Barefoot on the cold church floor. We just finished our ‘Everything-skit’, a short play that powerfully displays the gospel and the freeing power of Jesus’ blood. I’m still out of breath, but there is a congregation waiting for an explanation of the skit. All of a sudden, I’m so grateful for the drama classes that taught me how to use my voice, because the lack of a microphone and the noise of the many children on the front rows made it nearly impossible to make ourselves be heard the first time we did this skit. With the loudest voice I can come up with, I share the basic truths of the gospel. I tell them about the love of God, the rescuing power of His Son’s sacrifice and the life in freedom He has made possible for everyone who says yes to Him. After a couple of minutes of talking, I spread my arms. “The Father is waiting for you with open arms. He has done everything He could ever do for you to have a close friendship with Him. You can run in His arms right now, and He will embrace you and never let you go.”
After this invitation, I introduce one of my team members, Barry and sit down. I know that he has a powerful sermon on his heart for this morning and he has an incredible anointing to invite the Holy Spirit, even in services where there’s a lot of resistance in the air. I’m glad this went well, because it has been a somewhat crazy morning of ministry. Today we have three services in one day at the only church on the island and it hasn’t been so easy for me personally. Almost all of the ministry this trip has been out of my box and on the spot. It’s the ‘hey, you’re leading the service that starts in 5 minutes’, and ‘could you do a sermon on this-and-this right now?’- kind of ministry. I don’t mind it, our team consists of powerful people with rich revelations and natural leadership abilities, so we back each other up. But this morning, I’m struggling. I feel resisted, tired, overwhelmed and even frustrated. I’m surprised by how well the services go, especially considering that half of the time I have no idea what I’m doing. Luckily, God loves these people way too much to be restricted by my limitations.
I listen to Barry’s sermon and see that the church starts responding to his message about forgiveness and grace. It’s amazing, it feels like walls are slowly melting. These people are hungry for God and God is so happy that He’s able to reach their hearts. The service turns out to be beautiful, the Holy Spirit is able to do great things. After the people went home, my leader recognizes that I need an afternoon of rest. Thankfully, I can have some time to think and pray.
Yet again I’m reminded that love cannot be used as a solution to fix someone or something. Genuine love has no agenda. Over the course of the afternoon, I feel myself coming back. I let go of the pressure I put on myself to change anything. It’s not my responsibility and it’s not needed. I don’t know why or when it happened, but I also feel the atmosphere on the island shift. In the evening service, it’s like we’re visiting a different church. The children are more peaceful, there are more smiles on the faces and there’s a receptiveness to our prayers. And I notice that my prayers for the people are different. No longer am I coming to them with my idea of what I want to bless them with, but I’m trying to speak their language. I’m blessing their families, I thank them and try to express my respect for them as much as possible. I can see in their eyes that this is a far more effective way of communicating my love for them. Love means communicating in their language, not my own. I learned my lesson.
There was only one thing that needed to change today for love to have its full impact again. It was my attitude.
This post is part 4 of a series of blog posts ‘Nicarama14′ about my mission trip to Nicaragua.
It’s also part of the ‘barefoot’-series, which will be accompanied by an iPhone snapshot of the place where I wrote it in my travel journal. Read all of the other posts here.