Saturday, July 10, 2010

Off to Albania, The Family Tradition Continues

This afternoon, we put younger daughter on a plane (ok, really a church van, that was going to the airport) to that wonderland of eastern European vacation spots, Albania.

For those of you who have suffered along with this blog for more than two years, you may remember that this is Daughter Number Two to pick this lovely location for a summer mission trip.  We are completely pleased.

Daughter will be traveling about 5,700 nautical miles from home; LA to London to Tirane.  But maybe she will be doing a whole lot more traveling than that.  It’s not just about a different culture, or people who speak a different language.  Maybe it’s about exploring the world, and really about learning about two crucial things.  Thing 1: God’s love for ALL of the entirety of the world, including this place called Albania.  Thing 2:  Understanding more about God’s love for each of us, and what He may be doing inside our souls.

I am amazed by this girl.  When most of the kids her age are obsessing over the demise of Lindsay Lohan, or completely absorbed by their little local social circle, or finding ways to waste hundreds of hours on Facebook all summer, this girl wants to try something else.  Can she articulate to others her motivation for traveling more that ¼ of the way around the globe, just to hang out in a little country without the ability to flush toilet paper for two weeks?  It’s no Hawaiian vacation.  What is going on here? 

Maybe, just maybe, it’s what people refer to as “that still, small, voice” , calling her to serve and make a difference.  Even if it seems like a small difference.  Playing games with kids, sharing a laugh, going to church where you cannot understand a word but strangely get what is going on, making a meal, cleaning up.  Little things.  Little things that make a lot of difference.  You will never know how much your just showing up means to the folks where you are going.

But strangely, mysteriously, God’s economy is often not based on grand events, or things that change the world in a day.  His sense of what is important is usually found in the small events of life.  A smile, a hand up, really listening to someone, loving when it’s not easy.
And so, my prayer for this group of teens and leaders:  
God, go with all these great kids and leaders.  Give them a real sense of purpose.  Help them to understand what is going on, even when they have no idea what people are saying around them.  Build solid relationships of trust and service.  Keep them free from mishaps and injuries and funky germs.  But most of all God, give them lots of laughter, because it seems to me that so much of what your Kingdom is about is found in laughter.  We laugh because we know You are there in the laughter, and you love us more than we could ever imagine.  It’s amazing.  And for our girl, give her peace and joy deep inside her soul.  Fill her with enthusiasm, even in times when she would rather be napping.  Fill her heart with laughter.  Amen.
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