Its good to be back in a state of mild regularity. A couple of weeks ago I went on a life-changing mission trip to Nassau, Bahamas with our Board of Ordained Ministry. Each year, the Bishop sends the people who have been approved for ordination on a pre-ordination mission trip. A couple of years ago, when I was supposed to go, I had to stay back because my now 2-year-old daughter was due at the time of the trip. So the Chair of the Board asked if I wanted to go this year. So I said "sure." I actually felt that this is part of one of the main areas that God has been working on me in the past few years. I sensed that while I have always been an eager student of the Scriptures, I needed to become a more eager servant of the saints. God has been opening doors for me to be a more hands-on Christian to supplement my more book-worm style of following Christ.
The trip was incredible. We got to spend an afternoon at a place called All Saints Camp, which used to be a leper colony but which is now an HIV/Aids colony. It was the day after the Virginia Tech shootings and I got to talk to a man who was laying on a cot in a tiny shack, wearing a diaper as he died, about the shootings. It was amazing to witness the faith of these dying believers and also to see how they were not focused on their own condition but on the needs of others in the world. Above you can see a picture of me with Betty, a woman who is a resident at All Saints.
Another very inspiring part of the trip was getting to meet other United Methodist pastors in my conference. Three of the most inspirational characters were middle-aged men who had left very successful careers (2 as attorneys and 1 as a pharmacist) in order to take the lesser-paying job of being Methodist pastors. They had truly given up much to follow Christ. I was inspired by their stories of their calls.
I also got to preach in a Methodist Church down there on the Sunday after Easter. That was fun. The main project we did was to help rebuild a mission center in inner-city Nassau. It is going to be used by the church to reach out to Haitian refugees, to feed them, teach them English, and to teach them God's Word. In the process I learned quite a bit about drywalling.
After the mission trip, my wife and I got to spend a few days vacationing nearby as my in-laws stayed with my kids. It was a great time of refreshment as well.
I'm grateful for the way that God has used the last few weeks to refresh my soul.
On a sad note, we Cardinal fans, as well as many other folks, are somewhat devastated by the death of Cardinal relief pitcher, Josh Hancock.