Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Morning Reflections

It’s been a nice, quiet morning for me, and I'm really enjoying it. Laurie is in Atlanta for the week (freezing her little tootsies off, I'm told) and Barry and Sandi have gone off for a bit of much needed R&R. I've chosen to stay home – just to have a bit of time for reflection and quiet… Besides, the solar panel (for our hot water) people are supposed to come check out what’s wrong with our solar panels this morning…

We’ve been here in Barbados now for almost 7 weeks. The other day, as we were driving back into “Ridge View Estate”, I said to Barry and Sandi: “You know what? This is starting to feel like home now!” I'm starting to get the ’hang’ of things here - the roads (even if there are mostly no road signs); the climate; which shops you are ‘almost’ certain to find the things you need… And then the beauty… Will I ever get used to the beauty? I hope not!

But as beautiful as this island is, even more remarkable to me is the beauty in the people around me: the folks of BGF whom I have come to love and appreciate so much. Of one thing I am absolutely convinced: us being here with BGF at this time, is no coincidence! God has orchestrated the connection of 2 Bodies of Believers – one in Woodstock GA, and the other here on a little island in the Caribbean – and this coming together is glorious! I cannot tell you how glad I am to be a part of this ‘event’ that only God could have arranged!


The Wave is going GREAT! We’ve been going now for almost 6 weeks, and although our “Wavers” are at times being challenged out of their minds, I'm am seeing God at work in and through each and every one of them every time we get together. I love the diversity of the groups! And I love the individuals who so uniquely contribute to the personality of each group!

This week we are completing the teaching on ‘Concept of God’. For some of our “Wavers” this has been quite a challenge. During the teaching and discussion times, things have been stirred up in them that many of them were not even aware of. As one of the ladies said this week (my paraphrase of course): “I'm so confused! I feel as if I am being dismantled from the inside, and it’s painful, and I don’t like it! And yet, I feel there is hope in this too. God is doing the dismantling – I know that!” And if God is doing the dismantling, He is also the one who will put us back together – in grace and truth! And for us, as facilitators on this Wave, it is a glorious relief to know that it’s not our ‘job’ to try ‘fix’ anybody… That it is God who does the tearing down and the building up… and all we get to do is stand in awe at the work of His hands in the life of His children. HOW COOL IS THAT?

Wave #1 working on the "Mask" project

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I stand in awe of You…

It’s 6:30 am. I'm sitting in my bed, computer on my lap, sipping my first cup of coffee… I NEVER wake up this early without my alarm, and yet, since I've been here ‘in paradise’, I've consistently been waking up before 6:00. Hmmmmm!!! This morning it was around 5:30, but I managed to ‘fake it’ till about 6:15 when the thoughts in my head and emotions in my heart that needed to be out down on paper just got too much…

It’s been exactly 3 weeks today since we've got off that plane from Atlanta. Trying to describe these 3 weeks is difficult… A song that we used to sing in YWAM comes to mind: “I stand… I stand in awe of You…” Because even though this island is beautiful and even though I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I’m actually here, it’s the people of BGF whom I have grown to know and love, that takes my breath away… Father is so obviously at work, and when I see His designs revealed through their eyes, and His heart expressed through their words, “I stand in awe of Him…” What an awesome privilege it is for me to be right here, right now…

Twenty three participants – all from BGF – are going through The Wave at the same time… and I keep thinking: I wonder how this is going to affect the entire church? It’s bound to! How can it not? Those of you who have been through The Ride ‘back home’ will know the impact these 6 months have had on you… This is exactly what keeps me coming back for more… seeing a risen and living Savior at work in the lives of ordinary people… seeing the transformation as each continue to discover for themselves the joy of relationship with Jesus, and the delight of being a part of a vibrant and safe community… WOW… Boy, do I love my job!!!

One of the most enjoyable and significant things for me to see and experience is the fact that everyone of the three groups is so uniquely different - every group has its own ‘personality’ you might say… and it’s wonderful to see that unique ‘personality’ emerge and develop. Running The Ride, or The Wave in this case, can never grow old… for this very reason! And I love to experience this and be part of it! BOY, DO I LOVE MY JOB!!!

A couple of days ago we had lunch at ‘The Ackee Tree’ - a very authentic (but inexpensive at the same time) local restaurant… YUMMY!!! (I never do understand why people gravitate to Mac Donald’s or Pizza Hut when they’re visiting different countries, rather than experience the local and so much more exciting places to eat!!!!) And then afterwards, we went for a dip in a cool, clear, blue ocean… The beaches are incredibly beautiful here… and the water heavenly! I absolutely love swimming (well ok, playing then) in the ocean… And just for the record: I'm turning into a regular little Indian… tanning comes way too easy for me!

This 6 month adventure has only just begun, and already the folks whom, three weeks ago, I have never even met have become like family to me. I am so thankful for being a part of what Father is doing… right here… right now! “I stand… I stand in awe of You…”

View from the house where we had our 3rd Retreat! Awesome!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More than Enough...

Wave #3 at First Gathering

Jeff working on his title page

Retha sharing with Wave #2

Working on journals at the retreat

It's about 10:20pm and I'm sitting in my bed with my computer and thinking I probably should be heading to sleep (since my "normal" waking time here is around 5-5:30am) but can't seem to get away from the desire to write about my present feelings...yes, feelings. I am feeling a lot at the moment, much of it coming from an overwhelming since of gratefulness and a desire to express it somehow to as many people as will take the time to hear. So, here goes, and if you're reading this, well, you get to enter into my weird and wonderful world for a moment or two.

Me just being ME (in a weird hat!)!

We've been here almost three weeks - man, it's going to be over before we know it. Time...please slow down for a bit, I don't want to experience this at the pace of NASCAR, but rather more like a snail. However, for me, that may be an impossibility. Anyway, I digress. Three weeks and already so much to be thankful for...and there's still six months to go.

I was on SKYPE earlier with Herb and David...they had just finished up with the Thursday night Ride group in Woodstock, GA. So, it was perfect timing to be able to see and say hello to all those involved there. How precious it is to be connected even from so far away. I began sharing about the classes we've had here this week and how wonderful it is to be here on this journey with these amazing people who've somehow found their way to this thing called The Wave. The more I shared, the more overwhelmed I felt at the privilege it is to be here, the wonder of participating in these dear Saints' lives, and the grace that is flowing at every twist and turn along the way. It really doesn't get much better. And yet, it will. That's the miracle!

Well, believe it or not, I literally fell asleep while writing this last night. I guess I really was tired - ha ha! Anyway, it's now just before 6am and I'm sitting with my coffee and listening to the sounds of the morning as the day begins to unfold. It really is beautiful here. But I tell you, the beauty of this place is far surpassed by the beauty of the people who live here and who are on this journey with us.

One dear lady came to "class" the other night straight from work, hot (even the Bajans are feeling the heat right now), tired, and stressed out about how much work didn't get done. She was feeling the pressure that many of us can relate to when we feel as if we are being measured at every level and always found wanting. I sat with her a few minutes outside and she said to me, "I'm out here asking Jesus to help me live in the moment." Ahhh...isn't that place we often find it hardest to live? By the end of the evening, the "stuff" and the "stress" was still waiting back at the office for her, but she was going back to it knowing the Truth a little more personally.

Another dear "Waver" shared with us in the beginning that he really didn't want to be a part of it. He had many reasons for this, all which were real in terms of his life and experience. But, he decided to come nonetheless. The weekend retreat was a real surprise for him and by the end of it, he was the best advertisement we could have had for what it's all about. And at class the first night, tired and weary though he was from a long day, he share with us even more of himself, and it was glorious.

These are just a couple of simple and non-dramatic examples of what it's like to be here doing what I'm doing. However, as I walk alongside these wonderful Sons and Daughters of God, and they with me, my life is being enriched and changed at every encounter.

Another aspect of this journey that most of you probably haven't even thought about is the miracle it has been and will continue to be for us to be here...financially. With the world economy in a heap of trouble, the US economy being one of the worst, my personal support being at the lowest it's been in years (maybe ever), and Barbados being one of the most expensive places on the planet to live, here we are, taken care of in every way. The generosity of the church, the gifts from people all over, and ultimately Father's mysterious means of pulling it all together, have been constantly a reminder to me that I am not in control and this is NOT about ME!

There's a song that has been a favorite of mine for a long's simply called, "Enough." I love the lyrics and recently they have been playing over and over again in my mind. I think they express much of what I've been feeling through the first few weeks of this grand adventure. Here's just the first verse and the chorus...see if they don't ring True in your heart.

You are my supply
My breath of life
Still more awesome than I know.
You are my reward
Worth living for
Still more awesome than I know.

And all of you is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with your love
And all I have in you is more than enough

I can't say it any better than that...