Yay! It's not yet hot enough that I can't do anything, so hopefully I can get in at least one more post.
The Youth Conference
Last week Friday I got invited to go to some sort of youth conference. So, I went with Tito and Cesia and another guy from the church, Rene. He's also the dad of one of the kids in my class. We headed out in matching t-shirts that displayed the name of the church and got there as they were starting worship. The tickets were 20 lempiras to get in (about $1), and I only had a 500 lempira bill (about $25). Slightly embarrassing, but the girl was able to find change for me.
We went and joined in worship, and as I looked around, I saw a girl walking over to me. It was dark, and hard to see her face, but I thought it looked like Jully, who was here in the fall but left in February. When she got closer, I saw that it WAS Jully, and she had come back that morning. It was good to see her, and I hope that I'll be seeing a lot more of her now!
I really wish I had brought my Bible and notebook that night, because the message was really good, and in English. Dennis translated, but I had the advantage of understanding before most people. I hadn't been sure as to where exactly we were going, so I had opted to leave my Bible and notebook at home in case we were going to be at some big outdoor place where I'd have to keep a hold of them the whole time.
The message was good, and powerful. He talked about the problems that are ever-present in Honduras, and how God is going to be moving against them. He talked about how the root of the problems is not political or economical, but is spiritual, which is why prayer is so incredibly important to battle against the darkness.
He talked about how God answers prayers in different ways, using the story of Paul's conversion as an example. As Paul was praying to God, God was telling Ananias to go to him. So, Paul's prayer was not answered by God talking to Paul, but by God talking to Ananias. It's important, therefore, that we keep an open mind about prayer and the way God chooses to answer it. Sometimes, it is directly. But other times, it's through other people.
He also talked about the Great Commission, and the impact that the life of Paul had on the entire world. And really, the impact that Ananias's act of obedience that opened up Paul's eyes was the start of that. He reminded us all that we can make a huge impact on the world and that it starts with being obedient and praying.
The next morning, we went back for the second day. The first message was once again in English, and touched me even more deeply than the night before. This message was again about the Great Commission, and focused on the words that Jesus used, and what they mean for us today.
The biggest thing that hit me was that right before Jesus commissions them, it says that the disciples were doubting and had hard hearts. The disciples! These were the guys that had seen all the miraculous healings and people raised from the dead and food multiplies. These were the guys that watched Jesus being crucified and then saw Him when He was raised from the dead, and spent time with Him after His resurrection. Yet they still doubted and had hardened hearts.
Despite that, Jesus commissioned them and sent them out. They, with their doubt and hard hearts, were qualified to share the Gospel to all the nations. That means that I am qualified. I can go out and share the Gospel to the nations. I am a work in progress, and that's ok. God can still use me.
This is something I've been struggling with, a feeling of inadequacy. I often feel like there's nothing I can really do because I'm not spiritually where I should be, or I don't speak Spanish that well, or whatever. But none of that really matters when you get down to it. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and He's not finished with me yet, but He's sending me out to the nations.
It was just what I needed to hear. I know that it doesn't mean not to move forward. Obviously, I still need to be moving forward and getting closer to God and becoming more like Him, and learning more Spanish. But I don't have to wait for that moment when I'll be "ready" to do the work that God has for me here. I am ready, or else He wouldn't have sent me. I know I wasn't ready 4 years ago when I first wanted to come. And I know I don't feel ready now, but God wouldn't have sent me if He didn't know that I could handle everything there was for me here.
There was another message that day, in Spanish, so I didn't get every part, but I got what I needed. It was the story of David and Goliath. An old and familiar story, but the preacher dissected it well and drew up some excellent points. He talked about how that time was David's time. He was made for that moment to face down the giant, and so he did. The challenge was issued to all the young people there: Will you go and stand in front of the giant? Will you embrace that calling which is on your life?
This is a generation that is living in captivity to sin, as the nation of Israel was living in captivity to their own fear at that time. It is up to the Christian people in this generation to set them free. We know the way. We know how to be free, so we must do what we can to set them free. We can be that light that leads people to Christ, but we must be willing to stand.
All we have to do is say "yes" to God. We have to say "send me. I will go." And He will respond; He will send us out. He has a special plan and purpose for each and every life, and there's nobody else that can live your life, so you have to live your life for the purpose that God has for you.
Everything had a theme, which was all exactly what I needed: You are qualified, so go and do what God has called you to do.
But I don't think it's just me that needs that. I think everyone needs to realize that God has placed them exactly where they are for a specific reason, and that reason is to reach people for the Gospel and to therefore bring glory to God. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can live your life as an example to the nations, and you can share the Gospel. You don't have to be perfect, and you don't have to be "qualified." God has qualified you by your belief in Him and is sending you. So, go.