Friday, June 6, 2014

Horse Burgers, the Post Office, and Life on Mission

It's a good thing that God, in his infinite, perfect wisdom, has sovereignly planned all the adventures that will take place in my life, because I would never have come up with anything this wonderful on my own. And, if I knew beforehand just what an adventure it would be, I probably would never have signed up for a ten-week internship in the Czech Republic. Yet at this moment I am sitting by an open window in an apartment in Havirov, Czech Republic, marveling at all that has happened in the week and a half since I left the United States. Praise God that he knew that this was exactly where I needed to be.
I spent the first three days of my internship in Slovenia on the 'Amazing Race.' Basically you get off an airplane, meet the six other people you'll be serving with for the summer, and then look like an idiot running around a foreign country doing crazy things with them. Highlights included eating horse burgers and bridge jumping. An interesting way to get to know people, but by the end of it we'd had some interesting experiences together and were adjusted to the time zone, so I suppose it served its purpose well.
Then they shipped me off to training for four days. I got slightly overloaded with information, sorta caught up on sleep, and, most importantly, spent more time getting to know the incredible people that I will get to serve with all summer.
Two days ago, we finally moved into the apartment where we will be living in the beautiful town of Havirov. The church here stocked us up with dishes, towels, soap, and food which was all waiting for us when we arrived. You know you're home when there's ice cream waiting in the freezer. I was blown away by the kindness and generosity that we've been shown, and already the people here have been serving us more than we could even dream of serving them. How incredibly humbling.
Although the first week here I always had a Czech national with me or another person who knew what they were doing, yesterday and today I had the wonderful opportunity to look like a total idiot while trying to complete some pretty basic tasks. There is a post office less than a block up from our apartment, and yesterday I decided that mailing some letters would be a good 'first independent accomplishment.' When I walked into the post office, I learned thst it's not only a post office and there are about ten different counters to go to for various things. I still don't know what else they do there, because all the signs were in Czech and I still only know very basic and random phrases. After standing there koukam do blba (staring into stupidity) for several moments, I worked up enough courage to ask someone for help. She showed me which counter to take a ticket for, and the rest of my visit passed without mishap. Although the whole endeavor was probably more complicated than most people would make it, I left feeling as though I'd conquered the world.
I'd like to think that I did a little better today, but I'm not sure if the people staring at me on my walk just knew that I was an American or if they could tell that I was trying to figure out where the heck I was and how I was supposed to get back to my apartment. And I suppose it's possible that no one took notice of the three girls staring at the cheese for ten minutes in the grocery store, trying to figure out which one to buy. At any rate, there are groceries in the fridge, some letters are on their way to America, and I'm only slightly sunburnt. 
Although looking stupid is an important part of any cross-cultural experience, I'm learning about some other things as well. If you don't know, Bible college is one of the hardest places to live on mission, and I've definitely sensed a dryness and a lack of passion since I don't get to spend a lot of time around people that don't know Jesus. But it takes only four or five days on an internship with a missions organization to be reminded that we all need to care about reaching lost people. This past semester I was learning a lot about worship and how worship is necessarily tied to Salvation. To be saved is to be a worshiper of God, and to be in the process of sanctificiation is to be learning to worship him more completely. This week I was struck with the reality that if we really care about worship we have to care about mission. There are millions of people in the world who aren't worshipping God, and they need to be introduced to Jesus so that they can worship him. If we care about worshipping God more perfectly and more completely, we'll be passionate about reaching lost people who are spending their lives worshipping things that will ultimately destroy them.
Of course these are easy things to consider when you're in a different country with none of the distractions of home, and you have two months ahead of you with nothing to do but share Christ with people. But I don't want to forget the mission when I get home. I want to spend the rest of my life asking who are my lost friends? where can I meet more lost people right now? who am I helping to mature in Christ? what am I doing right now that requires faith? I don't know yet what that will look like in the comtext of Bible college and beyond, but I know that whatever context I'm in the mission stays the same. If I'm about worshio, I have to be about mission.
More thoughts on that later perhaps, but now it's time for a walk. Hopefully one that won't include looking like a lost puppy and will include meeting some neighbors who need Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria