Monday, July 20, 2015

The Cure for Jet Lag

It's 4:30AM Kansas time and I've been wide awake for nearly two hours.   The culprit?  Jet Lag.  The solution?  Prayer.

  It brings me great comfort to know that God never sleeps.  Entirely unaffected by man-made time zones, cultural expectations, or re-entry shock, the Creator of the Universe need not worry about over exhaustion or identity crises.

To take both my New Zealand and American families to God's throne of grace during these midnight hours gives me great peace.  After an epic two-day journey to the centre of the earth (or at least the centre of the USA), already preceded by many days without proper sleep,   I don't know how to do much else, other than pray.   I really don't know how to "be".

Whangarei, New Zealand, has been my home for four years and quite honestly, I don't know how to "be" anywhere else.   The song of the Tui in the forest and the cool ocean breezes greeted me nearly everyday, while soft winter showers produced the most exquisite rainbows time after time after time.
I ran up hills and mountains in my spare time and visited parishioners in their homes and hospitals.  Preaching and teaching was a weekly responsibility, and bounding and twirling about with my gymnasts each day was great fun! I ate "Weet bix" and fejoas, hung my laundry outside, and drove a quirky old car on the left side of the road. New World was my local supermarket and the electric blanket was my best friend on cold nights.

Now as I write this, a good ole' Kansas summer storm is raging outside, something I have not encountered in a very long while.   Those gentle showers are replaced with fierce lightning and thunder, torrential rain and well. .. quite a show! The roads here are flat and straight, a sight basically unseen much of anywhere in  New Zealand.  I'll now be frequenting my local Hy-Vee for groceries, but will have to do without the fejoas and pavlova.  I'll be meeting new gymnasts here in Olathe next week and no longer hanging my clothes outside in the rain. A dryer will do.

Life is changing.  Some of the changes are seemingly insignificant, while others will have more impact.

The thrill of planning a wedding and expanding my family brings excitement and the undeniable sense of being alive! Reuniting with old friends and ministry partners will be enjoyable and special . . . as will eating some classic Kansas City BBQ!

 Eventually I will settle into a new normal, a new routine.  But until then, I have asked the Lord to help me know how to "be" here.

This is what he said:

 "BE STILL and know that I am God!  I will be honoured by every nation (even in America.)" Psalm 46:10.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Last Frontier

The beginning of July began the beginning of the end. The first of the lasts began last week and my last of the lasts will end next Sunday.  Did you get all that? Try that for a tongue twister!

With only eight days to go in Aotearoa, the revolving door of missionary life seems to be spinning  a bit faster.  My days have been filled with packing, farewell gatherings, cleaning, preparing for the new pastors, and saying good-bye to just about everyone and everything.  There is much to do when you are moving across the globe!
Last week was my last with session with my gymnasts, Bible in Schools students, and Rock Solid youth.  This week will mark my last sermon, my last day at the food bank, my last dip in the ocean, my last hike, and my last meat pie.

I even shared my "last supper" (holy communion) with my church family, understanding only to the smallest degree what Jesus might have felt before his final meal with his closest friends.  It was then that Jesus showed ultimate hospitality.  He served and dined with his disciples in the flesh so that soon they would be able to dine with him in Spirit.

I found myself resonating with Christ's words when he said,
  “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.  For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

(Luke 22:15-16) 
Now, I am surely not Jesus Christ, nor am I preparing to bear the sin of the world on the cross of suffering. But, I had been very eager to share that “last supper” with my church, and reality is that though Chad and I do hope to return to NZ, the timing is uncertain and we may not share this meal again until the Kingdom of Heaven.  As you can see, it was a significant milestone for me.
I mean it when I say that I have been blessed beyond measure during these last four years in New Zealand, so much so, that I find it hard to describe! So. . . instead of describe it, I will let the photos do the rest of the talking.  For the next few days I will post heaps of photos, so watch this space!