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Monday, November 22, 2010

On the road again

I am sitting at one of the dining tables in the main center at the Rapid 14 base as people around me are chatting about AMT, travel, future plans, and random ideas. There is a pile of duffels, backpacks, and carry-on bags by the front entrance all ready to be loaded onto a truck for the trip to the airport. We've been here for just under 3 months and today is the day to go home.

Our last expedition was by far the best time in the bush that any of us in AMT had seen yet. We saw God move powerfully through the first evening meeting and paved the way for deeper teaching and discipleship of the village throughout the week. We made door to door visits throughout three villages in the area and hosted evening meetings at our camp every night with about 100 people in attendance. The meetings always started with worship in the native language lead by one of the locals from the village and they always ended with singing, drumming, and dancing well into the night. We all would agree that we were able to connect with the people on a much more personal level on this expedition than before and we know that we were able to make a lasting impact on their lives. My favorite part of the expedition was the last night when we had a huge meal with the whole village and I got to talk for a long time with a young man named Jonathan. We asked each other questions about life in the States and Zambia, found out that we had mutual friends in another village, and just shared life for a time.

We covered more material than any other AMT class in almost 2 weeks less time and we've all changed so much in our three month stay here. One of our team members says that this three months has changed him more than anything else in his entire life. That's quite the statement considering he married young and now has 8 year old twins and a two year old son. It's been a great trip and I can't wait to share more stories with you all later.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Prepare for glory!"

That is one of my most favorite movie quotes and it comes from an excellent, epic movie. I won't reveal which movie it's from so if you don't know it, sorry, you might miss part of my meaning. This quote came to mind just today after we finished presenting our final projects and we got the info about what we're doing this coming week.

The context of this quote is that a certain group of men are about to engage in a certain battle that will forever memorialize them in history as men of courage, dedication, and determination who would fight and die for something much bigger than themselves. Their king calls out with a voice of passion and excitement, invigorating his men with anticipation of the honor of dying for their cause. Now I and my team are not about to engage in any physical struggle nor are any of us in any physical danger, but we are on the eve of a great advance in the spiritual realm of the glorious Kingdom of Heaven. In the morning, the team and I begin our third and final ministry expedition to take the Word of God to villages that have never had an expedition before. The people there have heard stories about the expeditions that have gone to areas around them and they are hungry for the same spiritual food that they have heard others take part of. As messengers of the Gospel of Christ, we will preach the Word of God, lay hands on the sick, and cast out demons in the name of Jesus as we live among the Zambian people for a week.

We need your prayers throughout this week. Pray for health and endurance for our team since it's been a long three months and we're run down from working hard these last weeks to finish all the AMT courses. Pray for openness of heart and mind to the Gospel for the people we will be ministering to. Pray for wisdom and discernment for Josh and myself as we lead the team without our AMT instructors. Pray for us to be eager and expectant for the right Word at the right time to give to these people since our time with them is so limited.

This expedition is the end of AMT. We return to the base on Friday, tie off loose ends on Saturday, graduate on Sunday, and fly home on Monday. I'll try to post an update when we get back at then end of the week before I fly home.


Monday, November 8, 2010

You asked for it...

I came to AMT expecting a challenge to grow and develop skills, talents, and gifts I had only seen whispers of in my life in Madison. I came expecting to learn numerous useful ministry skills and to have a lot of fun with a new group of people. I wanted to have crazy adventures in the African bush and do ridiculous improvised hack-job repairs and fabrications in the warehouse. There were a few things I wasn't really excited about (the heat and the local food) and a bunch of stuff I had no opinion on because I had no idea they existed (driving rainstorms and Jurassic Park-sized freaky-looking bugs). Well, I guess I got what I came for and then some.

AMT has been a whirlwind of class topics, homework, physical training, lectures, worship, chores, and so much more that it is hard to pause and evaluate all that's happened. The staff and long-term volunteers on the base make comments about how all of us AMT students have changed since we arrived and we can see some of these changes ourselves but we can't see it all right now. I think it will be well into my return to the States when I gain a more complete understanding of how I've grown in spiritual maturity, leadership skill, travel smarts, interpersonal relations, and my ministry giftings. All this growth and equipping I've experienced also comes with increased responsibility and opportunities to put it all to work. I've taken on significant leadership and teaching roles within my AMT class lately and I've had several discussions with Overland staff about what my future with Overland might look like.

Now, I look back and I see myself having accomplished much that I either never dreamed of or was once greatly intimidated by. I see God's hand on me having given me exactly what I need for every situation, guiding me and teaching me in the midst of the rapid-fire pace of AMT. I think to myself that he got me this far, maybe he'll keep it up as the world keeps turning and new things keep getting laid out before me. Sometimes it's intimidating, sometimes it's super exciting, sometimes I'm too exhausted about thinking about it that I just need to give up and take a mental vacation.

Exactly two weeks from today I will be boarding a plane to return to the States after finishing my 3-month stay in Zambia. I've seen myself grow faster and faster in the two weeks leading up to today and I'm absolutely sure that this increased rate of growth will continue through these upcoming weeks. We're working on our final projects, we're preparing for our final expedition, and I'm going through the paperwork involved to commit to going on staff with Overland. The home stretch is here and we're trying to finish strong. Here we go.