Sunday, September 16, 2012

The God of This City

Today, and the next two days, all of us in our mission who live in Dar es Salaam are getting together to talk about our city, Dar es Salaam. 

and dream.

and plan.

We started today.  And by the end of Tuesday, we're going to have a plan for the next six months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years. 

It's pretty cool.  We're just a group of about 30 people; we won't even all be here in 10 years (hopefully there will be others by then), and we're working in just four different ministries in this city. 

Our city.  Is it 3 million, 4 million, 5?  Who knows.  Everyone has a different guess. I found out today that some believe Dar es Salaam is the third fastest growing city in the world.  That's pretty crazy.  No wonder traffic is so bad. 

Can 30 people really make a difference in a city that big, that is growing that fast? 

Well, not by ourselves, of course.  But it can if we network.  And connect.  And strategize.  And get really intentional.  And if we really trust that Very Big God of ours who loves this city a whole lot more than we do. 

It's overwhelming.  And super exciting.

It makes me wonder though:  What would happen if every Christian in America came together in groups of 30 or 60 or 1000 and strategized and made a plan for 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 10 years about how to reach their cities with the love of Jesus?  Or even just their neighborhoods? 

Sometimes I think that your average American Christian thinks that somehow us missionaries way over here on the other side of the world are somehow just a whole lot more spiritual or special or have superpowers. 

But then I think about my fellow missionary friends that I have had over the years in Dar es Salaam.  The mom with the prodigal teenager.  The two who had breast cancer.  The one who seems to have it all together but once admitted to me her strong insecurities. The one who lives with chronic, debilitating pain.   The one who once admitted that her family took a 90% pay cut when they became missionaries.  The one (actually many more than one) who has struggled with depression.  The one who left behind a mom in the States with mental illness.  The one who longs and longs to be married.  The one with the daughter with the eating disorder. 

And myself, with my own struggle with panic attacks and selfishness and pride and arrogance and self-centeredness and discontentment. 

And we get hot and grumpy and sweaty and get tired of our underwear sticking to us and we snap at our children and our husbands and sometimes want to just lock ourselves in the bathroom.  Or call KLM and buy a plane ticket.   

We are not superhuman.  In fact, I think some of the most broken women I have ever met have been missionary women.  We just have a Very Big God. 

But if we can all get together with our team and make a plan for how God can use us to change this city, how we can work together to make a difference--a real difference, then can't that happen in any city?  With any kind of people?  With any amount of brokenness? 

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