Worth the Wait

By: Rev. Steve Zimmerman

It’s finally happened! Our new luggage and airline tickets had been purchased and everything on our checklist seemed to be falling into place for the trip, until we were stopped dead in our tracks by COVID in April 2020. You see we were supposed to travel to North Africa to visit with our daughter, who works with a Protestant church there. We were excited to visit with her and learn more about their work with refugees and immigrants as they navigate their way to Europe, settle in that part of Africa or go back to their homeland. Now, after four long years, last month my wife and I finally made the trip of a lifetime.

The pandemic was not the only thing that had slowed us down, but the timing just wasn’t right. Yet, I can say that all of that was worth the wait this spring to see another part of God’s beautiful world. On this trek I also had some wonderful spiritual reflections that may help us all in our journey with Christ and to those He has called us to serve.

Stay Healthy – More than once our daughter reminded us to be hydrated each day in that very arid region. For me, though, it was much more than that. In the last four years, I have had heart bypass and knee surgery. Added to all of this was a diagnosis of Type Two diabetes. Now that I am in much better shape, I got to make wonderful memories on this expedition.  

In our ministries to each other and to our communities, healthy churches and members enjoy their Christian journey so much better. If you are not healthy, get a checkup! Life is too precious to miss out on what God wants for you, your church, and your community!

Take Along a Translator – Unlike large, guided group tours, we were at the mercy of our daughter to be our spokesperson wherever we went. She knew not only the language but the customs and traditions of her predominantly Muslim country. We would have been completely lost if it were not for her. 

I wonder how many times a church has gotten a group together to impact their neighborhoods only to have minimal success because there are untold subgroups within our community that may speak the English language but do not understand church language. All great explorers had translators to help with the native populations they encountered. Who will help you bridge your church with your world that needs God?

A Renewed Perspective – It was interesting to note that the children of a different race, ethnic background, and religion laughed, cried, and expressed themselves just like our children in America. Their needs and wants were pretty much the same as what you would find in our culture.

This epiphany reminded me that God did not create an “us vs. them”. He looked beyond our shortcomings and saw the sameness in each one of us as his children. Maybe we need to restore that vision where we live of seeing people the way God sees them – in need of care, hope and love. It certainly would make for a much more pleasant journey!

These thoughts above are from Rev. Steve Zimmerman, the founding partner in the ministry. He works alongside churches in their mission process and small group dynamics. He coordinates the work of the partnership out of Martinsville, Virginia. Contact him for more information about how he can help you.

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