These past few weeks have been so much fun and so busy! :) There are so many things that go into setting up a cross-cultural church planting ministry’s office halfway around the world from where much of the on-ground action takes place. My time lately has been filled with countless conversations with supportive family and friends, meetings with experts on web design, social media, branding, marketing, support raising, vision casting, and much more. I have been getting increasingly excited about the true potential for a great impact to be made in Europe through new churches! And then there’s the non-strategic part of life as a missionary. :) This past weekend was one of those life-filled weekend with lots of quality meetings, and time with friends and family. Friday night, I got to watch a couple of seriously well fought high school basketball games. Sunday (I will go back to Saturday in just a bit. :) ) , I got to listen to one of my very good friends, and favorite pastors, preach to a packed out auditorium as she and her husband get ready to plant their church in two weeks. Then it was catching up with one of my former youth from my Youth Pastor days (yep, she’s all grown up now and considering mission work herself…makes me proud). :) And then a great cookout in the dead of winter with my family. That’s just how we roll in Minnesota, it does not matter the weather, cookouts are always an option.
Back to Saturday. It was filled with a couple of really inspiring meetings, and then dinner with family friends, which included a very poignant conversation that has been in my mind ever since. These family friends have been neighbors to my parents for years and are immigrants from Kiev (located in the northern part of Ukraine, pretty much in the center of the country). During a conversation with the wife, we were talking about the church that they go to here in Minnesota. When I asked how it was different from her church in Kiev, she gave me a look that said, “They don’t even compare.” Without much of a thought, she immediately said, “our pastor here shows us how the Bible speaks to us. It’s about God, and us. In Kiev, they speak in an old language that is not relevant and you can’t understand what they are talking about. No one understands them.” What if churches in Kiev, and the rest of Europe for that matter, could be filled with messages that people understand, that helped them know that this life is still about God and us?
This brings me to today. It’s 7:45am in Minnesota and I just got off the phone with a close friend. Overnight, her daughter overdosed on her boyfriend’s anti-depressants after the two of them got in a fight. She’s currently in a drug-induced coma to let her body rest and regain its strength. Hopelessness. It’s rampant here in the States and across the pond. I’m reminded of the 339 people in Europe who take their life daily… What if every person in the world knew the kind of hope, and life purpose, that can be found in and through knowing God is still relevant today, and is for us, not against us?!