Saturday, October 24, 2009

Strategy Review, Days 3 & 4

I didn't blog last night because we all headed out to dinner and it took us over ninety minutes to get a table (it would have taken even longer had a certain teammate not boldly approached the couple that had already paid and was taking up our future table and begged them to move on) so we didn't get home until ten-ish.

That's one reason anyway.

The other problem is that I'm not actually sure what to say about yesterday, or what led up to it.


Okay, I'm going to let you in on something you may or may not have already known: missionaries (and ministers, for that matter) don't always have it all together spiritually speaking. We get distracted, we lose our focus, we neglect our personal spiritual lives. It's really easy, since we're "professionals", to put all our time and effort into our work and convince ourselves that it's all for God and actually be quite far from him. We make decisions based on what we feel is best and don't stop to ask God. We get so caught up in the what that we lose the why.

As we talked about what has happened in the past year, we were frustrated. Things hadn't gone like we had hoped. We weren't seeing the results we expected. Several of us are exhausted by our workloads, especially on Sundays. We all knew that something had to give.

We made our list of what we feel God wants in 2010 and what kept coming to the top was that God wants us to seek Him. The more we talked about it, the more we realized that if we all seek God with all of our hearts, everything else will happen naturally. And if we, the missionaries, are not seeking God first and foremost, how can we expect that from our members or the people we're studying with?

I've got to pause here to say again how hard this is to share. In fact, in the course of this conversation, we discussed how tough it would be to share that we had not been measuring up spiritually. (I even specifically said that it would be hard to blog about!) But I realized that 1. It's the truth and we need to openly share our struggles to be able to conquer them, and 2. We are definitely not the first missionaries or ministers to have this struggle. So I'm sharing it with you. My prayer is that your response would be one of support and prayer as we try (as everyone ought) to truly make God Lord of our lives.

So put God #1. Easy peasy.

Oh, no wait. That's hard. But we're going to try to do it together. I won't go into all the details of how we're going to go about it, but it involves regular study, prayer, worship and accountability. Sounds like a good start, doesn't it?

That wasn't the end of our retreat, though, because we did have to get around to talking about some of our day to day ministry things. But the incredible thing was how quickly all that went once we were all unified in our desire to focus first on God. Conversations that we expected to take hours were had in ten minutes, incredibly tough decisions were made, prayers flowed freely.

This week's strategy retreat was unlike any we've had before. (To begin with, we had less people than ever!) Through our time together, through our conversations, our worship, our times of prayer, we reached a new level of unity. We had moments of discouragement but are now refreshed and renewed in our commitment to serve God and the people of Salvador. I thank God for what He did in our lives and our hearts this week!


Hannah's Mama said...

I am so encouraged and uplifted by your blog and hearing about your life's ministry. I will definately remember your team in prayer. Across the miles, I feel inspired myself to refocus my life being encouraged by your team's confession and the renewed focus that has come for you all during the retreat.

Tamara said...

Something even us "non" missionaries need to be reminded about. Believing in and praying for you guys. Keep going--you're amazing to me.

Jennifer Reinsch said...

What an honest and courageous email. It's so easy to get caught in what has to be done, should be done, and would like to be done that God gets lost in the process. I'm an inspired by your willingness to share the team's struggle with this, and I will be praying for you guys.

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