Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back in the USA


My final weeks and days in Ecuador were wonderful.  My entire life I have not been in one place, let alone, one country for more than 4 years at a time.  A few years ago I decided that when the time comes to pick-up and move again I want to truly miss the people I am leaving behind.  Yesterday I left a community of people, students, teachers, mentors, pastors, workers, Christians and non, that I will deeply miss.  The Lord knows when I will return to them.


      The past weekend I took advantage of my “freedom” and went for a visit to Shell.  Saturday morning I rented and rode a bike from Banos (Banyos) to Shell.  The ride took about 4 hours compared to when I did it in 6th grade when it took us all day long.  Despite a pretty bad sunburn and a very tired body I was very refreshed to get back to my ‘home’ town where I had spent so many years of my life.  God blessed me with the time, money and place to just reflect and prepare for the upcoming life events.  Two books went with me.  Real Christianity by William Wilberforce and Friend Raising by Betty Bernett.  I could be wrong with the second author’s exact name.  Both of the books were excellent!  I highly recommend the first to anyone that is battling mediocre and culturally Christianity.  The second helped prepare my mind and heart for returning to the US to raise support.


      The thing that has been resting deep in me these past weeks has been the weight of God.  As I was flying today I wrote down this thought.  We do not have the words to express the vastness or weight of God’s glory so rather than seeking a better word for His greatness, let us seek to know the glory of God.  What I mean is this: when we say that God is a good God, that is a true statement.  But, to describe God’s goodness compared to our goodness, there is an eternal difference.  How else should we say it then?  More words?  God is a good, great, awesome, magnificent, magestic, glorious, wonderful, generous, lovely, beautiful, God.  Even these words in our finite minds cannot ‘hold’ the weight of their truth in the context of God.  How do we KNOW God to BE who or what He is?  This , I cannot answer except to point us to the Son of that God, Jesus Christ.  It is through him that we see the glory of God in the face of Christ.


It is true that nothing compares to knowing Christ.  As Paul describes his desire in Philippians, he considers all things to be lost and rubbish compared to knowing Christ.  What things are in our way of knowing Christ.  I know that I constantly am fighting to see Him through the trash.  Media plays such a huge role in this.  Good movies or bad, if they distract from knowing Christ, it is rubbish.  As a rule, if it is distracting you from knowing and following Christ, where true life is found, life that the Christian claims, get rid of it.  Let us throw off every hindrance that keeps us from running the race.

            Spirit of God, move in and through us, teach us the value of Christ in the face of the wor

lds business and vanities.  In the light of His glory let all things be considered lost.  We embrace that every loss for the sake of the gospel and the glory of God is made up in Christ Jesus.  Lord, take from us the distractions, grant us focus, clarity and discipline to see you as you are and feel your weight.  Then, let us respond to you in true worship.  Be glorified, O God.


Not a Bad Thing

Dear Friends, Two weeks from today I leave Ecuador and return to the US. Four weeks from this Saturday I will marry Alaina Bare and they say marriage will radically change my life. They probably know what they are talking about. But, if Christ had not first made a radical change in me I could not see that God has His loving hand in every moment of our lives, big and small. Returning to the US has brought many questions to mind over the past months. Among those questions is: Lord, what would you have me do? This fleshes itself out this way: Where will we live this summer? When should/will we return to Ecuador? How will You provide the food we need? Fortunately we serve a God that is more than willing to show us His love for us. The risk is trusting Him to provide all we need. That I am confident that He will do. Another question that picks at me even more is: How and where do we seek a home church? How and where do we root ourselves in a community of believers that will commit to loving and supporting us as we seek to love them? You see it is very difficult to feel commissioned and supported when there is little connection or friendship with those that are sending us. Many of you I know well and have supported me faithfully in prayer and often finances. For that I am eternally grateful. But, because I was raised in Ecuador, my “home” church is here. It is a strange dynamic to most and is something that I’m sure many mission-minded MK’s have dealt with. This is why both Alaina and I have felt led to spend more time in the US seeking out and building that community of relationships. Currently we would like to return to Ecuador by Christmas, in time for the second semester of school. Our summer travel plans will remain the same, but we will spend a few intentional months building relationships in the community in which God has yet to show us. There are a lot of realities that come with this. -Someone else will have to take on my responsibilities here in Ecuador until I return -We will need a place to live while we are in the US -We need to prayerfully consider the community that God would have us ‘root’ in. -Details must be figured out with International Teams and Youth World alike to see if they agree on this plan.
Please continue to keep us in prayer as we begin these next few chapters.  He is faithful.
-Loren Holland