Sunday, June 12, 2016

Burning Hearts

They said to each other, 
“Did not our hearts burn within us 
while he talked to us on the road, 
while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

This is that calm spot before the storm. I can taste the anticipation in the air. This is the moment that the wick burns down on the firecracker, the microwave counts down to the zero alert, the slow trigger squeeze just before the firing pin strikes the plate and activates the gunpowder. 

There is nothing I love more than this moment. 

Honestly demands that I admit that I doubted that I'd find this place this time. Sure I've faced the odds of doubt before and found myself to be unexpectantly successful by the grace of God... and yet, this particular task was daunting.

After all, it was only three short years ago (to the day) that Kellie and I woke up to "Day One" in Guatemala. We were wide-eyed, ready to conquer the world, and scared out of our minds. I reflect back to all the lessons learned and I give thanks. We appreciate Catalyst Resources International that believed in us and welcomed us in with open arms. 

We thank God for the relationships that we've solidly formed with our family here. 

We recognize the heritage that has brought us to this place. I am rendered speechless when I consider the history that has found us here.

There are giants that shoulder the foundation of our walk. Two dear women have made this way possible, and I will be studying their words over the next five weeks as I lead 10 students through four nations, as together we seek Jesus Christ along the road. Those women are Grace Henry and Roma Lee Courvesier.

Roma Lee is a rare gem in this modern age. She is in her twilight days and yet her missionary service shines a fierce light on the path that I am called to walk. Her faithfulness has captured hearts and broken generational cycles of poverty. I read of her life and I am humbled and broken. I seek the authenticity of her walk. I read her words and I give thanks to our God. 

Her influence has shaped my own life, and I am in awe to learn that she has shaped the lives of two students now in my charge: my cousin Cameron Mathis, and his friend, Adam Roe. They both speak of the power of her work and how she has shaped their lives. 

And now here, in this place, at this time, we seek Jesus along the way, as we serve in the Emmaus program of Catalyst Resources International, and are influenced by her faithful walk. 

Even so... I am struck nearly dumb even more so by the words of another sainted lady, Grace Henry. 

Grace was the mother of my great-grandfather Elden Henry. Elden was white-haired old even when I was young. I remember his slow, purposeful steps. I remember him showing me how to fold the perfect paper airplane... and I remember his room of African artifacts. 

Elden was a missionary like his mother. Grace served with a lady named Faith... and together they encountered Jesus along the road south of the equator... just as I find myself now. 

My heart BURNS within me.

How can this be? How is it that I am here, in this place, continuing in the passion that burned within the heart of my great-great-grandmother, aligned with young men inspired by the same lady that inspires me, using the tools gained over the last three years of service? 

There is only a single answer that I can provide. It is God. 

And so here I stand. Tomorrow is Day One of Emmaus, as I am tasked to lead 10 students, for 5 weeks, in 4 countries. We will paint, construct cinder block walls, build airstrips, teach children about Jesus, and gain meaningful relationships that extend beyond time, language, and culture. 

And I am nothing more than a passenger. God has provided our van, God has sent us 10 students, and God has connected us with contacts in 4 nations. 

I write this words as the world spins by underneath my window. A semi-trailer engine breaks as students rest in the house below. My sermon is ready to deliver for tomorrow morning and I give thanks for our staff, Otto Lopez and Antony De Leon as they prepare to lead our team tomorrow in preparation for Journey Church. 

Monday morning Antony and I'll set out with: Vince, Kaylee, Iexa, Dalton, Cameron, Logan, Nada, Jacob, and Adam as we travel up the Guatemalan highway towards Rio Dulce, and then later in the week up into the highlands of Totonicapan as we serve with local Guatemalan pastors, churches, and communities. 

Our mission will be chronicled in a blog, "Burning Hearts," that captures the reality of our journey, uncensored and unedited. Our crew has the freedom to post the highlights and the failures, the successes and the struggles... for the world to consider how followers of Christ react to reality.

I sat in La Aurora International airport tonight as our little God-ordained team assembled... and I realized something... I'm created for this time. 

So... let's do this.

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