And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever. Joshua 4:21-24
How easily we forget.
And I knew it would happen. The moment we crossed back over the border and reached for our mind-numbing phones. A fog descended, and all the stories began to muddle.
And I kept making our team put it into words. For God-sightings. When the waters parted. When we stepped into promises made ever-so-long-ago.
And there was so much joy on Silvana’s face when she came back from translating that first day after she stepped through the fear and aloneness, story after story of God reaching in through a river of pain so that we could know His healing love. And Ashlyn was swept off in a happy bus to the prison for a day. Scott just couldn’t get over the joy on Eric’s face when he leapt over the camp chairs to welcome someone into the Kingdom. Caitlyn had to ask three people on the street what they thought about God for one of her classes, and she sat on a curb in the park and listened to the story of a guy who, “you may think this is weird” kneels for an hour in a bleak little corner of dirt every day to listen to God. And that day she got a bright blue t-shirt for serving like Stephen. Esteban with his beautiful skipping Canadian girls stepping into his gifts with power and clarity. And Rick. Rick who wanted to see a flat-out over-the-top miracle so we prayed for healing for the pastor. And the pastor-man really didn’t dance down the streets with joy afterwards. He just got out of bed the next day. But we did watch a video of him casting out demons. And we were someone’s answer to prayer that day, the team who got dropped at the park with no ride home, and they all prayed and their leader said, “You will see God,” and that afternoon God looked a lot like our cushy air-conditioned bus with exactly enough empty seats. And those long talks about Trust and Obey under the full moon swirling Pretty Good Coffee. Rick made about a jillion beaded bracelets and gave them out one at a time so he could say Jesus Loves You to every single smile. I will never forget Isaiah kneeling down with his arms completely wrapped around a tiny kid who had stood up for prayer. Almost every one stood up requesting prayer, and my kiddos stood up too, and laid their hands on shoulders and prayed. Because when we have no words, the Spirit understands. Someone turned around in the middle of worship with a word for me, a word of hope And Kayla, dear Kayla, wrote it all down moment after moment, each conversation, faithful and true. The one who put the activities together to give us a framework for sitting on the cement and scrawling Jesus me ama with chalk, over and over. Silvana got a solid glimpse, much like the Surprised by Joy glimpse, of God’s love for her, His child, through the intense love she felt for these grubby yet very precious children like Marco.
Mrs. Voelkel, I didn’t know when you said that this would change my life, that you meant it would really change my life.
May it be so.
May our lives be living stones built up as a memorial so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty. And may each of us fear the LORD forever.