First a long story in order to tell some more of the story - - I feel like I've been a Christian my whole life. I'm pretty sure my mom never missed a church service while she was pregnant with me. And I'm pretty sure I was in church from 2 weeks on. I remember missing 1 Sunday when I was 11 yrs old due to extreme illness. Other than that, I was there. We even managed to find a suitable church service to attend when we were on vacation. So, when I share my testimony, I focus not so much on the terrible life I used to live but more on how important it is to share Christ with your children from when they are young and to be involved in church in order to learn how to live a life that pleases God. My conversion experience was when I was ten years old and my dad prayed with me to receive Christ. I remember the exact place and the feeling I had after I prayed. When I was 12 years old, our family switched churches. We started attending a non-Nazarene (gasp!) church called Emmanuel Faith Community Church. It was at this church that I started hearing the Bible taught in an expository manner. Wow! What a huge difference that made! - - Sitting at this church service in Rwanda, we attempted to worship with them. Tried (unsuccessfully) to keep up with the clapping and dancing. Then the pastor introduced Dan and I and pretty much turned the service over to us. Not exactly what I expected would happen. We each had a chance to share our testimonies. Then they sang some more songs. Than a short encouragement from the pastor. Then he said we would be sharing messages out of the Bible for them. Really??? That was definitely news to me. So, Dan went first. I started scrolling through all my sermons in my mind. I realized that all of them had to do with manners, etiquette, proper behavior, not fighting with your brother, etc. Not exactly spiritually deep, although I can be pretty eloquent on these topics. So, I got out my Bible. Turned to Psalm 34. Asked God to speak through me. Realized that all the years of incredible teaching at Emmanuel Faith would finally come to great use here in the middle of Rwanda. I thank God for the gift of spiritual formation that my parents gave to me. What I thought I had to say to the people wasn't nearly as important as what God allowed me to say to the people. Maybe lives were impacted and changed. I don't know. But I do know that my life was impacted and changed. I was starting to realize that this trip would be just as much for me and my faith journey as it was for the people we would be sharing the Gospel with. Awesome God! Awesome time of revelation, refining, and restoration!
This is taking a lot longer than I thought it would!