I just finished last week talking to every WCS K-12 student about our work in Honduras and Haiti. It never gets old. This is from December 15, 2011.
Last Thursday, our quiz in my Gospels classes was taken from Luke 10:1-24. This reading covers the sending of seventy-two missionaries on a mission trip to places Jesus was about to visit, to prepare the soil. You might remember they returned full of joy because even evil spirits were subject to their power. Jesus told these six dozen ministers they should instead be rejoicing that their names are written in heaven. Like us, these early disciples sometimes were elated for the wrong things.
After our quizzes, in all of my classes, including the eighth grade, we watched a video of my first mission trip to Honduras in the summer of 1998. Our mission team was called TORCH or Training Of Redeemed Christians Heavenbound. The thirteen minute movie showed our group, mostly teens, from takeoff in Nashville to the joyous return two weeks later, back when families could meet returning travelers at the gate. Between the beginning and end were scenes of gut wrenching poverty and beautiful children surviving in third world conditions and our attempts to share the love of the Savior with those who are impoverished. When I turned off the video and we settled back into the routine of class, one of my students asked me a question. Sylvana Okde, who has committed to play basketball for the University of Louisiana-Lafayette for the next four years, inquired, "Did you cry?" At first I thought she meant watching the video, which I have probably watched close to one hundred times. But then, I realized she was referring to the time I spent in one of the earth's poorest nations. I had to think about it for a minute. After fifteen mission trips, including those to China, Vietnam, and Haiti, the shock diminishes a little bit. In fact, I've caught myself in Vietnam this summer as we traveled in the countryside that this could be Honduras. I've had the same thought traveling through rural Haiti and China. After awhile, the memories become a kaleidoscope, running together and it's hard to distinguish one trip from another. That's a shame because each journey is unique in terms of makeup and culture and need but the potential for tears is always there.
I teach the New Testament and there are snippets of weeping throughout the books. An unnamed woman with a sinful reputation wept over the feet of Jesus at Simon's house. Peter wept after he betrayed the Lord. John wept when no one was found to open the scrolls in Revelation. Mary wept when she looked into the tomb of the risen Savior. Jesus spoke to the daughters of Jerusalem as they wept as He walked the road to the crucifixion. And the Messiah Himself wept as He overlooked Jerusalem and as He faced the tomb of Lazarus. That's a pretty decent honor roll of tear shedders. What caused their outpouring of emotion? Sin, shame, death, degradation, poverty, frustration, rejection- basically the same scenes which came through the human portraits in the video. The human condition caused the Master and His contemporaries to weep in their time. Should it not be the same today? Apparently, Sylvana thinks so.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view again.”
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