“Faith is looking at Certainty that is greater than uncertainty”. Coming to Berrien Springs for this training I was looking forward to meeting people with a missionary spirit, learning new things, and growing in my relationship with God. Yet, I did not expect for the team members to achieve this level of unity, openness and harmony within the first week. This first week was full of experiences with God, new vision of myself and my faith. Coming here, I still had some doubts that I am at the right place, where God wants me to be at this very moment, but now I see clearly God’s leading during this training experience.
As I stepped out from the car that brought me here, I saw smiling faces of the missionaries, reflecting the sunlight and vigor of the bright green colors that surrounded them. They offered me to try this fruit “durian” that looked like an exotic fruit, but tasted like a cooked onion with sugar. Next, instead of getting back to the cars, we headed off for canoes to get to the other side of the lake. It took me by surprise, but then I relaxed and enjoyed the serenity of nature around me and the company of my new friend. I could see from this very beginning, that this journey will be full of surprises and stepping into the unknown. In classes’ theory and in practice, we learned to embrace the unknown with trust… trusting God and leaning on each other for support. Cooking, playing, serving and worshiping were our daily activities during this week, where everything was done with purpose and with lessons to be learned. Our “crucible” weekend of intense training for mission work was the triumph point that, brought everyone closer to each other and most importantly to God. We learned that mission work is about life with people, sharing their struggles and pointing them to the source of peace and divine love, so that they can fall in love with Jesus; that salvation looks like relational healing. Theory cannot draw people to Christ. The most powerful testimony is the living gospel, a transformed life of unity and harmony of believers who are totally emptied of self and made into channels of God’s glory; that God needs us because He loves us, and not because we can do something for Him.
The sun was setting at the Michigan lake beach and songs of praise mixed with the song of the waves filled the air. People stopped to listen to the songs and I could see their sunlit faces shining with smiles of happiness. Closing my eyes, I saw a tiny nine year old girl standing by the Black Sea shore in a far away country of Georgia, looking up to the star lit sky. She stepped out for a short prayer but instead spent the whole night speaking to God, wondering what His plan for her life would be. It was then, when He touched her heart once more with His love and put the desire to share His love with people who do not know Him yet. And here she was, sitting in Berrien Spring, MI, with AFM student missionaries praising God as He was preparing her for another journey to fulfill that desire of sharing His love, to “ make disciples of all nations” and to continue stepping into the unknown, with certainty in the One who has promised “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. (Matthew 28:18-20)