Thursday, July 7, 2016

Strrrrreched!

After spending almost a month at Trail’s End Ranch (TER) in Ekalaka, Montana, it is pretty safe to say, it has been a long time since I have been that challenged.

I believe God had been preparing my husband for “such a time as this” (as it says in the book of Esther).  Charlie’s life resume’ was proof…. we looked back at his years of teaching, his experiences working at summer camps and ultimately, his commitment to Christ.  I was excited for him and the opportunity for both of us to minister at this amazing place.

However, there was a slice of reality staring us in the face:  I have no gifting in the world of teaching small children much of anything.  Mind you, I loved parenting, am over-the-top crazy about grand parenting and enjoy our friends’ children.  But please don’t ask me to teach groups of kids or be a cabin counselor!   

And what about the whole camping experience?  ….again, not my thing!  So why was I so excited about working at TER?   Second guessing God can be a bit risky.  None-the-less, I believed God had a HUGE plan for Charlie…. and I got to be part of it!  There were plenty of things for me to do but it was primarily about Charlie’s “call” and my support.

I knew it would be challenging and hard but I also knew God was up to something and He did not disappoint.  I was stretched!

First:  Participating in two weeks of staff training gave us much needed preparation and opportunities to bond with the young staff.  What a varied group of young men and women; we were clearly the “oldsters” in the group.  As I listened to personal testimonies, I was amazed at the things these young people had already had to wrestle with.  How would I begin to relate to them?  Would they learn to trust me? (I was the age of their grandmothers.)  How were we all going to become a cohesive community, ready to help campers come to know Jesus and grow in Him?

Surely Jesus faced some of the same challenges as He pulled together His team!  His disciples were a cross section of the current culture.  I mean, throw a tax collector (not exactly a liked or trusted occupation) in an intimate setting with a rough and rugged fisherman and watch the sparks fly!  How Jesus impacted those 12 men set the pattern for what happens anytime He is at the center.

Second:  There were the physical challenges.  It was hot and dusty walking up and down those hills plus we were 5000 feet above sea level. (see my last blog.)  I did not sleep well so experienced almost daily fatigue.  And working in the “snak shak” the second two weeks was physically draining.

Third:  I was clearly operating outside my area of giftedness (my personal ministry is focused on grown up women), as I learned new skills.  I worked hard at just keeping up with it all!

God was SO faithful.  I lived out Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me.”  Over the two weeks of staff training I became close to some of the young summer staff and enjoyed wonderful connections with the full time staff and their families.  Through the physical challenges, I was better exercised than I have been in a long time….I was able to take those hills “in a single bound”….well, sort of. 

There were mornings I just wanted to jump in our car and head home but ALWAYS, into the day, I would realize how much I LOVED being there!  Go figure!  I believe it had everything to do with realizing how privileged we were to actually be able to participate in such a strong ministry.

In the words of Jesus, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!  They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35b)

I loved being in Montana but there are “fields ripe for harvest” right where I live, and where you live.  God calls ALL believers to actively work in His fields.  Where has God called you?  I would love for you to leave your story in the comments section at the end of this blog post; let’s encourage one another.