I have friends all over the world. Literally. People who I've hugged in the last week or two are now on four different continents. They promise to come back and report how the Lord is working.
Yet here I am, with my ever-strong desire to GO!, sitting at home scrambling for a Jesus Worldwide post for the third week in a row.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Last October Ted invited me to travel back to Nicaragua this week, one of my favorite places in the world. Saying no was one of the hardest and most peaceful things I've ever done.
As Ted and his team of mostly nursing students spent the afternoon flying to Central America, I spent Friday afternoon in the worship center (the gym) at my church getting drooled on.
Only five feet from where my pastor stands every Sunday, I sat with a biracial baby in my arms. His sister was in front of us trying to hula hoop sitting down. He's old enough to stand but spit up on me three times in an hour. She's 11.5 months older but I never heard her say a word. They're the same size and have been for awhile.
Their uncle, age 13, fed his nephew some banana that later got spit-up on my pants. He retrieved paper towel and held the baby while I tried to disinfect myself. He was a good uncle. I told him that. His face lit up.
He entertained himself playing basketball while I tried to keep track of which toys had been sucked on. He made some nice shots. I told him that. His eyes smiled. He missed some nice shots. His mother and sister told him that. Separately, they both said to him, "Wow, you suck."
I hope their words hurt me more than they hurt him. They smashed my heart to pieces for this teenager who lacks affirmation and encouragement. He could be out on the streets fighting, using drugs, and getting drunk. He could be an invisible child part of Kony's army.
Instead, this kid loves his niece and nephew. His favorite subject is math. On Friday afternoon, he was Jesus in the flesh in front of me.
This is my city. This is your city.
This happened in the same gym where I worship every Sunday. We were sitting where the kneeler goes. The same gym where I eat dinner every Wednesday. We were sitting where the kids' food is served.
Yes, I want to go. If you offered me a plane ticket, I'd apply for a visa this afternoon. But there is a need right here in my own backyard.
My local mission field includes baby drool and missed three-pointers. What does yours include?
Love you all,
Have a story about how you've seen the Lord work? I'd love to hear it! KatieAxelson[at]gmail[dot]com. I can't do this without you.