The mission team had their debrief last night, and I was lucky enough to go along! We were hosted by a couple from the church who have a great yard (including pool!) and newly finished basement (so when it started raining we were able to continue inside).

It was really awesome for me to be able to sit in and hear about the highlights and challenges that the team faced, to hear what different people took from their experiences, and it was exciting as each person shared how the trip has changed them or helped them going forward now that they are back home. Many youth realized they can do more than they expected, and many were humbled to realize they may not have everything “together” as much as they thought.

For me though, the biggest impact of the debrief meeting was getting to chat with our hostess, who has been away from church for the last few months recovering from a broken arm and some subsequent poor health. I have known that she isn’t well for all the months that I haven’t seen her, but spending time together last night it really struck me how hard it is for her to be not only stuck at home but to be to physically limited every day and fight off the discouragement that comes with all of that. Today she is very much on my heart, and it is not because she complained to me or even because things are SO bad that I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s just that the situation has finally sunk in for me because I saw it instead of just hearing about it.

The Bible says when one part of the body suffers, the entire body suffers, and so it is with the body of Christ. But just like our physical bodies, the only way to share in the suffering or joy of other people is when we are connected to them. Bodies have bones and muscles and nerves that connect and animate different parts of our bodies, and that physical reality is necessary. Just being Christians doesn’t move us with each other’s pain; living in each other’s worlds until they become intertwined in our hearts is needed to forge the kind of relationships that manifest the gospel.

This is what I’m having a glimpse of anyway, and it is still sinking in for me.

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