As part of our traing in becoming MTW missionaries, Christiana and I left Dallas June 27th for a month-long stint in developing cross-cultural tools at the Operation Mobilization Centre in Brussels. On arriving at our destination, (two hours later than scheduled), we discovered that our luggage did not travel with us. Admittedly, we both felt a bit exxasperated, but soon reminded ourselves that the Sovereign Lord is always in control. Needles to say, we discovered a beautiful side of Brussels from the onset. The gentleman at the information desk at the airport was very friendly and helpful, as he gave us precise instructions on catching a bus to our Brussels’ address. (I admit that I had a difficult time dialing the local contact who was scheduled to pick us up. Where’s Julia Lawrence when you need her?) We boarded the bus, and also discovered that the driver was very helpful to us, (maybe it’s our gray heads. “Poor old couple”, he must have thought to himself).
When we arrived at our residence, we discovered that there was no lobby, no front desk, no one to welcome us. Help!!! We went next door to a local supermarket and found a staff member who spoke English fluently. We were able to contact the OM Centre, got the ride, and settled in several hours later. Later that evening, it finally dawned on me, “What was I thinking?” After all, I’m cautious Julian, the one who loves it when a plan comes together. I realized that Chris and I had done a whole lot of improvising – even taking major risks in a far away country where most people do not speak English.
Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of several important truths to live by as a Christian. First, be carefuful not to make big decisions with your emotions. Murphy’s Law has been set in motion until Christ returns to consummate our great salvation, bringing the new heavens and the new earth. Until then, seek to depend on the Lord, and wait on Him. What if Chris and I had become victims of …… you fill in the blank. Secondly, the Lord has a plan for each of our lives, and He executes His plans for us in community. Here’s what I mean – MTW staff has been doing this for decades. And their plans were well-thought out. I needed to trust that the Lord had enabled and empowered MTW to act as our faith community while thousands of miles away fropm home. Since then, I have grown to realize that our loving Lord has placed people in our lives for very significant reasons.
Which brings me to the crux of this realization. Each of you is very important to Chris and me; and not just because you are supporting us, one way or the other. No; each of you reprexent that community which the Lord has chosen to place us, so that Chris and I could become all that He means for us top become. The reverse is also true – the Lord has placed us in each of your lives for your good, and His glory. We are the Body of Christ! I love this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer on community: “It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter lonliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart”. (Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community.)