Friday, January 2, 2009

Stretching hurts.

Hi bloggies – Thanks for checking in! There’s a lot to share about how things are going here, but let’s just say I am being stretched!

It has been hard for me to force myself out of my comfort zone to talk to people. I don’t mean the average, “How ya doing? Where you from?” kind of conversations, but instead those conversations that I try to turn from the surface to deeper, spiritual issues. Some of them have been easier to “turn” than others: Franz, for example.

Franz is a man I met with one of the guys in the group yesterday. He owns a wine cellar in the area known as de Jordain. Upon asking him his philosophy on what makes a good wine, Franz made it really easy to transition into a conversation about spiritual matters. We covered all kinds of topics: Expectation vs. trust, the “lack of a need for hope,” man’s fears, solutions to fears, and more. Eddie presented the Gospel clearly to him, but he has been reading and studying and hardening his heart since childhood, when he first began to formulate this concept of “Life unfolds and what matters is how my reactions make me happy or not.” He was very adamant in the conversation, refuting so many things I believe and know to be true, and I just praised the Lord that I knew the truth and that it is more than a logical progression of thoughts. He admitted he thought we didn’t think for ourselves and challenged us to “think rationally,” yet complimented us and said he thoroughly enjoyed “the intriguing conversation and the intellectual copulation.” His words – not mine.

God’s hand in the whole thing was so evident though – from the store we went into (2 good little Southern Baptist going into a wine shop, ha!) to Eddie asking the initial question (not something I would have asked) to Franz’s response, which so easily lent itself to starting a deep conversation. It was clearly the Lord. I had prayed that afternoon that it be clear to me that any conversation I had that afternoon would obviously be guided by the Lord.

I am also being stretched within myself, re-learning to what it means to die to self. I am having trouble with my attitude in relation to some of the people I’m here with, so God is stretching me and forcing me to bite my tongue, swallow my pride, and love on people. I just need to do that a WHOLE LOT more!

As I get to the end of my first week here, please just ask that God would continue to open doors for conversations about him, that he would restore our weary minds and bodies, that he would create and mend relationships and that above all, our actions would be glorifying to him.

Thanks, friends! I appreciate your prayer support!

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