In May, I was among the group of counselors Crossroads sent to Spain to counsel missionaries from all over the world. It was an honor to walk with heroes of the faith who go through dangers on the field typically seen only on CNN. Somehow watching a screen offers a once-removed feeling to the turmoil that goes on in the world. At the Serge conference, gathered together, were hundreds of missionaries who live their lives on the front lines of danger and uncertainty, daily.
One example (among many) was a family who hid under a table for 15 hours as they listened to gunfire raid their city. The parents and the children (ages 4 to 14) met with our counselors individually and then together as a family at the week’s end. They began to write their family narrative of what happened that traumatic night, leaning on each other in ways they hadn’t known how to without guidance.
One of the sons wept as he recalled that night. When prompted by our Crossroad’s therapist to name what he needed from his dad in that moment; he invited his dad to enter his sadness. The father (because of his own past story) hadn’t known how to help his children cope. There with the help of a Crossroad’s therapist, he simply held his son as he wept. There was a new beginning like with so many other stories…
On a personal note, about halfway through the week I wrestled with feeling like a “sub-par” Christian. I thought “Wow – I don’t think I could do it. I don’t think I could have my children living in dangerous areas, be somewhat isolated as a believer in a culture different from my own.” This messed with me. As the Holy Spirit so often does, He whispered to me from His word and through the rich voices of my colleagues that we all have our own crosses to bear. You, reading this newsletter, know what I’m talking about as you think of your own crosses.
Many times these deaths we die are deep within, not as out loud as the missionaries’ sacrifices and deaths; yet, just as real. The grief matters and is real no matter what you are doing, who you are, or where you live. It matters. God takes delight in redeeming our grief. Bringing to life the deaths we all die – whether it’s a death to a dream or a loved one or our own physical death. He redeems all. For that I am grateful.
I mention the rich voices of my colleagues, and I would be remiss to not include the absolute beauty and meaningful (and yes, raucously fun) time we had together as co-workers and friends. A wise man once said to me, “ We weren’t meant to sorrow alone.” Yes, so true. We weren’t meant to laugh alone either. We shared tears and lots of laughter. We returned closer as a team and ready to lean on each other as we continue our work here, on our own frontline in St. Louis.
For those of you who prayed for us; thank you. For those of you who sacrificed financially for us; thank you. The impact of our work, both for the missionaries and for us personally was deep. Many of us will have the privilege of continuing the therapy we started via Skype and so the help will continue. Thanks to your prayers, your support, and most of all thanks to the God we all serve.