“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:1-5
One part of the trip I was not expecting, but thoroughly enjoyed, was the time spent talking and learning from my fellow MOAM team members. At night, after long and sweaty, but sweet days of loving and teaching our new friends, we’d sit around playing games (guys, I’m sorry for the embarrassing amount of times I beat you in Dutch Blitz & Nertz. Don’t feel too bad!), swapping stories of our interactions with the kids, sharing how Jesus was working in our hearts, and listening to each other’s lives and life plans. In good fun, they laughed at me as I described what I wanted to do in life, which, admittedly, is less of a plan and more a smorgasbord of options and guessing. I often think life is complicated, frustrated by no clear roadmap, wanting there to be distinct “turn left now” or “go here” signs. However, life in Christ was never about having tidy, perfect plans but rather about obedience to Him in loving others and sharing the Gospel with them (Matthew 28:16-20).
Reflecting on the three weeks of time spent in Liberia, I keep returning to the themes of love, purpose, and plans. This trip taught me they aren’t different from each other, but are juxtaposed to each other — His Love gives us purpose, and purpose fuels our plans. Love is our ‘why’ in life, the glue of who we are and what we do as Christians (see 1 Corinthians 13). It’s why we don’t turn away from the injustices we see, but fight instead. It’s why we see the broken and needy and respond with compassion. It’s why we say, “not my will, but Yours be done” and then plunge headfirst into the unknowns.
The opportunity to go to Africa and love on Liberian kids through Managers On A Mission was genuinely special. After all, meeting and interacting with 67 spunky kids is as awesome as it sounds! But if my time in Africa taught me anything, it’s that love doesn’t wait on perfect plans or a specific destination. It just finds the next person or place, moves in and gets to work. A lesson that we constantly challenged the kids with often applied just as well to my own heart — that glorifying God is by how we listen to Him in all circumstances, not just crediting Him with winning results in games or life or when we feel like it. My prayer is that the kids at Rafiki, us MOAM members, and anyone reading this would find our purpose by continuing to “press on to know the Lord” — so we can “have the same love, share the same feelings, focusing on one goal” — His glory and His alone.
To God Be the Glory!
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