Reflection at dinner.
It’s been almost two years now. March 5, 2015 was when we first arrived, as a family, to our new home in a foreign land. Tonight, during dinner with Dan, we spent some time reflecting on our last two years. A few words sum up what was on our minds and hearts: fellowship & discipleship.
Initially, the reason why we wanted to be a part of a local church fellowship was because we had heard many stories about the underground church and how the community of brothers and sisters can feel and be so great. We knew it would be hard, because of the language, but we wanted to be a part of something greater. Boy, were we dreaming! People are…people…everywhere and anywhere. Quickly, we realized this community suffered from many of the same issues the American church deals with back at home, for the most part.
Our minds went right into “fix-it” mode at that time. We started assessing the situation(s), came up with a list of problems, and formulated solutions. For example. the parents were disconnected from the gathering because there were no child care, so we decided to help start a quality children’s ministry, which we have since transferred leadership to the local parents. Other issues were not so easy. There was not a sense of “community” within the community. The majority of people felt alone even though the church fellowship was small and “intimate” and had been made up of (pretty much) the same group of people for the past ~5 years. Again, we went into “fix-it” mode. The solution was simple, we thought…small groups and hanging out outside of Sunday fellowship! Months went by and we were frustrated. Why were we recommending/doing so much but nothing really changed? Why did it seem like no one else cared?
Finally, we heard what Father was trying to say to us. Instead of relying on Him, we did what most people tend to do, rely on ourselves. It wasn’t until then that began to ask Father to do the work. He reminded us that He just wants us to be in relationship with Him, and through that, He will do the rest. Only in this way can we be in true fellowship with Him and with each other.
Although not in our own timing (and not by our abilities) many things have changed. The number of people attending our local fellowship has steadily increased, a number of small groups have formed, more people are having genuine conversations and relationships with one another, less people sit alone, more and more baptisms have occurred, deep friendships have formed, and the number of brothers and sisters who serve on Sundays have grown 3-fold! What’s been cool has been as we step back and focus less on fixing everything and doing everything, we’ve being blessed in return.
A local small group has started at our house, made up of people that 6 months ago weren’t even good friends. Now these 5-6 people are in truly fellowship and relationship with one another. No longer are we just serving them, but we’re being served as well. Our Father is amazing.