Well, Wayne and I are back in our own little lentil patch here in Texas, pulling the weeds, turning over the soil, planting, watering, and endeavoring to produce a harvest from that which the Lord has entrusted to us in our small corner of the world.
Traveling internationally affords us the opportunity to get a little view in reality of the body of Christ universally. It gives us a sense of the larger picture for which we labor… that the “glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” It is great to step beyond what is happening at home and glimpse how other nations are responding to the Gospel, how the body of Messiah is growing and/or struggling around the world, how to pray, how to link arms better…
I find it so easy to become overwhelmed with my own state of affairs at home, even now during this election year. Americans are caught up in who will be our next leader. In fact, some of the world is interested in it too. I heard two Germans discussing it in the Frankfurt airport yesterday. They said they don’t care who is elected, just get Bush out of there. Well, as Americans we need to be caught up… so we can make intelligent and wise choices for the days ahead… Still this election is just a small piece in a huge puzzle.
Traveling reveals that much of the world lives in poverty and has never heard the name of Jesus. The world’s needs are both physical and spiritual. Recently I was talking to a nurse who asked me to guess the number one illness that threatens the world today. My first thought, of course, was cancer. Then my second thought was heart disease.
The truth is both of these illnesses are very American. The number one killer is diarrhea. I gasped for air when I heard that! I know for people to die of diarrhea, they must live in very poor and unclean conditions and not have access to clean water, healthy food, or simple and basic medicines. Still diarrhea is the number one killer. Most of the world lives in a world that is totally foreign to me.
It is good for me to leave my little lentil patch and touch the nations several times a year… the reality of where they live and how they live. To taste their suffering and need. To offer practical answers as well as spiritual hope. To share what I can.
I am already preparing myself for our trip to Ethiopia in one month. We will participate with Jewish Voice in a medical outreach for two weeks. We will reach some of the poorest of the poor on the face of the earth. I am already asking for God’s grace as I prepare for this outreach. There will be such a vast difference in our lifestyles that I know I will need God’s help to go and to stay… just for two weeks.
The truth is that I live in a bubble here in the states that keeps me from seeing the needs of the world clearly. That bubble needs to be popped from time to time. I can’t calculate how much good these international trips do for others… but I can tell just how good they are for me. They keep me humble, bowing my knee to God, grateful, and yes, hopefully willing to share what I have.