Sunday, April 14, 2013

GUATEMALA 2013: (13) An Evening with the Shepherds (Beatings or Ice Cream)

An Evening with the Shepherds
featuring Adam Agin
alternate title
"Beatings or Ice Cream"
On January 22 I took a chance and sent a Facebook Message to Adam Agin, asking him if he might consider coming to Cincinnati and helping us out a fundraiser for our mission. 

3 years ago Adam was a voice that gripped my soul in a critical moment. He and his band were at a benefit sing for a small mission in Guatemala. Kellie had convinced me to go on the trip, and we were here to help raise funds. I heard him sing for the first time and later I wrote these words

And then the music started. 
I was at first in awe, and within minutes I was in tears. 
I remain overwhelmed with the power and beauty 
that rained down from that young three man team. 

I am convinced that the view from 
the window in my soul is shared by Adam Agin. 
I am astounded that God has shaken him 
with the same realizations of which 
my own awareness has been arrested.

I sat in that auditorium and felt dual tears running down each side of my face. 
It is such a shattering moment when you realize 
that you have lost your belief. 
I have been there, and it is a desolate place.

This was around late February and early March of 2010. 
I struggled daily with moments of near insanity and tear-stained guilt. 
I felt empty and lost inside. Dead. I was willing to try anything.

Even a trip to Guatemala.

Within 24 hours of my work on that mountainside, 
surrounded by tons of dirt that I needed to move 
and with the beautiful horizon of the surrounding 
mountains and volcanoes… 
my soul was restored. 
This missionary journey to Guatemala was 
the renewed salvation of my own belief.

And in the relationships that developed with the men I worked with
 I saw the man that I wanted to become.  

I saw how their labor and sweat and smile 
in the midst of it all 
built up hope from the dust of the earth. 
I watched how their worship in song and 
sincerity of heart brought real joy to their faces. 

I watched how these two men were looked at 
by their wives and by their children-- 
and I often had to hide my face as I was overcome 
by the emotion that Noahed my mind.

I saw true belief and I knew that 
how I viewed myself 
had been forever altered.

I had been trying to run on standing feet.
 I had lost my belief.

And I found it here… 

That winter night as I was convicted by the power of the lyrics and emotion of Neulore… I became aware for the first time of my true path.

The memories of that night gripped me again while working in the mountains of Guatemala for the first time. God was reshaping my heart. 

And it all started with a song from a band.

We needed to raise funding for a vehicle and we needed to build partnerships. While being a missionary is a faith based calling, it also requires money to make it happen.

I wrote Adam a letter and I poured out my heart. I told him of his influence on me. I told him the story of the children in Guatemala. I told him about our family and what God had called us to do.

I told him that "I want you to be our voice and I want the Shepherd Family to be your missionaries." 

And I pressed send on the message and held my breath. 

To my shock Adam answered back… and we began a conversation that led to the event that raised our mission $5,000 on April 12 and has now allowed us to reach our funding goal and help cover the cost of a 2007 Hyundai Terracan AWD, diesel,SUV that will carry the hopes and dreams of orphans & widows across the mountains of Guatemala.

The night of the event far exceeded my every hope, prayer, and dream. I understood in that moment the exceeding abundance of God. I continue to be overwhelmed by the power of that moment. It was yet another affirming, shaping, movement of God onto my soul. Yes… this calling is mine.

The day of the event I began to communicate to our 3 kids my expectation of their behavior for the coming night. I told them: 

"there will be no running, 
you will not get nasty and sweaty, 
you will not remove your shoes, 
you will not remove layers of clothes. 

If your mamma dresses you in 3 shirts, a sweater, and a coat then I expect you to have all 3 shirts, the sweater, and the coat on at the end of the night.

Everyone will be watching you and I expect you to be polite, calm, gracious, and charming. We are missionaries and we must conduct ourselves as such. 

We must show ourselves to be the perfect little family that always gets along, loves each other, and is always living out the love of God.

If you can do so, I will buy you ice cream. 

If you cannot, I may beat you.

It is your choice."

Caleb, the 12 year old, found the irony in the statement and began to crack up with laughter while the other two followed suit with a slightly distressed look on their face until they caught the grin and twinkle in my eye.

In my life… I have had my share of both from God. It has taken some beatings to get my attention, and at times I have found ice cream through obedience. I value both.

In the music of Adam indeed I still hear the longings of my own soul. He indeed has become my voice. Kellie and I are so grateful to share this path with Adam and with you.

Never lose sight of your belief. 
You can't run with standing feet.

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