Sometimes we get so caught up in us, that we lose purpose. This is going to be short and sweet--ok we all know that isn't true, I am full of words and the only short and sweet I have is named Brynnen, Graycen and Westen.
Man, I did it AGAIN. I just start typing, spewing the thoughts I have all over this page, even though I know in my head/heart there is one word I need to share from this (Daniel) fast. Obedience. Let's do that again. OBEDIENCE.
I am talking to myself here, too. The past 2 weeks (mostly during our fast) I have been studying in depth Moses. His obedience. One podcast (thank you Mark & CHBC) reminded us Moses was obedient going to Pharaoh, leading the Hebrew people out of captivity, through the vulnerability in desert, even the intensity of crossing the Red Sea- where an ENTIRE army was defeated with out one person lifting a weapon...I would say Moses definitely gets a gold star for all that, wouldn't you? However...it doesn't stop there. Obedience didn't stop once they were all safely on the other side. It was actually just beginning. You choose obedience, and then another opportunity to choose obedience comes again. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's terrifying. OBEDIENCE DOES NOT STOP.
Ok Lord, I get it. Obedience doesn't stop. But God, we were SO obedient, I mean...you read my blog post, right? Be obedient when it's hard, when it hurts, when it is super awkward. Those area all good things, but OBEDIENCE DOES NOT STOP, Kari. It wasn't something you got to check off your list once you hit that 2 month mark and didn't want to go back. Once you found a home and started language/training. Once you realized this next path...Oh yikes! That is the hardest part for me, I know the next path...it is not an easy one. It actually scares me a little.
We came here with the intention of sharing Jesus through action/lifestyle, mainly through discipleship of children who could literally be dead if not. Well, that is still going to happen. It just looks a little different. Medellin (the city we live) is split into 6 sectors, called stratas here. Primarily based on income/poverty level; 1-2 lowest, 3-4 middle, 5 upper middle, 6 upper. Safety in general also seems to be based on strata, we are currently in 5 and we are mindful, but I can walk down to the grocery store with out Stephen. Casa Helena (where we first stayed in Medellin) was in strata 3 and we were told about the gang violence by several people- so I did not/would not go anywhere alone. Although, our Colombian friends (ladies and men) came and went fine, I would not. Strata 1 & 2, well no point of talking about them, right??
We have started working with Mark at COSDELCOL (catch up here) at the soccer facility, Stephen teaches SAQ (Speed, Agility, Quickness) and has been able to share a little of his testimony with some of the kids.
|Older guys...look at that view!|
|Random street shot.|
We are going to continue doing SAQ in Bello as we build relationships with the local pastors getting ready for the road ahead. We have been making plans to bring people (like YOU) here in January. Our partnership with Open Arms Foundation and COSDELCOL brings the opportunity to bring hundreds and hundreds of kids in from ALL over Medellin, including those lower sectors. We are excited bc we want to love on them and share Jesus and connect them with local pastors that can disciple them. (Hoping CHBC/and others can come in a teach the local pastors what discipleship looks like, not just rules to follow). That is obedience, BUT...wait for it...it doesn't stop there. OBEDIENCE DOES NOT STOP.
When we go out to the soccer stadium, we get on the blue train line. It goes from strata 6 all the way out of the other side of the city. I absolutely LOVE seeing the culture change the further out we get, you can almost see a change in stratas as you go. Part of me is happy I am on this side of the smelly river, looking across at the "culture". Part of me knows in my heart that's where we need to be. Those are the "least of these" talked about in Matthew 25. I can picture myself walking the narrow streets, seeing the dirty, shoe-less children- passing out hugs and candy, getting my dose of "ahhh, feel good for the day". Then reality hits, I can't go there...WE cannot go there, it is WAY to dangerous. I came here to serve Jesus, not to die. Seriously, I can't be gettin' all crazy tied up in strata 1 & 2, when I need to be where God can keep me safe. In strata 5, or 3 when we have an event up at the church, and Stephen is with me....right??
Almost at the very end of the fast (Daniel fast), we were on the train, looking out at these shacks, barely livable, but clearly FULL of people; Stephen said, "We need to go up in those areas...". I responded, "Yes, we do." It was not at all sorrowful or even a suggestion- it was a choice. He was saying what my heart had been saying. God doesn't extend HIS grace and mercy to the ones we choose, in our "safe" areas. Do I trust him enough to be obedient? Or did my obedience stop when I unpacked that last suitcase. When we got on that train to Bello to teach SAQ in a guarded facility. Or was I going to follow Moses' example and not let my fear get in the way of obedience? The bible has a constant pattern of that. Examples in History (because, the bible is a collection of historical documents) where people had to make BIG choices, ones that if we thought through, we might not be strong enough to choose the same (hello Noah building something called a 'boat', or Daniel praying openly regardless of the consequence of lions, how about his 3 friends NOT bowing to the king and being put in a furnace, uh, David & Goliath...not choices I could say yes to. Maybe that's why God didn't ask KARI to do those. But he is asking me to say yes to this. To trust him beyond MY boundaries, he is giving me a choice that I (we) can say YES to.
By the way...we are going to reach out and try to get some connection up in those outlying sectors. But breath easy, friends...(mom), we aren't going charging up the mountain just the 2 of us. God also gave us brains. ;)
This is something I believe God has been preparing Stephen his whole life for this...I mean, you had to know his size and skin color were a coincidence in here somewhere right?? As if in confirmation to what we both knew (know), 2 of the soccer boys had to ask if Stephen was Colombian. It was before they heard him speak...but cute just the same.
You will have to wait for part 2 of this story...I will try not to keep you in suspense as long- but more details have to be worked out...or revealed. We already know they are worked out, God just hasn't shared all of that portion.
What is your next step of obedience? Some thing you know God is calling you to do? A choice that will come again and again. Say Yes, friend. And your journey will just be beginning...Because....OBEDIENCE DOES NOT STOP ;)
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