Oaxaca 2012 :: Ministry and Mission Can be Messy.
The other night I was in church when one of the men who recently served with me in Oaxaca pulled me aside.
It seems that before he left for the airport, he went into the house where we were staying and noticed Norma, the wife of Pastor Americo, crying.
He knew why.
The night before, Norma had shared how hard and lonely the work can be in Oaxaca. She told us how when our team of men leave, all of a sudden the house is again quiet and organized.
This is something many people in short-term ministry and mission miss. When we get on a plane to head home, those folks we have been serving aren’t getting on that plane.
The next morning when we wake up in our beds, and hop into our nice spacious showers, hit the hot water and lather up with that high quality shower gel, the folks to whom we gave everything we had for a week or two, will still be on the field.
When we are back at our everyday jobs, people like Americo and Norma will still be trying to manage a ministry that spans 4 different communities from Santa Cruz to San Baltazar.
And no one will be there to help them, or encourage them.
These are the messy lessons you learn when you really start to connect with people in the field. You begin to hear their stories, see their lives, and know their hearts, and it gets harder each time to leave. You realize that the simple act of climbing the steps to the plane for the flight home has become a chore.
Brother Joe asked me to blog a recap of our recent men’s trip to Oaxaca.
I could tell you of all the work we got done, the building we did, the pictures that were taken, the computers that were given and the stories that were shared.
But important as all that is, it is just stuff.
The real work of mission and ministry is done in the heart. Keith experienced that work when he came up on Norma that morning wiping the tears from her eyes.
It was the connecting work of the Holy Spirit that had been done on the heart of two totally different people, from two completely different countries in a way that cannot happen unless people are willing to practice the power of the presence of Christ personally.
It is hard, it is messy, but it also our calling if we truly want to serve.