Wednesday, November 15, 2006

God has greatly impressed upon me that a mission trip has four groups it ministers to: the body of Christ at home and abroad, the people directly ministered to on the field and the team sent to serve. Each ministry is as important and necessary as the next, at the moment I am finding myself compelled to minister to the saints at home. How do I tell you all God allowed me to see? How do I convey to you the impressions He pierced my soul with? I don’t know that I can completely. I scan my notes… Wow! I forgot that… mmh, I will never forget this!

Before I begin, I want to make a simple truth clear: SIN IS SIN! It is every where! As I consider how God allowed us to travel to and through Russia: the lull of the plane, the rumble of the train, bumbling of the bus or the padding of feet on crowded streets my heart broke with the brokenness of the people of Russia and then too to my own homeland. Much to my surprise I discovered that greetings were sparse, a smile rarely returned and laughter as infrequent as rain in a drought season. I found myself seeking beauty and life, anything that showed hope and happiness. See, during the soviet days they enticed the people from the thatch roof homes to large apartment buildings completely furnished. The draw? Indoor plumbing! These buildings tower over the horizon near and far in the large cities. Unfortunately, no one has loved on them. In many ways “them” could imply the buildings and also the people! The buildings physical structures are chipped and broken, eye sores at best. In the pursuit of bettering their lives, I felt as if their very surrender to these tall buildings drew them one step closer to losing their individuality and separate identities. Their pursuit for bigger, better, newer, and nicer became their snare. As I ponder America my stomach knots and turns over quite unpleasantly. Do we seek the same fate in our pursuit of bigger, newer, nicer?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Reflections of Russia
Mission Trip Oct 9-23, 2006
This article is long. Please forgive me. At first it will seem very dark, but please take the time to read through because it ends in hope and the divine providence of God’s hand at work! Thank you for your prayers and support. I love each of you more because of this trip! Tara

It has taken me nearly six days before I am able to put to pen my impressions from Russia. On the morning I arrived home, I found myself praying to God and asking Him to show me how to de-bone this chicken I call my Russia mission trip. How do I sort through the bones to pull away the meat of truth that must be conveyed? Father, help me I cry! People keep asking me, “How was it?” The first five days brought tears. I don’t even know if I can express why.

While in Russia my thoughts pondered so many truths: “sin is sin,” “people are people,” beauty is beauty,” and “the truth will set you free!” I realize as we traveled about that the more I see the more things are the same as in America. On the surface there is a difference but for the most part everything on the inside is the same. Each of us, God’s creation, longs for a beautiful today or tomorrow full of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. History tells us a story about Russia that stirs up strong emotions far and wide, yet as I ponder my own nations roots we too have a our triumphs and griefs, as well as shame.

I will post more on my reflections over a period of time.