Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reflections


As our summer here in Central Asia comes to a close (we leave on Friday!) I wanted to sit down and reflect on some things that He has taught me over the summer. He has taught me so much and I want to remember what I've learned and share it with you so you can have an even better feel for our experience. This is going to be long so feel free to pick and choose what you read. It's written in no particular order- it was just my train of thought at the time. And if you're wondering, the woman in the picture above was our language teacher this summer. She was wonderful and we are so thankful for her. We hope to use her again when we come back.

  • Women can have a hard life here compared to life in the US. Marriages are arranged and when a woman marries she goes to live with her husband's family and becomes a cook and house cleaner. One friend said to me after asking me if Drew and I go out at night a lot, "Once I came here all that stopped. No more going out. I stay at home." Despite this I don't think it's important for me to be so focused on imposing my ideals of life at home on these women. He is what's important. If family's know Him, life will change.
  • Children give a woman worth. If she can't have children the husband is free to divorce her or to marry another woman. This makes Drew and me an anomaly here. The fact that Drew is still with me and only me is a huge testimony to His work on our lives and is different.
  • It is harder to meet people than I thought it would be, especially women. They are at home working and taking care of their children. I'm not. I have to work hard to get into these women's lives, which isn't the most natural thing for me.
  • We need to live with a Tajik family to really be immersed in the culture. That will take our language and ability to build relationships to a whole new level.
  • Language learning is hard and slow! I have such a long way to go. It is extremely humbling and reminds me that I am desperately needy.
  • The people don't know the Truth and more committed to their way of life than we thought. I need to lift hard for open hearts to the Truth. I still think locals reaching locals is the most effective way so I need to lift for chances to work with local believers and do what I can to train them to do the work.
  • The pace of life is harder for me to adjust to than I thought. I struggle with this balance and need constant lifting and wisdom to know how to spend my time. I also need to learn how much to expect of myself. This is hard for me.
  • Life itself is harder than in the US but not awful, at least not in the summer. I can adapt to most things but at times I do miss the ease of life in the US. I'm very thankful for the internet, my "Gilmore Girls" DVDs and the many nice food options here. I've been pleasantly surprised.
  • I miss my friends and family a lot. I have hard time knowing who will fill those voids in my life. It's another opportunity to cling to the Lord.
  • Even though Drew and I are together almost all the time I feel like we're "together" even less than at home. All day is work and when we're relaxing we're still thinking about work and what needs to get done. Plus many of the things we used to do together we don't now, like go for runs, watch TV and ride in the car. Life is much different and I think we have to work even harder to grow our marriage.
  • The other Westerners we work with are critical for our spiritual and mental health. Having other people who understand you and are called to the same work is awesome. To really be understood is such a blessing!
  • I want to be able to talk to people about Him but I can't. I must very much rely on lifting and His word to touch people's hearts. Perhaps that a good thing. I also need to really listen for His guidance in how I handle relationships and conversations. I want to follow His timing and not my own as I tend to rush things.
  • I lift more here. When you are more needy you lift more. I think that's a good thing.
  • Seeing people following something other than the Truth is heart-breaking and it is very obvious here. It changes your heart.
  • All the things I offer as an American- English, a different life, different food, money, values, etc.- aren't really important. He is important.
  • I miss Providence a lot but am so thankful for my house group. I am intrigued by the concept of house groups and their biblical origins. It has really challenged me. To see a movement here would be amazing and I'd love to be a part of it. Could this happen in the US too?
  • I don't lift enough. What is enough? We also NEED people at home lifting us up and staying connected with us. It gives us more strength than you know.
  • The Old Testament has power to speak to people about Him. I need to remember this and not shy away from studying it and sharing it.
  • The enemy wants to attack us and keep us from being effective and it seems more obvious here than when we're in the US. We must fight this hard.
  • My job is so much more real here. I see my purpose more clearly and want to achieve it more. I need to make His standard mine though and not base my worth on what other people think. At the same time the need is obvious and I know why I'm here so if I'm not pursuing that I'm wasting my time.
  • To be here is a privilege and a calling. Not much here makes this a desirable place to live and I loved my life in the US. If it weren't for the people and their needs I'd leave and never come back. That is more clear to me than ever. However, these people need Him and how will they know Him if they don't hear? He has called me so I'll be here until He releases me. It is a privilege to work for Him and even suffer (though I am suffering very little) for Him. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Okay, that's it. Told you it was long! I hope this was insightful though and gives you a better feel for what I've learned. Now you can lift for us more effectively as well. We are so thankful for all of you! You give us untold amounts of strength and we can't wait to see you soon. I hope this has encouraged you as well and reminded you of your purpose and calling wherever you are. I leave you with a few verses that remind me of why I am here and encourage me as well:

2 Corinthians 4:17-18- 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Revelation 5:9

9And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.

Revelation 21:1-4- 1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."


Revelation 4:8- 8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

5 comments:

Brandy said...

Enjoy your reflections. We'll be lifting you up as you return and process even more and get ready to go back! What an opportunity you had to spend some time there this summer!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Drew and Leslie Echerd said...

Thanks Brandy. I'm sure you can relate to much of what I wrote. Hope you guys are all doing well!

jason and jen said...

Hey...We are praying for you guys as you make your way back home! I hope you have the best time at the beach and yes make sure to check out the double ferris wheel! I have loved reading your updates through the blog and email. We are so proud of you both!!!

Sandy M. said...

I read ALL of it & can so much better relate & know how to lift.
You are so transparent, especially on that last point. No sugar coating, just reality... but called by Him! Some of these things I observed the 2 times we were in that part of the world, thinking that it would take a special calling to live there. But I love lifting those who have made that choice!

Drew and Leslie Echerd said...

Thanks Sandy! That was my hope! Can't wait to see you soon!