Wow, this part’s tough. I’ve been sitting here trying to come up with some sort of brief, pithy summation of what I feel God showed me on the trip to Europe, and in a way, I can’t. I mean, I can, but it doesn’t sound like much.
Here goes: We’re on the right track.
“That’s it? 25 days over there and all you give us is ‘We’re on the right track’?”
Pretty much. (And with 20 words leftover.)
We saw “church” as it is, as it shouldn’t be, and as it can be. We saw that there are many serving to show Christ to this part of the world, but not nearly enough. Not even close. We had confirmed that when it comes to bringing Christ to this part of the planet, business as usual just won’t cut it. And I was reminded that God works in my weakness, not despite it. Never a fun lesson, but a cool one nonetheless.
So…the need’s huge, the task of preparing is daunting, and we serve a Lord who himself chose to work in weakness (the cross, remember?). So, we’re on the right track. Yeah, that was worth it.
And thanks for all the prayers on our behalf. We NEVER took that for granted.
Having said all of that, here are some trip standouts for your amusement:
Most widespread cultural stereotype: The French are rude and will hate you for not being fluent in their language. We heard this comment in every country outside of France.
Most consistent response from the French we dealt with: Lots of laughs and helpfulness. And they spoke a lot more English than we spoke French.
Most succinct advice on what to do after moving to France: “Learn the language. Build a network.” – Joe Webb
Most inspiring example of working incredibly hard to make things happen when you don’t have the time, resources, skills, or people, just faith in a big God: Joe Webb at Go Missions International (though I’d say just about everyone else we met is a close second!)
Most common need we saw among those ministering in Europe: Money. They didn’t dwell on it, but all workers we met are under funded and most work at a job to pay for their own ministry.
Most common prayer request from those ministering in Europe: That someone, anyone, would come to Christ in the coming months or year. (Often said with a tone of discouragement.)
Best party of the entire trip: The gang in from Mosaik Dusseldorf. Yes, it was the ONLY party we attended, but it would have won hands down over any and all other parties we would have gone to had we been more popular. Great food, great art (!), great music and dancing from a South American troupe, great hosts. Thanks Adaumir and crew!
Best example of jumping in last-minute with a servant’s heart in order to pull off a conference: Again, the gang from Dusseldorf. They play hard, they work hard.
Most gracious hosts in light of guests who seem to never leave: Tenna’s mom Pia and her entire family in Denmark. Even the grandparents got in on the act with an out-of-this-world Christmas dinner. So what is Danish for “Won’t these people ever go home?”
Most likely to step his entire team off at the wrong train station: Kevin. In my defense, it wasn’t that I couldn’t figure it out, it’s just I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Okay, so it’s not much of a defense, but it’s true.
Least favorite side effect of jet lag by the members of this not-morning-people team: Consistently waking up at 6:00 am after returning home – wide awake! Ewww.