I’m really into Willow Creek things in this season. Back in March they did a series on leadership, and knowing my job was about to require more of this, I got sucked into the Sunday teaching series. In addition to having 3 available live streaming options (which I wish you could understand the importance of to missionaries who are living overseas and miss their church), they’ve also started sending out accompanying devotionals. I loved that I could think more deeply about the topics throughout the week, especially leadership! Nehemiah has come and gone, but I guess like a lot of other things you put your email down for, the devos keep on coming!
On Thursday it was called “Life Together” and was from Acts 2:42–47; 4:32–35. “These two passages give us a picture of the church—a new community of Jesus followers who were committed to being taught by the apostles, sharing life together, breaking bread, and worshipping together. Imagine what it would be like to be a part of the community described in these passages. Does this kind of life together seem possible? What would the benefits be? What are the barriers?” As soon as I got to this statement and question, my heart broke for my friends all over the world who have never experienced it, or who have and long to see this become true again. Then I was so thankful for the truth that I don’t have to imagine. Go read those portions of scripture. Do it. I’ll wait for you.
Did you do it? Often when I’m back in The States people want to know what it’s like to live in La Paz. It’s like that passage. It’s real fellowship. It’s praying and supporting your friends and feeding them while they do laundry at your house because their washing machine is broken because it’s absurd that they’d go to a laundry mat (I can’t imagine there were any on the street corners in the times of the apostles!). It’s using your neighbors across the street or going over to your friends’ house to use their internet when yours breaks for the 100 time. It’s thanking God for the favor he has given you at your ministry, in bringing an amazing team together to serve the Lord alongside of each other. It’s valuing unity and being of one heart and soul and sometimes believing you should scrap your staff retreat 3 weeks before you’re supposed to go on it and recreate it all over again. It’s seeing and responding and fulfilling needs (and sometimes even wants) of the people around you by knowing that your roommate won’t care when you give up your hair dryer for a week to the visiting Spiritual Emphasis Week team that just brought 21 suitcases of love to you and the people at your school.
September was a hard month. Because October is notorious for this in my time at Highlands, I cringed when the crazy hit early. Certainly it’s easy to focus on the negative, but sometimes a lot of things happen all at once that completely interrupt your grove…
…My course schedule for my Educational Leadership degree changed four times in two weeks after the class I was supposed to take got cancelled. I registered at the last minute with one available seat left in another class. Thank God I hadn’t ordered textbooks for my other class and the textbooks for my new class were all available on Kindle. Things could have been interesting!
…Nearly every person on our staff (and students) took sick days in September or should have taken sick days. When you have zero substitute community and a bunch of willing but half-healthy staff, finding coverage becomes your worst admin nightmare. Thankfully, I didn’t have to find a sub for myself when I participated in the crazy and caught a bad cold that led to high and low grade fevers. After nearly passing out from nausea at the school, I went home to rest. And then my phone rang, waking me up from my nap. It’s my landlord and he’s coming over in an hour because he wants to sell our apartment. We have 90 (and now something less) days to move.
…Our brand new router is already dying. And after we lived without internet for a while and then got it fixed, our water got shut off, and then our freezer in our refrigerator popped and now we have a gas leak (Which still isn’t fixed. I’m hoping he technician actually shows up tomorrow).
Does it mean the crazy is going to be going on for an extra amount of time? Will September be the new October? Lord only knows. Unfortunately we have no current move date, so it’s possible that October will be more of an adventure than we expect. But as I was so timely reminded on Wednesday, while the community here has its barriers, the blessings (or benefits) of life together are real, too. Kindness, compassion, love, care, help, support, encouragement came rushing out of mouths as soon as the news spread (which if you think you live in a small town or went to a small school, try a SUPER small community. I told a few people, and before I could even tell one of my roommates she knew!). People were offering to look for apartments for us, to pack with us, to celebrate fun times in our house with us, to have an apartment warming party once we get to our new place, etc. I was so thankful for everyone’s response. Saying goodbye to the only apartment life, routine, comforts, memories I’ve known while in La Paz is excruciating. My apartment was supposed to be the God given grace of consistency as I changed bosses, jobs, friends; and just like that it’s gone, too. I’m choosing to believe that despite the instability, the presence of life in community can make up for it, that God is still leading us towards what He believes is best, and that He promises us Himself during the crazy.
I’m praying that as October rushes in, this would become true as I serve in this always adventurous place, “and the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”