Dear Family and Friends,
With each year that goes by I (Adria) find myself squinting a little bit more, trying to make the dancing blur of letters sit down on the page. The fine lines around my eyes are becoming not so fine in my strain to make street signs be forthright with their names. It might be time for glasses.
Physically, age makes it more difficult to see things. I am finding, however, that the opposite is true spiritually. And, I am also finding how vital this is to our lives as missionaries. Pastor Rob Bell said that “being a good missionary means having really good eyesight. You see God where others don’t and then you point him out.” Now, before you go thinking that we have super-spiritual missionary eyes I will tell you that often we have to spend time pointing God out to ourselves too! It is not always easy in such a fallen world to see the gentle workings of God—the large and miraculous ones, yeah, but the subtle weaving of the larger tapestry is a lot more difficult to see. Yet each thread purposefully weaved is a stunning victory. It is these victories that carry us through and that draw hearts to God!
Several weeks ago a tall, broad-shouldered young man walked through the doors during our adult basketball program to use the restroom. His face looked more like a man’s than a boy’s but still reassuringly familiar. I could hardly suppress my joy as I asked him, “Is that you, Jamond?”
For several years I have thought of him and prayed for him and worried that he might be in a juvenile detention center or worse. Much like many of the people we work with, Jamond used to live in our neighborhood and occasionally participated in our programs and then one day he was gone. He had moved, but we did not know to where. His story has troubled me for years. Even at thirteen he was mostly on his own, hardened to the world and submitting himself to the company of men who would not mentor him in godly activities. Destructive behavior was chief among his known attributes. Even still, all I could ever see when I looked at him was a scared and scarred boy beating back the terrifying world that threatened to snuff him out. He had held us at arms length and then he was gone.
Yet here he was, standing in the lobby of World Impact! Since that night I have only seen him twice, but he is in the area and had remembered World Impact as a place he could enter and he now knows that we remember him by name. His reappearance is seemingly insignificant, but for those of us who know the loving hand of God weaving together His plans and purposes, there is joy and hope in it. Recently God has sent us several of these reuniting moments with youth and young adults we thought had slipped away from us. I see the Lord reminding me that not all doors I think are closed and bolted shut will remain that way. I think He must lovingly shake His head and say to me, “Do you think that you are the only one who remembers them by name?” And so, I will fervently pray that the Lord give us these young souls and ask the Spirit to sharpen my eyesight so that I may be ready to see God work and to point it out to others!
Prayerfully, with hope and vigilance,
Andrew and Adria Medlen