. . . Amazing
. . .Had the most amazing sunsets on the beach
. . .full of challenges
. . . Hard to describe
There is so much that happened and I am still processing all that God done. There will be much to share over the course of the next weeks and months, but for now let me share a couple of Amazing God Stories from the trip.
The majority of the team arrived in SE Asia on 24 July, but there were two team members that traveled separately and arrived on 26 July. Lori and Courtney went to the airport. Courtney was going to come to my room when they arrived back at the hotel. Courtney came to my room, knocked on the door and when I answered the door, she said, “Mom, we think M and J left their passports at the airport. We need you right now!”
After shooting up a short prayer for wisdom, getting my shoes on, I was out the door. Once up at the front desk, I asked a few questions and primarily talked with Lori to get some basic information. Thankfully everyone travels with a copy of their passport, so they could get registered for their rooms. I asked a few more questions and we were able to determine where we thought they might have left them, gathered to pray and then sent them back off to the airport with Lori who knew the local language – at least enough to get the process started!
Then it was off to find the rest of the team to let them know what had happened and to pray! It is very sobering to tell people information like and realize it could happen to any of us at any time. We spent some time praying and then I went off to send an email to the states! On the way, I ran into some people who live and work in Asia and explained what had happened. Each person I ran into said it was a 50-50 chance on getting them back and then prayed. One of the people I ran into began to think through the logistics of what would need to happen if the passports were truly “lost” (US passports are worth a lot of money on the black market).
Waiting was not easy, especially since these were good friends of Courtney. She was worried and very quiet and yet I was very peaceful in waiting. While waiting I found it easy to pray for lessons to be learned and hearts to trust God. It took almost 2 hours for Lori, M and J to get back – but they were able to retrieve their passports. God was so merciful in this situation. There is still much to process from this situation, especially for M and J. But it was a situation that created much conversation among all of those who were at the conference. I think God did more than any of us realize.
The other thing that was interesting for me to think through happened on the way home. I had an 8 hour layover in Seoul and spent some time reading through the book of Isaiah. There is a passage where God tells Isaiah to loosen his sackcloth and remove his sandals and he did. Isaiah walked barefoot and naked for 3 years (Isaiah 20:1-3). I just stopped and pondered how Isaiah could even do this! I remember leaning over to one of the team members saying, “I am so glad I am not a prophet. The things that God asked them to do – like walking barefoot and naked – for THREE YEARS! I can’t even imagine.”
But as I continued to meditate on this, there were some interesting similarities! This is my 3rd year doing CLUB 4th conferences; SE Asia was my 3rd overseas conference. This conference was absolutely amazing. As I was telling a friend of mine about this when I got back, her response was, “So you were walking barefoot and naked for 3 years and didn’t know it.” I am not sure what it all means, but I know that there are many conversations yet to happen as a result of SE Asia and bigger things seem to be looming on the horizon.
Regardless of the outcome of these conversations and the direction God takes CLUB 4th, my heart is still in SE Asia and the kids that I met there. I have been changed forever as a result. In church today we sang “Great is your faithfulness” and “Our Great God” – both songs that we sang at the closing night of the conference. I couldn’t sing these songs without thinking of the kids that I grew to love over the course of a week. I couldn’t sing these songs without tearing up as I thought of them. Clearly there is a connection with this group of kids.