I’ve been asked to travel to Indonesia, to lead some workshops, and do some teaching about Coffee Break small groups. I was humbled to be asked and eager to go… a few months ago.
I was surprised at my anxiety as the departure date approached. What was I thinking when I said yes to this? What can I possibly bring to a culture that doesn’t understand me? I can’t understand them. I will lose all my charisma, working through a translator. What could a Canadian woman of Dutch heritage no less, possibly bring to Indonesia?
I am thankful that Homer comes with me – my best friend, my greatest support, my ‘Aaron’ (to reference the story of Moses.) But even he was becoming anxious!
Leaving our children and our only grandchild, to go as far away as we could, made me anxious…
Anticipating the 15 hour flight to Hong Kong (pictured here) made us anxious…
Looking ahead to meeting our hosts, (who’ve asked us to come) made me anxious…
Thinking about working with a translator made me anxious…
We’ll eat different food, face different customs, and deal with jet lag, upset stomachs and other things. We’re told not to drink the water, and not to use our left hand. We’re told to dress more formally. We know that we‘ll stand out – we’re tall, and blond and look very Dutch to these olive skinned, small framed people.
I have always identified with the story of Moses in Exodus 33. He comes before God, saying “You’ve called me to lead these people” – and now I need Your presence to go with me. I have always believed that as a leader in any capacity, I need God’s presence. I felt that need so much more, as I anticipated the trip to Indonesia. And, I need to trust God for so many things that I cannot control – things that I could not even anticipate.
I have had other times, in my journey where I have questioned my adequacy… where I have wrestled with “Who am I to be standing in this place, to be leading these people?” At times I have felt so inadequate. In this case, as travel to Indonesia came near, I felt increasingly inadequate.
Perhaps that’s exactly where God wants us to be, to come to a place of realizing that we really bring nothing at all. There is nothing that I can do or say in my own strength. All that I have comes from Him; all that I bring is from Him.
Like Moses, I lay this opportunity before the Lord, and trust Him to bring His glory and do a work that I cannot do. I pray for God’s wisdom, for His presence to be real, and for His Holy Spirit to come upon us with power.
We arrived on Thursday, and were so warmly welcomed by our hosts. We emailed our kids, had a good sleep, ate a good meal.
The traffic is crazy, the weather is hot, the language is indistinguishable.
We trust God for what He will do. 🙂