Category Archives: Thoughts

Time flies

One word that really described the structure of the team is this: trios.

EVERYTHING came in trios. When we walked in the airport, we stayed in assigned trios. When we roamed the mall, we used trios. Sometimes for seating, we’d sit in our trios. The trios would look out for each other. In theory, it’s much easier to count three trios, than nine people.

We also had daily prayer trios.

The idea was to use the trios in dedicated prayer time, and then throughout the day, whenever there was a spare minute or two, get together and pray quickly. The groups would change every morning so that everyone would get a chance to pray with everybody (although, for some reason, I ended up being with Jesse about seven times in a row 🙂 Just kidding).

Before getting in the van each morning, we had anywhere from five minutes to thirty minutes in between breakfast and leaving. At the guest house we stayed at during our time at the orphanage, we had a little bit more time than at the Wisma. One of the first mornings we are at the guest house, having finished breakfast, we are asked to get in our prayer trios.

“Okay guys. Pray for 15 minutes.”

Here’s how it played out:

minutes 1-5: “Do you guys have any prayer requests?” Spending the first 5 minutes discussing what we are going to pray about

minutes 5-8: praying

minute 9: feels like we’ve been going for 15 minutes…”AMEN”

minute 10-15: awkwardly waiting for further instructions, start talking about the day, etc.

Over the next few days, we read passages about prayer in our devotions and nightly study. We were encouraged, “Don’t talk about praying….just pray.” Also, we were advised to just do short little prayers and go around and around the trio rather than splitting it into three, five minutes sections.

Every morning: “Pray for 15 minutes”

In a couple of mornings, we were praying for 15 minutes in its fullest. No more discussing. No more cutting it short. In fact, 15 minutes just wasn’t enough. As I’ve previously blogged,  our team didn’t complain much, but the complaints we did have went something like this:

“You didn’t give us enough time to pray!”
“PLEAAAAAAASE, just a few more minutes!”

Each morning from then on out, just as before:  “Get in your trios and pray for 15 minutes.”

Unbeknownst to us, little by little, Ken had been increasing the amount of time we’d be praying. He didn’t tell us, and each morning kept saying “15 minutes of prayer time.” In a couple days, the time had been increased to 20 minutes.

“Time’s up. We gotta go”

“That was NOT 15 minutes! You didn’t give us enough time.”

I guess that was a complaint he could deal with. 🙂

Bump it up to 25 minutes

“You didn’t give us enough time!”

Increase it to 30 minutes

“That was definitely not 15 minutes. Can’t we get more time?”

At our debrief site, we had been asked to pray for 15 minutes, like always.

We prayed.

We were again, cut off, having to move on to other things.

“Please, just five more minutes! We didn’t get enough time!”

And then the secret was let loose.

That time, we had not spent fifteen minutes in prayer.

Rather, we had spent forty minutes in prayer.

And still it “wasn’t enough time.”

Seriously, it felt like five minutes.

Fastest 40 minutes ever

After the next time we prayed, we asked how long we’d spent.

“15 minutes”

Again, we begged for more time. This time, it was granted. 🙂

It was really awesome to see how each of us had nurtured a heart and desire for prayer. A month later, many of us attended a summer camp together where Ken was the highschool speaker. Lots of stories about the trip were shared, including this one. The same idea was implemented before the message. We’d get in groups of three and pray for 5, 10, 15 minutes. So many people would be disappointed when they were cut off.  They said “I had things prepared for at least three more turns” or “That did not feel like 10 minutes.” The day before the highschool ministry outing, as tradition, an opportunity was presented to fast through lunch. Typically, about 25 people come. This year, we had 65 people signed up. We spent 30 minutes praying through passages of Scripture with several different partners. At the end, the comments paralleled the ones before: “That didn’t feel like 30 minutes” “That was really cool.” On the last morning of the 11th-12th grade girls Bible class, we quickly went over the lesson and then spent the last 20 minutes in prayer, specifically praying through Revelation 4. Once we were cut off, having to move on to the next activity, I heard so many times, ‘THAT WAS THE FASTEST 20 MINUTES OF MY LIFE!”

The first time the team was asked to pray for 15 minutes, not going to lie, it was difficult. But in a few days, it wasn’t. We knew there were so many things we could pray: we could praise God, we could ask things of God, we could pray for each other, we could encourage each other, we could thank God, we could pray through Scripture, we could pray for ourselves. It became something that wasn’t a chore, but a delight.

Try spending 20-30 minutes in prayer sometime. Set a timer instead of just watching the clock. Do it with a friend. You’ll be surprised how fast the time goes.

During the fastest forty minutes ever.

What makes a team a team

I wasn’t planning on sharing about my team just yet. I had a different story drafted out, all ready to go, but that’ll have to wait for another day.

After spending only a few hours with part of my team last night, I was again reminded why I love them so much.

And this is the condensed version; I could really go on for HOURS AND HOURS, but I will spare you that.

Team Indonesia is composed of eleven personalities.

I personality typed everyone on the trip, and statistically speaking, everyone was either too alike (Simeon and I) or too different (Nicole and Haidang) to get along. Eleven people that shouldn’t get along and three weeks in a foreign country is a recipe for disaster.

There were planners, non-planners, public schoolers, homeschoolers, girls, boys, neatfreaks, go with the flow people, athletes, artists. It was a sampler plate of every kind of personality you can get.

The amazing thing is, the differing personalities had an effect that was not at all negative.

Everything was positive.

It didn’t come with just a snap of the fingers though. Much of our team devotion time was spent in passages that taught about unity, humbleness, putting others’ interests before our own, and each person on the team made a conscious CHOICE to obey.

We had this acronym within the team: FAMILY. It stood for “Forget about me, I love you.” That was the choice every team member decided to make for the benefit of themselves, the team, and people who would be watching.

Each person, whenever they were irritated at someone or something, made a choice to put on the mentality “It’s MY problem, not theirs.”

Each person, made the choice to submit to leadership without complaining or grumbling, whether or not they liked the task put before them.

Each person dwelt and leaned on the strengths of his/her teammates, and ignored and covered the weaknesses.

We became FAMILY. The body of Christ actually functioning as a body. The different personalities weren’t a hindrance, they were keys to opening several doors.

I am so thankful for every member of the team I traveled with. They are my brothers and sisters. We laughed together (maybe too much), cried together, prayed with each other, wrote songs together, had good discussions together, and developed great bonds.

There was absolutely NO gossip. I am 1000000% positive of that.

UNHEARD of in today’s world.

And we “shouldn’t get along.”

God worked in each and everyone’s heart to achieve this result. It wasn’t solely based on anything we “did”, rather by listening to God’s instructions of how He intended for us to live in the first place.
One thing that really helped our team, was dedication to praises and encouragement.

We had van rides to and from our ministry sites every day.  They were about 7 minutes long each. 7 minutes out of 24 hours seems sort of insignificant, but over time it racks up. 7 minutes x 2 times a day x 15 days = 210 minutes. A grand total of 3 & 1/2 hours in the van. That’s a pretty good chunk of time.

That 3 & 1/2 hours became utitlized in praises and encouragement. On the van ride to our site, everyone gave a praise from the morning, from the trip as a whole, from some recent experience. It was an incredible way to focus on the positive and what we did have as opposed to what we didn’t have and what was “not planned.” Throughout the day, the team was asked to observe each other and find ways to encourage one another throughout the day. I remember one day I was extremely tired, and then all of a sudden, Lindsey came up to me and encouraged me. A few hours later, Jesse did the same. A few hours later, Haidang did the same. Little did they know how awesome that was. On the van rides home, we’d encourage each other with things we appreciate about one another, using specific examples from the day. Again, dwelling on the positive, not the negative.

Oh what a difference all of this made on our attitudes toward each other.

I am very thankful for our team leaders, who have invested so much time and energy in their labor of love for the team and for the ministries we served at. They are so dear to us, such wonderful mentors and friends.

Even today, we are still continuing to pray for each other and encourage each other. The other day, I had a LONG phone date with my roomie from the Wisma, Joanna. It was SO revitalizing. We talked about our goals and what passages we’ve been reading and so on. 1 hour and 36 minutes. It felt like maybe five.

The concepts of unity and family still are put into use at home. I know it’s one of my big goals and strivings. It’s a lot harder at home, but it’s worth it.

As I was on the road to Oregon last night, I was in the long stretch of highway that never seems to end. I wondered “I’m spending more time driving than I’m going to spend there. Is it going to be worth it?”

Once the partial team came together again, I was able to answer my question with a confident “Yes.”

It was a no-brainer.

I love my team. Simple as that. I am so blessed to have each and every team member/family member in my life.

We like our matching shirts.

On the fun day (which a story is to come), there was plenty of potential for problems to arise. TONS of it. Even in those circumstances, we didn’t allow it to get to us. Unity prevailed

Most of the time, we took two shifts in the van to get places, but every once in a while, we all crammed in.
Yeah, we can fit 12 people in a 9 person van. No biggie.

McDonalds! All-American! No complaints about the local cuisine from me, but it was nice to get a little taste of home.

Part of the team, a few months after the trip

 

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