Wow! I’ve been gone just over a week and its great to be back in the USA! I spent a week with several friends from our church training house church pastors from the Middle East. It was amazing. Here are some of the highlights.
- Spent more time praying then I have in many years. They prayed for about two hours every morning and that was just the beginning.
- Met some of the most amazing young people in my life. Most of these guys were in there early twenties.
- This group consisted of both men and women. Just doesn’t seem to be as big of a deal when so much is at stake.
- Met Larry McCrary from UpstreamCollective.com. God brought us together twenty years ago to plant a church and we are still going strong. Are we getting older? I feel so young!
- As the week went on the more I laughed and danced! I think there is an important lesson to learn for this. I take life way to serious and I let way to many things stress me out.
- I memorized about twenty names that had to be transliterated to an English equivalent. You can learn names without a name tag, but probably not 2000. Miracles still happen. Maybe when you really love someone it becomes easier.
- My heart is ripped out. Usually I can love and leave. This time I left my heart.
- The last prayer I offered was from a man who’s wife and three children have been detained for the past three years. We wepted together, I’m still weeping.
- I’m not completely surprised, but find it interesting that this country is okay with what we could consider cult religions related to Christianity, However, Christianity is definitely a big time threat in this part of the world.
- The way these followers of Jesus are living and loving is having a profound impact in the lives of many in this country. Many are quick to point out the difference in Christians in the region.
- I meet a young man from Afghanistan who had become a follower of Jesus one week earlier. He told me his Father would cut his head off if he went back to Afghanistan. He was so sweet. It put a different face on the war for me. I’m still pondering what the Father is saying to me (Show me your way!).
- Many of these followers of Jesus did indeed leave their families to follow him. Others are experiencing “oikos” conversions. Their entire households are coming to faith.
- Communication and information in this region is critical. Too much can cost you your life or freedom. I decided to take a break from Twitter and Facebook while I was away. I can’t explain it, but it seems like the right thing to do. I will continue to blog, but only on things that fit my mission to help others rediscover the simplicity of Jesus and his ways. I pray this helps.
- I want to be a more humble man. I have a long way to go.
- My son, my daughter’s fiance, and myself were all in different locations, but the Middle East at the same time. I long for the time we can be together again as a family. Until then I will take care of the girls. I love my family!
- I’m praying for peace on earth and I’m more committed to “peacemaking” then ever. There are other countries caught in this terrible conflict that we know little about. Don’t forget northern Africa.
I could go on forever, but its time to jump back in.