Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Good Luck?

Throughout our many visits to churches, something striking has come to our attention; actually, it's a bit disturbing to us. Typically, we'll share our stories, our call to Spain, and the spiritual needs of Spain. Afterwards, we go to the door or our display table to greet people or to have further conversations with folks in the congregations. What has been so startling to us is the number of people in churches who have told us, "Good luck!"

At first, these words appear to be nice and friendly. Unfortunately, the phrase is not a Christian one; it's quite pagan, and it's easy for Christians rather thoughtlessly to slip into these non-Christian ideas and phrases. As followers of Christ, we don't rely on luck. As missionaries preparing to serve Christ and share His love in Spain, we don't need luck. What we truly need is people praying for us, because prayer to God makes a difference in our world. No, we don't completely understand how prayer works, but we know that it does. Jesus told us to pray to the Father; Paul continually asked for fellow Christians to pray for him; and we know that what we need is not luck (wherever luck comes from) but fellow followers of Jesus to pray for us.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

1680 Miles Later...

Well, a full weekend it was! We left PA on Thursday evening and returned Monday afternoon, driving about 1680 miles in the meantime. It seemed that all we did was drive, eat, talk with people, eat, sleep, and eat. There was a little more to it than that.

We headed to Buffalo, IL, where I (B.J.) grew up to visit with old friends and to speak in couple of worship services. In some ways, the weekend was just weird. I'm from Buffalo, but at a crowded basketball game on Friday evening, I knew maybe a dozen people. So it was interesting to feel a bit like a fish out of water. I don't exactly belong there anymore.

At the same time, it was a great opportunity for catching up, though it seemed that our little time passed all too quickly. We counted it a great blessing to be able to share our heart for Spain with people who have known us for years and even decades now, and it's interesting to see how being from a particular town can foster a certain interest and solidarity, as people we'd never met (even in Buffalo) were deeply interested in our call to Spain. Here's a photo of lunch with some friends from Grace Community Fellowship there:

One personally valuable experience was to be with my oldest sister whom I hadn't seen in far too long. Here's a picture of us and then one of her extremely obese cat:

We're thankful now for a bit of a breather before getting back to speaking before and after Holy Week. We're even more thankful for the people God has woven into the patchwork of our lives.