Monday, January 24, 2011

Reality Bites

Work Tour 2001 to Tijuana was a great experience by every standard.  The team from the Union Church of Hinsdale had done great work at the orphanage, both in building a wall and a restroom and in bonding with the amazing children who lived there.  Our adventure out into a small village to lead a VBS had been a rousing success.  The youth did a remarkable job given our limited Spanish, and they were amazed at the hunger of the village children for Jesus.  I even held my own leading music in Spanish.  We got to eat some awesome Mexican food from little carts (no water, please!) and be tortured by the kids from the orphanage who tricked some of us into eating the hottest peppers you can imagine.  We visited an amazing beach (see picture- sorry the quality is so bad).  And at Candle, UC's traditional closing worship for Work Tour, the youth said all the things you hope they will say about growing in faith and wanting to be more committed to following Christ.  It was indeed a legendary trip.

Our flight home had us changing planes in Denver (where there was a Burger King with no hamburgers.  I'm not kidding. Only chicken.  Too weird).  We had a rather lengthy layover there and I found myself sitting and watching the rest of the group interact.  I became aware of two things as I observed them.  One, I could already hear them longing for their creature comforts and down-playing the things they had seen in Tijuana.  And two, their leader was not me.  It was David Knecht.  He was one of them.  He spoke their language, knew their lifestyle and loved them all.  Once again I was reminded that I was not going to be with them much longer.  I was almost done plowing the road for David.

Upon our return to Hinsdale, not much really changed.  The truth of it was that these were rich kids whose parents saw everything as a priority over faith.  That was the reality, and sometimes reality bites!  The Work Tour team did not suddenly start showing up for Discovery or bible study.  They didn't sign-up to be part of the team for our monthly trip into Chicago and the Good News Soup Kitchen.  I know the trip made a difference in their lives.  But I sure couldn't see it.  It was like Tony Campolo's description of altar calls. He said far too many people "go down the aisle to Just As I Am; they kneel at the altar just as they are; and they return to their seats just as they were."  And when my summer brochure for 2001 came out, it was again greeted with a yawn.  "Might as well get used to summers off..."

By late June both God and Marilyn were telling me it was time to go.  Doors were opening, and I began to interview with some other churches- in a few interesting situations.  Those stories are coming Wednesday.

Because of Jesus,


  1. I know it made a difference. Seeds were planted and in due season - an abundant harvest will follow. Know that what you do matters. You won't fully understand the reach of the ripples until we look back together on the other side of this life. Be encouraged. Your faithfulness makes a difference.

  2. Thank you Tami. I do hope some of the seeds we planted found a place to take root and grow. And I am constantly encouraged here by many- including you!

  3. It's interesting that God brought you there to "plow the road" for David. Sometimes it's difficult to understand just why. Looking forward to hearing about your next interviewing process!


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