So tomorrow evening we board a plane for phase two of this learning opportunity. There are so many things to say and words seem useless to convey all that is going on in our hearts. I thought I would try to put down a few observations with the hopes of expounding on these when we get to meet with you all in June. **caveat**These are just random thoughts and do not necessarily relate to one another. *Complaining and thankfulness are choices that we make. I can choose to see the positive side of a situation and I can choose to see the negative. Every situation has both.
*Words have tremendous power to shape where our hearts go. Just like with complaining vs. thankfulness if I speak the complaint out there is something that takes root. Conversely the more I speak of my gratitude (even if I may not feel like it) there is also something that takes root. I used to violently object to this line of thinking but I have seen it proven true too many times now to think it is not valid.
*Living and working so closely to people from every part of the world, language and every socioeconomic background is just awesome. Cross-cultural living can be studied but it can also be lived out while being shepherded through the process. I highly recommend it.
*God is so much bigger than I ever, ever, ever thought. The amazing thing is that He really likes me (and you). He is not angry at me but if far more committed to my growth than I am.
*Pray is both absolutely necessary for survival and such a delight.
*If you dread going to prayer meeting, then you have never been to a real prayer meeting. Prayer is anything but boring.
*Long Rice soaked in Chicken Broth does not "look" appetizing.
Finally, one of the most encouraging stories I have ever heard was this past week when a young man told us his story about how God took him to Ashkabad, Turkmenistan. He did not know how he would get there and it was closed to him. But God took him through a series of seemingly unrelated events and directions, through many countries, meeting many different people only to get him exactly where he was supposed to go.... 9 years later. The results were far more phenomenal than if he would have tried to force the issue, or worse, assume that he had misunderstood the call because it seemed to be closed off to him. In short he learned the principle of living by dying, winning by losing, gaining the promise by letting go. You can read his story in the book, "Imprisoned in Iran" by Dan Baumann