In this issue….
- LAST WEEK’S EDITION MISDATED
- LATEST FROM THE JOSHUA PROJECT
- THE BASICS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING OVERSEAS
- TONS OF IDEAS FOR MISSION TRIP FUNDRAISING
- SURVEYING THOSE ON THE FRONT LINES
- … AND SURVEYING THOSE WHO ARE ADVOCATES
- NEW RESOURCE FOR PASTORS & INTERCESSORS!
- REACH IMMIGRANTS BY RADIO IN THE U.S.
- WORLD LANGUAGE MATERIALS
- BRIGADA-OPPORTUNITIES CAN OPEN DOORS
- COMMUNICATION PLANNING IDEAS
- CROSS-CULTURAL PREP. IN TORONTO
- THE BACK PAGE: OUR FAMILY, TRIED BY THE VOLCANO
- CLOSING STUFF
LAST WEEK’S EDITION MISDATED
LATEST FROM THE JOSHUA PROJECT
- Peoples on active JP list – 1591
- Peoples on active JP list no Church of 100 reported – 1115
- Peoples on active JP list no reported on-site Church Planting team – 528
- Peoples on active JP list not targeted or “claimed” – 255
You’ll recall that this listing focuses on ethnolinguistic people groups of 10,000 or more with fewer than 5% Christian and 2% evangelicals.
THE BASICS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING OVERSEAS
TONS OF IDEAS FOR MISSION TRIP FUNDRAISING
SURVEYING THOSE ON THE FRONT LINES
… AND SURVEYING THOSE WHO ARE ADVOCATES
NEW RESOURCE FOR PASTORS & INTERCESSORS!
REACH IMMIGRANTS BY RADIO IN THE U.S.
WORLD LANGUAGE MATERIALS
BRIGADA-OPPORTUNITIES CAN OPEN DOORS
COMMUNICATION PLANNING IDEAS
CROSS-CULTURAL PREP. IN TORONTO
THE BACK PAGE: OUR FAMILY, TRIED BY THE VOLCANO
We arrived about sundown at what we had been told was the scene of the lava flow. However, all we could see was a faint red glow in the shimmering sky, just over the hill off in the distance. We immediately took off walking across the brittle lava formations. They crackled under our feet and, at times, we had to edge our way around steep cliffs or leap over gaping fissures. It was strange knowing that we were walking on earth that was less than a year old.
Caleb, our youngest, wasn’t too sure about the wisdom of our hike. We had come here primarily because of his interest in the fiery infernos, but now that it was dark . . . and what with that red glow in the sky looking pretty ominous, I think he would have just as soon taken home a postcard.
But the ridge looked so close… I estimated it was only a mile or so away. We soon reached a boulder-sized formation, still cracklin’-fresh with crunchy black glass-like deposits throughout. We climbed to the top and stood in awe of God’s power. After a few moments of sobering silence, I asked if anyone thought we should walk on, toward the ridge. By now it was pitch black. We each had a flashlight with us, but no one knew for sure how long the batteries would last . . . nor for sure how far away the ridge was. Was it safe to try to cross a rough lava field in the middle of the night, just to see the molten stuff forming new earth?
We agreed to walk on, though Caleb did so under duress. A few minutes later, he was tired, thirsty, and feeling light-challenged. He began rather softly, “I think it’s too dangerous.” Within a matter of minutes, however, his stress level had risen to its boiling point. It didn’t help matters that it seemed at that point that we were the only humans within miles. And when my wife, Penny, slipped on a ledge and landed hard on her knees, he pretty much crashed. “This is crazy. We could die! We could slip down one of these fissures and break our legs!” Although we doubted his death scenario, we all knew he was right about the potential for a broken bone. It was too rough, too black, and too windy. At the same time, all of us were kind of wishing we could see that lava flow. And it did look “just over the next ridge.”
I finally called a “family meeting.” We pulled together into a tight circle and prayed, asking God for wisdom. I prayed that God would help Caleb just put one foot in front of the next and think about the process rather than the outcome. I asked for endurance. We prayed for determination.
But still, within a minute or so, it was pretty obvious. Caleb was miserable. Who were we fooling. I quoted some Star Trek episode about how sometimes ‘the needs of the one sometime outweigh the needs of the many’ and said ‘enough was enough.’ Taking one last glance at the ever- brighter red glow, we turned back. Caleb insisted on holding my hand… and he kept asking me to tell him stories about how I had gone through stressful times and survived. Once, when he stumbled, his older brother came over to help him up. His mom shined her flashlight into his path so he could see every stone. Truly, we rallied around him the whole hike back to the Blazer we had rented (with frequent flyer miles, by the way! )
Were we dismal failures? Not by a long shot. For the next 45 minutes, we debriefed as we drove back through the rain forest. Caleb repeated over and over again how much he appreciated everyone listening to him. And his older brother said what we were all feeling — that the whole experience had brought us closer as a family.
Which brings me to the point of it all — sometimes life’s greatest lessons come only through fiery cauldrons that bring our blood to a near boil. Sometimes the deepest meanings in life flow in the midst of the toughest quests imaginable. We could have been at home, in air- conditioned comfort, watching the NCAA final basketball game (many probably were). But would we have learned how an entire team sometimes has to rally around the needs of one or two members? Would we have come to appreciate each other the way we did that night? I don’t think so. Nope. The best things in life probably come at a price . . . and at times, that price is our own comfort.
So next time you feel pushed out of your comfort zone… just remember that steel doesn’t reach tempered strength until it passes through the fire. And they tell me that gold isn’t worth much until it’s melted and purified. So next time we face the red glow of our own trials, let’s open our eyes to see what God is teaching us. Maybe… just maybe… the greatest lessons will be crinkling right under our feet!
PS. (By the way, in case you were wondering, I asked Caleb’s permission to share this story. He’s a great little buddy.)
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