“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
As I sat on a rickety chair in the middle of a sparsely furnished, stone-floored room, in a small Mozambican village, I felt tears prick the back of my eyes. This family (in fact, the entire village) had next to nothing in terms of material wealth, yet their joy and generosity overflowed. I was welcomed into home after home as the guest of honour, lavished with the very best they had to offer; their very best food and drinks were laid upon the table and I was presented with gifts of beautiful African wraps, jewellery, and souvenirs. It was one of the most humbling and beautiful times of my life. They had very little of the things I took for granted on a daily basis. Electricity was only available for a few hours a day, so we used candles and lanterns in the evening, and there was a daily one mile walk to access clean water. Yet, the entire village seemed filled with joy, praising God at every opportunity and thanking Him for all they had. I found that I learned and grew more in my faith and trust in God in those two short months than I had in the rest of my Christian life leading up to that time. The entire missionary trip was a time of valuable learning and growth and a pivotal point in my Christian life.
However, soon after my return to the UK I found myself sitting at my laptop, in my comfortably furnished home, getting increasingly frustrated as I watched the buffer wheel spin round and round. How quickly all that learning had started to fade. In that moment I realised I had allowed myself to slip back into old habits and ways of thinking instead of intentionally carrying what I had learned into my next life season.
During this challenging season, where a lot of the luxuries and things we may have taken for granted before have been temporarily stripped away and many people are facing difficulties they never imagined, I know there will be some valuable learning for all of us. I’ve found myself getting into healthier daily routines, taking time to slow down and appreciate what I have, reassessing my priorities… I just hope that when this season comes to an end, I don’t forget what I have learned in a bid to return to the way things were before.
“In the rush to return to normal, let’s use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to”