Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - Kabul, Afghanistan
There is a given with any Flatirons trip to visit one of our partner organizations: Every team has its own personality. You take a group of people, each with their own personalities, quirks, desires, and way of connecting...put them together for several days and the group takes on a life of its own.
As a whole, this 2013 men's team is a VERY fun group of guys. One of the group put it this way, "I don't think I've ever laughed this much...when beer wasn't involved!" It's true. There's been more laughing and cutting up with this trip than any trip I've taken...in Colorado or Texas.
We've got seven guys on this men's trip to Afghanistan and I can't help but categorize them, like America did with The Beatles in the 60s (John is the "smart one", Paul the "cute one", etc.). Here's how I've broken down this team down in alphabetical order:
Bob is our wise and gentle leader...
Brad is our deep thinker...
David is our well-traveled, grizzled vet...
Jake and Jim are our young, wide-eyed first timers...
...and Zeke is our prankster.
Of course, each of these men are so much more, but it gives you a quick idea of their personalities and how they might play into the team dynamics.
So, each morning we've been getting up and going through a devotion centering the life of Abraham--the key (and common) Bible character in the 3 main world religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. This morning we started by answering the question, "Have you ever had God speak to you?"
Now, this team was put together half a year ago. We've gone through several trainings and prep meetings, and we've done a handful of social get togethers too. So, when Zeke answered, "Yeah, about 10 years ago when I kicked meth" and tried to continue, I blurted out, "Whoa! Whoa! Hold on there cowboy! You're going to have to explain that one!"
Zeke went on to share his story of being addicted to meth...of trying to get help and getting no answer from 8 clinics and a, "We're full, but good luck getting help" from another...and then, of his dream, where Jesus sat next to Zeke and told him he needed to change. Zeke finished by telling us he kicked meth the next day...with no help from anyone...except Jesus.
Some of the guys already heard Zeke's story the night before, but the old farts (yours truly) who went to bed early missed it...and sat there with our mouths hanging open...amazed at his story...and the way God works. As I already wrote, this team of 7 (now sitting in a living room in Kabul) had been picked 6 months ago...from a pool of about 20 men who were interested in joining us in Afghanistan and we interviewed.
And the devotion we were doing this morning...dealing with how God speaks to us...was prepared and written and printed almost 2 months ago...long before any of us knew anything about Zeke's story. And I was struck by these two truths:
God is always SO far ahead of us; orchestrating every step we make and piecing together our lives...like little, brightly colored tiles into one, big, beautiful mosaic.
God is at work in lives of the people in this church we call Flatirons like I have never experienced before...and a lot of times, I get a front row seat to it!
I know God can do anything and that He is in the redeeming business, I just never saw it as blatantly and in-your-face before as I do at Flatirons now. Maybe it's because I wasn't looking hard enough before or maybe it's because people are SO much more open and honest about their past mistakes here.
I don't know. All I really know is this, I love it!
And I love that God was WAY out ahead of us, planning, preparing and orchestrating the paths of:
- a BMW repair shop owner
- a charter school CPA
- a former editorial cartoonist
- a world-traveling engineer
- two best buds since childhood and...
- a former meth head
Working in the lives of each of us and putting us all together to do His will in Kabul, Afghanistan. No one could ever (or would ever) even think of doing things this way except God...and I am forever humbled and thankful.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9