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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cuba: Saying Goodbye and Final Reflections

All too soon, we were saying goodbye. Up early, onto our tourist bus for a 5:15 am journey to the airport.

And miracle of miracles, our flight left close to on-time. We were just 30 minutes late leaving!

Goodbye (for now), Cuba!

Now here's the big question: So what? 

We had a great trip. We saw God work in amazing ways. We made new friends. We enjoyed experiencing a new culture. 

But so what?

As many of you know, we've been on a long (at times it feels very long) journey of healing after serving overseas full-time. It's been very difficult to process why God's worked the way He has in our lives and what His purpose and plans might be for us moving forward.

I'd like to say we have better closure on all of that but the truth is, we don't.

What we do have is perspective and a measure of peace. That's worth its weight in gold. We're better understanding God's goodness in our lives - as well as understanding that "goodness" is best measured with a long yardstick rather than in the moment.

And what I think we realized during this trip to Cuba is that perhaps God didn't remove the passion for missional work from our lives. We very much felt a rekindling of what we thought were long-dead feelings and of a thwarted call.

Maybe, just maybe, what that means is that God didn't say No to us several years ago. Maybe, just maybe, He said Not this way.

Recalibrating our preconceived ideas about how we can impact and influence others positively for the gospel is tough work. The last eight years have taught us that.

What we're learning is that impact and influence can come through living lives of generosity, having a passion for learning God’s word and being unashamed of sharing our faith in a compelling, but sensitive manner.

We're also learning that our very difficult experiences have given us very tender hearts for those who've also been wounded through religion. We understand how those wounds can make you question the foundations of your faith and the goodness of God. We understand what a seed of bitterness looks like and the effort it takes to remove it - and the compassion it requires to go through that process.

Bottom line: 
Cuba reminded us that we're called to share a very simple message that isn't about us. It’s about God and what He’s done for, in and through us - as well as what He's continuing to do.

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