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Friday, June 24, 2011

A Lesson In Flexibility {From an Anti-Flexible Personality}

I mentioned in this post how my husband and I would soon be traveling to a medical conference to receive eye training for our upcoming Haiti trip in November. The conference was a couple weeks ago, yet it has taken me until now to finally collect my thoughts. Why? Because we arrived that weekend super excited to learn, and left feeling completely discouraged, defeated, and deflated. Let me share with you what happened.....

My husband and I had finally finished our first day of training. Six straight hours of intense education concerning various eye anatomy, eye pathology, and examination procedures, and we were still psyched. We found out who the leader was for our trip and invited him to sit with us for dinner. We had so many questions to ask, so many ideas to discuss, and so much excitement to offer.

Image by Dominique Godbout
 However, this gentleman's personality was, shall we say, a bit unexpected for an individual involved in missions. He wasn't sure he wanted a vision clinic. His idea of assisting third world countries' vision problems was passing out reading glasses with no real way to find the best prescription or help those with nearsightedness. It was frustrating, especially when we were already assured by the short-term missions organizer (who is not going on the trip) that we would utilize our training.

We came away from the conference feeling very unsure why God had excited us about this vision opportunity if we were not going to use it for Haiti. It took a lot of praying for us to accept that "our plan" was not necessarily God's plan and we could very well use the training we received for other mission trips if He so allows.

At this point in time, we do not know exactly what we will be doing in Haiti. If we end up assisting with vision, I feel it necessary to know so we can collect glasses and have the proper supplies beforehand. My least favorite scenario is to arrive in Haiti assuming I am assisting the medical team in other ways, and find out we are actually going to perform a vision clinic. My frustration at not being prepared would be paramount.

This is where flexibility in ministry is key, and I should know better - especially after working at camp for four summers straight! Programs, activities, and detailed schedules are worth nothing, if we have failed to communicate the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The purpose is for you and I to serve. It doesn't matter how, or where, or in what capacity.

Paul's unfortunate detours into prison were most likely unpredicted and even more undesirable. But his time there allowed him to pen some amazing books found in your New Testament today - Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Paul had no choice but to be flexible, and God turned a far from idyllic situation into one that glorified Him.

For now, I am humbled to know God chose me to serve Him in one of the poorest nations in the world. I don't have to know the exact details of the trip, because essentially, my responsibilities consist of going and making disciples. The rest is in God's hands.....and I'm beginning to have a wonderful peace about that.

Your Thoughts, Your Views

When was the last time God gave you a lesson in flexibility?


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