencing” Him here in the United States. I keep praying that He would provide clarity in the prayers I’m praying and that He would help me know how to bring Him back; and then, I find myself randomly asking God to break my heart for what breaks His. I don’t even know why I am praying these things, but I know He is pulling me towards Him…and I’m going. I’m running.
I have absolutely no idea what God is going to do while we are over there, but I humbly ask that you would continue praying for us as we all begin to break down any walls in our hearts and experience Him in radical ways. Pray for healthy relationships among our team of 18 and pray for the kids of Bring Love In. Whatever it is that you feel compelled to pray for, even if you don’t understand why you’re praying for it, pray it big because He will answer these prayers one way or another. Our team thanks you for all your support as we begin this journey.
I can’t wait for you to meet the rest of our team,