Monday, March 09, 2009

inside a refugee camp

Over the last month and a half, I have seen God do an amazing work in my own heart. I have seen Him use the stories He has given me, to affect the lives of others. I have seen Him draw people close to Him.

Through trial and triumph, I am changed, and others are moved to review their own dispositions.

Clearly, this is a work that I could not manufacture. I am not smart enough to try. My vantage point has shifted. What I see, what I do, and how I respond or teach others to, seems to carry with it more responsibility, more significance.

There are days, I do not want to carry this mantle. I cannot say I even understand it. I am not sure I am supposed to.

Last night, I received an unexpected view back.

A friend of mine, Mark Magers (Justin Magers' father) shared the testimony of his sons life. His only son gave his life while serving the Lord in India. Mark and his wife and daughter were invited to a missions conference to speak. (It was a conference in which I had been invited to share with students. I spent the last four days with a precious body of believers who are highly motivated in the arena of evangelism and missions.)

Hearing his father's heart was compelling. Seeing the sting of brokenness find many unexpected opportunities to emerge was difficult. Deanna and I being seated next to his wife and daughter, found intense emotion permeating the row.

Before a crowd of hundreds of people, he spoke of a life spent for Kingdom work, laid down willingly. This is an unusual venue for healing, yet to share among believers only makes sense.

Behind us sat a Venezuelan pastor and wife who understood no English, but did comprehend tears. From a heart of love, they passed kleenex forward. Gratefulness eked from a mother's broken heart.

When Mark concluded, uproarious applause and the instantaneous rise to feet happened throughout the sanctuary. This moment was bittersweet for this family.

A video streamed with Justin's mission work. This scene was very familiar. Somehow a necessary occurrence among a people who need reminders of what is truly important.

The pastor of the host church called the family forward to be surrounded by those who would come, to be lifted up to our Father in heaven, for the journey ahead.

Aisles suddenly filled as a throng of people came as one.

As the mass of people pressed in, a most unexpected (to me) thing happened. The pastor called my name into the mic. I raised my hand and he asked me to pray for the family, "because I knew how to."

I climbed the stairs to receive the mic and moved to the front of the stage. My brokenness seemed to intensify many fold. I cannot help but wonder if Jesus, in much amplified fashion and with far greater intensity, felt something like this when He took on our sin and sorrow.

Praying from the place of another's pain is not easy to embrace. Somehow, this was like being visited by an old friend...or was it an enemy? Putting self aside to lift up this precious family was an honor.

Deanna and I have grown to love this family as the Lord has allowed us to share our hearts over meals, on a couple of occasions.

There was such intensity and presence of the Lord in the room. Words didn't seem to matter. Just loving on these who needed it most, who paid such a price, was what this was about. He was present and embracing their hearts. It was a Holy moment.

To be truthful, I remember little of what occurred during this time. Only that I felt and still feel such compassion for them.

This Saturday, Mark will embark on his first mission trip!

I have the honor of walking beside him on this journey. He is joining our Spring Break team, headed to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Yes, we are aware of the news headlines. Yes, we are aware, many churches have canceled their mission trips to Mexico.

God has given us such peace amid the torrent of turmoil breaking out in border towns. We will walk in His power and under His protection! We know we are called. We are going to carry His Name to the lost and broken...and will see healing be portioned to a father's heart from the heart of the Father.



At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent, I so much admire your willingness to continously put yourself on the front lines for our Lord, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

I am thankful for the blessings that this weekend brought you and I am praying for you and the team as you head once more to the streets of Nuevo Laredo.



Post a Comment

<< Home