Today is our last full day in Taba.
Tomorrow, we pack up and head back to Aqaba, Jordan.
Kara and I have both tried to think of a word that could communicate to you what we've seen, heard, and experienced here. But none of them really do justice to it.
So allow me to blabber blog.
On Thursday morning, we started our first corporate worship time together. I was so nervous. Not because I thought I might play the wrong chord, but because I didn't know if I'd be able to handle the outpouring of voices crying out to God in a way that they haven't done in 365 days.
I was right. I couldn't handle it.
The sound of worshippers was such that I've never heard passion like that before. I've heard voices, yes. But the pure desire and affection for God that filled that room will never leave my memory. Tears. Broken voices. Arms outstretched not only to reach for Almighty God, but also to welcome the worship time like a prodigal son returning home.
One of the things Kara and I have debriefed about is that we will never sing some of these songs the same way again. We have forever been ruined.
Ruined by the bridge of "Mighty to Save":
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King Jesus
...and the verse
Everyone needs forgiveness
the kindness of a Savior
THE HOPE OF NATIONS
Ruined by the verse of "Hosanna":
Hear the sound of hearts returning to you
We turn to You
Ruined by "Jesus Messiah". The Israel Lands workers especially contributed to the new meaning of this song for me. These people are spreading the news of the Messiah to people who are still waiting for him to come.
We have not just been impacted by our times of worship together. Conversations around the table reveal people who have taken their commitment to Matthew 28:19-20 seriously. These people are amazing. They have chosen to follow God's leading into places where (as one couple told us) they've been told that they will be killed if they step foot again into a certain village. Can you imagine?
We've met workers that have come from their home in Holland to tell the Middle East about Christ. They speak Dutch, have added English, and are tackling the most difficult language to learn - Arabic. Another couple is from China. Another from Chile. It's not just Americans.
That blew my mind! God is at work everywhere...he's sending out missionaries...from everywhere. We realized that our vision and perspective of God's work around the world was EXTREMELY small.
We came to serve.
But we have been served.
We came to be a part of changing lives.
Our lives are the ones changed.
1. On the first day during a prayer meeting, security came and asked us to leave the room we were in so they could check for bombs. I was told it was "standard procedure". I'm gonna disagree with that.
2. We took communion together today and had a healing prayer time.
3. Kara found great joy in training for the Hood to Coast relay by running along the shore of the Red Sea (yeah, the same one that was parted down the middle for the Israelites...oh yeah baby).
4. Snorkeling near the corral reef on the Egyptian side of the Red Sea.
5. The speaker, Sunder Krishnan, has been speaking on spiritual formation all week and he...is...good. Look up his sermons.
We'll talk to ya soon.