Tuesday, June 30, 2009

R n R this Summer!

Have you read The Power of Full Engagement?
The byline is “Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.”
The basic premise of the book is that we have the best performance when we have intense periods of energy exertion, followed by a period of intentional rest.

This is a great concept; but the authors did not come up with the idea! Actually, it comes out of the first chapters of the Bible when God showed us his ideal rhythm for life. He created the universe for 6 days, declaring creation good and humanity very good, and then he took a nap!

Seriously, if God needs the rest, why do we ignore the basic rhythms of our body, soul and spirit?

Jesus took it one step further in John 15 when he gave us an invitation to hang out with him, calling it “abiding.” Read this Scripture as you hear Jesus give us one of the great keys to living a life of fulfillment:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
I am the vine, you are the branches; those who abide in Me and I in them bear much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Jesus’ invitation to us flies in the face of our culture. We hear and often believe that if we just stay on the treadmill of life we will be more successful.

But, Jesus tells us that if we learn to abide with him, finding ways to connect with the One who Created us, we will make an impact on the world; with our families, our vocations, our neighbors, our missio, all of it. It comes first with abiding and then going out to expend our energies on meaningful work.

One of our Missio Lux’ values is to live lives of purpose, balance and simplicity. We are seeking to model a different way of life to our culture; one that will attract people’s attention and cause them to take notice.

No one is going to notice us if we are constantly stressed; we will just blend in with the rest of the world. However, if we intentionally seek to live the rhythm of resting and working, of abiding and bearing fruit, back and forth, in balance with our natural rhythms, people are going to notice and want what we have because it is so appealing.

So, our summer plans are going to follow Jesus’ priorities to abide and bear fruit. We have been through an intense season of laying a foundation for a new way of living our faith andit’s time for some R n R: Relationship and Rest.

Everything we are doing this summer has R n R in mind:

Celebrations are going to be at Beaver Lake Pavillion and will be simple picnics designed to give us space to connect with God and one another, and tell the stories of what God is doing in our midst.

Concerts in the Park in Sammamish are awesome ways to connect with friends and enjoy a fun concert. We are meeting every Thursday from July 9th to the end of August.

Missio Communities are encouraged to practice a different rhythm, making gatherings simple, fun and filled with much room for relationships. Invite those into your experiences which will benefit from some R and R!

I will be practicing a rhythm of reading, reflecting, resting, writing and praying through the month of July. I am looking forward to what this season will bring as I stop the activity and meetings and abide; restoring the creative side God gave me.

But, best of all, find ways to connect with Jesus that are meaningful to you. If you like to hike, take a hike and spend time connecting with him. If you like to hang out in your hammock in your backyard reading, do it with permission! Jesus wants us to be relaxed and enjoy his company.

Next week I will be passing on some ideas for new ways to connect with Jesus through our Missio Lux summer of abiding. Until then, go have some good R n R with those around you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What's Pinning You Down?

I broke my hand two months ago. I ended up needing surgery to put pins in to keep my left pinkie knuckle at the hand in place. The healing took place as scheduled; the doctor was always pleased with my progress when he examined it.

But, one day my car door slammed right on the place where the bones broke. Wow, did that ever hurt! I knew I didn't ever want to do that again.

My hand was fine except that one of the pins that was put in place to provide protection for healing was now dislodged and was becoming more and more painful as the days wore on.
I finally had to move the surgery to remove the pins up by weeks because the pain and swelling was intensifying daily and making my hand do double healing.

I started thinking about how the pins are a word picture for our childhood defense mechanisms against dysfunction and pain in our lives. The pins represent coping realities that we adopt so that we are protected against the poor decisions of the adults and other children around us. They keep us safe from breaking apart completely.

But, as we become adults, if the pins are still in place, they can actually cause destruction instead of healing.
The coping mechanisms can keep us stuck and in continued pain, rather than providing relief.


Because we no longer need them. We have become adults and can become healthy functioning people. We can let go of those things that appeared to keep us safe as children, but are actually hinderances when we "grow up."

Jesus wants to be the surgeon to take the pins out. My surgeon was my hero Friday because within hours after the surgery, I knew I was set free. The pain was gone and the swelling began to recede. It was worth it to me to go through the pain of the surgery to find myself in a better place than before the surgery.

Jesus invites us to enter into the pain of healing so that we can be set free.
He invites us in John 10 to enter the gate and then to go and find green pastures.
The amazing part of his invitation is that he is also the gate.
So, we are invited on a healing journey through him, so that we will be free.

Missio Lux has foundational ministries of healing and recovery. I just returned from our monthly healing service and am always so uplifted when they are finished because I see how pins gets removed through prayer to the surgeon Jesus. Celebrate Recovery meets every Monday night and many pins are also removed in the Christian 12 step lifestyle that CR models and teaches.

Do you have any pins that are dislodged and need to come out? Respond to Jesus' invitation to enter into the gate where you will find him ready to heal.

It's all about Relationships; part 1

Missio Lux is learning a new way to live.
We have been impacted by Jesus' words in John 15 where he speaks about the rhythm between abiding and bearing fruit.
Some more regular words say the same thing: rest and work, relationship and adventure, downtime and pushtime!

I am anxious to discover how living this rhythm intentionally will affect us.
At the core of it is a call to relationship.
Jesus wants us to spend time with him in relationship.
He knows that as we do that we will be built up, loved well and given new energy to love the people around us.

One of the most important relationships we have is our marriage.
Last night the girls and I gathered around the television to hear "John and Kate's announcement." I felt so sad when they said that they were separating, and on a path towards divorce. The words "I need to do what's best for me" still echo through my ears.

I loved the show in the early days. Watching John and Kate's delight in parenting their 8 children was so much fun. But, eventually I saw the pattern begin to take shape that so many of our marriages fall into: control/passivity/control/passivity.

This is the challenge of marriage; it comes out of the fall.

Adam was passive when he stood by and watched Eve eat the apple. He didn't do anything to stop her; which was an abdication of his rule over the garden. Eve, on the other hand, was quick to bite when the serpent challenged her thinking on "who was really in control." He lied to her, making her believe that God was holding out on her--that he held all the control and it wasn't for her good.

So, the curses were given. Men will struggle to succeed in their work and in relationship through their lives. Women will struggle to trust God and their husbands--so we do what seems right: seek to control our situations. The only thing about it is when we seek to control, we push our husbands into passivity, which only makes things feel more out of control.

Or, maybe it is the passivity of the men which causes the women to step up and try to control. It doesn't matter which comes first, the outcome is always the same: misery.

This is what I increasingly saw happening in John and Kate last year. Passivity from John, control from Kate. As the pressure built, their patterns became more and more entrenched, until their marriage blew apart all together.

The Bible has great wisdom in it. Jesus knew this pattern of marriage relationship and he showed us how to counter it and live into the new life of grace. It involves two key concepts: one for men and one for women.

Ephesians 5 tells men to love their wives and tells women to respect their husbands.

Why is this? Because men have a hard time loving their wives, staying present spiritually, emotionally and physcially--it's much easier to focus on the challenge of making a living.

Women have a hard time respecting their husbands; trusting that both God and men have their best interests at heart.

The Gospel is both simple and hard. The concept of love and respect is simple. But, it is oh, so very so hard to live it out.

It takes support.
It takes us caring about the people in our midst and asking the hard questions: "Did you treat your husband with respect this week?" "Did you treat your wife with love, caring for her and nurturing her heart this week?"

As we continue to live into our Missio Communities, we are structured to be able to ask those questions and offer our support. We are able to hold one another accountable for living it out. We can even confess when we are far from love and respect.

I have to believe that things could be different for John and Kate if they had that level of support. They could have stopped the trainwreck long ago, before it got to this point.

It's all about relationship, and as we take time to be with Jesus and rest, we get clarity on how we live into grace, rather than the curse from which he died to set us free. We can learn to walk in the new way of love and respect and in the process, model a lifestyle that others want to live out too.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Importance of Fathers

Today is Father's Day.

It's a day where we get to appreciate and affirm our fathers for their importance in our lives.

Our family is in San Francisco where my husband goes every week to work, so he can most fully financially support our family. My Dad is in Denver and has just walked through a very trying time of taking care of my Mother after heart surgery; he's been called into a place of care that he has never been challenged to live into until now.

The lives of my husband and my father have gotten me thinking about the importance of fathers in our lives.

Both men in my life have modeled sacrificial living for the sake of their families; putting aside their own comfort for the good of those around them. This is what the Bible calls men to do; model their lives after their heavenly father and the sacrifices he made on our behalf.

Our Heavenly Father gave us everything he had.

He gave us his son. His most important relationship given sacrifically so we could know how much he loves us. He didn't withhold anything from us; contrary to the lie that the Serpant told Adam and Eve in the Garden--instead he gave us everything.

Our Heavenly Father teaches earthly fathers how they are to live to model love and commitment to their family. I can't underestimate the deep importance that fathers carry for how they model God to their children.

I listen to a lot of people. Almost to the person, I hear how their view of God is formed by how their father lived and treated them. I wish that fathers understood the deep privilege and responsibility they carry because of this reality: it is their most important role in life.

Missio Lux has some amazing fathers in it. I see the love they carry for their children as the families walk through our door together. I see the investment they are making in their children spiritually as they take seriously the role of growing them up as people of faith and good character. I see their desire to grow spiritually themselves so they can model that for their wives and children.

But, we have a long way to go to influence all the people around us. Every generation that continues the broken father influencing their broken children continues to the cycle of brokenness, instead of wholeness and healing.

My dream for the next year is to significantly multiply the awareness and response of how important fathers are in our lives to bring us to a life of freedom and wholeness that Jesus offers everyone.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thoughts about the American Church in 10 years

I've been reflecting on the changes that have taken place in our Culture in this decade.

Now I'd like to reflect on the changes that I believe will take place in the Church in the next decade.

Here are some of the trends we already see in people:

People are coming to church less often
Many "consume" going to the church that has the latest and greatest....preaching, worship, youth group, you name it.
Loyalty to denominations are very low
Kids coming out of youth group who go to college often leave the church altogether
A significant number of people are biblically illiterate
Giving patterns are trending more towards "causes" than church budgets
People listen to several voices through podcasts, radio, etc.

Here are some of the trends we see in churches:

a movement towards multi site congregations
a desire to become missional
laying off of staff from economic downturn
naming churches without identifying denominational affiliation
fewer leaders are seminary trained

So, with these trends, what will change?

I see a church in 10 years that will look very different than we know now.

It will be very dispersed, with communities meeting all over the cities in various locations, but rather invisible to the regular eye.
People will have significantly more ownership over their faith; taking responsibility for their own practices, rather than looking to a church to form them for them.
Money will be used to support missio projects, but won't go through the pipeline of a church budget because the church will be much looser in organization but stronger in mission and commitment.
I believe the church will almost be "underground" because the culture will have become so hostile to those who stand for God's truth and practices.
I see a sorting out of those who are willing to pay a cost for their faith, standing on principles and fighting the wave of tolerance, but doing it in love to the individual; with those that move with the mainstream culture and end up not having a stance for anything.
Many faithful pastors will leave the profession because of the challenge but also the financial restraints.
Many leaders will do "tent ministry" because the days of the professional pastor are coming to a close.
I see a church that is being refined by "fire" that gets smaller in number but infinitely stronger in faith than today.
I see a grassroots connection between the different "outposts" established through relationship.
I see many people with no church experience or religious background coming to Jesus because of the purity of the faith that they see in everyday people living a lifestyle like Jesus.

Jesus came to a world that was very polarized, where spiritual freedoms were limited by the government, and a church that was very religious and legalistic.

He taught his disciples how to operate within that culture, and if we study what they did, we can learn to live that way too.

The world is shifting but the opportunities for the church, if we are willing to bend and move with flexibility, are wide open.

I personally am looking forward to a day when those who commit to follow Christ recognize the cost, as well as the challenge, but decide that following Jesus is worth giving our whole life to live.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Decade of 2000

The study yesterday started a pathway of reflection for me about how the past decade has gone for our culture as a whole.

We just have 6 months left in the decade of 2000.

Wow, didn't it go fast?
What did you do to prepare for Y2K?
I had a delightful time standing in line with lots of patient people filling our propane tanks. I don't think a decade has ever entered with such fanfare only to go "plop into nothingness."

But, in just a short amount of time, we experienced 9/11 and the world as we knew it began to shift dramatically. The center of the world shifted to the Middle East. We started a war. We became patriotic, only just a few years later to become very silent about our patriotism as we alienated much of the world through our tactics against terrorism.

But, on a smaller, more personal scale, let's consider: how much technology did you engage in year 2,000?

How many computers did your household own? We had one.
How many cell phones did you own? We had one.
How many had wifi? We had dial up--oh remember that one, the sound of the connection: "You've got mail!:
How many had an IPOD? No one, they weren't invented yet.
How much internet ordering did you do? None.
How much internet searching did you do? Very little.
How many televisions did your household own? 2, we just purchased a second one in 1999.
How many texts did you write? None, texts weren't even a thought in anyone's head yet!

Life has changed.
We are changed because of the advance of techology.

I find myself wishing that we had kept more of the old technology to show our grandchildren someday....they become antiques so quickly now, we pass onto the new without really giving it a second thought.

What changes do you think that we will see in the next decade?
What do you think our culture will look like in 2020?

What changes in practice do you think the American Church will adopt?

I have some thoughts on that, but more on it another day.
Would love to hear your technology quiz results from year 2000! ]
What did I forget to ask?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Technology Study

Yesterday an interesting study was published in the Seattle Times about technology.

Some of the findings included:

Families are spending less time together; down 30 percent since 2006 from 26 hours a month to 18 hours in 2009.

Facebook usage has gone from 100 million users in August of 2008 to 200 million users in 2009.

Televisions have gotten cheaper so families have more of them in several rooms of their home. This means that families don't have to congregate in one room to watch them anymore.

Higher income families are more deeply affected by technology than lower income families because they have a much greater range of technological toys!

These results are staggering.

In just three short years, we have seen a massive shift in behavior patterns that are changing the way that we communicate and relate to one another.

This shift in behavior/communication is also calling the Church to think carefully and strategically about how we will communicate.

Will we forsake technology all together, deciding it is detrimental and so avoid it?

Or will we discover some creative uses for all the new ways of relating to build bridges to those who won't be reached any other way?

I think about Paul who says that "I must become all things to all people in order to reach them."

Let's decide to wrestle through this challenge and seek to understand where the best pathway exists for people to meet and follow Jesus.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alignment brings freedom

Romans 12:1-2 is one of the most well known Scriptures in the Bible:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I have reflected often on the second verse: about not conforming to how the world lives; but through our renewed mind finding the abundant life that Jesus calls us to live.

What I have discovered recently, however, is that the abundant life isn’t going to come magically, but only through a renewed mind that changes the way we think about our own life and the world around us.

It starts with thinking the truth about who God is and his true character.

The Serpent knew that if he could get Adam and Eve to doubt that God truly had their best in heart; he would win the battle. So, he tempted them with the thought that God was holding out on them; God couldn’t really be trusted.

They bit and we’ve been biting ever since. There is an area in everyone’s life where the Serpent planted a lie in us that we have believed too. I find that if I listen long enough to a person, I can find that lie. I found it in myself, and when I confessed believing it and stepped into the truth that God can be trusted and that he has my best at heart; the whole trajectory of my life changed.

I feel very much lately that I am living the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 8:31-32:
“Jesus said, "If you continue in my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

It takes us back to Romans 12: Don’t believe the world, but seek God’s truth, be changed as your mind is changed.

Did you know that changing our mind is called “repentance?”

Repentance seems like one of those scary Christian words that we want to run from, but really it just means “changing our mind, or turning in a different direction.”

I have found 3 questions that are making a huge difference to me in determining where I need to change my mind in order to live the abundant life that Jesus promised us.

Here they are: they come with a Challenge and an Invitation:

The challenge is to honestly ask the questions; allowing Jesus show you the shifts in alignment that he wants to make.
The invitation is Jesus calling you to a place of deeper relationship with him and more meaningful relationship with those around you; bringing you closer to the abundant life he promises.

Where do I need to align my mind with God’s mind?
Where do I need to align my emotions with God’s heart?
Where do I need to align my will with God’s will?

Here is my invitation to you:
Take this challenge for one week, setting aside a few minutes each day to listen to the answers, and then let me know how it is going. I’d love to encourage you as you step out in Jesus’ teaching to live into the freedom and hope that he offers everyone.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Kingdom Investment

This morning I am going to the Ivy Cutting at Seattle Pacific University. It's part of the graduation at SPU and it's a lot of fun. You might think that I am attending it because one of our children is graduating; however, I am going because of a kingdom investment that I made earlier this year.

I met Kelly through a friend in November. I prayed on the way that Jesus would allow us to connect. And connect we did. When we ended our first conversation, we knew that our conversation bypassed what takes many years to speak.

When I got home, I felt Jesus urging me to open the door for further meeting. I knew Kelly would be graduating soon, but I emailed her the opportunity to meet monthly until she would graduate and leave the area. I knew that it wouldn't benefit Missio Lux to do this, but I knew that she was worth investing in for the sake of the kingdom.

Our times together were full of kingdom breakthrough. God used me to speak, pray and prophecy important things into Kelly's life. We only met about 7 times, but the impact of them were multiplied many times over.

Here is the really fun part of the story.

Jesus supernaturally called Kelly to go to South Korea with Adventure Teaching (http://www.adventureteaching.com/)
Adventure Teaching is Scot Sustad's company that recruits teachers to go to South Korea and gets them hired. But, his company is a Kingdom builder because it also has AT Impact in it; the creation of Missio Lux Missio Communities South Korea.

I didn't even know that Kelly and Scot were talking about her coming on board; but when we all put it together we knew that God had raised Kelly up for "such a time as this" to be the Catalyst in South Korea to help create, develop and huddle the Missio Communities.

The point is that "we never know what God is going to do when we make kingdom investments."

Today I am privileged enough to celebrate with Kelly the ending of her college years, but also the anticipation of how God is going to multiply his kingdom through his partnership with her!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Imitate Me

I was challenged with a thought at the Learning Community that I have been reflecting on recently.
This is the idea: "Call people to imitate our lives, just as Jesus calls us to imitate him."

So, in reality, if we are living a lifestyle like Jesus', we have a life worth imitating.

But, how many of us have the confidence that our life is worth replicating? When we look at ourselves, we often see ALL the ways we don't measure up, rather than the amazing reality that the God who Created us also lives in us, continually molding us into a greater likeness of himself.

So, I've been thinking about me.
When people see me, they see my strength, my determination, my perseverance, my love for people and fun, and my passion for Jesus.

But, they also see someone who has worked so hard for so long. They see that a life of ministry is exhausting and they don't think that it is for them.

A few months ago, I began to tell Jesus, "I can't work any harder. You have to show me a better way."

And, guess what.
It's right there, in the Bible, in John 15.
Jesus tells his followers, including me, that we are to balance work with rest--he calls it abiding with him. The rest can be anything that rejuvenates us: it doesn't have to be us on our knees in prayer for hours at a time.

If we love hiking, we should hike. It will open up our pathway to God, maybe a pathway that has been clogged for a long time.
If we love parties, we should have parties.
If we love animals, we should spend time with them.
Whatever brings life to us brings abiding.

So, for me, some of my most lifegiving moments are when I am reading, reflecting, writing, and dreaming about the future--especially outside in the beauty of the Northwest. When I do these simple things: I feel ALIVE!

And, that life in me is contagious, it spills out onto others. They notice and they want it too!

So, that's the invitation to imitate me.
Find those lifegiving things in your life; engage them as you engage your Creator, and then let the overflow motivate someone else to imitate you, as you imitate Jesus.

I do abide daily, weekly and monthly, but I have never had a season of abiding!
I am taking the month of July to do the things I mentioned above; and I am beginning to realize that they will probably produce much more fruit, outcome, than all the other months combined. Because fruit comes from a place of rest because the conditions for growth are right: sunlight, fertilizer, water!

This summer, Missio Lux is going to abide.
We are making room for R and R: Relationship and Rest.

More on that next time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Typical Week in Missio Lux

People sometimes ask me, “What does a typical week in Missio Lux look like? What happens?

Here’s what one month can look like as all the Missio Communities and supporting foundation ministries meet: (check out additional meeting times and places on the website: www.missiolux.org)

Sunday: T3: Families with Teens:
Arbors: Families with Younger Children
Dialogue: 20somethings in Seattle
Missio Lux Celebrations: 1st Sunday of the month

Monday: Celebrate Recovery
Seeds of Hope WA
Living Free Prayer Ministry, Denver

Tuesday: Healing Prayer MC or Worship Service
Seeds of Hope, Denver

Wednesday: Huddle
Missio Lux Prayer Team
Emerging MC: Fall City 5 Loaves

Thursday: South Korea Missio Communities: 2 meeting~not sure of their day!
Emerging MC: Latino Community

Friday: Map Your Neighborhood
Peace Seekers

Saturday: 1st Covenant Breakfast
Emerging MC: Outreach to Polish Friends

A lot can happen when we spread out to share the freedom and hope Jesus offer with everyone. We don't spend most of our energies on the Worship Service, rather we spend them serving as worship.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The World is Thirsty and Hungry, part 3

I just returned from our Celebration where we did the Food Assembly with Children of the Nations.

We assembled 8,000 meals in just 45 minutes, and the people that helped to make it happen ranged in age from 3 years to 83 years old.

It just made my heart soar with joy as I looked around the room and saw everyone happily working hard either putting lentils, rice, spice or chicken spice into the funnel, or running them to the sealer, assmbling boxes or throwing the bags into boxes!

But, the best part of the night is when we looked at our goal for assembling 40,000 meals by the end of the summer, we already have 38,000 committed to be paid for and filled. This is the way to multiply our efforts and to include so many more people than were able to participate tonight.

Fraser was the man who came from Children of the Nations and put the food assembly together. He was thrilled with our energy and the way that everyone came together to fulfill our missio! He kept saying, "This seems like a really fun church!"

I am so grateful to be part of a community that cares about our next door neighbors as well as our global neighbors around the world.

If you are interested in doing a food assembly, let me know and you will kick us over our goal of 40,000 meals.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The World is Thirsty and Hungry, part 2

Tomorrow is our Celebration and I am so looking forward to our Worship through Service.

We are partnering with COTNI www.cotni.org, which stands for Children of the Nations. COTNI has a mission to feed hungry children, as well as many other areas in Africa.

They have developed a meal that meets a child's daily nutrition needs that includes lentils and rice. The great thing about these meals is that they only cost 25 cents per meal! That means that with just a little bit of money, we can make a great impact in a child's life.

Missio Lux is funding 8,000 meals to assemble on Sunday!

It's going to be a fun process: putting the different ingredients into funnels which flow into plastic bags, which are then put in boxes to be shipped with different cargo firms to Sierra Leone.

Our goal is to multiply our intitial effort Sunday into 16 more opportunities, believing that one of God's best stategies is the "Ripple Effect."

We are encouraging 16 different food assemblies to take place over the summer as missio communities or neighborhoods or sports teams or work places agree to take one on. For just $500, 12 people can assemble meals for approximately one hour and complete 2,000 meals.

So, can you imagine being able to provide 40,000 meals this summer to children who otherwise won't eat in Sierra Leone?

These are the types of waysthat a small effort can make a dramatic impact.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The World is Thirsty and Hungry

Missio Lux has had an emphasis on hunger and thirst the past two weeks.
We take seriously Jesus' words in Matthew 25:20, "If you give a needy person food or water, you have given it to me."

Last weekend we highlighted 3 missio ways to make a difference with hunger and thirst. Sunday, we will do another big missio for hunger at our Celebration!

Last weekend we participated in the Water First "Carry 5 Walk" (http://www.water1st.org/) as well as holding a garage sale for Seeds of Hope www.missiolux.org/seedsofhope, and our bi-monthly breakfast for the poor and disenfranchised in Seattle http://www.missiolux.org/ 1st Seattle breakfast.

Our family participated in the Carry 5 Walk, as well as several of our missio community members. The reason that it's called Carry 5 is that most women and girls in Africa and other places around the world, carry 5 gallon jugs of water on their backs, often for up to 15 miles, if their village does not have a well.

It's hard to imagine how hard it is and how HEAVY it is to carry 5 gallons without actually attempting it.

Most of the men who carried it seemed very relieved to pass it off to another team member. The children carried one gallon of water on their backs, often complaining about how heavy they were!

I am passionate about getting wells in villages because I know that water is a basic need of life, not a privilege.

We don't even think about turning on our facets or watering our grass, or taking a shower because it is so accessible. But, if you live in India or Bangladesh, Honduras and Ethiopia (this is where Water 1st goes), there's a very real possibility that water isn't a right, it's almost unaccessible.

Some say that an event like Carry 5 won't make much of a difference.

But, to the 7 villages that will get wells from this one walk, their lives will be dramatically changed. The women will be able to put more effort into their homes and their children, rather than the drudgery of carrrying water day after endless day. The girls will fare even better: they will get to go to school! Education is the pathway to a different life; so a well brings great hope for the future.

Read tomorrow for our big Celebration Plan for Sunday, but in the meantime, go several hours or even a day without using water and let God enlarge your heart through the experience. Then, let everyone hear of your experience by leaving a comment on the blog.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Peace Seekers Missio Community

Friday I had the privilege of going to the Peace Seekers Missio Community.
This is a community of women who meet to know God better and to build friendship with one another.

They met all year on Friday mornings. It's complicated working around all the school schedules for their children, but they all eventually get there and breathe a sigh of relief. They know when they enter into Peace Seekers that they have found a place of peace. It's like taking a great big drink of refreshing water!

They are beginning to feel safe enough to take off their masks and show their true selves.

They are beginning to recognize what they need as women and mothers and to give it to themselves so that they have something meaningful to offer their husbands, families and world around them.

They are also beginning to take big leaps spiritually. I was present to help them work through spiritual gifts; and it was my privilege to be able to hear what they discovered and their dreams for using them.

I knew I was on holy ground when we were praying for the Lord to ignite their gifts and to bring opportunities to use them for the kingdom. As I watched them reach out to pray for one another, tears came to my eyes as I recognized how powerful community and prayer can be.