Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GUATEMALA 2011: (27) Trophies Tossed To The Trash (T5)

It was the summer of 1997. Kel and I had been married a year and I had just graduated from Anderson University. I worked for The Center For Mental Health in Anderson Indiana. That summer my employer participated in a Corporate Olympics sponsored by local businesses and the YMCA. I entered into two events, Canoeing, and a 3K.

I was not a runner, and I was not a canoeist (I thought the word would be canoer, but wikipedia advises me that I am incorrect).

Long story short... to my delight, nearly all of the contestants were pot-bellied aged business men and I discovered that I was a rock star. I finished Bronze in the 3K and Silver in the Canoe Race. I have treasured the two respective plaques for the past 14 years.

Yesterday they were picked up in a bag full of trophies by our local trash hauler. At my house, we are experiencing a perspective shift.

We have too many things that clutter our lives and cloud our vision. There are simply too many distractions that stand in the way of who we need to be. If you woke up tomorrow with nothing... would you be able to survive? If your house was on fire in the night, is there anything that you would risk your life to save?

If you are thinking of traveling throughout the world... I must extend to you a word of caution. What you see and who you encounter can change the way you view your own life. And if you are lucky... it may even compel you to change how you live.

Kel and I have stood in the cold concrete hallways of Soviet era buildings in Russia that still whisper of the pains of the past. We have looked into the eyes of hopeless children and held one tightly as she made us parents of a daughter. We have stood in the pounding rain on a mountainside wearing our sturdy leather boots and felt our passport secure in our pocket as we watched barefoot children run through the hail to gather ice.

We have been honored to work beside the strong and the holders of true belief as we help raise the walls of a house for a widow and her children. We have been blessed to return and stand under the roof of new friends to see the beauty of their family under their dry and secure four walls.

We have embraced those who sold all that they had, left the states, and travelled by the faith of their belief to truly live out their professed Christianity. We have felt the significance of ideas turned to conviction that then are given feet that takes the committed steps of action.

And I must tell you... we view what we have with new eyes. Our belongings are now monuments of our misdirected excess. Testaments of our ability to reach out a hand in need as those we can touch slip beyond the grasp of hope. We have mulled these struggles of cognitive dissonance over in the octagon of our thoughts for two years and we are aware of our position.

How can we stand here and see these things and not be moved?

I have heard about the love of God my entire life... but so what? Y'know? So what? Sure, maybe it is all true... but what am I supposed to do?

"If you say,'But we knew nothing about this,' does he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?" -Proverbs 24:12

I have experienced this true love and I can tell you that what you search for can be found. I can tell you that the things you have done, the places you have been, the things you have collected... are nothing compared to the future you can have.

The arresting power of encountering true belief... while not always comfortable or pleasant... is gripping and convincing. When we are encountered with genuine, overwhelming, unexplainable love... everything else pales.

I am thankful. I am here. I am doing all that I know to pass it on. This is real.


Please pray for me and my family as we step into the next year:
(1) Guatemala: that I am able to encounter God and share that experience with those whom I encounter. All our lives to be forever changed.
(2) China: that we are called before Christmas and are able to unite our family.
(3) That Kel and I listen to the voice of God and embrace our belief with action.

Thank you to all of you who pray for us and to those who have given. 

Philippians 3:14

The Message (MSG)
Focused on the Goal
 12-14I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.

1 comment:

  1. Chad ... I am continuing to pray for you and your precious family. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. Onward Christian Soldier! With much love and many prayers!